My themes for 2024
“Pessimism is easy because it costs nothing. Optimism is hard because it must be constantly reaffirmed. In the face of a hostile, cynical world, it takes effort to show that positivity has merit.” - Steph Ango
It’s ridiciously easy to be cynical and pessimistic.
“Crypto is an obvious scam.”
“These AI wrappers will go down to zero.”
You will be right most of the time.
It’s a great way to protect yourself and feel superior.
Hostility towards all new ideas means you will never fail.
But you are also never going to win big.
You know, as guru Steve Jobs observed “the only people who change the world are the ones who are the ones crazy enough to believe they can.”
My default frame is pretty much 100% orthogonal to “yes and”.
So I want to work on that by doing improv and writing down a win every day.
Not necessary to become a “yes and” person.
Being contrarian is helpful at times.
But I want at least to have both frames readily available at any time.
Nothing lasts forever so any doomsday prediction is correct on long enough timeframes.
But why not have some fun in the meantime?
“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” - F. Scott Fitzgerald
Becoming more congruent will have a massive positive impact on my life.
“Maybe the hardest part is accepting who you are and what you stand for.
It doesn’t mean that you have to be proud of every weakness and flaw. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to improve yourself.
But the key is to stop hiding your flaws and weaknesses.
And it really starts with small things. When you’re reading something weird or uncool, stop hiding it when someone walks around the corner. When someone asks about your job or hobby or plans, don’t give a vague answer even though you’re embarrassed about it.
Own what you do and who you are. And you can still express clearly that you’re working on improving yourself, getting a better job, or whatever it is you feel like needs hiding from the world.
The more you accept yourself, the more congruent you become.”
Everything you put out there about yourself is an hook other people can catch to form a connection to you.
This also means that if you never reveal anything about yourself, well, you won’t have real connections to anyone.
And that’s important because it is easy to get fooled by the pursuit of individualistic self-development.
I’m 100% guilty of thinking about what say next when talking to people instead of listening and responding properly.
I’m scrolling on my phone instead of paying full attention to the TV show I’m watching.
I’m listening to podcasts while working out instead of being fully aware of my body.
For some of these there are simple fixes.
We’ve bought a “digital detox” box for our apartment where my girlfriend and I lock in our phones every evening.
While workouts without audio content initially sucked they’ve quickly become more enjoyable when I learned to pay proper attention to my body.
Meditation definitely helps too.
But also congruency directly ties into this:
“If you’re 100% congruent, you can relax and truly listen to the other person, letting whatever comes out of your mouth come out without premeditation.”
“How many men stand on a balcony and wonder what happened?… He wanted adventure and he got two weeks’ vacation. He wanted a mission and he got a lawn that needs mowing. He wanted purpose and he got a cubicle. He wanted a mighty steed and he got a minivan. He wanted a castle and he got a mortgage. He wanted a battle to fight and he got televised sports. He wanted wisdom and he got talking heads on TV. He wanted treasure and he got endless debt. He wanted every part of his life to be wonderful, and here he is… standing on a balcony, in bleak, ruminating hesitation.” - Zan Perrion
It happens to me all the time that I get sucked into some rabbit hole only to emerge hours later wondering where the past 8 hours went.
So I want to be more intentional about how I’m spending my time.
A good day consists of 1) taking care of your mind (writing, meditation), 2) taking care of your body (working ou, running), 3) doing something useful (work, helping someone), 4) doing something social.
But unless I’m very intentional one part usually eats all the others.
For me it’s usually number 3).
So part of what I’m trying is to have clear boundaries about work.
I pick tasks that truly move the needle in the morning and only allow 1-2 hours of extra work for unexpected, urgent tasks.
When I’m not prioritizing my meditation, workout and writing session first thing in the morning, they won’t get done.
So I’m not allowing myself to do anything work related until I’ve checked these boxes on my daily Roam template.
I have a work shutdown ritual.
Afternoons are reserved for social activities.
I meet friends, go to local events, I reach out to strangers, I send messages to people I haven’t talked to in a while.
This is useful on a micro scale but it’s also important for me to be more intentional on a macro scale.
What am I truly trying to achieve this year? What am I hoping my life to look like? And what specifically is truly helping me move in that direction?