What do you want to achieve?
Kia ora e hoa,
Sharing goals demotivates. That's what some say. Despite this, I still want to share my goals and aspirations. I have lots of thoughts floating around, and writing to you is therapy for my busy mind. Writing to you as an audience also keeps me publicly accountable for what I will say.
I've had some time to take a self-audit — to focus on what's important and what's not. As I said, I've had a lot on my mind.
I am able to boil down my goals and aspirations into four sections:
Blog, Newsletter, YouTube
This pandemic changed a lot for us. I (and I'm sure many others) discovered that ideas are no longer confined to the space in my head or the small community surrounding me. I can share these ideas with the world.
So it began. I started my blog and this newsletter (and even a YouTube channel), committing to publishing once a week, because dedication is more reliable than inspiration.
Do you feel compelled as well?
If you are with me, our primary goal isn't to become good at the craft. Instead, consistency becomes our top priority. Next is to do so in front of an audience. An audience that may praise or potentially criticise our work. If the motivation is truly the joy of craft, to inspire others with our ideas, and build connections with like-minded people, then this will out weight criticism. If not, we need to revisit our values — maybe writing or whatever we are pursuing isn't for us. The only way to know is to start.
Time and patience, by turning up every day and taking in feedback, our ability to story-tell and communicate complex ideas will improve. Our craft develops.
How do we stay consistent? When writing, write about what is itching in mind. What about the target audience? Is our writing unfocused? The audience is our past selves six months ago. Billions of people have access to the internet. There will be at least one person who shares the same situation we are in. What if I have nothing to say? By committing, writing routinely gives you ideas to put out there.
Friends, Close Friends, Partner
I thought this was the longer lasting effect of lock down, but its really how I prioritise things.
My relationships with others sat on the bottom shelf, while my new ambitions took center stage.
Life requires upkeep. Just like a house, the floors need sweeping, so it doesn't get dirty. The grass needs cutting, so it doesn't get too long. The dog needs feeding, or they will starve. Our family and friends need attention and love. If we become consumed by our ambitions, other parts of life become neglected. This is what happened to me with my friendships and relationships.
To keep our sanity, balance is key. Planning activities with friends and loved ones meantime we have to focus on our goals is focused. Productivity ebbs and flows. We can't expect to write or learn for all waking hours away from our obligations. I'm guilt of this. Browsing the web, instead of doing what I intended to sit down and do. Then feeling guilty and trying to catch up until the day is gone.
We enjoy time with others. Then, when it comes time to ourselves. We focus and work. But more importantly, we spend time either others, which makes us happy while also focusing on our own aspirations.
Gym, Food, Sleep
Inspired by this article, I started intermittent fasting. I fast for 16 hours and eat inside eight. The only alteration I had to make was dropping breakfast and skipping milk for a black coffee instead. This is positive as far as I am aware. I have lost weight and plan to keep this going.
Personally, I used to live at the gym. Now, I live in front of the computer — creating, learning and occasionally wasting time. The only exercise I get is a twenty-minute walk with the dog. I want to get back into the gym, focusing on training three times a week.
Cooking and selecting the right foods is a difficult ritual. This book makes the idea of food simple. It distils into eating less, real foods, mostly plants. Being able to plan for meals is an area I want to improve.
Another bad habit that I want to eliminate is my poor sleep. I go to bed late and wake up early. I do this even knowing sleep is important.
The reason is I get into the zone for coding in the evening, or I want to read a book. This is at the cost of restorative sleep. Once again, this comes down to balance and priorities.
The more refreshed we are with good sleep, the more productive we are in our pursuits.
Optometry, Programming, Writing again
Optometry is a great career. But I do think the landscape of how we work will change. Taking ideas from Range by David Epstein and this podcast by This Working Life, we need more than just one job or one skill set.
Like diversifying stock to reduce risk, we can't put all our eggs into one basket for our careers. Our goal isn't to excel in one particular skill; it is better to combine different skills. We build a portfolio career.
I trained as an optometrist. But now I am working on how I interface with a computer. Cue my goal in learning Python, the programming language.
Programming opens so many doors. This includes data analytics to producing products for the web. I have my sights on improving my Python coding ability, learning Django, and machine learning in the future. My grand dream is to build a bigger platform or product than me in the open-source world.
Programming is a superpower. In addition to this, writing online, having your ideas shared to the world even when you are asleep is another superpower.
Optometry, programming and writing act in synergy. This turns my job, which is essentially the same every day and what many people can do, into something where I am constantly learning and evolving.
Writing down my goals and ambitions has given me clarity as well as public accountability.
At the moment I heavily focusing on writing and programming — career and creation. But I have neglected my relationships and health.
With time and patience, hopefully I can strike balance.
Enough about me, what about you? Hit reply. I'm listening.
Did you find this useful? If you did, please forward this on to family and friends so they can find it useful too.
Thanks for reading and all the best for the week ahead.
Ngā mihi nui,
My Favourite Things
Project tubestats I've been working on this where it takes a YouTube channel and outputs some fun statistics. Here is the code.
Podcast #137 – Paul Offit, M.D.: An expert perspective on COVID-19 vaccines This is a good podcast where Paul Offit and Peter Attia talk about vaccines and the clinical trails involved.
Article wagtail I'm increasing my knowledge of django by also learning wagtail to turn my blog into a wagtail site.
Kindle Highlight of the Week
“Rather than believing they have to start with a big idea or plan out a whole project in advance,” he writes, “they make a methodical series of little bets about what might be a good direction, learning critical information from lots of little failures and from small but significant wins” [emphasis mine]. This rapid and frequent feedback, Sims argues, “allows them to find unexpected avenues and arrive at extraordinary outcomes.”
Cal Newport, So Good They Can't Ignore You