The Doorstep Mile
The Doorstep Mile

The Doorstep Mile

Table of Contents

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of [Anster’s] couplets:  ‘Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.’ – W.H. Murray (Location 13)

Doing something small today – and then again tomorrow – is the best way to move towards your aspirations. (Location 61)

Tags: compounding

Note: .compounding make small consistent steps

There are easier ways to live than this. But I do not want an easy life. I am starkly aware that my time is finite. I want to avoid regrets and the drift of decades, even if all I manage some days is stepping away from the email onslaught for 20 minutes to climb a tree. I am not just living for the weekend as I hear so many people sigh at the school gates. I have fewer than 2000 Mondays left to live. I want to make the most of them, not just tick them off! (Location 73)

Tags: regret, time

Note: .time time is finite,make it count

Like most self-help narratives the whole book could happily be distilled to a page, a paragraph, or a phrase. In this case: dream big, start small. (Location 79)

We all know this stuff; we just don’t always do it. (Location 84)

Note: common sense is not common practice

It is not easy to embrace the discomfort and decide that today is the day to start. To ask yourself whether it is ‘one day’ or ‘Day One’. (Location 95)

Tags: action

Note: .action is it one day or day one

Over years of intelligent, philosophical reflection, I have concluded that living adventurously is a similar challenge to going skinny dipping. The idea sounds exciting, but it can be daunting to do. Are you ready to strip off and jump in? (Location 96)


I wanted excitement, challenge, hardship and risk. To test myself, prove myself and live on the edge – of my maps, my potential and my comfort zone. And I got it all. Those were days of miracle and wonder. (Location 145)

Tags: push limits

Living adventurously is nothing more than an attitude you charge at life with. Anyone can choose their attitude. It is about being eager to look differently at things, be bold and risk looking a fool. This invites us to stretch ourselves – mentally, physically or culturally. To attempt difficult challenges. To accept the risk of failure in exchange for the enticing sense of surprised satisfaction upon completion. (Location 161)

Tags: attitude, adventure

Note: .adventure change our mindset and be open for challenges

‘How we spend our days,’ noted Annie Dillard, ‘is, of course, how we spend our lives.’ (Location 201)

Tags: life

Note: .life

‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans,’ (Location 205)

Tags: life

There is no correct route through life. There is no ideal lifestyle. There is not even one perfect way of life for you. It is better than that: there is an enticing abundance of intriguing possibilities. Don’t be ashamed or afraid to pick an adventurous path that tickles your fancy, then go and explore it. (Location 216)

Tags: life

Note: .life there is no one way to live. Pick things that interest you

whatever direction you plump for today is unlikely to be your path for the rest of your life. You don’t have to stress that you’ll be shackled to your decision forever. There can be a lightness to it. (Location 256)

Tags: choices

Note: .choices our direction today doesnt determine our path forever

‘the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.’ (Location 262)

What did ‘living adventurously’ mean to you ten years ago? •   What does it mean today? •   If you continue living the way you are, where will it put you ten years from now? •   Is that a direction you are happy with? (Location 265)

Get off the phone. Get off the couch. I have more time than I imagine. Stop armchair adventuring. (Location 276)

You spend more time looking at your phone than making memories. (Location 283)

Tags: phone

Note: .phone

If we cry for too long about our limitations, then we get to keep them. (Location 296)

Sonder is ‘the realisation that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own – populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness.’ (Location 298)

Tags: new20, stranger

Note: .stranger .new20

It is important to pause and think about why you are actually doing something. The answer might surprise you. It might also be different from your motivations when you first hatched your plan. These core values should influence every subsequent decision you make. (Location 348)

Note: Think about why you are doing something

I learned to concentrate on what I could control rather than on all that I could not. There was little point getting angry at millions of acres of blazing forest and a squillion mosquitoes. All I could do was deal with the situation in front of me and keep moving forwards. (Location 351)

Tags: control

Note: .control dont worry about what is not in your control

Accepting (and ideally embracing) uncertainty is liberating. If you set out on a long journey, things will go wrong. If they do not – if everything goes perfectly to plan – that does not mean you are a genius. It means your goal was too modest. You will encounter forest fires and have to gamble on climbing into a wobbly canoe and seeing what happens. (Location 354)

Tags: travelling, plan, uncertainty

Note: .uncertainty .plan if everything goes according to plan it means that your goals were too modest

Start with why

We can only spend our time once. It is foolish to not consider why we should take one path and not another. Being clear about why you choose to do something is an under-appreciated first step to living adventurously. (Location 387)

Tags: choice, time

Note: .time .choice be clear about why you are doing something

Case study

Focus, choose, do

you can do anything in life, but you cannot do everything. (Location 478)

Tags: focus

Note: .focus

Back to the future

Say yes more

On the day that Marin’s email arrived, I was busy. But I imagined myself as an old man looking back on my life. 50 years from now, how many urgent chores would I remember? Zero, of course. But I would be chuffed to regale my grandchildren with tales of high adventure and chafed buttocks. And that was why I should say yes to the opportunity. (Location 581)

Follow your dreams, slowly

Only once you are in a financial position to survive on your new income would I encourage you to ditch the day job and go full time on working at your dreams. It takes a long time to become an overnight success. (Location 620)

Dream big, start small

What would you do if… •   You were a millionaire? •   You were given a year off? •   You were a bunch of years younger (or older)? •   You had no responsibilities and were free of all ties? •   Nobody would find out? •   You were on a mission for a great obituary? (Location 634)

Tea and biscuits


What stops us

was fascinated that not one person mentioned the inconveniences of falling down a crevasse or getting eaten by a tiger. The greatest hindrances to everyone’s adventures all lay before their journeys began. (Location 684)

The epidemic of busyness

We are all too frantic to be able to savour life or focus on the important things. And we live in a society that applauds the wildest ball jugglers. (Location 715)

Tags: busy

Note: Our society respects those who are busy

‘Yowzers, I’m so busy,’ we boast, pretending not to be gleeful if we win the busiest person contest. At its heart, being busy makes us feel important and necessary. Most of us (except those who are saving lives or cleaning streets) are not really either of those things. But it is nicer to believe that we are. (Location 716)

Tags: busy

Note: .busy being busy makes us feel important and necessary

An hour spent at work is equivalent to trading an hour of your life for some cash. It is worth pausing occasionally to consider that exchange (ideally at work when you might get paid for the pause).  •   Do you enjoy your work? Or is it a pragmatic necessity that you must accept and make the best of? •   How much would you pay for an hour of life? How much do you earn per hour? •   Is this a fair/good/unavoidable swap? •   Could you earn more for that hour of your life? Could you work fewer hours? (Location 722)

Tags: work

Note: .work we trade our time for money

Inevitably, the packed nature of our lives means that pursuing an individual passion demands compromise or cutbacks elsewhere. Many of us – me very much included – feel guilty and selfish about this. We worry that it is not fair on our family to crave some space for ourselves. It is a very individual conundrum. All I will say as a generalisation is that it is important to invest in yourself, as well as everybody else. Making the most of your own life can also make you a better role model for those around you. (Location 743)

Life is busy. But it is also for living. You’ll never have a life as good as this one again. Make the most of it. (Location 755)

Tags: busy, life

Note: .life

Important or urgent

Say no more

Another trick for resisting stuffing the calendar (like Monty Python’s gluttonous Mr Creosote who gorged himself so full that one wafer-thin slice of mint caused him to explode) is to imagine that the thing you are agreeing to is happening tomorrow. Are you excited about jumping out of bed for it, or does it now sound like a hassle? (Location 804)

The scourge of time and money

How to get more time. The 4-step plan from time-management guru Alastair Humphreys (written on the loo) Say ‘Hell yeah, or no’ when deciding what activities to commit to. Ask the 80-year-old version of yourself whether you should be spending your time on this thing. What can you cut out of your life to get more time? Quit each of your distractions for a week and notice how much free time that creates.  Turn off your phone. (Location 839)

Tags: time

Note: .time spend less time on your phone, cut out time wasting

The three stages of flabbiness

Each day brings me closer to my death. No matter how aware I am of this, it is sometimes difficult to believe my days are numbered. I burn carelessly through weeks, even months, unable to restart living fully. (Location 1009)

Tags: mortality

Note: .mortality

Where did it all go wrong?

Nobody wants to look back on life with regret. But so many people do. The Top Five Regrets of the Dying is a poignant book by Bronnie Ware, a palliative care nurse. Number One on the list was, ‘I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.’ (Location 1059)

Tags: regret

I wish I could do what you do

When Harry met Harry

writing two obituaries for your life; one that follows your current trajectory and one for the life you wish you dared to live. (Location 1134)

Tags: mortality

Note: .mortality write the story of your life

get your head down in the office and hope for promotion every couple of years until you’re 65. (Location 1149)

Tags: career, corporate

Note: .corporate .career

An invitation to the party


The Doorstep Mile

Dørstokkmila. The Doorstep Mile. Leaving your front door is the longest mile of any journey. (Location 1335)

Tags: inertia

Note: .inertia often the first step can be the most challenging

Think of the massive thing you dream of accomplishing. Now work out what is the tiniest increment of that. This is all you need to begin with. (Location 1342)

Note: Start with a small step

The Doorstep Mile action should quicken the pulse, but not so much that you do not dare act. If you still feel overwhelmed or tempted to procrastinate, then you are thinking too big. (Location 1348)

The time will never be perfect

You and I are both battling a terminal illness with no cure and a 100% fatality rate. It is called Life. We will all be dead within a few decades. Deferring living adventurously is madness, albeit a madness so prevalent in society as to be regarded as standard. It astonishes me how few people rage against this. The risk of living a life that you do not want in the hope that it might eventually buy your freedom is a hell of a chance to take. (Location 1477)

Tags: mortality, life

Note: .life .mortality we are all dying

Living adventurously is not mutually exclusive to ‘real life’. It does not have to be one or the other. (Location 1481)

Mojo plus one

What are you over-thinking and over-planning? How can you simplify it? What would happen if you stopped planning and began? (Location 1577)

The best adventures are simple. Simple but not easy. (Location 1671)

The problem is not that living adventurously is too ambitious or too complicated. It is not that you are too busy or broke. The problem is that we forget that beginning requires just a single step. (Location 1700)



Type 2 Fun, by contrast, is not fun. You embark on the quest for Type 2 Fun when you attempt things that are deliberately hard. It often involves suffering, foul language and repeated vows never to do something this stupid ever again. (Location 1893)

Tags: type two fun

This is the world of doing something hard in the hope that at some unknown point, in an unknowable future, the endeavour will reward you with a sense of achievement, satisfaction, purpose and peace. (Location 1898)

Shoot for the moon. Set yourself an outrageous goal.   Just do it. Make it harder to ignore your dream than to overcome the risks and obstacles.  Failing is an acceptable and unavoidable fact of life. Giving up easily need not be. Keep taking one more step and you might be surprised how far you go.  You are the only person who controls your potential. Everything is up to you. The choice is yours.  A bad day is a good day. Earn the good times. Embrace Type 2 Fun. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.  Be brutally honest with yourself. Do you believe your own excuses?  Does this year matter? Then use it.  Think like a goldfish. Do not think about the end. Focus on the next step to keep you moving.  Take care of yourself. Physically and mentally. Being fit feels good. A healthy mind in a healthy body.   The world is a good place. Trust. Smile. Boldness and relentless passion will be rewarded. (Location 2031)

Tags: challenges

Note: .challenges embrace the tough times

A bad day is a good day. Earn the good times. Embrace Type 2 Fun. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. (Location 2036)

Tags: type two fun, challenges

Note: .challenges embrace the tough times

Do something daily that excites you, makes you happier and curious. Something that scares you a little. It is the process that is important and the direction you walk every day, not the notional outcome at the end of that journey. (Location 2098)

Tags: comfortzone

Note: .comfortzone

Check out The Death Clock calculates the date of your death. Cheerful, I know. But if you’re the sort of procrastinating person who needs a deadline to get something done, well, there it is. Your deadline! Stick it in your diary now. (Location 2138)

Tags: mortality

Note: .mortality