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Who are you watching?

Check your browser history. Which sites claim most of your time? What pages are you visiting regularly? Whose stories do you tap? And when do you stop scrolling?

The people you watch, the photos you admire, the videos you pull up — they all say something about who you are and who you aspire to be. Notice where you are directing your energy and focus.

Time is currency. Spend wisely.

It is better to earn a high salary or be happy?

This is one of the questions I ask students as part of a broader English speaking exercise. “Do you think it is better to earn a high salary or be happy in your job?”
A pause always follows and eyes dart around the room before landing on empty notebooks. I give students a few moments to process before we begin.
Many friends and colleagues in America are on the quest to find work that is both meaningful and fulfilling, regardless of pay. My own answer is obvious by the lifestyle I’ve chosen. However, for eight out of ten of my students here in Nepal, the answer is a different one. “It is better to earn a high salary.”
Various reasons follow; respect in community, less worry, the ability to travel, family responsibilities. As one student answered, “I come from poor family, and I need to take care of them.”
Which has me thinking, is job satisfaction a luxury problem?
How fortunate are we who get to choose our work! And to those who have learned how to build their own course, through freelancing and entrepreneurship, how grateful we must be for the opportunity to play by our own rules!
It is our responsibility to make sure everyone can answer this question individually, not from a place of need and necessity, but from a place of passion and thoughtful consideration. Our schools need to be filled with teachers who show students how to find the loopholes.
If you’re interested in supporting this kind of leadership and education in Nepal, kindly do so here.

Tips for college freshmen, relevant to you


Supervisors, bosses, managers, religious leaders. Someone who has been assigned a higher rank than you. Regardless of qualifications, we’re taught to defer and do what they say. This can be intimidating.

Unfortunately, power dynamics build chasms in relationships, relationships that have the potential to dramatically influence who we are and what we become. When someone is standing on a pedestal of authority, it’s easy to forget people are people. There’s a person behind the title. It doesn’t matter who or where, we share hard times, worry about money, feel pain when someone has hurt us, fall in love.

Ask questions, listen, exchange stories. Your career will depend on the recommendations of others. And if you’re in a position of prestige, create an environment that encourages discussion. Share where you’re from, what your life has been like, what struggles hold you down, who has been your greatest teacher. People connect with humanity. Let them connect with you.


Early in school our achievements are rewarded. From that first gold star on our paper, we’re trained to believe our worth is based on performance. Focusing solely on recognition can be counterproductive. Without knowing it, we limit our experiences while simultaneously heightening our anxiety. Success becomes the objective, not the process along the way.

Reframe the goal. Your purpose is to worry less and enjoy more.


“Join clubs! Participate in events! Apply for internships!” This is a college counselor’s way of telling students to find their passion.

The best lessons in life are often learned outside the classroom. These are lessons you’ll teach your own kid. While knowledge can be gained from hours spent pouring over books, you have to live it. Take a hard look at what really matters and set your priority list. Schedule days accordingly.


Always, always say thank you. From the moment you leave your home in the morning, people are helping you, going out of their way, doing their best to share with you what they know. Just because you don’t agree or see immediate value, thank those who support your work. Gratitude sustains us and preserves our most valuable relationships.

Who helps you find what’s next?

Throughout my work, I’ve helped professionals connect in ways that matter. By carefully assessing the talents and skills of my clients, I consider how strangers might enter a room and leave as friends. I see value in introducing individuals to those who know how to get them closer to their goals. Maybe this person has “arrived” there already, or they know how to get there, or they know someone who can help. My hope is to help people cross that sometimes awkward edge of newness and unfamiliarity with opportunities to have relaxed, easy conversations. I call it curated networking, and no two experiences are alike.
An outsider observer has a different perspective than you. They have the ability to align you with others you might not otherwise meet, someone who can introduce you to fellow travelers, instigators who can help you move onto the next level.
You need these people in your life.

Ben Franklin was an impresario.

Ben Franklin was 21 when he first gathered friends and thought leaders for drinks and dinner on Friday nights. Invitees included poets and laborers, academics and politicians. The cohort was a motley one, but they shared one thing: a desire to improve themselves and their communities.

In his autobiography, Franklin laid out basic terms for these dinners:

“…every member, in his turn, should produce one or more queries on any point of Morals, Politics, or Natural Philosophy, to be discuss’d by the company; and once in three months produce and read an essay of his own writing, on any subject he pleased.

Our debates were to be under the direction of a president, and to be conducted in the sincere spirit of inquiry after truth, without fondness for dispute or desire of victory; and to prevent warmth, all expressions of positiveness in opinions, or direct contradiction, were after some time made contraband, and prohibited under small pecuniary penalties.”

Each meeting followed a set format, a series of business and personal questions acting as a springboard for conversation and creation. Volunteer fire-fighters, night watchmen, and a public hospital emerged from these discussions. In hopes Franklin’s questions might inspire you, I’ve included a few here:

  • Have you met with any thing in the author you last read, remarkable, or suitable…particularly in history, morality, poetry, physics, travels, mechanic arts, or other parts of knowledge?
  • What new story have you lately heard agreeable for telling in conversation?
  • Hath any citizen in your knowledge failed in his business and what have you heard of the cause?
  • Have you heard of any citizen’s thriving well and by what means?
  • Do you know of any fellow citizen, who has lately done a worthy action, deserving praise and imitation?
  • Do you think of any thing at present, in which our group may be serviceable to mankind, to their country, to their friends, or to themselves?
  • Do you know of any deserving young beginner, whom it lies in the power of our group in any way to encourage?
  • Have you lately observed any defect in the laws, of which it would be proper to move the legislature an amendment? Do you know of any beneficial law that is wanting?
  • Have you lately observed any encroachment on the just liberties of the people?
  • Is there any man whose friendship you want, and which our group, or any of our members, can procure for you?
  • Have you lately heard any member’s character attacked and how have you defended it?
  • In what manner can we assist you in any of your honorable designs?
  • Have you any weighty affair in hand in which you think our advice may be of service?
  • What benefits have you lately received from any man not present?
  • Do you love truth for truth’s sake and will you endeavor impartially to find and receive it yourself and communicate it to others?

There are men and women everywhere who are committed to asking questions, doing good, and improving themselves and their communities. Find them. Bring them together. Our world will be better for it.

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”  -Ben Franklin

Life is meant for sharing.

In over two years, hundreds of people I respect and admire have attended my events. Many have asked how to easily find and connect with others within this community. Now it’s possible.

I’ve spent the last few months building a private online resource just for this reason. My friend Clay and I have made unique profiles detailing the skills and interests of those who have requested to share their information. It’s a curated rolodex of individuals who are kind, generous, adventurous and creative.

I can’t help but imagine what the world might be like if we all gave a little more when and wherever possible. I hope this online network encourages the Project Exponential family to do so.

 Note: If you’ve attended a dinner event and would like to be included, send me a note.