One Compelling Reason To Change The World


The title of this article might be a little bit misleading so let me clarify: if you want to do anything that’s important to you, something that will change your world, you need just one compelling reason.

As you may know I strongly dislike cold weather. I also strongly dislike constantly saying how much I dislike cold weather. :)

I’ve written many times that I refuse to travel to cold destinations (except to Michigan for the holidays) because there are a few lifetime’s worth of warm weather places to visit. Why waste my time in place that make me decidedly miserable? Doing something that makes one miserable is something only fools do. Unless …

Cold Weather and Compelling Reasons

Unless you have a compelling reason to visit your cold weather destination it will be an insurmountable (or miserable) hurdle. (Cold weather can be anything for you. Hot weather. Rainy weather. Rocky geography. A certain state. A particular restaurant. Etc. Etc. Etc.)

I’ve decided my next mission, from January 2 – March 11, will be in a very cold weather destination. It’s not even an “exotic” cold weather destination like Stockholm or Oslo or Antarctica.


I’m heading to the land of the Magnificent Mile. The Field Museum. Millenium Park. Chicago Diner. Soldier Field. Navy Pier. The former Sears Tower. Monkey Bar Gym.

Monkey Bar Gym?

Yes, Monkey Bar Gym. For the purposes of this article: my compelling reason.

The specific compelling reason is vegan fitness bad ass Jon Hinds.

I first heard about Jon Hinds about 4 years ago when I purchased jump ropes from LifeLine USA, the company he runs with his father. If you look at my ultra light packing list you can see I travel with the LifeLine USA speed rope. When I learned Jon was vegan and that he did training with high level athletes I was immediately intrigued. I put “train with Jon Hinds in Madison, WI” on my things to do.

But Madison, WI?

My thoughts: “Why would I ever want to move to Madison? What’s in Madison? I don’t want to move back to the midwest. Nah, I’ll just put this off.”

We all put things off, no matter how much we lie to ourselves that we want to do something. The important thing I’ve learned is not to force it. I follow my heart and inspiration. I wasn’t ever in a proper frame of mind to drop everything and go to Madison to train with a vegan fitness trainer, no matter how well respected he was/is.

That is until my Brazil plans starting falling apart a bit. See, I originally planned on heading to Brazil for multiple reasons.

  1. It’s warm. (Good, but not compelling reason.)
  2. I’ve been wanting to visit the Amazon since I was in 3rd grade and my class did a month-long assignment on Brazil. (Good, but not compelling reason.)
  3. I wanted to bike Route 66 in the US in 2011 and I needed a warm place to train. Curitiba, Brazil is on many lists as a very bike friendly city so I chose that. (Compelling reason!)

But when I knew I wouldn’t do the Route 66 trip in 2011 I had a feeling Brazil would fall apart. I just didn’t have a compelling reason to go there.

A List of Compelling Reasons (or How I Changed My World This Year)

Let’s break down the compelling reasons for me to visit every place I’ve visited this year.

Baga Beach, Goa, India

Chiang Mai, Thailand

  • Consistently shows up in lists of the top vegetarian cities in the world. I needed to see what that meant with my own two eyes and my thousands of taste buds.

Wroclaw, Poland

  • I was born in Poland and wanted to experience the city my Parents grew up in as a real resident instead of just a passerby. I was also incredibly embarrassed by my lackluster Polish and wanted to learn the language better. (Success on both counts, I believe!)

Austin, TX

Metro Detroit, MI

  • Holidays + Family

Chicago, IL

  • I contacted Jon Hinds and asked him whether he is training people anywhere. I was fully ready to move to Madison and even began searching for apartments. But Jon replied that he’s moving to Chicago and opening a branch of the gym there. Boom! Next destination settled with compelling reason in place. I’ve already registered for the Jan 10 – March 10 60 Day Challenge and put down a deposit on a Gold Coast apartment.

Running Blind vs Tunnel Vision

When most people set goals they set empty goals devoid of emotion or experience. If you’ve read much of my work you know I don’t believe in specific goals. I believe in specific experiential goals. A specific goal is good and provides some direction. A specific experiential goal provides tunnel vision and a compelling reason.

Which of the following goals is better?

Goal 1: I will earn $250,000 this year.


Goal 2: I will earn $250,000 this year so I can indulge in my childhood dreams and become one of the first civilians to take a trip to space.

Goal 2 is immeasurably better. And while that might not be a compelling enough reason for you to earn $250,000 this year it’s much more tangible than “I want to earn $250,000 this year just because.”

I’m willing to bet that the very large majority of people who set specific (but not experiential) goals don’t ever reach them. This holds true for the people I personally know. The people I personally know also kick ass when they set specific experiential goals. An experience gives you something to work towards and it involves your emotions which are very powerful motivating factors.

What’s Your Compelling Reason?

Do you have something you want to accomplish? What’s your compelling reason? Without it you’re running blind and you’re setting yourself up for quitting or failure.

If you’d like, share your compelling reason(s) in the comments below.


If you liked this article would you do me a favor and spread the word? Just click the “Like” and Retweet buttons below. Thanks!


  1. About five years ago, I decided I wanted to take my guitar playing to a much higher level. The experiential goal aspect was a dream of one day recording a full album in a top notch studio with a musical hero of mine from Rio de Janeiro.

    This year, I hit that goal, and my intensity on the guitar flagged a bit as a result–no clear experiential goal to shoot for, and plenty to attend to in order to bring the new recording project into being.

    Lately, now that we’re wrapping up the new album, I’ve been feeling ready to set a new guitar-related experiential goal. But I hadn’t yet articulated it that way, and I’m really thankful for the frame you provide in this post, Karol.

    So, my new experiential guitar goal: bust ass to take a huge leap in my jazz chops so I can attract three or four amazing musicians to play the music from the new album live onstage.

    Feels nice and scary to write that out here–the sign of a worthy goal?

    • If there is one kind of experiential goal I can get behind it’s guitar-based. ;)

      Looking forward to hearing your record! Let me know when it’s out and when you start playing live.

  2. DUDE!

    That’s incredible!

    Though I was kinda hoping to see the words New York there 8) Still AMAZING.

    Wishing you luck in that journey and definitely sounds compelling to me.

    One thing for me, in regards to making money, it is in order to keep up with my running craze, my volunteer work, my paying for everyone’s dinner because I really want to treat people like kings and queens and much more.

    I just spent my birthday a few days ago writing done the goals and the reason behind them and they are quite eye opening as sometimes the goals will change pending on the reason.

    It’s like what they call in NLP- Positive Intention. That every behavior, good or bad, has an positive intention to it, a compelling reason as to why and how that behavior is serving it.

    The goal has to have a strong positive intention so that it can serve it, indeed.

  3. I’ve been putting off my own cross-country cycling trip for several years now. I like finding a compelling reason to do something. I do want to ride cross-country, but what would make it more compelling? I’m planning to visit some of my show listeners in different parts of the world in 2011. Adding the cycling as part of it would make it much more compelling to me.

  4. The rain has cleared for a few moments here in Sunny Los Angeles!! (I love rain, I hate rain) and, as I was walking the dog this morning, I realized I have not done my first major exercise from Mind Control. I was in the middle of stuff when I purchased the program and put it off until a time when I could do it fully and – now I have time. So this post was perfect insofar as I need to do that NOW and move on with the program. Perfect timing my friend. Great goal for you in Chicago – very awesome – and have a happy holiday with your family.

  5. I also hate the cold! But, my compelling reason for moving back north (to NJ, just outside of NYC, which I love) is huge: my son is thriving here. He’s 4.5 and had a prenatal stroke (and is on the autism spectrum) and New Jersey has *amazing* services for him, via the public school system (meaning: free). It’s amazing how well he is doing in the 4 months we’ve been here.

    And you are absolutely right: because there is a compelling reason for me to be here (and there are other compelling reasons, like the culture available here, I love being able to take the train/bus to NYC) o don’t mind the cold as much. I am looking forward to spring,tho ;-)

    • That’s an awesome compelling reason Alexis! Thanks for sharing. Who knew that New Jersey of all places would have the services your son needed? (wait, I guess you did, hehe)

  6. Dude, you’re going to need more than those quick-dry shirts :-O

    I used to live in the mountains at a ski resort. I moved to Florida so I could get rid of all my long pants :-)

    That looks like a great gym. I’ve become a big fan of bodyweight type training over traditional gyms.

    • My Dad is giving me his old winter coat which I will then donate (or give to someone on the street) the day I leave Chicago. As for shirts: nah, I’ll be OK with what I have. I think. :)

  7. Chicago sounds awesome. When I did the High Five Tour for Wounded Warriors Family Support this year we spent a day in Chicago. It was the summer so it was warm. I loved it, it was one of the places I promised myself I would go back to and explore. There a picture on my site of some kids who were standing at the Bean in Millennium Park which is one my favorites from the trip. Have a great time!

    I’m deciding what directions I want to take my life next year. I’ll make sure to add some compelling reasons too. Thanks.


  8. Ah, Chicago. I’ve only been once, but I miss it every day. I miss the pizza twice every day. It’s on my list of places to live, but not in the winter. I’m anti-cold too. I’ve been shivering like silly here in Austin already. Really trying to hard to think of my compelling reason to want to move anywhere colder than this!

  9. Great post! I was just thinking about making a 2011-goal-list (or something like that anyway) and this post helped me to be more specific with it.

    As for cold weather.. oh boy, not my favourite either. But hey, you’ll survive. I survived freezing Dutch winter, having lived on a tropical island for 18 years. Oh yeah.. and I only brought summer clothes. :) (I did buy some new ones, of course)

    Greetings from (freezing, again!) Holland.

  10. You nailed why we changed our goal of selling 1,000,000 copies of How To Be Rich and Happy to giving away to great causes 1,000,000 copies of the book. We simply weren’t inspired by #1 even though the money would be nice.

    Option 2 however has never been done before and we get to positively impact the lives of lots of people that wouldn’t normally be exposed to such material. What’s not to love about that?

  11. This post hit me at a perfect time! You see, I have just decided to go to India this year. I have wanted to return since I went with my grandmother in 2006, but I didn’t have enough of a compelling reason to buy a ticket.
    What’s changed, then? A few months ago, I decided I wanted to quit my day job and become a yoga teacher. Neither one has happened yet, but after a lot of reflection and research, I have decided that I need to go to India to do my teacher training. It will be:
    1.) Yoga Alliance certified
    2.) affordable (all inclusive!)
    3.) a full immersion course
    I can’t find this combination in any of courses here, and, if I go to India, I will get six full weeks of experience, rather than a few weekends worth.
    I can’t wait!
    I must also note that, although you haven’t heard much from me, I am a Freedom Fighter, and you will be hearing more from me in the future! Thanks so much for everything you do!

    • Julia, that is awesome! I don’t have too much experience in India (I stayed in one place for most of my two months), but I met quite a few people who were there for yoga training. Let me know how it goes.

  12. Chicago is my hometown. I would love to meet up with you if you have some free time? As far as goals I have one that is coming into fruition this March. I do a lot of charity work in the city and since Mother Teresa is a big inspiration to me I am heading to volunteer there in March. I cannot wait! I am a bit nervous because I can’t speak the language (I can’t say even say I’ve eaten Indian food either). But given that I am transitioning to a vegetarian diet I am sure I will love the food, ambiance and hopefully survive the traffic. Any tips you can give me about India would be appreciated! Thanks again for the great post Karol!

    • Yes, quite a few people have contacted me about Chicago so I will try to have a meetup of some sort.

      As for India: my best tip is no tip. If you’ve never been to Third World country before nothing will prepare you for the experience. You simply have to live it for yourself. As for the food: lots of Indian restaurants in Chicago so why not give it a try? Most Indian restaurants are actually spot on as to what you’d get in India … although it’s usually Punjabi food. I haven’t figured out why this is the case. Maybe the Western palette only likes Punjabi food?

  13. Mine…as you know: Get in the best shape of my life and be the best basketball player that I can be. CR: 1-on-1 with Michael Jordan!

    Super excited for you man! This is going to be intense! I can already see you on a fitness book, posing like Hulk Hogan (1980s version) :-)

    So now that you’re going to be in the best shape of your life, I see a 1-on-1 match-up coming the first part of April! ;-) All the little Gajdamaniacs wanna see it brotherrrrrr!

    • 1 on 1 with MJ is a great compelling reason. :)

      As for me: I won’t be in the US in April. hehe I will be sure to pose Hulkamaniac style on a fitness book though. I’m sure it will be a billion seller. :)

Comments are closed.