draw you line in the sand make a change

“When you really want something to happen, the whole world conspires to help you achieve it.” ― Paulo Cohelo, from The Alchemist

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Today I pose a challenge.

This small act that might change everything.

You see, without a deadline many of us are nothing. We think and think about the things we want to do, like the dreams we have and the changes we know we need to make. Yet nothing happens. They remain in our future. They eat away at us – the things we wish we could do, but never actually take the action to make a possibility. And we wonder why we’re disappointed they haven’t happened yet…

You’re probably thinking of one right now.

But why do we wait?

We wait for the perfect time – which never comes. We wait until we’re ready or when the next step feels certain. Unfortunately, that never happens either. How perfect is the timing of becoming a new mother or smoking your last cigarette? That’s what I thought. But then again, perhaps that means it was right all along.

Yet sometimes the smallest shifts can get us to take action on the things that have held us up for a lifetime.

Today I propose drawing a line in the sand.

My guess is the biggest decision you’re probably facing is to leave the somewhat lifeless job you’re supposed to be proud of, and take the next step to pursue something that matters. That might mean changing industries, starting something on your own, or simply making a smaller shift in your current role. Or perhaps you’re a step ahead and it’s launching that first product, getting your first client or hiring your first employee.

That’s for you to decide. What matters is that you resolve to transition to something that embodies who you are – your talents, strengths, passions and vision for the impact you want to make on the world.

It doesn’t have to be the be-all and end-all. In fact, it never is. That’s the beauty of it.

Life is a constant experiment, a constant series of corrections, of learning by doing and adjusting to what feels the most congruent with who we are. We never get there. With a career, the journey actually is the destination. So there is no pressure that you might not take the first step in the perfect direction. If it’s a step that excites you, that’s perfection.

So join me in drawing a long, thick, deep line – the process is simple:

  1. Draw your line – give it a specific date 
  2. Find a reason why you refuse to put it off any longer
  3. Put it up where you’ll see it daily
  4. Tell a few people about it and kindly ask them to hold your feet to the fire
  5. Celebrate your courage

If your line is in six months, then find that exact date in your calendar. Write it down – block off the whole day to celebrate you finally sacking up to rewrite your script.

Give yourself ample time to keep from panicking, but not enough to kill the urgency and fuel the complacency. For something as big as a new career, shoot for around six months. Three months can happen before you know it and nine months or a year is too far off to actually motivate. We want to feel the fire but not enough to cause us to retreat in panic.

And don’t worry, it often happens long before you ever reach your edge. Nearly ten years ago I drew a six-month line to retire from banging my head against the metal corner of my cube. Within seven weeks I was gone.

The Magic of Resolving to Make a Change

Your date will obviously depend a little on life situations, but for the most part, once you have a clear point where your story needs to change, you’ll figure out the steps to make it possible.

That’s the beauty of resolving to do something.

When you do, you start to act differently without even knowing it. We approach the world in a slightly refined way. Subconsciously we start to make small daily decisions and have conversations that we never would have had before.

Those decisions and discussions lead to places and opportunities we could have never imagined.

They open us up to the beauty of serendipity. To curious chance. Some might even call it “luck”. But it’s far from it. As coincidental as some things might seem, they are far from lucky. They’re just the results that come from fully resolving to make a change that matters to you. A change that you know you must make in order to have a chance at being whole.

Things are set in motion long before you actually jump off the ledge. And because of that, your fear of the ledge starts to fade. And often times the cliff gets replaced with a path – one you know you’ve been wanting to walk for a long time. And that’s when things begin to transform.

So that’s your only task for today. Just draw your line and decide why it’s non-negotiable. Direct a few others towards it. Then let your decision sink in for the rest of the day. Oh, and celebrate! Because this is where everything starts.

I’ll even join you – two deep lines I recently drew were:

1. Two weeks ago my good friend Leo and I signed up for the North Face Endurance Challenge in December, a 50-mile foot race. We’ve gone on three runs over 10 miles since then. We still have a long way to go and you’re welcome to join us!

2. Last week Liz talked me into committing to having the full redesign and massive update to our Live Off Your Passion career course live by the end of this week – including its own interactive members-only website (similar to our Connect with Anyone course). It’s been a huge undertaking, but I think you guys are going to love it. The update will of course be free to all current LOYP members.

Very little of my current world would exist without the right lines (and the friends to help me draw them).

So how about you?

As a part of Live Your Legend, you already know your answer.

If you’ve been a passive reader until now, it’s time to embrace the community we’ve all created here.

We’re here to help any way we can.

In the comments, tell us your line, date and why it’s so important.

The more we engage, the greater our impact becomes.

The challenge has been thrown down.

I’m all in. You?

-Scott


Leave a Reply

70 Responses to “I Challenge You: Draw Your Line In The Sand”

  1. Joe says:

    Scott,
    Excellent article! We all need to re-assess where we’re at and what we’re doing from time to time. Life is too short to let it become stagnant and purposeless.

    I think the concept of drawing a line forces us to make those changes in our lives that we know we really want to make.

  2. Catherine says:

    Quit this job for the one I deserve and love by December 13, 2013. Because I am worth it and deserve it.

  3. Jana says:

    Thanks Scott, I needed to read this today to get me moving. My line: Create my “Beginner Kit” for my website by the end of the summer. Reason: I will have the time to make this happen.

  4. Thanks for this. Comes as a good reminder. I think it was a little over a year ago, I read in an article of yours about setting a date or drawing a line in the sand. We’ll I have never announced it, but at that time I wrote down August 31st, 2013–feeling confident that I had a good amount of time to do what I needed to do to make that happen.

    Here we are a mere two and a half months away and although I can’t say I will reach that deadline, as I’m the slowest producer of content in the world, but I will say that setting the date and shorter ones as well, has helped me to actually finish the projects I have started.

    Most importantly I have connected and surrounded myself with people like yourself, Liz, and others–to help me stay inspired to keep moving forward and that’s what will help me see this thing through, no matter how many new deadlines I have to set, lol.

    Seriously though, I don’t think I would be where I’m at right now without LiveyourLegend. You came into my life at the right time and continue to give me strength when I’m down and out. Thank you!

  5. By 31st July 2013, I will publish my first book. How to Survive Women: A Man’s Guide will hit the e-book shelves at Amazon in 50 sleeps or less.
    My promise is that when you read this book, never again will you look at women with that “oh shit, I’ve blown it” look on your face – and not know how to fix it.
    This book has been underway for 18 months (since I shook off the golden handcuffs of day jobbery) and in my head for ever. It’s time to deliver.
    Scott, thanks heaps for calling it.

  6. Keith Kehrer says:

    My line in the sand.

    I will make my entire living from writing film scores, licensing music and performing with my band
    by 12/31/13

    Keith Kehrer

  7. Andrew says:

    The line I’m drawing is, I’m not going to smoke marijuana anymore. It’s too easy for me to get comfortable being stagnant when under the influence of it, and that’s only going to keep from making progress in life and becoming more happy.

    My therapist has an accountability sheet and I had him write it down as well. I’ll also draw that line here. Thank you Scott for the newsletters – Probably 99% of them I’ve read and not taken any action on but this one I am and I imagine that’s precisely why you do these newsletters – in the hopes that someone, somewhere will make a change with the article serving as that little extra jolt of motivation.

    • Wow Andrew! How courageous to put that statement out here.

      There’s a reason pp smoke pot “to relax” or in the old days too feel “mellow.”

      As you’ve started noticing, it can relax you right out of any purpose in life.. motivation.. goal. Just “ALIVE” living cuz it numbs you from the good as well as bad.

      Good luck to you!

      ~ darlene

  8. Jon Giganti says:

    Great stuff Scott! Thanks for the wisdom.

    I’m publishing my e-book/course, The Catalyst Blueprint, on or before 10/1/13. I’m also holding my feet to the fire from a financial standpoint. If I don’t meet my deadline I will contribute $250 to the charity of LYL’s choice. I’ve also made this commitment to many others and have about $2,500 on the line. It will be an expensive failure but….failure isn’t an option.

  9. Tabitha says:

    I will quit my job by 12/31/2013 and have a life path that feeds my soul and takes care of me financially.

    • Hey Tabitha,

      Power to you.

      Are you thinking of using Scott’s materials to figure this out? Email me if you’d like to discuss or feel like you want some help. Glad to share some ideas!

      Best,
      Taylor

  10. Liepollo says:

    In a week im going to start contacting potential clients and convince them about my services of home staging in South africa, this buisness is not popular here at all and might be challeng for home sellers to give into it, but ill keep tryning untill i get my first client.

    • Janine says:

      Hi Liepollo

      I’m from South Africa and just curious as to what home staging is?

      Perhaps I could be of assistance?

      Warm regards,
      Janine

  11. Kate says:

    LOVE this. It’s so true- once you commit and show up ALL IN, the Universe can’t help but making it all come true.

    I have 2 parts to this- I set a line to only do work that matters for March 31st, 2013. I left a contract job that paid well but didn’t light me on fire on March 29th. I am ‘making it’, but barely.

    Line 1: Website is up and running with complete offerings by July 15th, 2013.

    Line 2: I have paid off all of my debt and am saving $1000 per month by December 31, 2013.

    Thank you for this!!!

  12. Rolando says:

    I think I really need to start using this community for accountability, thanks Scott.

    I’ll choose Christmas as a convenient date that’s ~6 months from now. I’m about to graduate from University in 3 days, and I don’t even have a job to quit or anything. I know I want to Live Off My Passion (I’ve been in the course group since 3-27-13), but I don’t know if that means starting an e-book, coaching, or whatever. I know I want to do something related to self-improvement, but I don’t know what form it will take. I’m starting a blog, but there’s almost no content on it. I’ve been putting this off, thinking to myself that school work is more important right now (even though I have a pretty light course load – relatively speaking).

    So this is important to me because…
    1) If I don’t make this work it would mean bumming around at my parent’s house.
    2) I won’t be making a difference in the world; I’d just be reading books, blogs, and e-courses for entertainment. “Live Off Your Passion” will just become a seductive phrase that’ll make me bitter because it wouldn’t be my reality. I’m pretty embarrassed about this so I should probably post it anyways: I’d be wasting my parents’ money that I used to purchase the course.

    I’d love any feedback for suggestions on how to keep myself accountable, though :)

  13. Phil says:

    December 4th, 2013 I’m leaving the Midwest and web development industry to pursue a career as a scuba instructor in the Florida Keys. I’ve already started studying for the tests.

  14. Ty says:

    My line is drawn at 9/2/13, when I will have developed and launched my first repackaged NLP product for anyone to use.

  15. Leah Hynes says:

    Thanks for keeping us accountable Scott! My deep line in the sand is:

    To have a paid-for training session available to peeps to sign up to by 27 June 2013 (this is the day we fly out for WDS)!

    Now I just have to let Naz and Melanie know! I have a feeling they’ll but up for it.

    See you in 23 days!!!! Leah xo

  16. Chandra says:

    Great post, Scott!

    I will quit my job by Dec 12 2013 and go on that world trip with my wife and 2 year old daughter that I have been dreaming of for the last few years.

    I will take the time off to reassess my career, decide if I want to go back to school to get a CS degree, and think about ways of converting my passion for photography and writing and computers into an alternative career where I am my own boss.

  17. Wendy says:

    June 11th, I’ve drawn my line in the sand.
    Started my YES I CAN CHALLENGE (Blog to Book project) using myself as my first client.

    Creating a Personal Branding Agency
    Helping Individuals and Small Businesses Identify & Promote Their Professional Identity

  18. Guus says:

    Í’ll find my passion back on or before July 15, 2013.

  19. Jeeves says:

    I started on the path of self discovery two years ago. Started on my own a year back with two offerings. I have been the happiest working for myself, doing things that I like. But getting paying customers has been a bit of a challenge. I got my first paying customer for one of the offering a few months back, but the other one is still in 0 growth phase.
    I draw my line today- I would get my first paying customer by 31st December 2013.

  20. Kai Wilder says:

    My Line In The Sand

    I Will make the Commitment of Launching the X Link Initiative. As You Said There is No Right Time, its always been the Right Time. I Will Find a steady or ‘stable’ source of income from my Talents and Passions by or Before Aug 1st. Already been a lot of planning around it but over the last 2 weeks ive been nearly paralyzed without action. Sharing the plans has made me commit now I have to carry out with these plans, and trust them to produce..

    And I will Move in to a productive and disciplined environment to further my endeavors on or before september 7. (Revelation of the Month- Since refusing to work towards anything other than Living My Legend i’ve become a Drifter…Ready to Resettle and Rebuild) I could use Your Help…

    #ReadyOrNOt !

  21. Annie says:

    By Nov. 11th, I will either be in a new job situation that allows me to fully and joyously give my gifts, or I will have launched at least one new business (or both!)

    It’s simply time. I have way more to offer the world than I am currently doing in a job that does not provide me the opportunity to really make a difference and to soar.

    Let the input from the universe begin!!

  22. Ben says:

    Hi Scott,

    So the time has come to draw a line! Here is to leaving the next, leaving our comfort zone. Thanks father eagle for the push! Lets fly! I commit to going full blast in life coaching high school and university students along the lake victoria belt in kenya by 7th september, 2013. By then l should also have an interactive website up and running( it is under construction! Too long!)

    Thanks Scott for your commitment to helping us live our legend! I love being part of this community! It rocks!

    Ben Opiyo.

  23. Domi says:

    Hello Scott,
    Today I’m starting INSANITY program, and I’m drawing a line that at 15/08/13 I’ll be in the best shape of my life and I will make it no matter what.

  24. Dena says:

    This is great and the push I needed! By December 11, 2013 I will have figured out my passion and adjusted my work life around this. I don’t know if this means quitting my job (due to health insurance reasons) but it means living life in a different way than today.

    A separate goal is that by July 15, 2013, I will have a blog up and running.

  25. Irina says:

    Hi Scott and everyone.
    Thanks for the great opportunity of taking this challenge and of seeing that others have done so too. I already feel more encouraged to make a step further in my life, a step that I have been anticipating with fear, wondering if I should put it off for later.

    So here is my line in the sand: August 31st will be my last day in the IT field, my contract will end and I will not renew it! I will thus have enough time to dedicate to my newly discovered passion, which is music!

    2nd line in the sand: by August 5th I will have already entered the freelancing world regarding content writing and maybe translating jobs. This will help me earn money until I can learn how to play piano and use my voice.

    3rd line (hope it’s not too many lines): I WILL participate in November at the Irish dances Feis in Krakow. I have made my calculations and the money I can gather from my salary until August 31st will allow me this. Until then, practice and practice some more…

    I cannot say how happy I am that I have finally made these decisions in my life! It gives me a sense of fulfillment, knowing that I have finally committed to these goals, after so much thinking and worrying about whether I should do this or not.

    Thank you all and thank you Scott, thanks again for giving me this chance!

    • Arushi Patel says:

      This is such a wonderful message that I nearly wept! I’ve done the same as you, didn’t renew a contract ending in a well paid corporate job so that I can focus on my passion in food.

      A blog and facebook page has been set up and I’m not only researching, writing and cooking, I’ll be volunteering in a restaurant to gain more skills – need a solid goal to reach now I’ve seen this challenge but it’s reading things like this that has made me so much more confident in these choices I’ve made.

      Best of wishes and gratitude to you all!

      Arushi

  26. Leyla says:

    Hi Scott,
    Thanks so much for the push!
    My line in the sand is being fluent in German until 29 August 2013, so that I can pass the exam for university.
    Wish me luck :)

  27. Debashish says:

    The timing couldn’t have been any better. I just joined another course yesterday where I put down the following:
    “I will have 3 coaching clients by 31st Dec, 2013 and will have made one month’s regular job salary equivalent – from my side income stream, i.e., freelance life coaching.”
    I have talked the talk, now it is time to walk the walk of living my legend.
    A big thanks to Scott for having shown me the path when I was standing right at the edge of the abyss.

  28. Allison says:

    September 14th, 2013 (my 23rd birthday): I will launch my personal website housing my resume, blog, etc… and begin advertising my services as a freelance web designer.

  29. Nedu says:

    Live your Legend:

    Line 1: To earn 10K a month from residual income in personal training by the time I am 27 yrs old which is March 28th, 2014 and have more time to travel and see the world

    Line 2: I will finish with my second e-book and 1st personal training app by June 6th, 2014

    I’ve always been hesitant to tell anyone my dreams, but here it is. All on the table. I will need help from a community of individuals who are like minded. That is why I chose here.

  30. Debi says:

    Great post Scott, thanks for the kick in the butt. I actually do work I love for the most part but have not kept my skills up to date to continue to do work I love. By December 18th, 2013 I will have then website up for the design studio, built entirely by myself and will be proficient in building web sites for clients. I will continue to improve my electronic design skills to become an excellent web and email designer, much in demand by soon-to-be-clients. Thank you.

  31. Etienne says:

    I will publish my first book by December 31, 2013!

  32. Scott says:

    Seeing all these lines is making me SO happy!! Huge congrats guys. This is going to be a lot of fun.

  33. Arushi Patel says:

    Hi Scott,

    Live your Legend has been the most inspirational, eye opening discovery for me – thank you for your constant efforts to help people re-address their lives and go for the things they deserve in life!

    My line: To have 50 recipes written by December 2012 from my research and experiments in food and volunteering in a contemporary restaurant serving incredible food.

    I hope this line will bring together what I have learnt so far and have been learning till December… I wouldn’t have taken these things on but now I’ve realised, I deserve happiness and do what I love and so does everyone else…

    If I am where I want to be in a year, I’d like to hold a Live your Legend talk in my home town – this community deserves to be in everyone’s lives!

    x

    • Debashish says:

      Hi Arushi

      It is really heartening to see a fellow LYLer who is a passionate foodie. I love good, healthy, &easy to cook food. I also like trying out new recipes for myself.
      If there is something I can help with, like testing how easy a recipe is for a beginner to understand or what can you substitute an ingredient for, in a pinch.
      I know the recipes are goiing to be great because they ill be fueled by your passion. Do let the LYL community have some sneak peeks. All the best.

      • Scott Dinsmore says:

        You guys are not the only ones obsessed with food around here! Chelsea and I live from recipe to recipe :). She has a fun veggie recipe blog http://food-lifebalance.com that keeps us constantly experimenting…

        Please keep us posted!

  34. 3 new clients in July, 2013!

    Thanks Scott.

  35. Harry says:

    Scott,

    Great article.

    My line in the sand is on Dec 31, 2013 I will be in the best shape of my life.

  36. Staar says:

    Thanks so much for the challenge, I like the six months idea. Going to stop getting sidetracked, still keeping cubicle job but I will put action to my dreams and see what I can accomplish when I give it my full attention.

  37. Iris says:

    I will make 500€ per month from my coaching practice by December 31st 2013 (my 22nd birthday!) which would mean financial independence from my parents and debt. Got two paying clients already, so I’m on my way. Excited!

    Thanks, Scott.

    • Debashish says:

      Hey Iris

      Way to go in setting down a concrete goal. It seems that the work Scott is doing is actually prompting more people to go out and change the world. It is so great to see people choose to coach others as a way to make an impact.

      I have also chosen to start my own coaching practice and am just in the building phase. I was hoping we could share some ideas on setting up a coaching practice. A fellow LYL member coach’s support would be awesome to have.

  38. joe barnes says:

    I will take a sabbatical from my coaching business to work full time on my, Screw the System: Live your Life movement, on the 1st September 2013. Feel excited about this!

  39. nico says:

    I will leave my country before july 13th this year for as long as possible. don’t want to see the national day on july 14th.

  40. Alixandrea says:

    OK, time to get off my butt and actually get this thing into gear then. I know my date is a bit further ahead, but I have reasons, so:

    By 1st April 2014 I will have transitioned from my current deskjob to a career working for myself in the music industry. I don’t know what shape the job will take, or indeed if there will only be one job making up my career. But I will be working with music full time in one respect or another.

    My reason for choosing that date? I’m currently on a temporary promotion, and 31st March 2014 is the day I go back down to my substantive grade. I know very well that I’ll be doing exactly the same job for less pay. Since I’m already sick to the back teeth of my job as it is, there’s no way I’m going to continue doing it with a pay cut that will make day to day living very difficult.

    My accountability strategy is the blog and Twitter account I have just set up: BrassHandcuffs.
    In it I’ll be detailing all my steps, my successes and failures, everything I do on my path toward my new venture. I hope that it will not only keep me on track, but also help others to ‘escape the shackles of normality’ along with me!

    I’d best go let my friends over on Facebook know what I’ve done… ;-)

  41. Joseph Kemp says:

    By the end of July 2013 I will have all the plane tickets, paperwork, and equipment necessary to volunteer overseas for six months minimum in the areas of construction/ building, Wildlife – environmental conservation, or Sustainable agriculture. BOOM!

  42. Hussein says:

    Scott,

    Your words are so inspiring, and your writings even got more inspiring lately than I started to read your articles two years ago.

    You opened a door of science for me since I started “Live off Your Passion course”, you made me reach such an amazing books like “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, “The Science of Getting Rich” by Wallace Wattles, and many other books and articles.

    I did both, shifted my routine job to an interesting one, and started my passionate business and made my first sales yesterday  (actually I already accomplished my first two deadlines, more deadlines to come)

    I remember your words “to wake up excited”, and I do now 

    Have a great day

    Hussein

  43. Luc says:

    Hi Scott,

    As a former lurker, I have now signed up under a new email address and have drawn a one year line in the sand to pursue my passion: using hockey as a tool to help people connect with their emotions.

    By next Father’s Day (2014), I will have launched.

    Luc

  44. Michelle says:

    I will start the blogging ecourse (the one which you used) to build up my own blog on September 27, 2013 after I will hopefully be employed again (and won’t have to spend so much time finding a job while volunteering full time) and will finally have settled down in the USA more permanently. I have my own conversation to have with the world and it is eating at me!

    I will have the rest of my student loans ($11,000) payed off on December 31, 2013 so I will have the financial freedom to live the life I truly want. This, however, depends on what kind of salary I get when I finally land a job. Maybe it will motivate me to get a decent pay! Gotta get cracking on that cover letter now…later! Thank you for this!

  45. John says:

    My line in the sand for leaving my job and sustaining myself by my writing, photography and whatever else is my next birthday, 5.13.2014. It’s almost a year from now, which I realize is a longish ways away, but that date will allow me to save up a safety net of funds. It also gives me plenty of time to determine my strengths, goals, values and the like, so that I can live more in congruence with myself.

  46. Gabriel says:

    By July 18, 2013 I will create and publish website, because I currently have holiday and there’s no better time than right now. I really hope it will be useful for other people.
    I want to prove myself that I can leave a mark (positive)!

  47. Candace says:

    I will start July 24th and end January 24th with a party to launch a new life/business. My idea is brewing and not totally defined. But I will begin.

    Thanks for that idea and post.

    Good one.

  48. Carlos says:

    I’ve already started taking the steps toward building my own business and giving up working for “The Man”. My line is the one I’ve been thinking about for even longer. 15 years ago I was an Olympic hopeful. But I haven’t even exercised in over a decade. Tomorrow is the day I’m gonna put SWEAT back into my daily routine!

  49. Mari says:

    My line is to save up money to go to a specialized training course, out of state, by the first of November. I’ve been studying this person’s work casually for a few years now and I’m greatly inspired by his philosophy. I know that this training will revolutionize the way I with with clients!

  50. Justina says:

    Really motivational email, as soon as i read it i set the date to 1st November 2013. I must find out what my passion in life is and build the courage to quit my job and persue it.

    the line in the sand is infront of me every morning! Thanks Scott x

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  52. Dominique says:

    This article was just what I needed. I have been working on my PhD for much too long now. It is time to finally end this and move on to something else, something that burns a fire in me. I want to be able to fully enjoy life with my husband and children.

    July 26 2013: I am ready to submit my dissertation to the Dean’s office.

    Thank you so much Scott!

  53. Suzie says:

    By February 14, 2014 I will quit my job in finance for a multi-national corporation to live off of my new job as an Acupuncturist. I’ve been studying chinese medicine and working full time for years now and have finally graduated. I will start my business and be able to live off of it – Happy Valentines Day to me.

  54. Erin W says:

    Great advice, Scott! Sounds very similar to what I did recently by walking 8 miles after sitting at my desk for 21 days. I am also using my desk job to take one class at a time toward a career working outdoors teaching nature reconnection. I decided sometimes change and dreams don’t need to be overwhelming. One foot in front of the other. (http://erinwaterwoman.com/2013/06/03/dream-operation-just-start/)

  55. Joseph Kemp says:

    By the end of July 2013 I will have all the plane tickets, paperwork, and equipment necessary to volunteer overseas for six months minimum in the areas of construction/ building, Wildlife – environmental conservation, or Sustainable agriculture. BOOM!

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