February
9
2021
Written by
Pieter Levels
The future of remote work: how the greatest human migration in history will happen in the next ten years
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FOREWORD BY LOUISE BØGESKOV HOU, FOUNDER OF LULU—LAND

Almost two years ago, I left a great job as a consultant. I wanted to travel and work remotely. I had pitched the idea to my employer, but at that time, the company wasn't ready to take on the experiment. This became the beginning of a new chapter for me working as a location independent entrepreneur. 

During the past two years, I've traveled around the world while building LULU—LAND and have gotten to know a lot of wonderful and talented people who had the same dream as I did. One of them is Pieter Levels, the founder of Nomad List and Remote OK. Pieter was a first-mover when it comes to traveling and working remotely. He is a big pusher of remote work and continuously tries to analyze the effects it will have on society.

Fortunately, Pieter has allowed us to republish the first part of his 5-part series on how remote work will transform society in the next ten years. I hope his thesis will make you curious and give you food for thought.

Don't hesitate to reach out if you want to know more about the future of (remote) work, digital nomadism, building and facilitating remote workplaces(/spaces), and tapping into the talent pool of people already working remotely.

FIRST PUBLISHED ON LEVELS.IO NOV 20—2020/ REPUBLISHED ON LULU—LAND WITH THE PERMISSION OF PIETER LEVELS

The future of remote work: how the greatest human migration in history will happen in the next ten years

Here's my thesis on the next decade of remote work and how it'll transform society. I think we're on the verge of the greatest migration in human history. It won't be nomads traveling around the world perpetually, but it will be millions of people relocating semi-permanently to places better fit for their way of living. In this thesis I'll argue why this will happen, how it might happen and how we can benefit from this movement.

Five years ago I made a presentation about the future of remote work. This is the sequel to that. Back then I predicted there would be 1 billion digital nomads by 2035. I defined a nomad as a person who'd work remotely from a different country than their home country at least part of the year. My prediction was picked up by the press including The Economist and TechCrunch and people quit their jobs and started companies based on it.

Even I was slightly skeptical about my own prediction though, I mean, it was quite out there. Would it actually happen so soon? What if remote work was just a fad? We would all figure out it didn't actually work and just go back to the office, I got push back for coming up with such an insane number and most people said I was exaggerating the growth of remote work.

That is, until 2020.

2020

As you know, 2020 changed everything.

With a global pandemic infecting and killing millions of people around the world, and offices being one of the major places where it spread, companies were forced to adopt remote work for the safety of their workers.

In the United States in February 2020, pre-pandemic, 8% of the workforce worked remotely. When the pandemic hit, that rose to 35% in May and bounced back to 24% in August. In Canada, in 2018 ~13% worked remotely, that grew to nearly 40% of the workforce working remotely in March 2020 [3,4]. In Europe, pre-pandemic, 5.4% of the workforce worked remotely, which rose to nearly 40% a result of the pandemic. We can assume there's growth in remote work in regions outside US/ EU too.

In just a few months the amount of people working remotely ballooned to ~125 million people in North America (US, Canada) and Europe, or over 5 times the amount before the pandemic.

During a pandemic, people are forced to work remotely though, it's not really a free choice. Will people want to remain doing so post-pandemic? A survey by IBM discovered the majority does in fact:

• 54% of people working remotely now would like to keep doing so after the pandemic

• 75% would like to work remotely at least occasionally

With remote work shooting into the mainstream, suddenly my prediction for 2035 didn't seem so crazy anymore.

The office is a legacy concept

Working remotely is uncovering something many of us already knew for a while: a lot of time is wasted by working from offices.

Los Angeles traffic in 2017

There's

• The daily commute to the office which in the U.S. averages to almost one hour per day.

• Meetings where people have to schedule to be in the same room together, when a lot of that work could happen asynchronously

• The interruptions from being in open plan offices

• Traveling to meet people face-to-face

If a regular work day in an office takes ~1 hour to commute, 9 hours of inefficient working, we have 8 hours to sleep, that leaves us with ~6 hours to do groceries, cooking, errands and spend our free time.

The benefits of working remotely

With remote work, we can remove many of the inefficiencies of traditional offices:

• The commute can be as short as seconds if you work from home and minutes if you work in a local coworking or cafe.

• Instead of meetings, we can switch to asynchronous communication.

• Instead of open plan offices that distract workers, we can create our own personally optimal workspaces. With people in coworking spaces, by ourselves in spaces likes this, or any other way that works for you.

The rise of work from home garden offices

• Instead of traveling in cars or planes for hours to meet people face-to-face, in most cases, a simple video call would suffice.

And while the sudden transition to working remotely this year has not been painless, once people have gotten used to remote work, they're generally more productive.

Cal Newport, best-selling author of Deep Work writes: “Three to four hours of continuous, undisturbed deep work each day is all it takes to see a transformational change in our productivity and our lives"

Remote work seems like a perfect match for deep work. If we can optimize our own working conditions, which is the freedom remote work now offers us, we may be able to reduce the work day to just four hours of deep work.

That gives us 8 hours of sleep, 0 hours of commuting, 4 hours of deep work and 12 hours of time left in the day.

Life becomes about living, not working

That'd mean time spent outside work doubles and for the first time we'd be able spend more time in a day outside of work than on work.

People (not working)

For the first time in human history, for millions of people now and hundreds of millions in the next decade life might then stop being primarily about working, and instead be about living.

The biggest shift in work since the Industrial Revolution.

Working remotely can mean the time spent outside work doubles and for the first time we'll be able spend more time in a day outside of work than on work.

This isn't new for many of us. Me and my friends have been living our lives like this for the last decade or longer. It was people like us who could make money on the internet who were the first to embrace this: the digital nomads.

For the last two decades, digital nomads have replaced the routine of office life with traveling to explore the world and then finding better places to live. Optimizing for the weather they like, the cost of living they could afford and where their friends are.

Digital nomads were ridiculed as a fringe subculture for years, and then idealized as the perfect life on Instagram (none of them being true).

What they were though was the early adopters of what will become possible for a significant share of the mainstream population this year: becoming location independent (at least when related to work) and having more say in how we want our daily lives to look, especially the leisure part.

The experiences of digital nomads in the last decade gives us a lot of insight into location independent mainstream may soon experience.

A quick history of remote work

To get a contextual overview of where we're at, let's go back in time and do a little history class on remote work.

"In 1979, IBM was putting its stamp on the American landscape. For 20 years, it had been hiring the greats of modernism to erect buildings where scientists and salespeople could work shoulder-to-shoulder commanding the burgeoning computer industry. But that year, one of its new facilities—the Santa Teresa Laboratory, in Silicon Valley—tried an experiment. To ease a logjam at the office mainframe, it installed boxy, green-screened terminals in the homes of five employees, allowing them to work from home."

Telecommuting discussed in 1990

In the eighties and nineties with computer network connectivity becoming possible, telecom companies around the world started promoting telecommuting. Obviously if more people would work from home, they'd make money on supplying the connectivity to the office. It never really took off into the mainstream though.

The first remote wave: internet marketers (2007-2013)

In 2007, Tim Ferris wrote the 4-Hour Work Week. It described people building online businesses and using economic arbitrage (e.g. living in cheaper places while making money in expensive places). With internet connectivity rising everywhere, the technology was now just about ready for people to actually nomad and his book started the first wave of people doing it.

The first wave of digital nomadism received criticism for incentivizing people "to escape the 9 to 5" and instead chase short-term profits with low-value products, shady business models like online MLM-style courses, get-rich-quick schemes and affiliate marketing. Anything really went as long as it could get you to make money on the internet so you could go travel and move to the other side of the world. Regardless of how they made their money, those first nomads were the pioneers of the movement.

The second remote wave: digital nomads (2014-2020)

When I made my presentation 5 years ago we were in the middle of a giant digital nomad boom. The first wave had fizzled out and it was the second wave of digital nomadism and it was an exciting time.

I have great nostalgia about this time, personally. My site Nomad List had just launched and suddenly not just the website but the entire movement shot up. This new movement and my site in the center of it was all over the press for years as the new thing and hundreds of thousands of people "became" nomads. I met thousands of people that were traveling in a place because of me or my site. I'm not writing out of achievement humblebrags, but I'm writing it because it's one of the most colorful memories of my life so far.

The scene transformed from somewhat shady internet marketeers in 2007, to now actual people from Silicon Valley working on million and billion dollar startups remotely from nomad hubs like Chiang Mai. I know, because I met them.

One of the first Nomad List meetups at Hubba Bangkok just when nomadism started exploding in late 2014

Suddenly there was thousands of us meeting up in real life, thinking this would be the thing that'd change everything! Away with the old boring life, in with the new remote working traveling with your life in a backpack. It was exciting and idealistic. And like any new idealistic movement, it was also naive.

Most of the people I know from then either moved back home or picked places around the world as a more permanent home base. What they're not doing is traveling somewhere new every week.

What the digital nomads were right about though:

It was possible to effectively work remotely as an employee for companies on the other side of the world

It was viable to build a company while living and working remotely. Me and many of my friends have built companies making $1M/y to $100M/y+ revenue with one of them soon IPO'ing on the stock market for billions of dollars

The fun aspect of being able to live in different places around the world, immerse in local cultures and increase the share of your life that's not about work was very beneficial to our happiness

The problems the digital nomads faced were big though:

Hopping around the world and living in different places let us make more friends and acquaintances than we ever did but now they were all spread around the world, resulting in...

Loneliness being one of the biggest issues with digital nomads

Related: relationships are hard to maintain unless you live/travel together

Mental health becomes a real concern with depression and anxiety reported in digital nomad communities

Visas are a real issue: most work on tourist visas and have to leave a country after 30/60/90 days. That means we're never able to build up real long term social ties

Friendships needs 2 things: proximity and repetition. Digital nomads have none of these, they don't stay near (proximity) to the same people for long and they don't repeat their interaction with people enough to build long-term friendships

The novelty of new places wears off after a few years and you realize the world is more similar than you'd expect, which then results in the question "what's the point of all this traveling?"

On the business side: many companies targeting remote workers and digital nomads were started around this time, notably:

Remote working travel groups like Remote Year raised millions and started offering the "digital nomad" experience as a tour package at $2,000/mo for Americans.

Coliving companies like Roam raised millions and started offering shared housing, essentially fancy hotels with coworkings built in to them. The cost usually being high-priced at $100-$150/night or $3000-$4,500/mo.

WeWork famously raised billions of dollars to build a network of coworking spaces all around the world

All these faced the same problems:

There wasn't enough remote workers when they launched

The remote workers that were there weren't making enough money to afford $3,000/mo for flexible living or $400/mo for a coworking desk

Most of these ran out of money, crashed and burned or were acquired.

The third remote wave: the mainstream (2021+)

We're about to enter the third wave of remote work.

Remote work has gone mainstream in 2020 and with that location independence suddenly has become a possibility for millions and soon maybe billions for workers. Most people now are stuck in their home countries due to the pandemic closing borders. But once the pandemic ends or becomes controllable, and people can travel again the third wave will start. And I think that's 2021.

It will be different from how digital nomads did it. Most people working remotely and doing it location independent will NOT be fast traveling from place to place, but instead will relocate longer-term to remote work destinations.

Work ties us no longer

We know that what tied people to places were: work, family and friends.

Historically work has been the primary tie though: it's how most people would meet their partners and it's where people make many of their friends.

Especially in the U.S., it's common to move to a different state just for work opportunities.

With remote work, the things remaining that tie us to a place are family and friends.

We're already seeing remote work based migration happening. The rise of "Zoom towns" in the U.S. has been widely reported: places outside of the big cities people are moving to now that they can work remotely (via video calling app Zoom).

What do retirees do?

To get a possible idea of what the regular population will do once they can work remotely, we can look at what people who retire do. In the U.S., 3 million people retire per year and 1 million of them relocate once they hit retirement and are not tied to their work anymore, so about one-third.

Now imagine how many people will relocate once they're not tied to a place by their work anymore. More on that later.

Where do they go? Predictably many retirees move South to be in warmer places so they can be outside more for leisure, the famous place for U.S. retirees of course being Florida, but also Southern California.

Many U.S. retirees also move abroad:

Leisure and interest-based destinations

Back to the remote workers in the Zoom towns. There are some early signs of where we're headed. Many of the Zoom towns in the U.S. are either 1) south: where it's warmer, or 2) outdoor or ski resorts: nice for outdoor sports.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming

“We are seeing the biggest numbers for October this year (usually off season) and we can’t figure out why. It’s bigger than past years by a landslide” — Business owner in Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming, US who owns and runs multiple hotels there.

People into outdoor sports like running, hiking, cycling, kayaking etc. might move closer to nature.

Playa del Carmen in Mexico

Meanwhile, many of the top digital nomad destinations for Americans are surf towns on the beach in Mexico like Playa del Carmen and Cabo San Lucas. And the primary digital nomad spot worldwide right now is Canggu, a beach town in Bali.

The pattern here is that once work doesn't limit them anymore, many people will pick places based on their leisure activities.

Where traditionally holiday destinations for many meant hanging on the beach to recover from the stress of office work. If work becomes more less stressful as it goes remote, destinations can become more meaningful and active too: e.g. sports or other activity destinations.

Akihabara in Tokyo with the Tokyo Anime Center

It's not just sports though. If a person's interest is anime (not me), they might enjoy living in Tokyo for a few years or longer being close to the anime scene, artists and fans.

Nashville's Music City, aka the center of Country music

If a person is passionate about country music, they might enjoy living in Nashville for while being close to the music scene and live shows.

Yoga retreat (not in Ubud)

If you're into yoga and meditation, living in Ubud, Bali might work for you.

I have a friend who's now living on farms and eco villages around Portugal. He says they feel like small tribes centered around interests or ideals. Usually with at least some of their food supply coming from their own farm.

Community-based destinations

If your interests or activities are one reason to relocate somewhere, community is another one.

"In a survey of 20,000 Americans, nearly half reported always or sometimes feeling lonely or left out. Young adults ages 18 to 22 are the loneliest generation of all, the survey found." - WebMD

Many of us have friends from everywhere, also related to our interests. For example, I have lots of friends who are online entrepreneurs. None of these people I met in my home country. The challenge is that the relationships with these people become close to 100% online-only. And it makes sense as the biggest share of communication now happens online, via chat apps. As much as I love that we are in contact on a daily basis, I'd love it even more if we'd see each other in real life. And I'm probably not the only one.

Not my friend group, but someone's

Remote work gives the ability (that is if you and your community of people wants it) to move closer together. And it's already happening for people not tied to a place by work.

Austin, TX

Joe Rogan moved from Los Angeles to Austin, Texas this year. And as an influential person in his community, he was able to bring a big share of his friends of comedians and other celebrities over to Austin too.

Kanye West's ranch

Kanye West bought a $14 million dollar, 6,000-acre ranch in Wyoming and is building an eco-village with a farm, houses and schools where his kids will go. And there's more famous people who are planning the same.

A tropical eco village that might look how Dojo Village in Bali will look

The founder of Bali's most popular coworking space Dojo bought land north from Canggu near the beach and is building his own village. It will focus on creative, entrepreneurial, maker-type people and will feature tens of bungalow-style apartments, coworking spaces, a maker space and since it's in Bali: probably lots of swimming pools.

The idea with all of these is the same: get out of cities that feel isolating (think of Los Angeles' giant sprawl) and move to a place where you can be physically closer to your community of people: being able to walk to each other, instead of an hour car ride away.

Most of us don't have the fame or money to buy land and build a village though.

Luckily, we don't need to build a village to get the same benefits of community. Simply moving to places together, maybe in the same neighborhood, with people you care about is the point.

Hippie communes in the 1960s that didn't work

And if the communes of the 1960s taught us anything: it's that trying to re-invent society by building a new mini society in a village usually doesn't work out and sometimes even ends bad:

“But the problem is this: I can’t stay out here forever, neither physically nor mentally. As much as I might want to live in the woods where my phone doesn’t work, or shun newspapers with Michael Weiss at his cabin in the Catskills, or devote my life to contemplating potatoes in Epicurus’s garden, total renunciation would be a mistake. The story of the communes teaches me that there is no escaping the political fabric of the world [...] The world needs my participation now more than ever. Again it is not a question of whether, but how.” ― Jenny Odell, How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy

The 1960s teaches us maybe the point isn't to try build entirely new artificially designed communities from the ground up, but instead iterate on the places that organically rise up for remote workers, improve them and solve the problems remote workers there have.

Facilitating remote work destinations

We know that many businesses didn't work out in the previous nomad wave. Many businesses simply didn't have enough nomads to cater to, and the nomads that they found didn't have enough money to spend.

So what businesses would work in a new reality of remote work destinations?

If we assume that the volume of people relocating to, or visiting remote work hubs will be 10x or 100x higher than during the nomad wave. The diversity in people and also income ranges will increase. That means many of the ideas that failed during the previous nomad wave (coworking, coliving etc.), might finally work once the mainstream joins, as there'll be more people and people with higher incomes available to market to.

Feels Like Home is a Portuguese hotel chain that targets remote workers with home-themed apartments and rooms. A mix between a hotel chain and Airbnb.

Traditional businesses can profit from the remote work wave too. Especially the hospitality industry. Instead of nightly stays, hotels are already offering long-term stays, and considering adapting their rooms with kitchens and offering Airbnb-style suites. If they like, coffee places can adapt to become a place where remote workers can do their work and socialize. Related to socializing, local companies that offer activities like sports and trips can target remote workers who are new to a place to quickly immerse themselves.

Google's new campus

As remote work becomes the norm and employees demand to relocate, BigTech giants like Google, Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Amazon and Microsoft may start facilitating this and building campuses around the world. Think a tech campus in snow resort Aspen, CO, or in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico or in Canggu, Bali.

We know Google already has been building coworking spaces all around the world (currently in London, Madrid, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Tel Aviv, Tokyo and Warsaw), that are free to use (and they already call it Google Campus). Next would be actual campuses with housing and other living facilities.

Companies surrounding Stanford University (near Palo Alto on the map)

With BigTech opening campuses there, it can ignite ecosystems around these destinations with smaller startups moving to or being founded on its edges. Just like the university campus of Stanford made Silicon Valley possible:

"More than 50% of Silicon Valley product is due to companies started by Stanford alumni." - WIPO

This fits with the common idea that the next Silicon Valley won't be a single place, but it will be distributed around the world, and I'd argue in these future remote work destinations.

Especially since immigration to the U.S. for startup founders has become a lot more difficult in recent years:

The role of the government

One of the primary challenges digital nomads faced was getting kicked out of a country after 30, 60 or 90 days based on their tourist visa. Digital nomads get so much flack for working on tourist visas, usually by people who never did it themselves. If they'd do it themselves, they'd realize getting a longer visa is a monumental pain in most places. It usually means navigating a bureaucratic law system in a foreign country, often a developing country where the process is rife with corruption, bribes and uncertainty. If it'd was easy, most digital nomads wouldn't be working on tourist visas right now.

One of the reasons you see digital nomads still hop around every 30/60/90 days, is because that's the visa limit. If there'd be no visa limit, I believe they'd stay much longer.

Indonesia's Minister of Tourism Arief Yahya talks about Nomad List and embracing digital nomads as part of their tourism strategy (2019)

There's some developments here too though, and there have been for awhile. Right now most governments "know of" digital nomads and remote workers. And many have spoken about it, usually positive. Bali's governor and Bali's tourism board, Indonesia's minister of tourism and even Indonesia's president Joko Widodo have all spoken out positively about attracting digital nomads and foreign tech workers as a strategy to get more foreign spending and as a transfer of technological skills to locals.

Many countries now have programs to attract remote workers: Portugal, Estonia, Bermuda, Barbados and Georgia.

The opportunities for cities and countries are big if they can create a process by which they can attract high-skilled high-income remote workers to work in their countries for long-term. High-income so that money flows into their local economies, high-skilled because it'll mean transfer of skills to locals is possible.

The changes necessary are small compared to the opportunities it gives: create a remote worker visa that can be requested online, assess people's income, work and skills, and allow at least a 6 month to 1-year stay with an option to extend it to 5 or 10 years, and some route to the traditional permanent residency and after citizenship.

Right now work permits are made for foreign people getting a local job offer. Remote workers don't need a job offer, they already have a remote job or run their own company. All they need is the legal rights to work in your country, and be able to stay for long-term. The reason for work permits was to avoid competition of foreigners with the local work force, but 99% of remote workers don't even participate in the local market as they work for foreign companies remotely.

Cities can make more money on remote workers than tourists

Nacho Rodriguez is an entrepreneur who works with the government of the Spanish Canary Islands to attract remote workers. He told me it makes a lot more economic sense for governments to attract remote workers than tourists:

An average tourist in Europe goes on a trip for 5.2 nights and spends $70 per day or $356 per trip.

Meanwhile, a high-income tech worker from the U.S. or London makes ~$150,000/year. If they'd relocate to the Canary Islands and spend just half of that, that's $75k/year put into the local economy. That amount of money can create 3 local jobs at local average wages. Additionally, tax is paid on that income if they relocate.

The average tourist spending of $70/day, is $25,000/year. At an average tourist trip length of 5.2 nights, that means hosting 210 tourists makes the same amount of money for the Canary Islands as a single remote worker can bring in.

(Calculation: $70*365.25 days=$25,567/y; 1 trip is 5.2 days; 365.25 days / 5.2 days = 70 tourists/y; 1 remote worker spends 5o% of their income = $75,000/y; $75,000/y remote worker income / $25,567/y tourist income ~= 3; 3 * 7o tourists = 210 tourists)

Even if we estimate more conservatively, where a remote worker spends just $25,000/year, that's still the same amount of money as hosting 70 tourists.

The Canary Islands get 15 million visitors per year. They could make the same money with 100,000 to 200,000 remote workers there.

A remote worker can live more like a local as they stay in the place for months or years renting locally, instead of the short tourist staying in Airbnbs, resulting in less low-quality touristic areas. Caveat is areas will focus on foreign remote workers, which probably means more hipster-type areas. Regardless, places change for foreigners. It depends which way you prefer.

Personally, I think long-term remote workers make better visitors economically and behaviorally than short-term tourists. But I'm biased.

Remote work will boost mixed zoning

Apart from changing where we move to, remote work will also change the neighborhoods we already live in.

When I grew up in the nineties, in our town's street we had a bakery, a butcher, a library and even a blacksmith. That meant you could walk to what you needed in less than a minute.

The bakery and butcher got replaced by a big supermarket, and the blacksmith was shutdown when hardware stores opened up. Both requiring a ~30 minute walk or ~15 minute drive.

Traditional separated zoning of residential vs commercial

As much as U.S. is famous for separated zoning, this is a worldwide phenomenon since the nineties: in many places in the last decades we've moved from a healthy mix of homes and shops in a neighborhood to separating residential and commercial. Instead we now have:

• Residential neighborhoods where people come home to after work and sleep and then leave back to work the next day. There's no commerce like it used to

• Business districts with commercial zoning where people come to shop and work in the day, which then becomes desolate ghost towns in the evening

• A lot of car traffic because the office, shops and our home is all separated and now we need to drive to everything

Mixed zoning combining residential and commercial for better liveability

As many experienced during the lockdowns of 2020, where people were suddenly spending all day at home, in their neighborhoods. The local feeling of community increased as people had time to go outside for walks and run into their neighbors. Neighborhoods became places to live again, not just sleep.

With people working remotely, we'll also see a demand for neighborhoods to become more livable for remote workers. That means residents will demand coworkings and cafes to work from and to meet others in the area. With people spending more time around their house, there'll be an increase in demand for local leisure activities. Locals parks will become more important. As will be local daycare facilities for kids.

That means remote work will enable a push for mixed zoning, and we'll have less far away commuting and cars everywhere.

Education

As millions relocate and work remotely, many will bring their families. That means there'll be a need for high quality schooling from young kids to university students. Lots of places don't have great schools though.

There's a lot of innovation happening in this space now with lots of startups like Galileo offering online education for kids to teenagers.

The problem is that online education and homeschooling lacks the most important part of school I think: an offline social environment with other kids.

A solution to that I think, which will take time to build (and maybe you can help build it) is having a mix of 1) centralized high quality online schooling, executed by an internationally trusted institution like Harvard, 2) practical group classes to do the coursework ran by local schools affiliated to and certified by the trusted institution.

That means we can have 1) the benefits of high quality online education in remote places where schools might not be so great, with 2) the benefits of offline education in local classes where kids also learn the social skills from being in a group.

How many will actually relocate due to remote work?

We know that the majority of the mainstream will be able to work remotely now or in the next few years, but how many will actually use that to their benefit and relocate?

To get a possible idea of what the regular population will do once they can work remotely, we can look at what people who retire do. In the U.S., 3 million people retire per year and 1 million of them relocate once they hit retirement and are not tied to their work anymore, so about one-third.

But retirees might be more tied to a place: 1) they might need care from their kids and 2) they might've already built up life long communities around them, longer than their younger people in the middle of their careers.

Thanks to a recent Upwork study, we actually have some data on it now too:

"Anywhere from 14 to 23 million Americans are planning to move as a result of remote work. Combined with those who are moving regardless of remote work, near-term migration rates may be three to four times what they normally are." - Upwork study in October 2020

I did my own survey too; it's skewed since the people who follow me are mostly in tech and startups. From my followers, almost 57% of people have relocated or are planning to relocate now that they can work remotely.

The combined work force of the U.S., Canada and EU is 400 million people. If 50% of those will work remotely, that's 200 million people. If 20% of those relocate, that's already 40 million people. And that's not including their dependents like partners and family, which could double that number. And then we're not even counting the rest of the world where remote work is also rapidly being adopted.

If we transpose that on the entire world, if 50% of the global work force of 3 billion people will work remotely, and 20% relocate because of that, that's 300 million people.

Even if we go extremely conservative and assume only 10% of the global work force of 3 billion people will work remotely, and 20% relocate because of that, that's already 60 million people.

The Great Atlantic Migration from Europe to the United States brought 37 million people across the Atlantic over 2 centuries

The largest migration in human history, the Great Atlantic Migration, saw 37 million Europeans move to the United States in the 19th and 20th century.

As remote work becomes accessible to the global workforce in the next decade, we'll have far more than the 37 million people who relocated in the Great Atlantic Migration, as they're not tied to places by office work anymore, making this the greatest migration in human history. Even if it's relocating inside big countries like the U.S, it's still migration.

That makes this this the largest human migration in history, due to the adoption of remote work.

PIETER LEVELS

A few years ago Pieter sold all his stuff to explore the world, creating 12 startups in 12 months and building $1M+/y in companies as an indie maker such as Nomad List and Remote OK. He's also a big pusher of remote work and tries to analyze the effects it will have on society.

WE LOVE TO CONNECT PEOPLE

NAME Pieter Levels

COMPANIES Nomad List/ Remote OK

WEBSITE levels.io

TWITTER twitter.com/levelsio

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December
1
2020
Written by
Louise Bøgeskov Hou
Fundraiser: The Bowery Mission
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The Bowery Mission, 227 Bowery, Manhattan, NYC, photographed by Anna Watts / @anasaura_

LULU—LAND is a tiny global community with followers and contributors from all over the world. Since I founded LULU—LAND, I've been traveling from country to country and working from more places than I can remember (that was before the pandemic). I love exploring new destinations. However, there are two cities that'll always be a little bit closer to my heart; Copenhagen, in Denmark, where I'm from, and New York City, where I feel truly at home.
From the very first time I took a Yellow Cab from the airport to Bowery Street in lower Manhatten, I knew there was something extraordinary about this city. I once read a quote in Quoted Magazine that describes the feeling I had perfectly:
"I was walking the streets. I was noticed, but I wasn't the center of attention. I felt like I fit in. You're not awkward. You're not weird. You're home. It doesn't matter where you're from or what you believe. New York is the city for everyone."
The city is not everyone's cup of tea, but for those who thrive there—New York is magical! However, it can also be a tough place to live. The city is equally relentless, commanding, and addictive. As easily as anything, it can chew you up and spit you out in the middle of the streets.
Last year, the LULU—LAND platform was launched from a small café in Lower East Side in the coldest months of the year. Growing up in Denmark, with low rates of homelessness and one of the absolute best social security systems in the world, seeing people struggle to survive on the streets in the biting cold was absolutely heartbreaking. I kept thinking about ways to help and give back to the city that keeps inspiring me and the people in it who make it so special. This year, I've decided to do something and make a fundraiser in collaboration with The Bowery Mission.

LULU—LAND Fundraiser: The Bowery Mission

The Bowery Mission is one of the oldest rescue missions in the United States. Since the 1870s, the organization has served New Yorkers experiencing homelessness, hunger, and other crises. It's well-known for its history as a soup kitchen and men's shelter located at 227 Bowery. However, today, the Mission provides programs and services at multiple campuses across the New York metro area.
Last year, the privately-funded Mission provided 429,500 hot meals, 104,000 nights of shelter, 27,600 articles of clothing, and 67,500 showers. And during the COVID-19 emergency, the Mission has remained open every day to safely care for their most vulnerable neighbors by offering essential services.
Each meal and every service is an invitation to residential and community programs that help neighbors in need progress towards individual goals such as regaining sobriety, reconnecting with family and faith, and preparing for work and independent living. To empower children to thrive and succeed, they also offer year-round opportunities for enrichment for youth.
I have the utmost respect for The Bowery Mission and their work. I've personally walked past the characteristic red doors on 227 Bowery countless times over the years, with the greatest admiration for those who work there to help people in need every single day. I've been reminded of how privileged I am and thankful I've always had a home and roof over my head no matter where in the world I've been.
I hope this will inspire you to take a little time to learn more about homelessness in New York City, The Bowery Mission, and their work. Further, I hope you'll consider helping us, help them by making a small donation through our official fundraising page. We appreciate every single dollar we can pass on to make a difference. Thank you!

DONATE!

  • $10 provides six meals for a New Yorker who is struggling with food insecurity

  • $25 provides one night of emergency shelter for a man or woman (each guest receives dinner and is invited to take a hot shower, receive clean clothing and hygiene products, sleep overnight on a comfortable mattress made with freshly laundered linens, and receive breakfast in the morning)

  • $75 provides one day of compassionate care services for five people at the Bowery campus (each guest can receive a hot shower, clean clothing, and hygiene products, and is invited to receive care from a social worker and other staff to choose help beyond homelessness through the long-term residential program)

  • $240 supports one man in long-term residence for one week as he works through the root causes of homelessness and unemployment

Homelessness — A Shared Experience in NYC

Chances are you have walked by or shared a train car with someone who is homeless, know someone personally who has been homeless or even experienced homelessness yourself.
Today, more New Yorkers are experiencing homelessness than ever before. In a city of more than 8.3 million people, nearly one in every 106 New Yorkers is homeless — that’s nearly 80,000 men, women and children. Every night, nearly 4,000 people sleep on the street, in the subway system or in other public spaces. However, the vast majority of New Yorkers experiencing homelessness spend the night within the city’s shelter system where they remain unseen. For every person sleeping on sidewalks or on trains, 20 more are sleeping in shelters. And nearby metro areas such as Newark have smaller but persistent populations of individuals experiencing homelessness.
The COVID-19 pandemic began amidst an already raging homelessness crisis. Millions of New Yorkers already lived on the razor's edge, one personal crisis away from homelessness, with 1 in 5 New Yorkers living in poverty and 1 in 4 New Yorkers paying more than half their income in rent. Now, because of the pandemic an estimated 1 in 7 New Yorkers have lost their job and more than 50,000 people are at risk of eviction. Sadly, the many people who have lost work were already in low-income jobs and on the brink of homelessness.

WHAT CAUSES HOMELESSNESS?
In most cases, multiple factors are involved. Common ones include: mental illness, substance abuse, untreated medical issues, traumatic events, violence and abuse, lack of affordable housing and difficulty sustaining employment.

WHO EXPERIENCES HOMELESSNESS?
People of all genders, races, ages, and socioeconomic backgrounds experience homelessness. Among those sleeping in city shelters, more than 13,000 are single men, nearly 5,000 are single women and more than 44,000 are adults or children in families.

HOW MANY CHILDREN ARE AT RISK AND HOW DOES IT EFFECT THEM?
During the course of each year, more than 116,000 different homeless New Yorkers, including more than 42,000 different children, sleep in the shelter system.
Nearly 1 in 3 NYC children live below the poverty line. South Bronx and East Harlem are two New York City neighborhoods suffering from concentrated poverty. Burdened with high crime rates, poor health outcomes, and poor housing conditions, these areas pose high risks for child welfare.
Hundreds of studies have examined the detrimental effects of poverty on the well-being of children. Growing up in poverty may disturb a child's brain development and undermine his social and emotional growth.
Opportunities for enrichment and mentoring can play a critical role in helping children thrive in school and life. Quality programs support children's social and emotional development, helping them grow into adults who are healthy, grounded and economically self-sufficient.

Get to know more about The Bowery Mission and their work to rebuild hope and break the cycles of homelessness and poverty in the New York Metro Area!

WE LOVE TO CONNECT PEOPLE

ORGANIZATION The Bowery Mission

WEBSITE bowery.org

INSTAGRAM @BoweryMission

FACEBOOK @BoweryMission

TWITTER @BoweryMission

YOUTUBE The Bowery Mission

LINKEDIN The Bowery Mission

CREDITS

PHOTOGRAPHY Anna Watts / @anasaura_

VIDEO The Bowery Mission

SOURCES

bowery.org

NYC Department of Homeless Services, Coalition for the Homeless

April
19
2020
Written by
the LULU—LAND Team
Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability
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This video has made it into the list of our favorite TED talks, and it seems like we are not the only ones who think that this lady rocks. The Power of Vulnerability is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world, with over 47 million views.

Brené Brown is a research professor (/storyteller) at the University of Houston. She has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy, and is now using that work to explore a concept that she calls Wholeheartedness.

"Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging."

BRENÈ BROWN : THE CALL TO COURAGE

If you find this TED talk as interesting as we did, you should also check out Brené Brown: The Call to Courage on Netflix.

It's a 2019 documentary film directed by Sandra Restrepo. The documentary depicts Brené Brown as she discusses what it takes to choose courage over comfort in today's culture.

BOOKS

If you still haven't had enough, she is also the author of five number one New York Times bestsellers:

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts (2018)

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone (2017)

Rising Strong: The Reckoning, The Rumble, The Revolution (2015)

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead (2012)

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are (2010)

WE LOVE TO CONNECT PEOPLE

NAME Brené Brown

WEBSITE brenebrown.com

INSATGRAM @brenebrown

FACEBOOK @brenebrown

TWITTER @BreneBrown

LINKEDIN Brené Brown

CREDITS

VIDEO ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY
TED – Ideas worth spreading

March
22
2020
Written by
the LULU—LAND Team
Derek Sivers: The Meaning of Life
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VIDEO REPOSTED WITH PERMISSION FROM DEREK SIVERS

What is the meaning of life?

Ouch, that's a complex one. This explanation by Derek Sivers somehow resonates with us, and we hope you'll find it as interesting and inspiring as we do!

"Watch," or actually just listen, and let us know what you think.

TRANSCRIPT

There’s a true story about the student who showed up late to math class. He copied the problem that was already written on the board, assuming it was homework, and solved it that week. Only afterwards did he find out the teacher put it on the board as an example of an unsolvable problem.

This question — “What is the meaning of life?” — is the classic unsolvable problem. For thousands of years, people have been trying to figure it out. It’s the punchline cliché of unanswerable questions.

But right now, let’s be the naive ones that don’t know it’s considered unsolvable, and just figure out the meaning of life in under 20 minutes. OK?

LIFE IS __________

What word do you think goes in that blank? Life is what? Any ideas?

Let’s look at some of the different options that philosophers and smarties have said.

LIFE IS TIME

Some say life is time. Life is all about time. The definition of life is the time between when you’re born and when you die. So the literal meaning of life is time.

So if life is time, the way to have a good life is to use time wisely.

How can you use time wisely? Five ways.

1. Remember it’s limited

If you find out tonight that you’ve only got one year left to live, you’ll make the most of this next year. If you act like life is infinite, you won’t.

To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time.

Give yourself tight deadlines. Remember you could die at any time. Don’t delay.

How can you use time wisely?

2. Be mostly future-focused

Make most of your current actions serve your future self. Learn, practice, exercise, delay gratification, save and invest your money, and build towards your ideal future. People who do this are more successful and even happier.

But too much future focus leads to being a successful person on your 4th marriage, with no true friends. Too much future focus can take time away from important things that need you to be in the moment.

How can you use time wisely?

3. Be somewhat present-focused

Sometimes, pull your head out of the future, and give your full attention to the present. Relationships, communication, and sex require this.

But too much present focus is hedonism: living only for immediate gratification with as much excitement and novelty as possible.

Too much present focus leads to an empty bank account and no impulse control.

Too much present focus robs you of the deeper happiness of delayed gratification, achieving long-term goals, and developing valuable expertise.

How can you use time wisely?

4. Be somewhat past-focused

To remember your past is to live twice.

Keep your life in the context of the past, to see how far you’ve come.

Put aside time to re-interpret your past events, as a powerful reminder that you can re-interpret your present and future, too.

How can you use time wisely?

5. Get in the zone

You know the feeling of flow — where you’re focused on work that’s not too easy and not too hard — where the work itself has clear goals and is its own reward.

People at the end of their life who claimed to be the happiest with their life were the ones who had spent the most time in this state of flow.

For a good life, pursue the work that puts you in this state, and avoid the things that pull you from this state.

Let’s say life is time. What do you think? Pretty good argument?

Let’s look at another perspective.

LIFE IS CHOICE

Some say life is choice. Life is all about choice. You make a hundred little choices a day, and a hundred big choices in your life. These choices change your entire life. Your life is created by your choices. Therefore life IS choice.

So if life is choice, the way to have a good life is to make good choices.

How can you make good choices? Four ways.

1. Let instinct trump logic

The different parts of your brain started developing at different periods in evolution. The oldest part of your brain, the one that’s been evolving since we were fish, deals with instincts, fears, and gut feelings. The newest part of your brain, the one that’s pretty uniquely human, deals with logic, language, and predictions.

This newest part is still in beta. A $5 calculator can beat it at math. But this oldest part was launched a billion years ago, and has been in production and development ever since.

Everything you observe and learn is first processed by your logical brain, but then the results are permanently stored as instincts, fears, and gut feelings. Your instincts and emotions hold the culmination of everything you’ve ever observed and learned. So you’ll make better choices if you listen your instincts, instead of relying too much on your $5 calculator beta brain.

How can you make good choices?

2. Stop at good enough

You now have more options than ever. You try to choose the best option, the best career, the best school, and the best boyfriend/girlfriend/partner/spouse.

But thinking this way makes you feel worse about the choices you’ve made. You’re more aware than ever of all the options you didn’t choose, and the benefits of each.

So don’t seek the absolute best. Stop when you find an option that is good enough. You’ll make an equally good choice, but more importantly, you’ll feel much better about it. Happiness counts.

How can you make good choices?

3. Set limits

Every choice you have to make causes a little bit of pain. Having choice in life is good, but having more choice is not always better.

You’re happier when you let other people make some choices for you. If you’re very sick, you want your doctor to choose what’s best, not say, "There are dozens of good options. What do you want to do?" This is the appeal of religion. It gives you rules. It makes many of the choices for you.

So set limits to your choices in life. Cut off some options. Give yourself rules.

How can you make good choices?

4. Choose important not urgent

You know the difference between what’s long-term important versus short-term urgent.

What’s urgent are emails, texts, tweets, calls, and news.

What’s important is spending a thousand hours to learn a new skill that will really help you in your life or work. What’s important is giving your full undistracted attention to the important people in your life. What’s important is taking time to get exercise, or to collect and share what you’ve learned.

But none of these things will ever be urgent.

So you have to ignore the tempting cries of the urgent, and deliberately choose what you know is important.

So life is choice? What do you think? Pretty good argument? Let’s try another.

LIFE IS MEMORY

Some say life is memory. The future doesn’t exist. It’s something we imagine. The present is gone in a millisecond, so everything we experience in life is a memory. You could live a long life, but without a lot of memories, you only experienced a short life. If you don’t remember your life, it’s like it never happened. So life is memory.

So if life is memory, the way to have a good life is to make more memories.

How can you make memories?

Change routines. Break monotony. Move. Make a major change whenever you can. These are your chronological landmarks. These are the hooks where you’ll hang your memories.

Document it. Blog it. Not in a company’s walled garden, but in a format you can archive and look through in 50 years, or your grandkids can look through in 100 years. Keep a private blog for your future self, and tell the tales of where you’ve been, what you did, and the quirky people you’ve met along the way. You’ll be surprised how much you forget if you don’t record it.

Socrates said the unexamined life is not worth living. What about the forgotten life?

So life is memory? What do you think? Want to do another?

LIFE IS LEARNING

Both my smart friends and my spiritual friends insist that the meaning of life is learning — that the reason you’re here is to learn. Not just for your own sake, but for everyone alive, and future generations, the meaning of your life is to learn.

So if life is learning, the way to have a good life is to learn a lot.

How can you learn a lot?

Instead of talking about learning techniques, let’s talk about getting the right mindset, so you can learn more than you realize.

You’ve probably heard about the Fixed mindset and the Growth mindset.

The Fixed mindset says, "I am good at this" or "I am bad at this". This starts in childhood when your parents say, "You’re so good at math!" You think, "I’m good at math!" But then when you do poorly on one test, you think, "They were wrong. I’m not good at math.” Most people think this way. You can hear it when they say, “She’s a great singer” or “I’m just no good at dancing.”

The Growth mindset says, "Anyone can be good at anything. Skill comes only from practice."

Two impossibly hard tests were given to hundreds of children. After the first test, all of the students were praised, but half of the students were privately told these 6 words: "You must be good at this." The other half were privately told these 6 words: "You must have worked really hard."

When they were given the second test, the students who were told, "You must be good at this", did 20% worse on the 2nd test. Those 6 words encouraged a fixed mindset that made them feel there was no point in trying. You either are or you aren’t.

The students who were told "You must have worked really hard", did 30% better on the 2nd test. Those 6 words encouraged a growth mindset that made them feel that working harder made all the difference.

So that’s a +-50% difference in performance because of 6 quick words by one teacher.

Multiply that by all the people in your life, all the days you hear feedback, and all the things you tell yourself, and you can see how this simple difference in mindset can make or break a life of learning.

Parents, pay attention to this. You may be harming your kids when you tell them they’re good at things.

Successful people, pay attention to this. You may be harming yourself if you believe the praise that people give you. People tell you you’re great at what you do, never just that you must have worked hard.

So... life is learning? What do you think?

SOMETHING ELSE?

Should we look at the Buddhist idea that life is

SUFFERING?

Nah, that’s no fun.

Life is

LOVE?

Too ambiguous.

Life is

NOTHING BUT REPLICATING DNA?

Too accurate.

Let’s change the subject.

CHINESE

A few years ago, I started learning Chinese. I’m fascinated with the writing. I’m trying to memorize how to write these characters.

Chinese characters look complicated, but they’re mostly made up of smaller simpler characters, the way that English words are made up of Latin roots and such. So you can remember the meaning of each character by knowing the meaning of its ingredients. For example:

语 language = words 讠+ five 五+ mouth 口

So... Language is words that at least five mouths speak? Brilliant!

谢 thank you = words 讠+ body 身+ inch 寸

Hmmm... This one is not so obvious. Maybe the idea is that when you say thanks, you speak words that give a body an inch of respectful space? That’s interesting.

名 name = evening 夕 + mouth 口

So your real name is what’s spoken by a mouth in the evening? That’s kind of romantic.

I get so curious about the historical or cultural meaning behind each one.

Let’s change the subject.

TALKING HEADS

Talking Heads were a great band from the late-70s to mid-80s. Their lyrics were really evocative and mysterious. They made you wonder what they were really about.

Then I read an interview with the Talking Heads where they said that many of their lyrics were just random. They would write evocative phrases onto little pieces of paper, then throw them into a bowl, and shuffle them up. Then they’d pull them out, and put them into the song in that order. They did this because they liked how the listener creates meaning that wasn’t intended.

We assume that if someone writes a song, then sings it on stage into a microphone, that it must have meaning to them.

But nope. It was just random. Any meaning you think it contains was put there by you, the listener, not the writer. Like a Rorschach test.

BACK TO CHINESE

I got so curious about the historical meaning of these Chinese characters that I got a Chinese etymological dictionary that tells the full history behind every one.

I looked up the examples I gave here, and found out those characters were just phonetic! Those composite character bits were NOT chosen for their meaning at all, just their sound!

So it seems I’ve just been putting the meanings into them, myself. They actually had no meaning at all!

It blew my mind. I had been memorizing hundreds of characters for months, reading all kinds of meaning into the ingredients of each one.

After recovering from that, I thought: How many other things in life really have no meaning? What else have I been putting my own meaning into, thinking it was true?

WIRED

I know that we’re wired to do it. I know we survived on the savannah for eons because we evolved to look for patterns. Our ancestors are the ones who noticed the patterns of the tiger stripes or the lion face in the grass.

A moth is so deeply wired to fly towards the light that it may never accept that your light bulb is not the moon.

We are so deeply wired to find patterns that we may never accept that many things are just random.

We should have the same sympathy for our faulty wiring as we do for the moth. Evolution taught us to do this thing, but didn’t teach us to stop.

Give us some dots and a line, and we’ll see a face. Burn some toast and we’ll find Elvis in it.

A carrot from my garden looks like Jesus. What does it mean?

A black cat crossed my path as I walked under a ladder on Friday the 13th. What does it mean?

An old friend calls just a minute after I was thinking about them. What does it mean?

What does it mean that you went to a prestigious well-known school? What does it mean that you didn’t?

What does it mean that your good friend died? What does it mean that you’re tall?

What does it mean that you have a lot of followers online? What does it mean that you don’t?

What does it mean that you’re female? What does it mean that you’re male?

What does it mean that you’re an entrepreneur? What does it mean that you’re not?

What does it mean that all of your previous attempts at something have failed?

Nothing! Nothing at all.

Nothing has inherent meaning. Everything is only what it is and that’s it.

So let’s get back to our original question and wrap this up.

LIFE IS _____

What is the meaning of life?

LIFE IS ______

TIME?

CHOICE?

MEMORY?

LEARNING?

SUFFERING?

LOVE?

REPLICATING DNA?

You can tell by the variety of answers that they are just projected meanings.

You can choose to project one of these meanings onto your life, if it makes you feel good, or improves your current actions.

But you know the real answer is clear and obvious now.

Life is (just) life. It doesn’t mean anything.

Erase any meaning you put into past events. Erase any meaning that’s holding you back. Erase those times where people said that this means that. None of it is real.

Life has no inherent meaning. Nothing has inherent meaning.

Life is a blank slate.

You’re free to project any meaning that serves you.

You’re free to do with it, anything you want.

Thank you.

ABOUT DEREK SIVERS

Derek Sivers is a notable American writer, musician, programmer, and entrepreneur best known for being the founder and former president of CD Baby, an online CD store for independent musicians. He started CD Baby somewhat by accident in 1997 when he was selling his own CD on his website, and friends asked if he could sell theirs, too. CD Baby went on to become the largest seller of independent music on the web, with over $100M in sales for over 150,000 musician clients.

In 2008, Derek sold CD Baby to focus on his new ventures. His current projects and writings are all at sivers.org.

You can read more about Derek in his own words here.


WE LOVE TO CONNECT PEOPLE

NAME Derek Sivers

EMAIL derek@sivers.org

WEBSITE sivers.org

YOUTUBE Derek Sivers

TWITTER Derek Sivers

March
19
2020
Written by
Louise Bøgeskov Hou
"Popcorn Brain - Eating Chaos for Breakfast"
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NON-FICTION BOOK PROPOSAL

This is scary. For as long as I can remember, I have dreamed of writing a book. An actual real book. Like a book book. Not just any book, but a book that means something to me and has the potential to make a real difference to others. When I came up with the term “Popcorn Brain,” I knew that was it. My entire life, I’ve had the feeling of being different somehow. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time trying to figuring out why. Popcorn Brain is a reflection of this.

Through the process of defining what it means to have a Popcorn Brain, I realized that I’m not alone. Some have a Popcorn Brain by default; others experience to have a brain that “pops” occasionally or in periods of their lives. The book will explain the term, and provide strategies, methods, and tools to help structure “popcorn” thoughts, balance key areas of life, and gain/regain a sense of direction and purpose.

I promise I’ll do my absolute best to create a creative community that will be truly inspiring, worth following and being a part of. Moreover, I’ll keep you updated on the writing process and make Popcorn Brain strategies, methods, and tools available here on LULU—LAND.

PRELIMINARY INTRODUCTION

No brain is exactly the same. A Popcorn Brain is a brain that pops a lot of thoughts and ideas, fast. It works perfectly well by its own set of rules. But rears at conformity. Some have a Popcorn Brain by default; others experience to have a brain that “pops” occasionally.

A Popcorn Brain doesn’t have a shortage of attention. It pays too much attention to everything. It can easily have four or five chains of thought going on simultaneously, at any given time. It can fast-forward from A to D, without considering B or C, and jump to solutions that no one else can see. It’s brilliant at absorbing new knowledge, understanding patterns, and assessing situations and information at the speed of lightning, which often makes it exceptionally accurate in predicting future events and outcomes.

It can simplify complexity, and it’s great at focusing on the bigger picture and visioning the future. It’s terrifically creative, intuitive, and adventurous. It can be highly imaginative and simply loves to explore new ideas. It’s curious and often thrives being challenged or thrown into a competitive environment. Some popcorn brains even tend to have a higher risk tolerance and thus become more natural entrepreneurs.

A Popcorn Brain can be so passionate about something that it can go into a stage of hyper-focus or flow that makes it able to forget everything else, including basic needs. Popcorn brains tend to be highly adaptive, and they’re greatly affected by their surroundings. For better and for worse. It makes them outstanding at dealing with change, but it can also make them insecure and question everything and everyone at once.

Popcorn brains excel at procrastination, as they tend to be sidetracked quickly and easily distracted by outside stimuli, as well as by internal thoughts and mind wandering. This might also explain an often highly developed ability to work and make decisions in high-pressure and chaotic environments. Popcorn brains “eat” chaos for breakfast.

A Popcorn Brain is wonderful and lively, but it can also be sensitive. It’s like a turbocharged engine that can go really fast. The only problem is that sometimes it goes too fast.

Popcorn brains can be impulsive and hyperactive. Some overtly hyperactive, others hyperactive internally. Restlessness is often one of a Popcorn Brain’s greatest strengths, as it can be turned into a powerful drive that makes it able to reach goals others might think of as crazy and impossible. However, it’s double-edged as restlessness also makes popcorn brains struggle at times. It’s a feeling that can make it hard to be present and stay in the same for too long. Popcorn brains have no respect for the status quo.

Having a Popcorn Brain can be both confusing and frustrating. It can make you restless, fidgety, and easily bored when it doesn’t feel like the outside world can keep up and become overwhelming when you’re the one who can’t keep up. A Popcorn Brain is fantastic, but it can also throw you off balance from time to time.

Many popcorn brains have had the feeling of being a misfit, in one way or the other. Despite that, most popcorn brains wouldn’t change anything if they could. Popcorn Brain has become an essential part of who they are.

Whether you are born with a Popcorn Brain, or it’s something that you experience occasionally, the strategies, tools, and methods in this book can help you structure your thoughts and clear your mind. It can help you focus, keep that focus, and set actionable goals as well as identifying your core values, give you a sense of direction and help you balance key areas of life.

I didn’t invent any of these strategies, methods, or tools. I somehow stumbled upon them along my way. I combined and developed them to work for myself and my Popcorn Brain. I hope that they’ll be as helpful to you, as they have been to me.

LOUISE BØGESKOV HOU

Copyright © Unpublished Work 2019—All rights reserved

FEEDBACK & COMMENTS

Please, write hi@lululand.io if you have feedback or comments. I'd appreciate :)

AGENTS & PUBLISHERS

I'm looking for representation. Don't hesitate to get in contact with me at hi@lululand.io, if you find the book interesting and want to know more. [Currently, figuring how to write a book proposal]

CONTRIBUTE TO POPCORN BRAIN

I'm looking for entrepreneurs, creatives, artists, writers, poets, etc. who can relate to "Popcorn Brain" and would like to contribute to the book with their interpretation of the term. Please, write me at hi@lululand.io if you are interested and want to know more.

CREDITS

IMAGES UNSPLASH.COM & PEXELS.COM

January
27
2020
Written by
the LULU—LAND Team
The Creative Brain
Read more

What is creativity? Why do we create? What makes us innovators? What makes us human? And how do we face creative challenges?

These are some of the questions neuroscientist, author, and entrepreneur, David Eagleman, and composer Anthony Brandt investigate in the documentary: The Creative Brain.
We stumbled upon it somewhat by chance. It's not groundbreaking news for most creatives but worth a watch.
In the documentary, Eagleman explains how creativity works, unravel the creative process, and encourages all of us to be more creative. They seek to inspire and demystify the creative process while exploring brain-bending and risk-taking ways to spark creativity. By highlighting real-life examples of failure and success in the creative industry, they encourage all of us to self-reflect, discover our passion, and embrace our inherent human ability to be creative.


“Creativity doesn’t mean inventing something out of nothing, instead is about refashioning what already exists.”

What makes the documentary interesting is that it taps into the creative process of various innovators and accomplished professionals from across the creative spectrum:

  • Game of Thrones Co-Creator D.B. Weiss
  • Singer, Songwriter & Chef, Kelis Rogers
  • Architect, Bjarke Ingels
  • Novelist, Michael Chabon
  • Actor & Director Tim Robbins
  • Musician, Robert Glasper
  • Potter, Ehren Tool
  • Musician & Artist, Claire Elise Boucher (Grimes)
  • Nanotechnologist, Michelle Khine
  • Musician, Nick Cave
  • Inventor, Nathan Myhrvold
  • Movie Director, Animator & Producer, Phil Tippett


CHECK OUT THE TRAILER HERE

THE DOCUMENTARY IS AVAILABLE ON NETFILX.

If the documentary makes you curious, the duo also wrote a book: 
The Runaway Species — a powerful, wide-ranging exploration of human creativity, which incisively explores how individuals, organizations, and educational institutions can benefit from fostering creativity while celebrating humanity’s unique ability to remake the world.

THE CREATIVE BRAIN


GENRE Documentary

YEAR 2019

DURATION 52m

INSTRUCTORS Jennifer Beamish, Toby Trackman

CAST David Eagleman

WRITER David Eagleman

WEBSITE creativebrainmovie.com

FACEBOOK @CreativeBrainMovie

TWITTER @CreativityMovie

INSTAGRAM @creativebrainmovie

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