Breaking into Charity: Mastermind Group Leads to Donating – Donating Leads to Feeling Good About Myself

How I Came to Donating

Three weeks ago I set a goal with my mastermind group to write for 2 hours a day, every day for the next two weeks.

In failing to reach that goal, I had to tell the group the truth. To be honest, I was contemplating lying to them.

“Oh yeah I wrote the whole time, but most of it is indecernable and I’m not going to publish it,” I would lie.

But I realized that would be a douchy move. I’m trying to avoid douchery and mimic an Ernesto Guevara type dedication to honesty. Lying about a goal I didn’t reach in order to save money on charity donations would be a capital fail. How could I live with myself?

When the time came, I came clean with the group.

So I have to donate $15 to the charity of choosing of the other 3 in the group with me. Here, I’ll write the organizations down and provide a bit of insight into who they are.


one girl ian robinson

  • Niall: One Girl – Years of listening to NPR radio and reading about poverty alleviation has led me to the conclusion that women are the key to bringing their societies out of despondency and into productivity. When Niall showed me this organization, I couldn’t help but go ahead with the donation. I believe in this organization. They publish their financial statements and they provide micro grants to poor women in difficult situations. Lord knows my wife’s is better with money than I am 🙂
  • Spyro: Heifer International – Ending hunger and poverty on this earth sounds like a ridiculous dream right? To me, we are on the cusp of making the world an infinitely better place. I believe that alleviating hunger and poverty can make the world a better place. I’m so lucky to be in contact with someone who feels the same way. Thank you Spyros.
charity water image
  • KaiCharity Water – Water, water, water. There is nothing I cherish more on this planet than water. I love to dive into it, ski on top up it, drink it, freeze it, boil it and play in it. Living in the Philippines helps me to learn that, people don’t have it. If you’re in the western world, you just reach out, turn the faucet on and have a glass of water. In other worlds, they have to find giant containers, clean them, carry them to a clean source, fill them, carry them back, then finally enjoy some fresh water. I believe in this charity and I’m so happy that Kai brought it to my attention. Thank you Kai.

The Effect of This on My Finances

Look, if I’m honest. $45 burns me up a bit. Thats 1,890 Philippine Pesos.

I live on about $600 a month here in Cebu City. I make about $1,000 dollars a month before taxes. (I have no idea what sort of tax liability I’m building up.)

I’ve been too busy hustling up cutting edge skills (big thanks to Chris Ducker for taking me on as his Marketing Intern.) I love developing my skills. This style of learning is investing in my future propensity to make lots of money, but I feel pretty silly because I safely reside in the bottom income bracket for United States citizens.

At the end of the day, This donation equates to 4.5% of my monthly income. In all honesty, that doesn’t burn me up too bad. I’ll put off buying a Gi for Jiu Jitsu this month and be fine.

Giving Early: Contemplating Poverty

I recently read Tim Ferriss’s blog post about the compounding value of giving early in your career. This post really got me thinking about the marginal value of $45 dollars in my pocket, versus that much in the pocket of someone in a much more challenging situation.

Just outside this internet cafe and a short walk down the street, there is a woman with two children who sleeps on a cardboard box outside a bread shop. Her two children spend much of the time crying and begging for change while their mother lays on the concrete steps of a dilapidated building. The disparity in this world is difficult to understand. I took a moment to watch this poor family the other day. Sparkling new Subaru sports utility vehicles from Japan were honking at each other as they roared by at full speed, and this woman was sleeping on the street with her starving children on my right. What is going on here?

It’s easier if you live a few thousand miles away, but here poverty is a constant thorn in the mental saddle.

So I feel good about this. It’s definitely not much… but it’s a start.

Thanks for reading. If you read to this point, please comment and tell me what you think.


Challenge: Write 2 Hours a Day for 2 Weeks Straight

The Two Hour a Day Writing Challenge

How This Came About:

Writers Challenge

I joined a mastermind group with some really interesting people. I didn’t have a goal for the next two weeks. One of the members said she was going to write every day for 2 hours. Of course, I thought, “I can do that too.” So now I’m on it.

For the next two weeks I’ll be writing for 2 hours a day. My primary focus will be on writing about adventures in Australia with the goal of developing the ideal book that I wish I had had before flying to “the land down unda.” This would be a perfect product for anyone with the notion of grabbing life by the horns and selling everything to fly to Australia and live and work there for a year.

I won’t be stopping myself from going off on tangets while writing. Any topic will be acceptable under these two hours of nothing but typing and conveying thoughts into this computer.

I’ll update this post as the week progresses to mark the times where I sat down for noticable time periods and did nothing but write.

A member of my mastermind group, Kai will be working on her writing at the same ferocious pace. Check out her captivating web-series here.


Rules1. Can only use the internet for brief bursts when I need a specific facts to check or a link to add in support of my arguments.

2. The writing periods don’t have to be solid. If I break it up into two, one hour sessions, there is no problem with that.

3. These have to be for myself. Even though I write all the time for Capitan Ducker, I don’t consider that to be writing that plays a part in this challenge.

4. Must complete 2 hours of writing without any big breaks of writers block. If I get writers block, I’ll just pound the keyboard for 2 hours and feel depressed afterwards.

5. No editing during these periods. No going back through the document to rephrase things. If I want to say something a different way, I’ll just start it again.

Two Weeks of Writing Two Hours A Day

  • July 31st – 7:30 to 9:30
  • August 1st – 12:00 to 2:00
  • August 2nd – 22:00 to 24:00
  • August 3rd – 12:00-1:00 & 23:00-24:20
  • August 4th – 5:00-6:00 & 22:30-24:00
  • August 5th – No Writing… but I did film this.
  • August 6th – 11:00 – 1:40
Notes on Week 1: The hardest part is always starting. It’s that blank page. As soon as I get my fingers on the keyboard, I start producing and the rest of the time flies by. You can see I’ve got over my 2 hour quota a few times this week.
I’ve been reexamining lots of passions, music, poetry, manifesto building and working on the Australia Working Holiday Guide. The more I write, the more hectic it gets, but I feel like I’m getting lots of great ideas down that I’ve wanted to for a long time. It’s a mess right now, but this test is proving very effective in improving my writing. Who woulda’ though. Writing every day, makes you a better writer.
  • August 7th – 21:00 – 23:00
  • August 8th – 11:00 – 12:30



I found that writing everyday was incredibly beneficial. I developed lots of new ideas, turned my Australia WHV book into a giant mess of content which needs drastic editing, and I wrote lots of embarrassing poetry, short stories and imagination verses.

The truth is that I failed. The trial and tribulations of tough time in my life caused me to take a dive in productivity. I’m still trying to regain the productivity I had the week before last. Life is full of ups and downs so I’m working on building the next upward spiral.

Thanks very much for your interest in what I’m doing. If you have any questions or comments please don’t hesitate to reach out via e-mail, twitter or facebook.



Lechon in Cebu City, Philippines

My friends from Jiujit Su (Tommi, Mofa and Duke) took me out for a taste of the national dish of the Philippines, Lechon. In this video I’ll show you what this experience is like. This big feast cost us less than $3.00 a person.

The women who’s job it is to cut the pig up all day are fascinating. The meat cleavers they use are just like something out of a horror movie. I would be terrified to run into these girls on the street, but at the same time, I was constantly flinching, expecting them to dismember a finger any moment. Luckily, that never happened and we got our food and sat down.

Lechon is a Spanish inspired dish. It originated with putting a baby pig on the spit, but has since been developed into a full grown beast of a pig on the spit. It is the national dish of the Philippines and Puerto Rico.

I hope you enjoyed my video. 🙂


Trust Me, I’m Lying – Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday Chase Jarvis Interview


I love taking systems apart to learn how they work.

I’ve deconstructed cars, appliances, cameras, websites, software and loads of other stuff. Deconstructing is the best way to learn.

It never occured to me to do this with the mainstream media.

This guy did just that. Check out the trailer for his book:

Ryan Holiday’s Media Blitz

I just came across Ryan Holiday because he is all over respectable media – here on BlogcastFM, here on The Rise To The Top, here on Mixergy.

The best of his media blitz is in this texturey interview with Chase Jarvis.

Ryan Holiday Chase Jarvis Interview

Peter Shankman vs. Ryan Holiday

peter shankman vs ryan holiday

Plus, he does controversy.

Peter Shankman lashed out at him (Shankman is going to punch Holiday Facebook mention?) Unfortunatly, Shankman comes off like the reeling bully who just woke up from a knockout punch delivered from the class nerd.

Holiday’s reply was calm, reasonable and insightful. You can read it here and here.

Who do I side with when one side is saying words like “liar, idiot, liar, liar, liar, don’t spoil it for us” and the other side is rational arguments and requests to  further the conversation?

Go with the rational one.

At the Core

At the core of all of this, is that its good to question the way the world works.

If you don’t like what you find; do something about it.

Holiday does that here. I’m excited to read his book.

Thursday Photo: Street Signs and Chickens in the Philippines

The thing I love about this photo is the angles. They are all over the place.

This is the only street sign I’ve seen in Cebu.

Street Signs in the Philippines

The culture I grew up in, has very limited perception of where our food comes from. I still to this day, have never killed a chicken. I’ve probably eaten more than 1,000 of them. I think this separation from our food causes a fision in our perception of the world we live in.

While walking the street the other day, I saw this man carrying a chicken unceremoniously. Some folks from my culture will be upset with the image below… I consider the fact that these people know what their dead animals look like, makes them much closer to the real world.

Your Chicken lo Mein from Panda Express needed one of these:

Filipino Walking With Chicken

Two Neat Things for Today

First Off – Congratulations Seth Godin

The Question

Can Seth Godin change the author/publisher paradigm?

The Answer

Seth needed 40k to get the book fast forwarded to the publishers.

As I’m looking at it now he is at:

Seths kickstarter June 20
Image Links to Live Kickstarter


What does this mean?

It is proof that everything has changed.

No more top down corporate publishing structure.

The world is flat

Second Off – Tim Ferriss Strikes Again

Language Learning

Duolingo fun free beautiful

Ever since you saw The Bourne Identity, you’ve wanted be optimal at everything, have unwavering confidence, kill snipers with shotguns and speak 20 different languages.

Now you can at least get a start on the language side of thing.

Duolingo is a free, fun and good looking language learning software that launched today. Not only do you become more impressive, you partake in translating the internet. AMAZING!

Sell your stock in Rossetta Stone…

I slammed through the Spanish section just to test the program. Then I learned more German in 5 minutes than I had in 27 years.

Ich bin Ian.

Rock n’ Roll


There is no excuse for not being a superhero these days.

These are revolutionary times.

-With Love


Eleven Days in Cebu

I’ve been in The Philippines for eleven days now. Here are the updates.

Working With Chris

Ian and Chris Virtual Business LifestyleChris Ducker is a destroyer. From the day I landed here I’ve been busy working on interesting, fast moving projects. You could say I got swept up into it.

Experiencing his managerial prowess and hearing his stories of building businesses all over the world has given me more valuable business knowledge than my 4 years studying International Business in the University system (I’m exaggerating – I really value my University experience.)

The other day he says to me, “Ian lets take a picture for this blog post.”

My whole face is swollen up with a fungus infection because silly me was sucking on a dirty mango in the excited mist of returning to the tropics. I’m definitely not looking as dashing as possible. Anyhow, Chris has an electric attitude towards getting stuff done, and I like that sort of attitude. “Alright, lets do it!”

For those following me through him- don’t worry. The guy is firing on all 8 (12?) cylinders and there will be heaps of great stuff to come.

The Philippines

This place is loud, dirty and pure havoc.

I love it. Honestly, it’s pure freedom.

Road Towards Balambam

I’m coming off 9 months in New Zealand. New Zealand is probably the safest place on Earth. The national news talks about cats stuck in trees. No one has guns. There are no snakes. Stores all close before 4:30. It’s a utopia if you want to chill and raise a family.

Here in the Philippines, things are different. Everything looks unsafe here. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen one thing in the past 11 days that wouldn’t make NATIONAL news in New Zealand. From the overloaded droopy power lines to the helmet-less family on a motorbike. From the smog chuggin’ trucks to the no-refrigeration open air fish markets. Hell, there are even shotgun sportin’ security guards outside each bank! Everything here would be considered a crime in New Zealand. I like it!

I feel like I could write a weekly photo blog update on exotic things I see here…Would you be interested in reading that? Comment below. Tweet or e-mail me. Tell me what you think

My 200 km Drive Around the Island

Motorcycle Around Cebu

I hired a scooter and drove 200 km around the north end of Cebu Island in a day.

I didn’t see another white guy until I got back to Cebu.

What a fantastic adventure.

Here is a small and beautiful photo blog of the Journey.

North West of Cebu Road

Beautiful North Cebu

Awesome Scooter Cebu
My Scooter

Buildings in rural cebu

Driving Around Cebu

Map of Driving The Northland of Cebu
The Journey

In Closing

The fungus has cleared off my face (thanks to the freedom to buy prescription medicine over the counter.)

Filippino Haircut in Cebu 40 phpAlso, I got a hair cut today. It was a great bare essentials haircut with no luxury spared. A bit of a massage, a bit of a straight razor shave (with a utility style razor), a bit of isopropyl alcohol for gel. I even learned some new Visayan words. My barber, Joseph, stands about 4’6″ and lives across the street from me.

It cost 40 philippine pesos.

If you want to know how much that is in USD, Google the phrase “40 php in usd”

That’s it… for now…

I really appreciate you reading this blog and interacting with me.

Would you be interested in a weekly photo & comment blog about the bizarre stuff in Cebu? 

Get in contact with me.

With Love,


Moving to the Philippines – Won The Internship

Nothing Happened

I won the internship with Chris Ducker.

Everything has changed so quickly over the past few weeks since I spoke on the phone with Chris Ducker. He told me I had won. I’m beginning the adrenaline filled preparation for departure.

  • Selling my stuff,
  • Researching a new land,
  • Prepare myself for the tasks to come

Selling My Stuff

To be honest I don’t have too much. For the most part I haven’t added to my material world since I arrived. As a rule, I’m planning on packing very light for the move to Cebu City.

I’m most concerned that I set Veronica up so that it is easy for her to turn the key off on the New Zealand life and jump on a plane.

Researching a New Land

Researching the Philippines has been astonishing. Here is a bullet point of things that I’ve learned over the past month, and never had heard of before:

  • The Philippines was a Spanish colony for nearly 300 years
  • The Filipinos were on the cusp of freedom, they had beaten the Spanish back from the whole country except the walls of Manila
  • Then the Spanish seceded the Philippines to the USA
  • The USA and the Philippines began a terrible war involving scorched earth campaigns, concentration camps and untold misery.
  • The USA lost about 4,000 troops the filipinos lost thousands and even more civilians.
Not a happy history between my country and this new country I’ll be setting up shop in. None-the-less, the USA and the Philippines fought together in WWII so I hope these more recent encounters are more descriptive of the Filipinos feeling towards yanks.

On a happier note; I also learned that the Philippines has:

  • A polo club (I’ve always wanted to play polo)
  • FANTASTIC Diving
  • Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Eskrimador Lessons (I plan to train in martial arts while I’m there)
  • A growing economy
  • A lovely change in cost of living

Tasks to Come

I’ve got to improve upon my video editing skills. So I started making some videos over the past month. First off, I had to film something. Luckily, I’ve been working on The Rock up in the Bay of Islands. I had some awesome material to film. So I put effort into making better iMovie videos:

Mix up some Sublime, house boating, diving, kayaking, fishing and beautiful sunsets with iMovie and you can’t go wrong.

But my interest was sparked with this. I wanted to take it further. When I get to Cebu I want to start adding value to whatever Chris is looking to build. The next step was the professional program called Adobe Premiere.

Again I needed something to film. Luckily, my good roommates invited me to go with them to Snowplanet up on the North Shore (Auckland). We took some dodgy videos of our less than expertise snowboarding skills. To be honest, I thought the project would be a failure as I replayed the dark ugly raw footage of our trip. I knew Premiere was a professional grade program and I started editing with merely the hope that I could create something worth watching.

I learned that Premiere is like the Photoshop of digital movie editing. Despite the fact that the footage was almost entirely too dark, I was able to bring the images out with effects and building the contrast. I wouldn’t have been able to do this with the simpler, more user friendly programs.

With a contrast adjustment and  some fiddling with lights I was able to piece this together.

Mix together some snow time shenanigans, The Strokes and some sweet new toys. Can’t go too wrong can you?

Most of all, I’m really happy with the learning curve. Premier is a killer program and I have confidence that I can make some high quality videos in the future.

Photos From the Past Few Weeks

Veronica and I have

Ian, Veronica And Dan
Ian, Veronica And Dan

Veronica Looks GoodFine Dinning at Khao O'onoconnel street in AucklandReflects On Her HairNothing HappenedBay Of Islands Map - Ian RobinsonAuckland From Mt Eden

Ian Robinson Cooking
Ian Robinson Cooking


I’m getting ready to go to the Philippines. Veronica and I will be spending a few months apart while I find solid ground and a healthy lifestyle in that strange country. I’m enjoying the anticipation for departure. Soon enough, I’ll be saying hello in Tagalog.