Dominating the world (or maybe not)

July 12, 2013 in Career,La Culture,Life,Philosophy,Travel

To preface this entire post: the biggest thing I learned at World Domination Summit is that I don’t like conferences. I don’t like large crowds of people and I don’t like schedules. Small talk drains me. I prefer exploring a city on my own, by myself. I also have a hard time with audio learning: give me the transcript to read of the presentations I heard, and I promise I’ll retain about 409% more information and likely be more inspired. Oh, and it cost the equivalent of a cross-country, round-trip flight. 

Christine Amorose at World Domination Summit

Here’s the thing: none of this is the fault of WDS (well, my missing Danielle LaPorte was totally the fault of WDS because they did not scale well when tripling the size of the conference…but that’s another story). This was my first-ever conference, and it will likely be my last. I met so many awesome people–some that I had never interacted with before, others that I’ve been working with and tweeting to for years. Those connections are priceless. But I’d rather continue to grow my network organically, through New York City coffee dates and meeting up around the globe rather than an entire weekend dedicated to networking (however un-networky it is). Even if it wasn’t the “oh-my-god-I’m-SO-INSPIRED” weekend I was hoping for, I still had some key takeaways:

Arlene Schitzner Concert Hall in Portland, Oregon

Portland is weird, and it’s awesome.

The highlights: a bacon maple bar from Voodoo Donuts, heaps of fresh-off-the-farm raspberries and blueberries and cherries at the Farmers Market, every single ice cream flavor I tried at Salt and Straw. Connecting with family I hadn’t seen in years. The sunshine and blue skies and green trees and COMPLETE LACK OF HUMIDITY. Holy moly, the fresh Pacific Northwest air. Hippies and hipsters. I’d happily go back, if only to eat ice cream and sample every food truck offering.

The Willamette River in Portland, Oregon

Rejection is only an opinion.

Jia Jiang was totally the sleeper hit of the conference. I had never heard his name before, but his speech was hilarious, moving, insightful. Basically, after quitting his job to pursue his dream of being an entrepreneur and subsequently missing out on a round of funding: he decided to get over his fear of rejection by actively seeking rejection 100 times.  To avoid the negative experience, we often don’t allow ourselves to have the positive–and how many love stories would be written without a fear of rejection?

Lunch from the Portland Farmers Market

I’m an upholder.

One thing that resonated with me from Gretchen Rubin’s discussion on what motivates different personality types. I am an Upholder, through and through (perhaps with occasional rebel tendencies!). That’s why I list my goals for the year publicly and write my monthly goals in a notebook. I’ve been putting extraordinary pressure on myself to make a certain trip work in late fall (against lots of odds), and I realized it’s because I committed to it both externally and internally: I discussed it with a friend, I wrote it on the very first page of my notebook. Sometimes this is an incredible trait to have: I’m quite disciplined about healthy habits like meditation and very intentional with my friendships. Other times, it creates a heavy, arbitrary pressure that I put on myself: Croatia made no sense in my travel plans last year, but that’s where I decided to spend my 24th birthday six months earlier–so I stuck with it.

Bacon Maple Bar from Voodoo Donuts

Publishing a book is daunting, but not impossible.

Literary agent David Fugate gave an honest, frank discussion of traditional publishing and self-publishing. It should come as no surprise that I’m interested in writing a book someday, so this was definitely the most practical and helpful information I came across at WDS. I didn’t exactly come out of the presentation feeling inspired and ready to put pen to paper–I’ve been second-guessing whether my idea is “truly great” since Sunday–but I do feel like I have a better understanding of navigating the world of book publishing. One day! (p.s. David has a great eBook called The Unconventional Guide to Publishing: worth a look if you’re interested in writing a book yourself!)

Salt and Straw ice cream, Portland

Great stories happen when characters take action.

Don Miller tackled a huge, existential question in his presentation: what makes a life meaningful? His answer revolved around devoting yourself to a meaningful project and being able to share your life with someone. I loved how he encouraged us to look at our life like a screenplay, to be able to answer the questions as if we were a character: who are you? What do you want? What happened when you went for it? And perhaps the mantra that I’ll be repeating from here on out: We are not our failures–but we are also not our successes.

IPA at Rogue Pub in Portland, Oregon

I’m already living the life I want.

I think this is the main reason why WDS just didn’t quite resonate with me. You guys: I’m happy. I feel very in control of my life and the direction it’s going. “You will accept nothing less than passion, and perfection, and a life worthy of being storied” has been my mantra for the past three years: I always want to live my life so that my memoirs would be a best-seller.

I recognize the things that make me happy, and I do them: reading in the sunshine, waking up early on Saturday mornings to clean my apartment and do my grocery shopping, vinyasa flow yoga classes, having nothing to do but wander around a new neighborhood and take photos, riding bikes and drinking beer with my friends. I have an incredible  network of friends and family in New York City, my hometown, across the globe who are supportive and hilarious.

I’m inspired every day: by working in a successful start-up, by the wandering souls who traverse the globe, by my friends who are rock stars in their industries. I read voraciously, I disconnect whenever possible, I meditate most mornings. WDS promotes “living a remarkable life in a conventional world.” And I like to think I’m already on my way to doing that.

p.s. all images are via my Instagram feed from my Portland trip. 

  • More power to ya! Thanks for sharing your insight into the conference. :)

  • sian_richardson

    It’s refreshing to hear from someone who wasn’t head over heels for it! I’m feeling the same way with conferences. I find that some of them are very expensive for what they are, and although it’s cool to meet people in person and all that, some just aren’t worth it. (I don’t know how much WDS was though.) But yeah, I feel your vibe. I’m a lot more picky with which conferences I do attend these days, that’s for sure.

  • Emily Wenzel

    I loved WDS last year. I felt like it was the catalyst my life needed to change, to start my business. But this year, I had a very different take-away. And while I still loved it, it wasn’t the same for me.

  • Cat of Sunshine and Siestas

    Loved this! I get inspiration from people like you who grab challenges by the horns. Here’s wishing you all the best for the rest of 2013 and beyond!

  • Inspired just reading this! If you loved Portland, I’m confident you’ll love Seattle too…just saying!

  • Erica

    I’d love to second this- Seattle is also super awesome, albeit a little less hipster than Portland 😉

  • I would go to WDS over TBEX for sure! I just think I’d way too overwhelmed to attend a conference AND meet so many new people. Love the pics and love that you’re living your dream life!!!

  • I think a lot of conferences are often mainly hype…I like what you said about growing your connections organically (and through more fun and natural ways!)

  • islandmomma

    Such wisdom in one so young! Said with a smile, but not a joke. To be sure of what you want and how to get it, and THEN get it at such a young age is remarkable. Hard to judge WDS without having been, but I was certaily impressed by the reactions the first year, from folk whose opinions I respected, and wondered if it was something more than I thought it was. Reading your reaction I think not. All of this self-help, motivational stuff has its place – if you need it. I’ve certainly been at points in my life where it proved useful, helped me get back on track, sift through all the dross in my life to find my personal path. I gave away a load of books recently, having thumbed through them to see if I wanted to keep them, and deciding against. My first thought was, “What was I thinking?” but, in fact, they had a role, back then around 15 years ago, when my life seemed to bottom out.

    Of course there are a lot of people your age who can’t follow their dreams because of this god-awful recession. My sons have both been caught in problems arising from it, but plodded on until their personal low spots passed. It strikes me as ironic that the people who probably need the sort of boost which a Chris Guillebeau or a Tony Robbins can give their lives, can’t afford it.

    Finally, I love happy posts, which this certainly is :) Well done, and hope for you that life is always so rewarding.

  • Rebecca and the World

    It’s nice to read a post where someone says they’re happy – yay for you!! :-)

  • Tracy Zhang

    Sounds like it was a worthwhile conference for you — love the feedback on book-writing, I’ve been contemplating authoring a book for a while now and this is really encouraging!

  • ShannonOD

    I am so sorry to hear that the conference had some growing pains. I remember leaving the first year completely inspired to launch new projects and really tackle new aspects of life. But as you said, it is often targeted to the people who need a push to go against unconventional enough to pursue dreams, and you already have that down pat. Love all the shots you took! :)

  • Anđela Ćenan

    Oh but isn’t that the best conclusion you could have – that you’re happy?? :) I think that’s priceless and equally inspiring as anything you might have expected to experience 😉 you go, girl! :)

  • www.esmetravels.com

    Hi Christine. I identify with everything you say in your opening paragraph and appreciate an opinion that’s not all positive (there’s a lot of kissing-up in blogging these days). Great post. Subscribing.

  • I really enjoyed this because I have been asking myself over and over again whether these conferences are for me. I just got out of the business world where everything was about networking as much as possible and self promoting like your life depends on it.. and if not, slip them a business card and hope they don’t lose it in case they might ever need your services.

    On a side note – great pictures and a comical read! I am about to embark on a RTW motorbike trip with my boyfriend next month and the theme of our trip is finding out what makes people happy around the world. Glad yours includes ice cream and beers! I think we’ll be good friends :)

  • This Battered Suitcase

    I have to admit that I have never heard of WDS until recently, but I definitely hear you on the conference thing. I went to my first this year – TBEX – and I found it quite overwhelming. I would much rather get to know just a few people, but know them really well, than run around a conference trying to network and accumulate business cards.

    That being said, the topics covered at WDS sound really interesting – if I’m ever around when it happens again, I might have to attend, just for the experience!

  • I was interested in hearing how this event went! Well, I just love the end of this… where you say you’re happy with your life and how it’s going. THAT’S AWESOME! :) Living in it instead of longing for it. Thanks for sharing this! And being honest about your experience!

  • camorose

    Thanks, Danielle :)

  • camorose

    I think I’d much rather spend my money on travel + meeting up with awesome people in new places in the future :)

  • camorose

    I think it would be GREAT if you needed that inspiration/kick in the butt to make a big change in your life–but I’m pretty happy with how things are at the moment :)

  • camorose

    That’s so sweet–thank you!

  • camorose

    I know–I SO want to visit Seattle, it’s just not quite as convenient for a quick trip being based on the East Coast. One day!

  • camorose

    I’m super into the Pacific Northwest–sure I’ll be back!

  • camorose

    I think I’ll save all the conference money and just travel from now on–but it was certainly an experience!

  • camorose

    Exactly–would rather use my money to travel and meet awesome new people in cool places!

  • camorose

    Thank you–that’s such a kind thing to say. I definitely have times when I need a little extra inspiration and help, but I feel like I’m in a good place right now :)

  • camorose

    Thank you! Hope all is well with you :)

  • camorose

    Yes! Check out the book by David Fugate–he’s got lots of good stuff in there!

  • camorose

    Thanks, Shannon! Would have been fantastic to see you, but I’m sure our paths will cross soon enough :)

  • camorose

    True true :)

  • camorose

    I really appreciate that–so glad you enjoyed the post!

  • camorose

    Yeah, I’m not huge on the networking aspect–it was great to meet some cool people, but I was really just overwhelmed by it all. And yes–my happiness is totally ice cream and beer!

  • camorose

    I think that it could be really valuable for some people, but in the future, I think I’ll save my money to travel somewhere awesome and meet new people there!

  • camorose

    So glad you enjoyed it! And yes, you’ve got to appreciate all the little moments in the every days :)

  • Erica

    Promise it’s just as easy to get to as PDX. In fact, I’m making that trip soon- one way :)

  • I think this is rarely why I ever go to conferences too. I love my life and I don’t need to feel motivated by other people because I’m a big self-motivator. :)

  • camorose

    So great to hear!

  • Megan Antosik

    Great article, Christine! So sorry we couldn’t meet up during the time you were here, but your pictures are fabulous from Portland and looks like you enjoyed yourself! Let me know if you ever come back to town and need a place to stay!

  • camorose

    Thanks, Blagen! I’m sad we didn’t meet up either BUT I loved Portland and would love to come back :) Get in touch if you come to NYC!!!

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