How to Achieve a Lifelong Dream

Be brave. Be stubborn. Resist temptation. Believe.

hans-study

This is my friend, Hans Fex.

Hans just launched a Kickstarter that represents the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. The mini museum is an amazing project that puts billions of years of history and science in the palm of your hand:

You should have a look, because the project is amazing. However, this post is really about fulfilling your dreams…

Endless Opportunities

In today’s world, there are more opportunities than ever to strike out and realize your dreams:

  • You could write a book and publish it instantly reaching thousands of potential readers.
  • You could create an app that results in global reach and mind boggling wealth.
  • You could open a store in an instant and sell the fruits of your creative labor.
  • You could create a hit song or make a movie and find yourself in the center of a global phenomenon.
  • You could create a media presence for yourself and have an audience of millions the next day.

It’s incredible, and this only a few of the ways you could realize your dreams.

Endless Temptation

Yet, even with all of these opportunities, people are still trying to make sense of their lives. Figure out why they’re here. Understand what they’re supposed to do with the time they’ve been given.

People like me…

At many points in my life, I’ve felt like I’ve been on the path to achieving a sense of personal meaning, the deeper reason for my existence. Then, just when I think stars are aligned, the universe tempts me with some other opportunity that looks very promising and safe. So instead of sticking to my plan, I give into temptation. I compromise.

This sounds awful to say given that most of these so-called compromises have turned out to be positive and sometimes lucrative. But regardless of the financial, social, or professional gains, it’s not the same as doing something you really want to do.

Achieving the Dream

After going round this circle a few times, I’ve come to understand that achieving a real lifelong dream is really a mission in stubbornness. It’s about avoiding short cuts. It’s about resisting the temptation to compromise.

Achieving your dreams is about believing in yourself when no one else seems to care. It’s about understanding your purpose in life and holding onto that understanding in face of universal misunderstanding and disapproval.

In no small regard, achieving your dreams is about suffering. Maybe not in some drafty garret or by cutting off your ear, but in standing apart from the rest of the world and believing in yourself regardless of what the expectations of others might be.

Be brave. Be stubborn. Resist temptation. Do this, and though you may struggle, the universe will eventually come around to your way of thinking.

And above all, believe…

How Hans Achieved the Dream

My friend, Hans, is a living example of this lesson…

Hans and another friend. :)

Hans and another friend. :)

The mini museum project started 35 years ago. Hans’ father, a scientist, returned from Malta with a specimen that he encased in resin. It seemed like such a small thing, but to the seven year-old Hans it was like a vision.

Dr. Jörgen Fex (1924-2006). Hans’ dad and inspiration for Hans’ lifetime dream.

Dr. Jörgen Fex (1924-2006). Hans’ dad and inspiration for Hans’ lifetime dream.

Over the years, Hans dedicated himself to collecting materials to create a complete collection of rare and thought-provoking specimens. He never gave up on his idea regardless of the setbacks and struggles. His entire life has been spent in pursuit of this moment.

As a result, Hans created something amazing and brought his dream to the world. So far the world is saying yes.

I’ve learned many things from watching Hans develop this project, but perhaps the most important lesson I’ve learned is that if you hold out, the universe will come around to helping you achieve your dreams instead of tempting you to do something else.

You can learn more about the mini museum and my friend Hans by visiting his Kickstarter page. It’s truly amazing.

Hans at the mini museum photoshoot.

Hans at the mini museum photoshoot.

Everyone burns for their dreams…

Norway, 1843

fire

On a brutal night in the depth of winter, I traveled through the wilderness to reach a village in desperate need of my services. Under clear skies, I felt myself lifted despite the cold by the meaning behind each poke and stroke of my skis. Yet, even with the effort I could feel the cold creeping into my bones.

What luck I had then when rounding a bend to find a small fire crackling in the trees not far from the track. I approached carefully not wanting to surprise any woodsman there, but I needn’t have worried for the man tending the fire saw me from afar and had been waiting.

“What are you doing out here and not in your hut?” I asked.

“I might ask you the same,” said the woodsman, “but instead I will tell you I am burning for my dreams.”

As a physician, I naturally worried about the man’s health and told him so, but his reply shocked me all the more.

“Everyone burns for their dreams in some way,” said the woodman. “Those settle, more often I have met them in villages in towns, are singed by the memory of the dreams they’ve abandoned. Though here in the wilderness, where dreams as much as wit might keep a man alive, he smolders in anticipation of days to come or he may do as I am doing which is stoking the fire of my first dream.”

“And just what are your dreams?” I asked.

“My dreams?” asked the woodman. “One dream is to see the sun rise tomorrow and then perhaps the day after that. Another dream is to see Spring on the river and for my sons to do the same.”

After the woodsman’s first statements, I was taken back by the simplicity of his reply.

“But surely,” I said, “these are same dreams that most men share and not worth the danger of exposing yourself on a night like this.”

“Oh to be sure,” replied the woodsman. “However, there is the first dream I mentioned which is far more important.”

“Which is?” I asked.

The woodman looked across the fire with eyes as bright as the stars. He flashed a grin and tossed another branch on the fire.

“Why of course to make sure the doctor reaches the village where my sons lie ill without the fool freezing himself to death.”

NewsBee 1.3 is with Apple for review! Fixes Mavericks crash problem.

Almost six months have passed since the last NewsBee update and I’m glad to report version 1.3 is now in the App Store queue!

Version 1.3 fixes a number of small annoyances, such as preventing you from deleting all of your sites or closing all NewsBee menus while the app is still running. There are also a few QA slips from 1.2 that keen-eyed users caught post-launch. Of course, the main problem corrected by version 1.3 is the “random” crash experienced by some users when launching NewsBee under Mavericks. I put random in quotes because for some users this happened every single time. Today, I duplicated the error myself, caught the bug in action and stomped it out.

Big thanks to Mike who kept pinging me about the problem and sorry to users around the world who had problems! 1.3 should be available in just a few days!

Apple Inadvertantly Makes a Great Holiday Ad for Google Glass

This morning, I watched the latest holiday ad video from Apple. Here it is, take a look:

Now, that you’ve had the requisite moment to digest the holiday goodness and wish you were having some snowy fun and cookies and such…

Consider that the entire video was shot using the iPhone 5s.

Now to take it a step further, think about the composition of those shots and imagine how awkward it would be to hold the phone at certain angles.

Now think about how easy it would be with Google Glass.

Below are a few captures from the video that I thought would be a little unnatural to shoot with a phone.

Where is the camera?  I have a feeling it is going into the snow when grandpa comes in for the hug.

Where is the camera? I have a feeling it is going into the snow.

Don't mind me, I'm just shoving this camera into your face.

Don’t mind me, I’m just shoving this camera into your face.

Seriously, could you please get out of the way?  This tree is huge!

Seriously, could you please get out of the way? This tree is huge!

The one standout exception here is a timelapse sequence involving the gingerbread cookies:

Mmmmm.  Delicious time lapse.

Mmmmm. Delicious time lapse.

I’m sure this can be done with Glass as well. Heck, it might even be easier by just talking to Glass once you’ve set it down and started arranging the products. Well, now I’ve talked myself out of that exception too.

Here’s the TV version:

How fitting the title is “Misunderstood”… I wonder if the folks at Google will send Apple a Christmas card?


P.S. By the way, my snarky comments have nothing to do with the quality of the video. I thought it was an adorable and touching production. :)

How One Simple Change Might Let Apple Swipe 30% of Google’s Lunch

It’s raining here today and you know what I’d really like? I’d like some sushi.

sushi

I live in the “wilds” of Northern Virginia and while there are a few places relatively close by I’m feeling a little lazy. I want something closer. And yeah, I’m a little bored too, so I want something I haven’t tried. So, like everyone else in the world, I figure I’ll just search for a place and see what I find…

Y U NO SUSHI APPLE?!

Below is a screenshot of the search results in Apple’s iOS7. What you’re really seeing here is that I haven’t received any emails about places to get sushi. Of course, what you could be seeing though places close by that have delicious sushi.

ios7-no-sushi

I don’t know about you, but I find this annoying. Why? I guess it’s the fact that I’m holding a powerful, radio-enabled device in my hand that should be able to tell me just about anything I want whenever I want and in this case it doesn’t. Heck, it doesn’t even give me an option to search the web. I’m also not particularly in love with empty search results. It just seems like such a waste of time. It could also be that the rain is just getting me down, but really, this could be sooo much better.

Why Didn’t I Just Open Safari?

Remember when I said I was feeling lazy? That’s one reason. The other is that Apple has made it ridiculously simple (to borrow from Cupertinospeak) to search by just swiping down just about anywhere.

Spotlight search (aka looking for apps, contacts, and other documents such as email) has been part of Apple’s iOS for quite awhile. What’s changed is that Apple has made this feature more accessible. Prior to iOS7, a user got to the spotlight search prompt by by swiping right on the home screen. In iOS7, Apple changed this behavior by adding a “search anywhere” feature which allows users to bring up a search bar by swiping down.

This easy access sort of begs the question: Why not web search results instead of just what’s on the device?

Ok, I hear the chorus firing up and talking about user experience. There are some who are likely to say that this would be confusing to users. Undoubtedly, somewhere, someone has already done a variety of studies to prove that users are expecting different things from different search channels. Personally, I doubt the veracity of this claim but I have three other reasons Apple should pursue this.

  1. 30% of Google paid search clicks now come from mobile and tablets. [1]. This number is growing fast and is something Google itself readily acknowledges. This mobile shift is something that every consumer company on the planet is struggling to manage. And for companies who make their money selling ads, it’s becoming an all-out war. [2]
  2. iAd inventory is notoriously weak and underserved. If you follow the Apple developer community like I do, this is pretty much the number one complaint about iAd. In iAd’s favor, it’s very easy to implement in an app, but there just isn’t enough inventory to go around. As a result, most developers end up serving Google AdMob ads first and if there is no inventory there they use iAd as a backup.

Incorporating iAd and general web results into device search results would address both of these concerns. First, it would immediately impact Google (and Bing’s) share of mobile search in general. Second, it would expand the number of impressions for iAd but more importantly it would open iAd to a very different sort of audience: the motivated searcher. This is the consumer that advertisers are desperate to reach. The increase in inventory would undoubtedly have a major impact on network iAd sales.

Oh, and that third reason?

Apple already incorporates web search results in Siri…

siri-sushi

So there you go… If I search on the device, I get nothing. If I search with Siri, I get a list of local restaurants. Why the difference? Is this really a good user experience? I think not.

On the other hand, if Apple brings these elements together, I’m able to find whatever I need in one place with one interface. I don’t need to go tapping about for the right app. I can just get what I need with just a quick swipe. This is the best reason to incorporate web search results. Of course, the side benefit is that by tacking on iAd, Apple can get a swipe in of their own against the big G.

None of this has gotten me any closer to that sushi, but I do have to say that I’m feeling a bit more spry having gotten this out my system.