Kent Healy

Welcome. I'm Kent. I think (too much). I write (too little). I share (and people seem to like it). Thousands of them - curious wonderlusts just like you and me. Join us for consistently occasional emails that may just expand your mind & life.

Freedom is dangerous — And why I no longer pursue it

I went from scheduling every second of my life to finally accomplishing the unshackling of almost all scheduling. And yet, I felt like a hostage in an invisible prison. For a while I couldn’t quite put my finger on why I felt this sense of unease. Worse, I experienced guilt for not feeling more grateful to have the freedom I earned.

It’s a scary moment to have accomplished a personally significant goal and simultaneously to feel the opposite of what you expected.

I quickly learned that freedom can be a dangerous and unassuming trap. It’s a message too seldom discussed. In fact, the common message is the exact opposite.

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End hiatus. Begin resuscitation.

It's been a long time since I've posted an update to the The Uncommon Life. But that is about to change. Brace for re-entry.

For the past few years I've been full throttle on the business autobahn — primarily real estate investing. My focus in that area has been intense and the rewards immense. And speaking of rewards, I'm also now the father of beautiful 14 month old girl named Kira (you can find her on Instagram).

Hectic it has been, but if you remember my previous writings, it's always been my intention to create systems that support a full life that includes other wildly diverse interests. And a passion on that list is writing...

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The 3 tiers of personal & professional life – Where compensation & liberation collide

I've come to recognize 3 important tiers or stages of both personal and professional life ... where compensation and personal freedom collide depending on how one develops their UVP. In other words, these tiers show the correlation between one's time and personal assets (knowledge & personality) and their compensation ... and consequently, the type of life they lead.

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2012 in review

If you’re a regular Uncommon Life reader you’ll know that each year I reflect on the previous year. The process helps me internalize lessons learned and appreciate progress that I would otherwise overlook while setting my sites on new goals in projects. As with any year, there were smooth seas and challenging seas. Overall, however, the year was fantastic...

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The perils of personal progress – With Charlie Hoehn

Along his relatively short (still in his mid twenties) but admirable journey through life, Charlie has learned that if you get stuck playing the wrong game with the wrong yardstick, progress itself becomes a liability. But I’ll let him take it from here…

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One emotion at a time – A practical philosophy for conquering fear

I think we can all agree on one thing: If you cannot control your mind, you’ll control little else. Yet, unless you have decided to practice some form of meditation or the like, mental discipline is not a skill that is often taught. This is a real shame because without mental stability and mastery, there is no stability or mastery in other parts of life.

'One moment, one emotion' (OMOE) capitalizes on the peace of mind that can only be summoned while being the moment. It’s about feeding the desired emotion so the negative alternative starves. It's a philosophy that can help you guide your emotional experience through learned mental discipline that leads to authentic emotions.

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The unreasonable power of embracing paradox – How uncommon results are birthed

‘Unreasonable’ does not necessarily mean rebellious. And it doesn’t mean going against the grain for the sake of being oppositional. Nor does it mean making unreasonable compromises. In fact, it means quite the opposite: NOT compromising in the face of paradox. Read this carefully…

The unreasonable game-changing individuals in the world enjoy uncommon results because they have developed an ability to uphold seemingly contradictory ideals at the same time.

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A recent collection of artfully uncommon musings

Roughly three times per week I share concise advice alongside a colorful, thought-provoking image or as I call it, "paradigm bending pop-art." Below are some of those posts (all titles are links) I have shared in the past few weeks that may help you lead an uncommon life...

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The raw truth about finding your passion

Take a quick gaze into the world of non-fiction literature and there is one word that cannot be ignored: passion.

Authors, speakers, leaders, and gurus use this word with a near religious application – as though it’s the alchemist’s secret to wielding the famed Midas touch. They preach that passion is an indispensable part of personal success and happiness.

Based on this introduction, you might be surprised to read this next statement: I agree with them. Passion is one very important element (of many) that produces extraordinary results.

What frustrates me (and many people who read these statements about passion) is that the process to attaining this ‘transformational’ passion is often overlooked or described as though the Gods endow it. Either way doesn’t help.

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The ‘exchange of value’ solution – And something you may not know about me

Money can be motivating, but it also tends to limit what we perceive as possible. When focusing on how your existing talents and abilities can add value to others, many more opportunities reveal themselves. These opportunities may not be noticeable immediately, but with time and commitment, they always surface.

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How playing dumb makes you smarter

The inability to remove the husk from the kernels of feedback, advice, and information we receive each day prevents us from achieving real success in our personal lives, relationships, and professional lives. There are several ways to extract facts from a soupy sea of fiction, but one of the most effective, benevolent ways to do this is by playing dumb.

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Voyager beware: The journey to the unknown always appears longer, larger, and more difficult

There are many short-term advantages to seeking familiarity, but it goes without saying: Do what you’ve always done and get what you’ve always gotten. You need not be Marco Polo to appreciate that the greatest adventures, memories, and learning experiences are least often revealed during voyages of familiarity...

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If you’re going to work, build an awesome sandcastle

It doesn’t take perfection, top-notch tools or world-class talent to do great work that’s recognizable and appreciated by others. It takes courage in the face of an unknown outcome and commitment of uncommon effort.

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Ditch the commencement baggage

Before you commence your journey to an uncommon life in 2012, assess your inventory. Stop, think, and drop. Literally. Identify the items of baggage you’re currently carrying from 2011 and scrutinize every last piece.

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The uncommon life realized – 2011 recap & lessons learned

You may not be able to account for and design everything that happens to you in life, but planning for excellence and adventure indisputably increases the odds of both. Realizing this, I have grown accustom to performing a year-end review and creating a plan for the year ahead. And this is some of the most important thinking I’ve ever done.

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Why “whatever it takes” is a flawed strategy

There is a difference between giving a 100% effort and adopting the ‘whatever it takes’ mentality. The former demonstrates patience, timing, respect, and an acute awareness of one’s journey, whereas the latter, by definition, disregards it.

An intelligent achiever understands that a great goal does not merely define the outcome; it explains why such a goal is important to begin with. Without this supplementary ‘why’ it’s far too easy to doggedly head in a non-constructive direction and be completely unaware of the fact.

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In Halloween spirit: Fighting fear with fear – When the scarecrow confronts his nightmare

Countless well-meaning people paralyze themselves in the face of fear, which often leads to the misguided notion that inaction always lessens risk. But in the pursuit of an uncommon life, this is very rarely the case. Our fear-induced responses are a survival tool, but these knee-jerk responses are not an effective instrument for constructing a fulfilling life...

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How I shortchanged myself for a 3.98 GPA – and what I would have done differently

We all feel proud when we achieve something remarkable. Without a doubt, asking ‘how’ to get a specific result enables us to accomplish more, and to ‘climb the ladder’ more efficiently. This question of 'how' helps us think about ways to overcome obstacles and attain our goals – this is all fair and good.

But in order to lead an uncommon life, ‘why’ should always precede ‘how.’ Why is this goal so important? Why did you feel motivated to set this goal in the first place?

Asking ‘why’ before asking ‘how’ ensures that the ladder (the direction you’re travelling in) is leaning against the right wall before you myopically start mounting the summit. Few things are more upsetting than being dissatisfied about the view from the ‘top.’

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15 surprising and powerful life lessons I’ve learned while surfing

Those who know me are fully aware that surfing is my favorite hobby, but I’ve developed a new appreciation for it. While reading, research, and writing always serve as important sources of information and inspiration, sometimes life has other more “uncommon” ways of offering powerful insights.

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Why success has nothing to do with being part of the ‘elite’

Being uncommon means many things, but it has absolutely nothing to do with reaching the ‘top’ or being part of some arbitrary, hyped-up faction labeled as ‘elite.’ The social, artist, business, or ____ (fill in the gap) ‘elite’ are just higher levels within the status quo. Instead of putting life’s requisites on a socially-ranked pedestal, define your own terms about what matters and what doesn’t.

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The uncommon power of trial, error, and the evolution of ideas

It’s far too easy (and common) to turn to—and often rely on—these authority figures for advice, feedback, and solutions to important life issues. But an impressive title—and even years of experience in a given field—does not guarantee the best result. Instead of relying on statistics, facts, mathematical formulas, and professional opinion to verify or guide our own personal inklings, we should take a bold step forward and test our own theories, absent from external judgment, direction, or the likelihood of success.

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The 3 C’s of modern currency – The 3rd ‘C’

We live in a global village—a place whereby people can connect, share, and influence each other in ways never thought possible. And it’s those who most effectively engage with one another who will enjoy the personal and professional benefits...

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The 3 C’s of modern currency – The 2nd ‘C’

"Many changes today are creating completely new social and interpersonal consequences and some are merely amplifying age-old tenets of success. What is most often overlooked, however, is where the new and the old collide. Amidst the change, I see three timeless principles increasing in importance and impacting our personal and professional lives in new ways. I call these factors the 3 C’s of modern currency."

Here is the second factor in the 3-part series...

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The 3 C’s of modern currency – The 1st ‘C’

Today's social and technological changes are creating completely new social and interpersonal consequences and some are merely amplifying age-old tenets of success. What is most often overlooked and underestimated, however, is where the new and the old collide.

Amidst all of the change, I continue to see three timeless principles increasing in importance and impacting our personal and professional lives in new ways. I call these factors the 3 C’s of modern currency.

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Never assume the obvious is true – A creed for an uncommon life

As humans we desire closure. We long to know not only what has happened, but why it has happened. Whether it's gossip, a natural disaster, a freak incident, or a success story – we want the 411. We want to know how 'it' can be repeated or avoided.

... so we endeavor to explain it. But in doing so, we often limit alternative possibilities.

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How to become smarter by doing less in the information age

Most things studied in college are quickly forgotten. Traditional education places an extremely high level of importance on detail, but this train of thought can be a hindrance, at times resulting in increased stress and workload. Why? An extreme focus on detail limits one’s ability to grasp the larger picture, which is critical to knowing what details to focus on. When you’re very close to every concept, everything appears important.

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Uncommon Profile: Colin Wright – Exiled from the Status Quo

An exclusive interview with location independent entrepreneur, Colin Wright. He may appear to live life “against the grain” but never set out to “prove” anything but the fact that life truly is what you make of it.

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The future of the “educated” person – From “their” brand to yours

The discussion surrounding conventional education is changing and intensifying. This is a good thing because as the price to value of education continues to grow, people need to think seriously about their goals and how to best position their personal brand and market themselves for a promising future.

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10 uncommon lessons I learned in college (Part 3)

Truthfully, I don’t believe I could have earned the grades I did following conventional college advice. In fact, I believe that doing less, studying less (see tips 1, 2, and 3 in Part 1) and applying these 10 tips, contributed most to the outcome (it certainly wasn’t a natural gift for academics). And perhaps even more satisfying is knowing that these lessons can be applied in the professional world very well.

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10 uncommon lessons I learned in college (Part 2)

I never set out to get perfect grades. In fact, I clearly intended to place business and personal preferences as a priority. This was rather unusual in undergraduate school. My competitiveness kept me striving for good grades, but my lack of time kept me focused on effectiveness. Unexpectedly, this illogical amalgamation served me well.

Truthfully, I don’t believe I could have earned the grades I did following conventional college advice. In fact, I believe that doing less, studying less (see tips 1, 2, and 3 in Part 1) and applying these 10 tips, contributed most to the outcome. And perhaps even more satisfying is knowing that these lessons can be applied in the professional world very well.

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10 uncommon lessons I learned in college (Part 1)

This week marks an important milestone in my life. I am no longer a full time student of conventional education. Elation abounds. It's back to business full time.

Anyone who knows me or reads my blog will know that I often wrestle with the concept and quality (return on time and money) of conventional education. Looking back, however, I did learn some key things – it just so happened that the majority of my most valuable "education" took place outside of the traditional curriculum.

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6 ways to be independent-minded in a world of conformity and convention

There is immense value in being able to think and act independently in a world of conformity and convention - in fact, all innovation and novelty depends on it. It can be challenging to free ourselves from the explicit and implicit forces that keep our brain in the box, but that doesn't mean it's impossible.

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Uncommon profile: Natalie Sisson – Candid confessions from a suitcase entrepreneur

There are a lot of people who fantasize about traveling the world and working from anywhere on their own schedule. Few people actually do it. Natalie Sisson is one of these adventurous, risk-taking souls. But, according to her, she wasn’t always this way. The following is an interview with Natalie.

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10 ways to be uncommonly productive

It’s incredible how many opportunities there are to increase our productivity once we demand it of ourselves. And with the right strategies, doing more does not always need to be a compromise between work and fun.

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Being uncommon means…

What does it mean to be uncommon? Well, it means a few things. Here are some of the most important...

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The Real World Myth – Is someone else’s reality holding you back? (Part 2)

Advice about the “real world” may come with good intentions, but that doesn’t make it accurate. Don’t “get real” in light of someone else’s definition of the “real world.” What someone else finds true need not become your dogma.

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The Real World Myth – The tale of two realities (Part 1)

It seems that most people act as though they are either preparing for the “real world” or attempting to escape it through mindless entertainment, drugs, denial, etc. I can’t help but ask, “If we’re preparing for the ‘real world’ or trying to break free from it, then what reality are we in?”

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Why earning can be more important than learning (Part 2)

We are often led to believe that knowledge creates a better life. This is not entirely so. If knowledge were all it took, there would be many more happy, wealthy people. The reality is: Knowledge is only as valuable as the degree to which it is applied.

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Choosing adventure over comfort and convenience – A new New Years theme

As humans, we are fully capable of labeling any personal decision or behavior as justifiable. And this rationale can easily detain us a in a pattern of comfort and convenience, slowly and clandestinely keeping us away from our goals and our ideal life. This is why it's important to pursue adventure...

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HOW and WHY you should assess your life

Going through life without assessing performance, results, and direction only encourages monotony and mediocrity. Life should not be a mundane process – and nor does it need to be. With some thought, reflection, and planning life can become a journey of purpose and passion. But I assure you, this doesn't happen without being proactive and very honest with yourself.

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How learning can get in the way of earning – A surprising confession (Part 1)

If you would have told me 5 years ago that too much learning could be detrimental, I would have sought the nearest soapbox to beam my message of opposition. But during these last two years, as I spent an increasing amount of time online, I've realized how a deep desire to learn (and even a unquenchable curiosity) can also be a liability.

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What if I assumed the opposite?

Too easily and too often we assume our perspectives are the best, most logical, and perhaps only way to interpret the world. But this train of thought is not only fallacious, but perilous. We shut doors of opportunity and growth that we didn't even know existed.

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Two causes of our greatest problems: The uninformed and the misinformed

The sources of our greatest problems are two fold: 1) Lack of information and perhaps, most importantly, 2) Wrong information. Yet, here we are, supposedly the wittiest species on Earth making fundamental erroneous assumptions that undermine our ability to triumph over our more inherent human flaws. But ignorance need not be one of those flaws.

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Never get a “real” job – An exclusive interview with Scott Gerber

We are entering a world with less certainty and stability than ever. What got us to where we are is not necessarily what will get us to where we want to go. In the following interview, young entrepreneur and author, Scott Gerber, offers his perspective about how to thrive in this new marketplace.

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Why work does not often happen at work – Featuring Jason Fried

When asked the question, "Where do you go when you really need to get something done?" people do not respond in ways businesses expect. For a boss or company owner, the ideal answer would likely be "work." But it seldom is...

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The “Remotel” Work Excursion – An experiment in productivity

When it comes to producing quality, creative, and inspired work, I consistently hear complaints so when expat-entrepreneur and friend, Darren Olstad, mentioned an unusual life-experiment he was about to undertake, it immediately caught my attention. What would happen if you left your usual work environment behind and moved into a hotel? Darren sought to answer this question by booking himself into a hotel for 60 days straight.

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Why you should run your life like a start-up company

Most people draw distinctively different lines between business and their private lifestyle. Personally, I see many striking similarities. As CEO of your life, it's time to start thinking like one (and no, demoting yourself is not option). View yourself as a venture capitalist… your next great investment? You.

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Why conventional education is failing us – Interview with valedictorian Erica Goldson (Part 2)

Every so often an individual’s curiosity, frustration, and/or inspiration urges them to break tradition and challenge the status quo. In my last post, high school Maverick and valedictorian, Erica Goldson, delivered a graduation speech no one expected by encouraging her classmates and the faculty to reexamine the conventional education system and their role within it. I think it is both inspiring and alarming to watch this growing number high school students step forth to speak out about the quality and “process” of their eduction.

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Why Conventional Education Is Failing Us – A Valedictorian Speaks Out (Part 1)

Education is important, but it’s our definition of education that has become convoluted and misleading. Consequently, our “educational” institutions have drifted further away from the course of our emerging world. Academics have arguably become a parallel reality increasingly detached from the “real world.” Yet, the inefficiency of conventional education continues because of the society’s symbolic perception of value.

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I can’t or I won’t? – A common case of self-delusion

“I can’t dance.” “I can’t give a public speech.” “I can’t start a business.” Sound familiar? Perhaps, if we were to be completely honest with ourselves, a more fitting description would begin with “I won’t.” We choose to use the word “can’t” when the process involves fear, inconvenience, or sacrifices that we are unwilling to endure. This is precisely why “can’t” is typically a choice rather than an accurate suggestion of impossibility.

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A Warning: 3 Reasons why most advice is bad advice

For almost a decade now, I have been interviewing successful individuals to discover the formula for success. While there were certainly some common themes among my findings, perhaps the most surprising and consistent discovery was how often the advice was really quite poor. It is wise to seek feedback, but I dare to make a bold and cautionary claim: Most advice is bad advice. This is so because of three fundamental factors...

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Don’t be outsourced – 10 ways to become indispensable (Part 2)

Just as an enlightened business would do, individuals should craft and uphold their own UVP (Unique Value Proposition) as a way to differentiate themselves and spotlight their talents and dedication. There are few feelings worse than sensing you are "expendable" and fearing an impending doom (in this case, job loss). Here are 10 tips that can help you become indispensable.

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Don’t be outsourced – How the right-brain can make you invaluable (Part 1)

Unemployment continues to be a serious issue and many of us are hoping for things to change. However, as basic education expands and improves worldwide, more and more people are qualified to competently perform the majority of jobs available. Thus, outsourcing, off-shoring, and subcontracting are inevitable trends becoming more and more prevalent. The future belongs to those who learn and master more right-brain abstract skills-sets such as creativity, problem solving, resourcefulness, communication, leadership, and relationship building – this is the repertoire of the new-age artist.

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Invoice yourself – What are you (really) worth?

Identify the tasks that compose your day, tally the total hours, and imagine sending an invoice to yourself. What is the grand total ($$)? What is the hourly rate? These are indispensable questions. When we place a value on our time, we become aware of how we spend it–what we’re doing and how we do it. Most people complain about never having enough hours in the day, but squander their minutes on more futile activities than they realize because they have not candidly appraised their personal time. The way we use our time is directly related to how we value it.

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Why most people don’t succeed – How you can be the exception

We wouldn't wash a car once and expect it to be clean forever. We wouldn't go to the gym for one workout and expect to be fit for life. But why then, are so many people unpleasantly surprised when they feel unsatisfied or don't perform at their full potential? We too, need tune-ups. But sadly, it seems to be human nature to wait until something is not working in our lives before we change our priorities. We need to rediscover the power of maintenance.

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When planning becomes a crutch – The woes of reaction and inaction

Too many people accept inaction under the guise of "planing" and "preparation." With time, planning shifts from an important and valuable action step to it's opposite: a stall tactic. In the end, the world rewards results that stem from action.

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The new currency: Imagination – Why artists will rule the future

Without imagination, we embark on a dangerous course of stagnation because knowledge in isolation, only reproduces past results (a rut many "knowledge-workers" fall victim of). Don't undersell and under-utilize your natural creative potential to label yourself more comfortably as a "knowledge worker." You are more than a informational regurgitator--and you need to be in order to increase your personal value in this new marketplace. In the future (which is upon us), creativity will be disproportionately rewarded.

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Be your own consultant or be fired

Companies rely on consultants to keep them honest and efficient. But relying on other people to keep your own performance high will make you expendable. Getting the most out of yourself is a personal responsibility and a crucial skill that we are typically taught. This article explores ways to become your own consultant to maintain an edge on your performance, innovation, and creativity.

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