It’s been a quick month into 2022, and the bodies of resolutions are piling up by the road to good intentions.
There’s no way to sugarcoat the reality of how quickly things can and do change. Within days of getting back to work after three weeks or so of holidays, several people I respect have decided to pull stumps at work and take a break. The great resignation, in their cases, are from well paid jobs, not menial ones. They wanted out from the meaninglessness of it all, and to use their (at least temporary) financial cushions to put perspective back into their lives. Kate O’Neill, in a blog post titled The Great Resignation and the human future of work, makes the point amply clear:
“the Great Resignation could be a sign that not enough people are finding enough of a sense of meaning in work.”
Bowing out of a rat-race, merely to join another one, is not an attractive proposition. The need, not merely a desire, to go beyond accomplishment, and towards contribution, is getting stronger for a lot of people I know, and it is wonderful to be a small part of their discovery. I know that I, like everyone else, will get to the point of frustration in my organisation’s way of doing things. Until that comes about, I choose to focus on the things I can change.
I finally got around to seeing a specialist about a cough that has intermittently been my companion for nearly two decades. Daily walks continue as a habit. I’ve added the 100 Day Pushup challenge to my routine. And of course it’s a challenge at the end of week 1, even though I’d gone up to week 3 in a previous attempt before giving up. Eating better and less, moving a bit more, drinking more water are habits I want to build. Knowing how to add them to my routine (keep a bottle of water next to me, get up to go fill it, pick a fruit when I feel hungry are working slowly in my favour although not always. Yet).
Stock markets around the world are shedding the gains they made over the last two years. There’s a sense of despondency, and it’s easy to get sucked into the vortex of looking at the portfolio every day (I do) and feeling despondent (I surprisingly am not!). The housing market is hot and unaffordable for most people here in Australia.
Prof. Scott Galloway’s blog post “The Algebra of Wealth” was a timely read too, a wonderful reminder that wealth is more than mere income.
I’ve always struggled with focus. There are a ridiculous number of things I want to do well (that I can do badly now), and I’m not always sure why I want to 🙂 Prof Galloway slaps me down with three words:
Follow your talent.
Practically, in the last month, I’ve managed to get my taxes sorted, got talking to a finance professional about consolidating investments, and tidied up all record keeping to date.
The Important Stuff
My talent is in connecting. To be really good at it, I need to communicate effectively, both in writing and verbally. The only way I know to do this is with practice. That’s why I write every day. I’ve discovered the value and power of a handwritten note, preferably a legible one. Learning calligraphy has been helpful. Most benefically, it is also a meditative exercise, calms me down, makes me cogitate on the quotes or passages I’m writing and commits at least the idea to memory for recall later. In the last month, doing all this publicly has been liberating, habit-building, and sometimes the best thing to do. This will be 64th post here in 2022. I’ve journalled almost every night about things I can’t or won’t do publicly.
None of this means that I’ve gotten better at communicating, including with my kids, a constantly evolving challenge every parent faces? They do push me to think about better ways of connecting, through the things that resonate with them. (Flying a drone at the beach, combining several interests and doing it together as a family has been great fun)
Our garden is flourishing, entirely through my wife’s effort. She’s discovered her talent, and the energy she exudes while doing it gives me the energy I need to work on things I can to keep our household going.
I’ve read a few books this month: Richard Feynman (What do you care what other people think?), Donella Meadows (Thinking in Systems), Gary Provost (100 Ways to Improve Your Writing), Seth Stevens-Davidowitz (partly read Everybody Lies), John McPhee (in the middle of Draft No. 4). Keeping reading on Feedbro has let me stay focused on reading/saving/sharing which I’ve done copious amounts of!
I’ve learnt how to use new digital tools or get a bit better at using the ones I know: Notion, Github, RStudio, Markdown & Xaringan to build HTML slides, CSS. I’ve learned how to, and repaired and rebuilt two MacBooks.
For the community radio station, I wrote up a strategy plan, reviewed and tidied up finance plans, integrated a payment gateway on the radio station’s website, created a brand new sponsorship/ad pitch document, arranged the Board Meeting, gave ideas on how the presenters could be publicised, and a bunch of other things.
Blows my mind that I also spent, on average, 4 hours on my phone throughout this month.
The one article I think is worth reading over and over again was shared by my friend and manager early this month. Titled Time Billionaires, it offers a frame to look at the one resource that every one of us has in a very different light.
If you had the opportunity to switch places with Warren Buffett, would you do it? You could be one of the richest people in the world. But you would also have to be 90 years old.