The Marco Polo Effect

The flight information scrolled across the blue screens and delays were piped through the speaker system echoing throughout the airport lounge. I was relaxed, coffee in hand, computer on my lap, and a view of idling airplanes in front of me. My flight was delayed again. The grumblings of other passengers ruminated throughout the lounge; some were incensed at such an inconvenience, others simply exhausted and subservient. I though, was unfazed. Flying in the middle of winter is never a guarantee of on-time flights, so I was prepared. Even though this trip was planned months in advance, I knew I had to be flexible or I’d never make it. I couldn’t help but wonder why these people were so upset. If they weren’t so rigid in their plans they’d adjust to the obstacles thrown at them. Life is never predicable and no path is always a straight one.

The most challenging aspect of setting goals is maintaining the path to reach them. Too many people set very rigid goals and actions. Unfortunately, this leads to failure or frustration at the first sign of set back. People become so ingrained in following the path they set for themselves that they are unable to adjust when an obstacle is in their way.

How can you overcome these challenges? Lean on the Marco Polo effect. His journeys have taught us a profound lesson, whereby the choices we make direct our actions toward our goal and we adjust our expectations about how close or far away we are in attaining the goal. The closer we get to our goal the more energized we become. We can ‘feel’ it and this feeling propels us to want to do everything we can to achieve it.

Marco Polo considered himself to be a wayfarer not an explorer and his prime motivation for discovery was simply curiosity. Not to mention that his in his quests he established new and prosperous trading routes betweenEuropeandAsia. It was his penchant for flexibility in achieving his goals that allowed him to become so successful. We can exploit flexibility by training our mind to control our perception of where we are at on the road to achieve our goals. By focusing on our perception, we can implicitly develop plain, simple, and effectively ways to overcome obstacles in our way.

Have you set your path to flexibility?

Feel free to share your answer in the comments.

Over Controlling Your Life

Coffee shops seem to be my mecca for relaxation and self-reflection. They offer me refuge from the chaos of work and life in general. People seem to be more relaxed and inviting. Perhaps it’s the fresh aroma of coffee beans and herbal teas that permeate the air or the oven freshness of the gourmet pastries? I’m not sure, but I can say that my thinking is at its best when I embrace the comfort of the lush leather chairs and drink my hot tea. What’s really great is that I don’t try and control anything while here, I just let things happen. And this is likely the most profound insight I’ve discovered.

I can’t help but think about all those people I know, who do the right thing and set goals and dreams for themselves to aspire to. But, upon second glance, they seem to be overly busy on too many things and involved in too many details so as to have absolute control on a precise outcome. I’m very strong on goal setting, as it’s a cornerstone to bringing one fulfillment; however, it’s also important to remain flexible in the attainment of the goal itself, otherwise you’ll find yourself simply going through the motions.

A recent trip by a colleague triggered my fascination with this over exuberance to perfection and control. He had planned a 2-week trip to Paris for one year, noting every place he was going to visit, the times when he was going to visit, and what he was going to buy. It was really quite impressive just how well managed and controlled his experience was going to be.

When he returned, I asked him how he enjoyed the experience. “Wonderful,” he said. “However, next time, I’ll to plan to see some other sites and sounds, as I didn’t have time to do these things.”

How often have you ever heard someone say something like this?

I’m not sure if he liked my candor, but my response was quite spontaneous, “Actually, you had all the time in the world, it’s just that you became so fixated on the details in your planning that you prevented yourself from actually ‘experiencing’ your trip.”

That’s just it, he became so rigid in his planning that he didn’t even change it to experience everything that he was experiencing or wanted to experience. Flexibility in the attainment of our dreams is the key piece that allows us to not only reach them, but to experience them in ways we never imagined. So, as you execute your plans, ensure that they remain flexible. It’s this flexibility that lets you experience the joys of life. So stop planning so much and take the time to experience life as life happens.

Have you experienced life lately?

Feel free to share your answer in the comments.

Other Time Trading Gurus


ebele presents Increase your fulfilment in life starting today. posted at Street-side convos.


Martin Poldma presents An Unconventional Way for Dealing With Stress posted at Success and Personal Development Blog.


Andrew presents Starting a business: Guide for Graduates – student-finance.com.au posted at student-finance.com.au, saying, “Graduating from university gives you a real chance to put your knowledge to work in your own business, its also likely to be one of the best life experiences you could have. However university cant prepare you for much of the practical issues business owners will face, this article covers some of these fundamental considerations that young entrepreneurs will face.”

Josephine Hagan presents 5 principles successful entrepreneurs use to start a business posted at Effective Enterprise.

DREAM Process

Chaki Kobayashi presents The Ideal Life posted at Our Mind Is the Limit.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
work life balance and goal setting using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Zeno and the Path to Flexibility

It was a serene morning as I sat in the Muskoka chair, feet resting at the pool’s edge and my tea nestled between my laptop, notebook and pen on the wide-edged arm rest. A slight breeze was rustling the leaves above me and our chocolate Labrador retriever was snoring quaintly beside me. This was a decompression day. The week before was one of chaotic stress. I realized I needed a change and this day was the time I was taking to regain my perspective and to chart a new course.

I didn’t want to run away from my situation; rather, I wanted to run to something. As I sipped the hot tea I began to remember my favorite philosophers, hopefully, I thought, their infinite wisdom could guide me today.

Then it happened. Finally, I had a reference point. It was Zeno of Citium. He came from Cyprus to begin a school in 300 B.C. which became the philosophical preference of many Greeks and non-Greeks alike. Better known as stoics, they stressed the interdependence of physical, ethical, and logical divisions in life. Destructive behavior emanated from errors of judgment or perceptions and that if one lived with “moral and intellectual perfection” he wouldn’t suffer such distorted and damaging perceptions. The stoics believed that these principles were a way of life and that fulfillment comes from not what a person says, rather how he behaves.

So, here it was. It was my behavior that I needed to change in order to change the direction my life had taken. These were comforting thoughts, as I my behavior was seemingly the only thing I could control these days, despite the challenges I may have been facing.

The stoics believed that the development of self-control and fortitude to manage one’s perceptions is the means to eliminate distorted thoughts. And I held many distorted thoughts, but a least I had recognized my failings and took the day to rebalance my thinking.

Training our minds to become logical allows us to understand the universal reason behind our perceptions. Embracing this philosophy provides a calming influence within a busy world. It allows us to see the world and perceive it in an empowered way. It opens the door to the awareness of ourselves and to understand what we can and cannot control.

So, what I needed to do was to be honest and truthful to myself about my situation and what I needed to do to realize my real goals.

Zeno helped me to remember that the only thing we have power over is ourselves and how we choose to react to the influences around us. If we choose to take an introspective look at our perception, we can decide to remain cheerful and tranquil despite the situation we find ourselves in. It’s inherently a wise art of living and one that gives us the power to understand and manage our perceptions.

So what did Zeno teach me? He taught me to question myself, not judge myself. He taught me that I, alone, control how I wish to react to all that is around me. He taught me that finding peace within myself will free me from irrational fears. And, finally, Zeno taught me to live with challenges and take advantage of them, not to be overwhelmed by them.

As I drank the last drop of tea, I finished writing an email addressed to my network of colleagues and friends asking them if they knew of any opportunities in my area of interest. And for the first time in long time, I could feel a warm smile form on my face.

At last I was at peace.

Have you listened to Zeno lately?

Feel free to share your answer in the comments.

Other Time Trading Gurus


emily nolin presents Giving Up The To Do List posted at emilynolin.


Amelia Thio presents How To Manage Your Full Time Work With A Part Time Business Without Losing Your Personal Life posted at Amelia Thio.

Chris Dame presents Minimalism is scary! 6 minimalist fears and how to cope with them posted at Carry Everything On, saying, “Minimalism is key to keeping focused on the right goals in life, but it’s scary to actually do. Here’s how to cope.”

Jon Rhodes presents Surround Yourself With Positive People posted at Affiliate Help!, saying, “This article shows you why it is important to have positive thinking people in your life if you want success.”


John Schmoll presents Taking the Plunge: Is the Grass Always Greener? posted at Frugal Rules, saying, “When you run your own business, part of you never knows what is around the corner. You have to be able to look at opportunities that arise as they can often help you grow professionally as well as grow your business.”

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
work life balance and goal setting using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.