Adam King Tue, 30 Jun 2015 20:44:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Found: Thoughts From Earl Nightingale Sun, 22 Dec 2013 11:00:39 +0000 I find a lot of things online everyday that inspire, teach, and move me. So, I’ve decided to start sharing them.

I found this video while searching on YouTube. What follows are the highlights that stuck out to me. I hope you’ll take a small 30 minute break, pen and paper ready, and see what comes to the surface for you as you listen.

How can I contribute to the prosperity of others?

We become what we think about.

The knowing of what I want is an invaluable opportunity to think it and feel it into existence.

Financial return (or any other measure of success) is in direct proportion to service.

Success is a blank canvas ready for us to define it. It’s not the result of making money. Instead, making money is the result of success.

In closing here’s one of my favorite segemnts from Alan Watts on working and “making” a living.

AND for good measure, here’s Mr. Watts again on The Real You. You’re Welcome.

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A Formal Lesson From Frants Wed, 18 Dec 2013 21:58:32 +0000 My Grandpa used to say that every man needs to own a tuxedo at some point in his life. Not rent. Own. A custom piece perfectly fit to his shape and size. My most fond picture of him is from his eightieth birthday party and he’s sporting his tuxedo.

Grandpa’s theory was that if you owned a tux, you’d go find events and reasons to wear it because you took yourself more seriously as a person. It was a signal, in his mind, that you were living a life worth dressing up for.

Along my journey into a more conscious wardrobe, I’ve been contemplating where formal wear might come into play in my particular style and lifestyle at the moment. There aren’t really opportunities to go black tie where I live, but the desire to have something serious, formal, and “grown up” was leading me to explore the idea.

His name is Frants. He’s a tall slender man in his 70’s who comes into town once a week to enjoy a bran muffin and short coffee and meander the downtown. His normal uniform is a red roll neck atop a slender pair of tailored charcoal slacks, and a mac trench, either beige or black.

A retired Commander of the Royal Navy of Denmark, Frants has a great deal of stories from living a most interesting and eventful life. We run into each other in the coffee shop and he graciously lends tales of his experiences in creating a conscious image, true style, and taking oneself seriously as a man.

I’ll never forget the day he rolled up in a 1972 Jaguar E-Type Series III V12 Coupe – pearl white. It was fun listening to him talk about finding this rare gem and teaching himself to work on it. This man takes his style and persona very seriously indeed.

The topic of tuxedos came up a while back over bran muffins, and he echoed the thoughts of my late Grandfather in saying that every man needs to own one – more importantly, needs to own one tailored specifically to him. He told me about his recent purchase of a new custom tuxedo to replace the one he’d had for over forty years.

I mentioned how I had been contemplating what type of tuxedo I’d prefer to own and so forth. He looked me over and instantly sized me up almost to the inch. I laughed and said he was nearly spot on.

Some time had passed since I last saw Frants, and I was wondering what he was up to. Then, on a Friday afternoon I received a text message from the owner of the coffee shop saying I had a package waiting for me. When I arrived, I was handed a humble looking brown paper package with a single word written across the front – “tuxedo.”

Inside was a bespoke shawl collar tuxedo hand-made in Denmark in 1968 – midnight with black lapel and a simple black stripe down the pant legs. A clean slim cut that eerily fits as if it was indeed tailored to me. There’s only a tiny bit of adjustment that needs to be done to the pants. It’s a look that’s constantly being resurrected and replicated in today’s style. I now own one of the originals.

With the gifting of such a serious and beautiful piece of art comes a responsibility. It’s not just an article of clothing. It’s the passing of a torch. A gift that signals a definitive moment in time to start living up to its image and past stories by creating memories of one’s own.

It’s really the journey of a man taking himself a little more seriously.

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Savor Each Stroke Wed, 11 Sep 2013 16:55:10 +0000 It’s a hurry-up world. Has been for several decades and it’s not showing signs of slowing down anytime soon. That’s why it’s important to wind back the clock on certain activities that modern society has long since sped up. And in fact, there’s a revival of such slow-downs happening globally.

The resurgence of slow food, slow growth, and bespoke indicate that people are once again desiring to reclaim their precious moments in activities that are dear to them.

For me it’s the slow shave. Granted, I don’t shave that often (see all recent photos), but several times a week I pick up the old safety razor and make many slow deliberate passes, letting the warm foam sooth the skin between each pass.

The razor is a find at a local antique store. It’s a late 30’s Gillette Gold that I grabbed for six dollars. The blades are a three dollar pack from the local pharmacy that last a long time and are thick and sturdy against my steel wool stubble.

Restoring these razors is simple. A quick scrubbing with soap and water, an overnight soak in hydrogen peroxide, and a final polishing with toothpaste produced this shiny clean instrument ready for early morning meditations or mid evening date prep.

Side note: One of the most gentle and effective metal polishes is toothpaste (not gel) and an old medium bristled toothbrush. The brands in the organic or natural aisle that contain baking soda seem to work the best.

The badger hair brush and shaving soap (or cream in this case – a fantastic gift from a client) also require time to build the right lather and apply between each pass. It’s a process to savor and enjoy.

Carve out the necessary time each day and you’ll wonder why you ever gave in to the electric or quadruple bladed sensations of the recent past. Also, don’t be surprised when you start asking yourself where else you can slow down what you once desired to speed up.

If we’re not careful, this slowing down thing might become the norm.

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In Praise Of The Original Pilots Thu, 05 Sep 2013 00:10:25 +0000 There’s something to be said for finally finding that thing that just works. The fit, the feel, the undeniable union that was clearly organized by higher universal powers.

That’s how I feel about my American Optical original pilot aviators. They’re from the late Vietnam era (1972-73) and were a treasure that I had long sought out. On my way to finding them I encountered many that didn’t fit properly or at all really, so they didn’t last long. Once these arrived, I knew I’d found the pair I’d been searching for all along.

They’ve been making these beauties since ’58 and up until recently the style and materials remained unchanged. A few months ago, I received a brand new pair of the A.O. pilot aviators and I have to say, they don’t hold up to the vintage pair – the thickness of the metal, the weight of the glass on the nose, the cinch of the bayonet temples. The new versions just seem to have lost that classic feel.

I’ve always been rough on sunglasses in the past. It never took more than a week or two before I bent, broke, or lost a pair. For the last three years, the A.O. pair have gone everywhere with me, surviving all kinds of abuse. They even returned home after being lost for three months. Each and every time they get a little out of shape, my local optometrist is able to tweak these workhorses back to the perfect fit.


You can find a bounty of these classic specs, from both American Optical and Randolph Engineering, online via Ebay and Etsy for a pretty good price. If you’re looking to obtain a real collector’s item, find the ones made from 12k gold, but be prepared to pay upwards of $300.

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How To Confuse People And Enjoy It Mon, 19 Aug 2013 09:00:15 +0000 “I just want to know how to put you into a neat little box.”

She said this as she mimed the sides of a cube in the air with her hands. She was getting a little frustrated that I didn’t have a concise answer to the question I get asked almost daily.

“What is it that you do again?”

Quite frankly, that question is near impossible for me to answer in the way that most people expect or do for themselves. So, lately I’ve just taken to say something to the effect of, whatever I want to do.

People ask this question as a way of gaining a sense of a person’s identity. Like my friend said that day, people tend to compartmentalize others so they can identify or classify them. Like a filing system. It’s how we sort. We have all kinds of classifications for natural elements all over this great earth. The humans we come in contact with are certainly not exempt from this.

We also do it to ourselves. We decide on an identity that we believe will gain us significance and happiness and we pursue it. We decide that fulfillment is found in the obtaining of the identity.

And just like that, we’ve destined ourselves to never achieve that fulfillment and fall into a rut, shrugging our shoulders wondering why things aren’t ending up as sunny as we saw it all going in our heads.

For most of my existence I pursued the identity, hoping to reap whatever peripheral benefits arrived from being that thing. Notice I’m not talking about being a particular kind of person. It was about becoming a thing, a title.

As a child I wanted to be Batman (still kinda do).
As a teen I wanted to be a sports star.
In my early 20’s it was Craftsman.
In my late 20’s it was Artist.
In my early 30’s it was Entrepreneur.

Obtain the title or position and gain (take your pick) acceptance, relevance, significance, respect, riches, love, happiness, fulfillment, or anything else I thought might come as a perk to being a particular thing rather than a consciously developed human being.

This isn’t a “don’t define yourself by your work” kind of message. What you do is a natural extension of yourself, your values, your beliefs, your vision. So by default you’re actively defining the current version of yourself at that moment by what you’re choosing to do or not do with every minute of your day, not just your work. This piece is simply about identity and the endless pursuits that result from focusing on wrong endings.

By pursuing so many identities I denied myself opportunities to show up honestly every day to do and/or participate in work that mattered to me and impacted others for good. Work that would be natural extensions of the fulfillment and happiness I would have obtained in simply doing it and cultivating the person I truly wanted to be.

Ah, but there’s the key. Long story short, I pursued all of these identities out of a simple lack of awareness of who I wanted to be. I still had not answered the question from my core of what kind of man I wanted to be in the world. So, by default I chased the images of identities that appeared to bring with them the types of fulfillment and happiness I thought I’d like to have.

Ironically, all that I was after literally began to arrive once I made a simple decision to be fulfilled and happy and never settle for less than that. Making that choice kickstarted the process that peeled away the layers to reveal what kind of man I wanted to be (knowing this vision will indeed change as I actively engage in activities that mature all aspects of self) while the simplicity of doing work that supports that vision also revealed itself.

To relinquish my pursuit of identity does present a problem for people who attempt to sort or compartmentalize upon meeting me. Honestly, knowing what I know now, I’m happy to frustrate them a little by not being able to be filed away readily.

Ok, stopping to think about it, I suppose if you absolutely had to tuck me away into a manila folder for future reference, go ahead and toss me into the file marked “Happy.”

Hopefully you have that category.

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30 Days At The Norblad Fri, 12 Jul 2013 16:43:50 +0000 It’s hot. The black rubber roof is transmitting both visible heat waves and a subtle asphalt smell into my room via the only two windows I have.

Ah, the room. A 10′ by 15′ palace that I call home at the “famous” Norblad hotel. It’s close to 90 degrees inside while outside is a perfect 75 and sunny. There’s no airflow.

How long have I been here? A week? Two? Have I lost track already? Or is time dragging on so miserably slow that minutes feel like days? I can’t tell. I look at my phone. Four hours…I’ve only been in this room, in this building, in this town for a mere four hours?! Well, only 29 days and 20 hours to go.

I’m tired. I’d nap, but the TV across the hall is blaring, the couple next door is having drunk arguments, and the smell of my room is too…it’s bad. I wonder if I’ll get used to the stench?

If nothing else I can hope to pass out from a contact high as the other neighbor’s joint smoke rolls through the screen. Is this how Ernest Hemingway lived in Paris? How did I get here again? Oh yeah…that conversation.

“No, you shouldn’t stay here in Portland. You need a break. Have you ever seen the coast?”

Bridgette is sitting across from me at the Hotel Modera courtyard in Portland. I’ve just told her I was intending to stay in the city for about a month after the business conference was over. My hope was to rest and work on some writing for the next 30 days at a place I’d never been. I needed the unfamiliar surroundings to stimulate the brain and recharge my batteries.

“Have you ever heard of Astoria? It’s a little town about two hours from here. It’s the Northwestern tip of the state where the Pacific Ocean meets the Columbia River. It’s beautiful.”

I shook my head. “No I’ve never heard of the place. Sounds interesting.”

“You need to go there instead,” she insisted. “Don’t stay in Portland. People here will bug you.”

Bridgette has knack for knowing what you need before you do, so of course the universe was completely behind this conversation because the next day I found myself on a bus headed up the coast to this legendary town after booking a room at a supposedly historic hotel for a month via the internet.

The Norblad Hotel was the only place I found that had a month to month option for rooms. It’s supposed to be one of the oldest if not the oldest hotels in the Northwest. It opened in 1924 and was named after the Governor who helped finance it’s completion. The pictures and description online made it sound simple, a bit rough around the edges, but quaint. So, I figured a month enveloped in simple rustic coastal charm would do wonders. Little did I know.

The bus was obviously taking the scenic route as it rattled around tight curves and dipped up and down steep hills. The landscape began to change into the Oregon I’d seen on film and in my mind. Large evergreen stands, valleys dotted with yellow flowers, small rivers running through it all. It was beautiful.

As we stopped in different towns along the coast, I kept thinking “Is this one Astoria?” I got excited at one point when we came into a place where everything was shingled like seaside cottages and quaint bungalows. I even saw “Bank of Astoria” on the front of one building. Surely we’re here!

Alas, the bus began to roll out and no, we hadn’t arrived yet. I decided to stop anticipating and just enjoy the view. We went through a few more small towns, two of which I caught myself saying out loud, “Please no. This better not be the place.”

I was having to fight off a little motion sickness as we traveled the last few curves and dips, so my head was resting against the window viewing the landscape with half open eyes when the bus rambled across a short bridge over a bay, revealing a misty hill dotted with houses. We came into the outskirts of this particular town and with a suspicious eyebrow raised, I watched the passing of run down buildings and sketchy taverns.

Pulling into the bus station I heard the driver say, “Astoria. End of the line.” Lifting my head a bit I took in the surroundings and thought, “This is it?”

Slowly stepping off the bus and shouldering my duffle, I attempted to get my bearings and find this historic hotel that would become my residence for the next month.

Waking the streets, I wasn’t exactly seeing the quaint fishing village I had envisioned where I’d spend my days huddled by the wood fire, wearing a chunky fisherman’s sweater, and taking contemplative ocean-side walks in a peacoat. I suddenly found myself wanting to go back to the place a few stops back that had all the cedar shingled buildings.

What I saw instead, was a town with a long blue-collar history coming to a close. A town, that after decades of logging, fishing, and shipping, is hoping to reinvent itself as a tourist destination and a hidden oasis for food, music, art, and of course beer. A town searching for a new identity and a bit unsure of what that will be.

I stopped a FedEx driver to ask for directions to the hotel as my smartphone wasn’t exactly getting signal here at the tip top of Oregon. A few minutes later I was on 14th street. Up a few blocks I could see the glowing neon sign attached to a building that had Arts and Crafts simplicity with a slight hint of the Gothic Revival that was popular in the early 1920’s. This was the place. The Norblad.

As I ascended the stairs my hand lightly stroked the old quarter sawn White Oak staircase and trim. It brought flashbacks to my days making furniture. There’s a seriousness to White Oak. It’s good wood to work with. Stable and beautiful. Stately.

Reaching the top of the stairs my eyes widened with some mild surprise. “Kinda dingy and run down. Eh, it’s an old building. Maybe this is part of the appeal and charm.”

I found the manager and finalized my booking for the month. The picture I had seen online was of a room with white walls, old Douglas Fir flooring, a small desk and chair looking out the window, and a comfy platform bed. Perfect for waking up and jumping into writing.

As we walked down the hall I started to wonder if things weren’t quite as advertised. The rickety door to my new home swung open and my nostrils stung a bit from the wafting scent of stale cigarettes and…is that cat piss? Behold, my new palace of dingy cracked walls, yellowed ceilings, and a floor that was more mystery stains than carpet by this point. A rusted iron bed frame attempted to hold up a sagging floppy mattress and flat pillows.

I looked at the guy and asked, “Is there a room available that looks like the picture online?”

“Oh, those are the nice rooms. We reserve those for overnight hotel guests only. These are the longterm resident rooms.”

He waved his hand gesturing me to enter my new abode and make myself at home. I stepped in as the door shut behind me. Looking around the immediate thought was, “What the hell have I gotten into now?”

I opened the drawers of the collapsing particleboard “dresser” only to be greeted by dried mouse poop sitting on pieces of old linoleum acting as drawer liners. Guess my clothes aren’t going in there. The closet, being very narrow, barely held things on hangers, but my real concern was the ceiling bits that were occasionally falling down. Was something chewing up there?

I carefully sat on the bed, hoping I wouldn’t fall through. From where I sat I could almost reach out and touch the old sink mounted to the wall. The mirror hanging above it revealed a slight wash of concern on my face. I stared at my reflection for a moment and considered my options.

1. Find a hotel, stay a few nights, then leave town.
2. Rent an apartment instead of a hotel room if anyone’s willing to only do a 30 day rental.
3. Catch the next bus back to Portland in the morning.
4. Stay here and see what happens.

At this point I had propped my feet up and was leaning back against the iron headboard, so apparently the bed will hold me up. Placing my hands behind my head I weighed those four options and that little voice inside came to the conclusion that I’ve been through a lot worse in life, so this will be easy. Hey, just relax and see what happens. It’s only going to be for 30 days.

July 10th 2012 was the day this all took place. My plan was to stay for 30 days and move on to a new location after that. Well, 30 became 60, then 90, then six months…and now it’s officially been a year that I arrived and I haven’t left.

This town. It peels the layers off a person given the opportunity. There’s been this odd synchronistic dance of development between the town, the Norblad, and myself.

The town, searching for it’s new identity and role, has made some strides in this past year. A solid music scene is forming, the food is amazing and accessible, and tourism is growing.

The hotel has undergone it’s own major transformations this year. My old room has been renovated along with all the others and now they certainly do resemble if not surpass the photo I first saw online. It’s a comfortable old/modern feel that Mr. Hemingway would be pleased to call home.

The historic Norblad is now playing host to artists, musicians, authors, and people looking for a quiet simple place to do great work while enjoying this town. The vibe there is infectious and somehow nurturing.

And myself? Well, thanks to the local fresh food, I’ve shed over 50 lbs. That alone feels amazing. But it’s the other layers shed that have brought the most freedom. Like the town, I came here searching, wondering, hoping for a new start. A hard reset on identity. And I got it. The renovations at the hotel seemed to coincide with my own. Old paradigms clinging too long to the frame were stripped and replaced with superior ones.

What a difference a year can make when you invite it to. Thankfully, my 30 Days At The Norblad became 365. Turns out I needed the other 335 as bad or more than I needed the original 30. And for that I’m grateful.

Now, let’s see what year two will bring.

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Audio Interference Sat, 12 Jan 2013 18:33:51 +0000 The incredible expansion of experimentation that’s happening around the distribution of words as content is mind-blowing. I’m all in favor of it, and am a happy consumer of a few of these new experiments.

But as a former radio DJ, and someone who enjoys making audio, it leaves me wondering when audio will have it’s time in the sun for this kind of radical experimentation and optimization.

Audio, as great and popular as a medium as it is, comes with the price of being inherently hard to spread, unless it’s living on a major distribution channel (iTunes for podcasts or Audible for audio books).

Which means the easiest way, right now, for audio to be consumed is if it’s packaged in one of two formats – a podcast or an audiobook. Many apps and services are built around the somewhat efficient delivery/consumption of those two formats.

But what do you do with audio that isn’t one of those two things? What if it’s not a podcast, or an audiobook?

I’m referring to alternative audio entertainment, independent music, or perhaps recordings being served to a set of customers via an online mastermind or course.

One option is to deliver the audio directly to a private list of subscribers, a la email list, and they can then download the audio themselves to figure out what to do with it next.

Not a very fluid or intuitive process for that poor audio file.

The problem with this delivery method is that it presents too many steps for the consumer to both download and transfer the audio to the device of their choice for listening.

A second option is to post everything on SoundCloud, which does have a nice mobile app for both discovering and consuming audio. Also, if you upgrade to a higher-level pro account, you can create private groups who only get the audio you send them.

But the obvious downside is needing people to sign up for SoundCloud and download the mobile app to their device before they can have your audio.

Also, if you’re creating audio you want to distribute for free, then you’re shelling out a nice chunk annually for distribution.

A third option is to create your own mobile app that delivers the audio straight to the user as it’s published. Naturally, this incurs development costs, approval costs to publish to Apple or Android, and the recurring cost of updating the app regularly.

Currently, iOS opens audio immediately upon clicking the link, and lets you push play. But, when I click the little “send to” icon, my only options are to 1) open in Chrome, 2) open in Safari, or 3) copy the URL of the audio file. And then what? What am I supposed to do with that copied URL?

How can I store this audio to my device for further listening without having to take many extra steps of uploading and archiving the audio on a computer and then transferring it to somewhere that mobile can access it?

Can there be a way to allow mobile (phones/tablets) to instantly recognize an audio file, ask if you want it added to your cue in a particular app, and even allow you to open and listen to it right then in said app?

I’d like to see audio handled a bit more like words in the digital world. While I’m fully aware that it’s a different animal, I can’t help but feel as though it’s being overlooked as a kind of awkward form of media that people enjoy, but programmers and developers have a hard time accommodating.

What can we do about that?

Any developer or programmers want to chime in on this? I’m interested to see where this can go.

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The Not-A-Pocalypse Fri, 21 Dec 2012 23:00:54 +0000 I feel cheated.

The world did not end today as many thought it might. At the very least some were convinced of modern society’s collapse rather than total global annihilation.

Admittedly, I’m both pleased and disappointed. I’m pleased there wasn’t complete destruction and fiery doom. But I’m disappointed there wasn’t a post-apocalyptic scenario to wake up to this morning. Something I do admit to fantasizing about since my youth.

I used to daydream about a barren wasteland of empty towns and crumbling cities, with overgrown vegetation, and all manner of wild animals wandering about. To me, it sounded like the perfect scenario. You know, to test my survival skills while rebuilding society.

A hard reset of modern society always seemed like a very appealing opportunity to me. Like it would be a breather from the madness that is right now. A chance to start over, return to simple survival as a daily agenda, and reconstruct the world in a little different way.

Oh, and I could finally get to play the reluctant wandering hero – a part I’m clearly born to play, if you ask me. Sunglasses, dusty jacket, worn out boots, and a stubbly grimace that signaled to anyone I encountered that this guy was not to be trifled with.

But since it’s apparently not happening today, I guess I need to return to doing what I can to improve this current version of society.

Oh well. I’ll start by poking fun at the situation a little bit more. Enjoy.

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Serve The Unlearned Ones Tue, 27 Nov 2012 08:30:54 +0000 One of the best places to find people is at the stage of Unlearning.

What is Unlearning?

Well, by my definition, it’s the realization that one has been giving into hype, wrong beliefs, or false expectations. This is usually the point where a person makes the decision to create their own systems for achievement.

I know in my own experiences, the process to Unlearning usually follows precise and predictable stages.

Adam’s Stages to Unlearning

  1. Frustration at situation.
  2. Frustration at self.
  3. Lots of talking to self out loud while walking down a crowded street.
  4. Contemplative Scotch(s).
  5. Realization that I gave in to hype and popular trends.
  6. Anger at self and popular trends.
  7. Contemplative Scotch(s).
  8. Apologize to self and popular trends for previous anger.
  9. Walk home feeling like there’s something…more.
  10. Wake up and realize the answer was obviously to forget what I know and create my own way of doing things.
  11. Celebratory Scotch(s).
  12. Unlearning begins.

The stage of Unlearning is the place that people are most eager and willing to do the work of change, but it’s also the most vulnerable state for them as they re-learn how to trust themselves again.

Delivering solutions to people in the state of Unlearning is both rewarding and a challenge. Yes, they’re eager to discover their own version of truth and crave solid fundamental principles of success.

However, until they earn your trust – which might take longer than usual at this stage – they won’t act on claiming those fundamentals for themselves.

Interestingly, you as the leader can be a catalyst or an accelerator of a person’s Unlearning.

That’s usually when you’re connecting with them just as they’re understanding the source of the frustration they’re having with themselves and they’re situation.

In those cases you need to lead those people on to the next stage, into the unknown of Unlearning, which again, can take time.

If however, you’re finding each other at the place of their conscious decision to Unlearn, you can see what happens if you work at accelerating their self-trust in their own abilities again.

This doesn’t apply to every industry or stage of business, but if you’re in the business of solutions and relief, especially via information, then start with the Unlearned ones.

They’re ready to take themselves and their work much more seriously than ever before.

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Why Aren’t We Teaching How To Read? Sat, 17 Nov 2012 19:30:25 +0000 How do you read online content?

It’s interesting to learn how people consume information online. For some it’s a deliberate practice of order and for others it’s a scattered activity of trying to keep up.

As a dyslexic, it’s very important for me to have no distractions while reading because it would take, and has taken me, forever to read simple articles, books, and essays.

Reading is a chore for me, so it’s vital I create ways to make it as pleasurable a chore as possible.

That’s why I’m always looking for new and better ways/tools for consuming content in as simple and elegant a fashion as possible. And I’ve found plenty.

But this article’s intentions go beyond the idea of distraction-free reading.

It occurred to me after asking folks how they read online content, that very few people who are in my circles of contact are utilizing a streamlined “off-web” style reading system.

On top of that, no one that I see is taking the time to teach their readers how to best consume the content that they’re working so hard to produce.

So, I thought I’d present a simple solution to this problem. And yes, it’s a problem.

Web Reading Is Broken

The unfortunate fact is that most people do their content reading via either a browser-based blog interface or their email inbox.

The major problem with browser-based reading on a website or blog is that it’s never quite the clean, portable, or quiet enough environment necessary for the information to truly be digested.

And no, responsive web design does not always ensure correct treatment of the content contained in that design.

The problem with subscribing to blog posts via email and consuming information from an inbox, is that you are reading in an environment that is representative of overwhelm, instant gratification, and the prevalent need to fulfill your end of “communication obligation.”

How can this be a place for calmly digesting high quality articles and essays? It’s not.

Off-Web Reading Is Beautiful

If you’re even mildly aware of what the 21st century is doing to facilitate better reading experiences, than you know that there are a large number of applications and services that will send chosen content into much more beautiful and simple reading environments than what your inbox and most web sites can deliver.

Readability, Instapaper, Pocket, Flipboard, and Pulse, are just a few of the ever-growing services and tools that turn web content into an experience worth reading and consuming by stripping away distractions in favor of the eye’s desire for simplicity and calm.

Plus, it’s all done via connectivity. Apps working apart from web based browsers and interfaces. Apps working with each other and the other services to create elegant reading experiences on your laptop, tablet, or mobile device.

How I Read

It starts with RSS.

Since I don’t care for having blog posts grace my inbox, I am a huge fan of RSS.

Forget the naysayers. The number of tools around RSS are too immense and too amazing to ignore it and declare it dead or irrelevant.

Using RSS allows me to implement third-party aggregation tools that create a simplified, unified, and beautified reading experience consuming the content I want while truly enjoying the reading process.

My mornings are usually spent with a cup of coffee using the Caffeinated app to explore the articles of that particular day.

If I am wanting to do something away from the laptop, that’s where the beautiful, elegant, and amazing Flipboard comes into play.

With its ability to aggregate my RSS feeds as well as all of my social media channels, it literally can become a one-stop destination for all the information I want to consume on a daily basis on a tablet or mobile device.

Plus with IFTTT I can use a formula that will take anything I read via RSS in Flipboard or Caffeinated, and allow me the option to feed it to Buffer to be scheduled out on Twitter or for sharing later.

Also, within both Flipboard and Caffeinated, I can choose to send any article I want to Readability for future reference.

Readability is a beautiful service that I have been using for several years. It allows me to take any content I want from mobile, desktop, or tablet and it will create a simplified elegant reading experience by stripping away confusing web formats leaving nothing but the text.

There’s also an ever-growing list mobile apps using Readability as the preferred way to display the content of external links instead of opening a default mobile browser.

People who do use services like Readability or apps like Instapaper will typically syphon everything they want to read into these places. The reason for this is simple.

They are tired of being disturbed and pulled away while reading by confusing and disruptive web layouts. They treasure and value the content they consume on a daily basis, and they want to glean as much as they can from this content.

Your website does not matter to these people. What matters to them is what you’re producing in words, topic, and meaning. That’s what matters to them.

For myself, I have not been able to use Readability as a go-to default source for reading everything because it would require me to manually send every piece of content into it.

So, I use Readability more as a research archive or library in that I only send articles I want to re-visit that will require long term reading and exploration.

In the near future I anticipate apps and services like Readability and Flipboard to not only continue delivering elegant reading experiences off-web, but to also produce competing alternatives for even publishing to a website or blog ever again.

Imagine being able to hit publish on an article and it lands only in the apps and services your people are using to consume your content without them having to even digitally touch your site. We’re a lot closer to that than you think.

Why Aren’t We Teaching How To Read?

We live in an age where both the opportunity and responsibility exist to guide people in not only finding our content but also in how to read it once it’s found.

You work hard to produce content that people will want to consume and willingly receive. But, what else are you doing to ensure their experience with that content is the best that it can be for them?

Instead of continuing to enable people’s short-term attention spans, why not teach them a fluid system for maintaining attention on your important content as long as what you’re producing is worthy of their attention?

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