findyourtreasure-300wTHE 10 STEPS TO FINDING THE TREASURES YOU SEEK IN LIFE (with Map)

(Please note that I use “Treasure” and “Direction” interchangeably below and for the purpose of this article they represent the same thing.)

1. Schedule Time.  Please do not start the process of finding your Direction until you have carved out at least 1 hour of dedicated time to focus quietly and completely (NOTE: Finding your Direction may take an hour, or a week or in my case about 20 years, well…I’m a little slow and easily distracted.) This is something that will take a considerable amount of effort and focus for most people so please don’t bother until you can create the right environment for yourself to focus on what may be the most important task you have ever done. A task that will determine whether you make your life an adventure and find the treasures you are looking for…or simply continue to “work” on someone else’s goals. Here are some resources to help:

2. Eliminate Distractions. No surfing, no reading email, no phone calls or dealing with screaming kids while you are working on the rest of these steps. If you can’t remove distractions for a set period of time then wait until you can. You need to be focused and totally present. This is going to be a creative exercise that you need to get wrapped up in and fully engaged. Please give this process the time and attention that it deserves.

3. Use Paper and Pen/Pencil. This is more of a suggestion than a requirement as everyone is different. However, I have found that I have trouble engaging in creative activities while working on a computer. Part of this is the constant pull of countless distractions of computers and the internet (see Step 2). Disconnect yourself from the computer  physically if you are like me and prone to distraction. There is also something real and personal about writing with a pen and paper. Don’t underestimate the value of making this personal and opening up your creative capacity. I recommend taking an extra step here and getting yourself a nice journal that is easy to write in and the perfect pen or pencil for you.

4. Create Your Treasure List. It’s quiet and you are alone and comfortable. You have your journal and your special pen or pencil and all distractions have been eliminated. You are ready! You are going to make a list of the Treasures you seek in life. Your life is about to start being an adventure again…but you need to determine what those adventures will be. Start with a simple list. What do you want out of life. A new career? A healthier home? Relationships with the top probloggers in the world? Do you want to wake up every day energized? Do you want to help someone? What do you want to do? What makes you happy? What did you do with your free time when you were a kid and you actually didn’t have to do anything?No restrictions or limits here. Be creative and do not limit yourself. Do not make excuses or think about reasons you can’t or shouldn’t have something. Free yourself and fill up this list!

5. Choose The One Treasure that will be Your Next Adventure. Creating “The Map Habit” was the Direction I chose a while back and I used some of the steps in this article to do it. The rest of the steps in this article are things that if I hade done it wouldn’t have taken so long to find it! Anyway, you need to review, edit and prioritize your Treasure List now. Cross off things that when you think about it you don’t really care enough about them to spend weeks or years of your life pursuing. Cross off things that you don’t feel like you NEED to do. Circle or put numbers on the items in your list that jump out at you… things that get you excited just thinking about them. Cross off things that are simply material possessions (this is just a suggestion – but studies show that having excess money or possesions won’t make you happy – we are trying to dig a little deeper here and find things that will bring about real life changes for the better). You are looking for One thing in the Treasure List that will become your next Adventure. Choose the One thing that you can pour yourself into completely. One thing that will become your life-changing pursuit. You are looking to mix passion with purpose here. Take your time. Make another list if needed. Don’t move on until you have selected that One Treasure.

6. Wait at Least 24 Hours. “What? Are you serious?” Yes, very serious. Please consider 24 hours to be the absolute minimum, probably at least a week or two would be best. “But I’m excited and I want to start NOW!!!” I understand, but you need to let this Direction “stew” for a bit. It is very easy to get excited about an idea or an adventure before you have actually started down the path. Remember there is a lot of fool’s gold out there, especially if the Direction you have chosen came directly or indirectly from someone else. This may be a good time to do the exact opposite of what every productivity expert in the world would tell you and try to distract yourself from your new Direction. If this is truly the right Direction for you, then you will come back to it…nothing will stop you. Better to find out the Direction was not quite right sooner than later (20 years learning this lesson – trust me!). Here are some great distractions to “fill the time” and they just might help you refine or even redefine your new Direction:

7. Revisit Your One Treasure and Make 100% Sure It’s The One. (It’s tomorrow right? You waited 24 hours right?) Seriously though, after waiting for a while take another look back at the One Treasure (or Direction) you have chosen and see if anything has changed. Has your eagerness to pour every ounce of your energy into this new Direction diminished even a little? Has another Treasure caught your eye? Be honest, better to change your Direction now then spend weeks or years searching for something you don’t really want. The next step is going to take some work so make sure before moving on.

8. Write down a detailed story of your life “As If” you already have it. Don’t start planning out every detail and next action step of your new found Direction. That is how people end up in careers they don’t like and look back years later and wander how they got there. But not you! You are going to pretend like it already is years later and you are going to write your story “As If” it already happened. “As If” you already have the treasure you seek. Be detailed here, write out what you eat and what you wear and where you eat and who you talk to and what car you drive and who you are helping and who knows you and what they say about you and what you are working on and what you like about your new life and what you don’t and on and on until you can’t write anymore. It’s like writing an autobiography for your future life.

9. Evaluate your “As If” and adjust, refine or simply start over if needed. OK, you really took the last step seriously and wrote your future autobiography. Now take a real hard look at it. Is that really the life you want to create? Is that really the Treasure you want to spend your time and energy pursuing? This is where you can separate yourself from the rest of the crowd. Can you envision your life “As If” and change your course before you use that period of time up. The quote “be careful what you wish for…you just might get it!” never made sense to me when I was younger. However, after spending years looking back and saying “why did I do that?” it became very clear. Don’t put yourself in that situation. If you think you need to go back to Step 5 Celebrate the weeks or years of your life that you just saved! I can’t stress this enough. Go back to Step 5 a little smarter than you were before and try again until you get it right. If you are sure that this is the right Treasure for you then go to Step 10.

10. This is your TREASURE… your new found DIRECTION. This is your next Adventure! (Now what?) Celebrate the effort you put into finding your true course. And until I get more articles written and more maps created to help you with the next steps of this process I recommend going to Zen Habits for help with making your new Direction a reality. I think that Simplicity is next area to focus on, but more on that later.

CAUTION: Do not use mind-mapping when charting the course to your Treasure. Mind-maps take you from where you want to go to anywhere and everywhere in infinitely many directions. Mind-maps are like having a map that points everywhere! That’s not what we are after. Keep it simple…during the brainstorming stage make lists and revisit your lists and order your lists and prioritize your lists, but always have the goal of finding that one Direction. I’ll expand on this in another article.

[UPDATE: I entered this map in the contest at True North Arts. Wish me luck!]

Some things you might also be interested in:

Published in: on May 8, 2009 at 6:52 am  Comments (19)  

The Top 4 Most Likely People to Change Your Life…for the Better!

1. Timothy Ferriss: A true pioneer in lifestyle design. A person that questions every assumption and bad habit we have, but doesn’t stop there. He tears them apart and relentlessly explores and shares his remedies for the wasted time, lost productivity and just plain stupid things we do all day. (

2. Leo Babauta: Leo’s book, The Power of Less, was the first book I ever pre-ordered. I couldn’t wait to read it…and yes, it was worth it. Highly recommended read. If you follow even some of Leo’s advise  from the book or on his blog it will change your life for the better. Simplicity, productivity, health, happiness, etc…it’s all there! (

3. Robert Kiyosaki: Recently elevated to “prophet” status based on predictions he made many years ago, Robert has been preaching and teaching about the dangerous road that so many people in America are travelling on financially. Will the economy recover…probably, but a better question is will we fix the problems that have become so prevalent. Not likely. So will it crash again? Probably, and it could be even worse. Robert teaches us what to do about it, if only we will listen. (

4. Andrew Matthews: The secrets in the staggeringly successful book The Secret was no secret…at least not to those who read the books of Andrew Matthews (and yes, others I’m sure). The information was already well documented in Happiness in a Nutshell (just noticed that the pocket version is offered for download at a special low price during April – $4.95). Have a look if you don’t believe me. Andrews books are also very entertaining and the cartoons that he draws himself add a visual element to the teachings that first engaged me. (


5. Chris Guillebeau: In his own words: “The Art of Nonconformity (AONC) project chronicles my writing on how to change the world by achieving significant, personal goals while helping others at the same time. In the battle against conventional beliefs, I focus on three areas: Life, Work, and Travel.” Congratulations Chris on finding success as you define it and being generous enough to share what you have learned. If you haven’t read 279 Days to Overnight Success and you are considering making a living online – then you are making a big mistake. It is packed with honest, thoughtful, practical and valuable advice for anyone interested in an online living (don’t worry – it’s FREE – no strings!). (×5/)


QUESTION: How in the world did you come up with this list?

ANSWER: I based it purely on my own personal opinion and feelings. Nothing scientific here, no exhaustive studies or world-wide polls. I based by ranking the people that have, and are still influencing me in a positive way. People that freely, openly and honestly share what they have learned and how they learned it. People that really seem to be genuine and legitimate. They may not be the richest or most successful people in the world…but I believe them, and I can’t wait to read whatever they write next. I also believe they want to help others and share what they have and are learning above just making money.

QUESTION: Why aren’t there any women in this list?

ANSWER: I don’t know. It wasn’t intentional, but when I look at the people that are having the most influence on me now…and those that have had the most influence in the past…they all seem to be men (probably just because I am a man, but who knows). Nothing intentional here. If a female blogger or writer breaks into my Top 4 I will update the list immediately and without hesitation…let me know by adding a comment if you have any suggestions.

QUESTION: What if I disagree with the people on this list?

ANSWER: Great! Please comment on this list with your additions/subtractions and anything else you feel like sharing below…


This list was posted on The Mother of All Lists. Go take a look, really great collection of lists all categorized for you.

Published in: on April 8, 2009 at 2:43 pm  Comments (3)  

Get Your SWOT Map Here…

SWOT Analysis Template

SWOT Analysis Template

Just wanted to share a template (this one in Word) to help you complete your SWOT Analysis…SWOT-Analysis-template.

Obviously this can be used for any project or goal or company and it is meant to be a relatively simple, yet effective SWOT Analysis. SWOT, for those unfamiliar with the term, is a Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat Analysis. You start by listing the Mission of the company, project or blog and then you go on to list the significant items in each of the four categories of the SWOT. This will help you plan out your Strategy more effectively by focusing  on the appropriate things. For example if you are aware of a serious threat and you are not addressing it in your strategy, then you are likely to fail. Hope you find this helpful.

Published in: on April 3, 2009 at 7:00 am  Comments (1)  

The Hand Drawn Map Association

Hand Drawn Map Association

Hand Drawn Map Association

I may be old-fashioned, but I have always been drawn to arts and crafts festivals. I love to see the work of talented artists, especially when you can see the effort and care that certain artists put into their work.

In this fast-paced digital world I don’t often get that feeling. Not that there isn’t the same (or sometimes greater) amount of effort involved in designing websites and graphics…but it just doesn’t draw me in like the booth of an artist at an art show. The feeling of walking up to a work of art and just looking at it in awe of the work of the artist. Just standing there…wow!

I got that feeling when I went to the Hand Drawn Map Association’s website. Like I was walking through an art festival and not sure of what I was going to find next. And then every once in a while I got pulled and then just looked in awe at the work of the artist. I can see and feel the care and effort that went into some of these works.

Check it out…and submit your own hand drawn map!

Published in: on March 26, 2009 at 6:44 am  Leave a Comment  

The 4HWW Activation Map – Make Life Work for You

Timothy Ferriss opened up a lot of doors (and windows) for people with his revolutionary book The 4-Hour Workweek. If you haven’t read the book yet, please stop wasting your time and go buy it. You can find it anywhere (it’s a #1 New Your Times Bestseller and a #1 WSJ Bestseller).  The 4HWW Activation Map is a supplemental visual guide I made to help me implement the lessons that Tim shares in the book. This map does not cover everything, and please note that this map was designed for ME…NOT YOU. I say this because it is critically important (and one of the guiding principles of this blog) that YOU make YOUR OWN MAP. Your starting points and the obstacles you encounter will be very different than mine. We all have different strengths and weaknesses and we all come from very different backgrounds. So even though I share this map and hope that you find some value in it, it is my map, custom-designed for me.

For those of you that are not aware of Timothy Ferriss or the The 4-Hour Workweek (hard to imagine given his stellar success – but anyway) here is a brief description (taken from the press section on Tim’s site):

The 4-Hour Workweek is not another book on the work-life balance describing the problems we all face. It is about creating solutions. Simply put, it is about luxury lifestyle design. And lifestyle design doesn’t take much time. It just takes a few uncommon decisions, and even more uncommon actions to achieve its three necessary ingredients: time, income, and mobility.”

Also please note that this is my first draft. I would really like to revisit this map and incorporate the DEAL principles into the map visually. Here are the DEAL principles in a nutshell:

  • Definition: Define what you want to be doing.

  • Elimination: Ask yourself three times a day “am I being productive, or am I being busy?” Get rid of the noise and interruption.

  • Automation: Delegate or automate the remaining tasks, even sending personal tasks overseas.

  • Liberation: Enjoy your mobility and use the time you create.

Enough said, here is the map…

The 4HWW Activation Map

The 4HWW Activation Map

As always, I’d love your comments and feedback. Here is a PDF version.

Published in: on March 22, 2009 at 7:20 am  Comments (5)  
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Zen Habits Treasure Map

I have been following Leo on Zen Habits for at least a year now because he adds value to my life. His articles are always well written and informative and even though I don’t follow all of his habits, I try my best and believe that he is genuine and actually walking his talk. I pre-ordered his book The Power of Less and finished it within a few days and now I am going to read it again.

I thrive on driving out complexity and redundancy. I do not have the time to spend on the things that I most value in life, so these maps will be a work in progress and I would love to get everyone’s feedback so I can continue to refine these maps and add value for others.

I want to make sure that this is clear…the creativity, content, thought process and all credit go to Leo of Zen Habits…NOT ME (if anything is mistranslated, misinterpreted, or just wrong – that would be ME). Leo has an un-copyright policy on his blog content and has encouraged others to share and repurpose the content and that has been amazingly successful for him. This map is based on one of his blog posts on his ZTD (Zen To Done) System.

Zen To Done (ZTD) -
Zen To Done (ZTD) –
Published in: on March 14, 2009 at 12:46 am  Leave a Comment  

So What is “The Map Habit” Anyway?

The Map Habit is relatively simple to explain in theory, but as complex and diverse in practice as humans themselves. So let’s get straight to it…here is the theory:

Always seek to know:

1) Where Am I Now?

2) Where Am I Going?

3) How Do I Get There?

See…simple enough right? The Map Habit is just a matter of knowing where you are and where you want to go. You are unique and you have very different strengths and weaknesses than anyone else. That doesn’t mean that you can’t learn and borrow success strategies from others, but you have to make your own map. This will take some time and effort but it is critical to break the “Self Help Addiction” pattern. It can be very frustrating to see other people being successful (or at least telling you they are) and then after following their “10 Steps” or whatever you find that you are not getting what you want. Sorry, but you have to make your own map. I am a very visual person. I wish I could retain every “TOP 5 blah, blah blah” that I read, and act on it every day, but that has not been the case for me. That is why I have developed the Map Habit.

Say "Map!"

Say "Map!"

Fortunately that is what this site is all about. Developing the Map Habit and using it in YOUR life to make YOUR map to get what YOU want. If you are new to Self Help, or young, just recently decided to make some changes in your life then maybe you can take some advice from someone that has been at this for over 10 years: No one can chart your path to success. You are unique and therefore need a unique map. Only you can make your map.

So how do you get started? Ask yourself:

1) Where Am I Now?

What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are the things you struggle with day after day? You don’t need to make an exhaustive list of everything (although it would be helpful). Just be aware that you are unique and keep your strengths and weaknesses in mind. This is your starting point so you need to put a symbol of some sort to remind you that you have to start Where You are Now. You can’t start where someone else is…this is part of the reason why other people’s maps will usually not work. They may have acquired certain skills that you don’t have yet. They may have natural abilities that they don’t even recognize that allow them to succeed by doing certain things…that others can’t do easily. But remember that you can reach your goals, but you have to find your own path.

2) Where Am I Going?

What is one of your life goals? What are the treasures you seek? Do you want to make more money? Do you want to have more fun with your kids? Do you hate your soul-crushing job? Whatever it is…pick one. I highly recommend you follow Leo’s advice and keep this to just ONE GOAL at a time, to allow you to focus completely on it and minimize distractions.

Just get started. Take any 2 opposite corners of a piece of paper or a whiteboard or whatever and put where you are in one corner (just a symbol is enough, something to remind you that this is your map and it has to be your starting point, not anyone else’s) and a description of where you are going in the other, opposite corner.

3) How Do I Get There?

Now you need to map out the steps that will get YOU from here to there. Remember though, DO NOT COPY SOMEONE ELSE’S MAP. This is very important, you need to make your own map. You need a full understanding of where you are now so that you can create a series of steps that will take you where you want to go. You need to challenge yourself to confront your own reality and make sure that each next step is achievable, realistic, and precise. Here are some examples  for steps in your map:


– Wake up 15 minutes earlier tomorrow

– Contact a specific author and solicit advice

– List the skills needed to accomplish a particular goal

NOT SO GOOD (not specific, not realistic, not achievable for you, etc…)

– Write a novel

– Eat healthy

– Create a website (Unless that’s what you do…unless that is one of your strengths. More likely you need to break this down into achievable next steps and possibly get the help of others to achieve this.)

As I said before, I will continue to post samples and templates and anything else I can think of that will help yor create YOUR  map. So go on and get started…make a map today, right now.

Published in: on March 9, 2009 at 9:47 am  Leave a Comment  

The Map Habit…Map, Of Course

The Map Habit - Map

The Map Habit - Map

I honestly prefer to work on either paper or a giant whiteboard. For me the ideal office (apart from no office) would be covered with whiteboards with marker and eraser stations posted everywhere. It is so easy to create and subsequently forget things on a computer. Maps are critical, and that’s why I made The Map Habit map in paper. I want to see it and feel it and check off the tasks as they are done and see how I am doing and how close I am getting to my goal (or the treasure). If I had a giant whiteboard at home then this map would be on it.

This map in particular was done in a notepad I bought from Barnes and Noble. It’s a little more expensive but the texture and color of the paper lends itself well to the treasure map theme that I keep gravitating towards. In the end it makes NO DIFFERENCE what you make the map in and I will post more examples of electronic maps, and paper maps and whiteboard maps and you can choose what works best for you in any given situation. Obviously when working with distributed teams you really need to keep it electronic for efficiency but you need to find creaetive ways to keep bringing the map to the forefront so you keep everyone focused.

Published in: on March 5, 2009 at 11:17 am  Leave a Comment