As this is the last newsletter of the year it feels like I should at least make some attempt to write something thoughtful.
Rather than a chronological run-through of what’s been happening, I’ll instead share some things I’ve been thinking about, which you might find interesting to read.
Article I’ve shared the most
The Tail End. Essentially how things which we may take for granted because we can “always” do them later actually have a very real finite number attached to them.
E.g. books you’ll read, elections you’ll vote in, times you’ll visit your parents.
“You’re not thinking; you’re just being logical”
I recently came across this quote through the Thought Cages radio programme. They’re great little 15 minute episodes which each look at one aspect of how the world is (largely) constructed on the premise of people acting logically. And how that’s not always the best thing to do.
For someone who has a bias for being logical, this “don’t be logical” mindset is something I’m trying to adopt more.
How to make time for the important things?
I’ve been having a recurring sense that I’m missing out on doing the important things, and instead of getting caught up in the busyness of life.
Getting perspective on what I’m spending time doing has been playing on my mind a bit, and I’m conscious that I’ll need to think about this more come May 2019 when I finish a contract with a company I’ve been working with full time for the past year.
This means I’ll “lose the crutch” of going to the office every day and feeling productive about my life, and instead have more of a blank canvas about what I want to be doing.
The best advice I’ve read on getting into good habits is the concept of Goals vs Systems, which says focusing on good practice (i.e. system) has a much greater pay off than trying to achieve a “goal”. Another take is captured here.
Is this prime time to make money?
I know there are endless advice articles saying that it’s important to “do what you love” and “live in the moment” but I’m also conscious that late 20s into 30s is the time when you’re most likely to have the energy and (somewhat) skill to make a decent chunk of cash that could set you up for the rest of your life.
Whilst there is short term benefit in reading lots of books, taking long walks every day and pursuing some niche hobby, it may not be the best course of action when I theoretically would be best placed to get out and set up something.
Anyway, I don’t have an answer for this one, but it’s a conversation I’ve had with a few people recently.
A date to move back from East Africa
Most likely November 2020.
Work permits in Kenya come in multiples of two, and my girlfriend recently received a new permit which means two years is a natural endpoint.
I’ll be thinking about this more throughout the year once I have more time to properly commit the headspace but either way, I’m confident I’ll want to continue having involvement in the region, despite not living there.
Quote I’m thinking on
“In any situation, the person who can most accurately describe reality without laying blame will emerge as the leader, whether designated or not.” Susan Scott, Fierce Conversations.
Aren’t animals great
To everyone who takes the time to read these posts each week, or on occasion. It’s always nice to hear how people are getting on, and any of the links which you found particularly interesting (and why).
I also know that each email can be a bit random, but I appreciate you sticking with it!
In other news…
Christmas in Denmark went well.
A lot of familiar things: excitement at the snow on the big day, Christmas music playing in the kitchen, shop assistants (whom you’d never normally extend beyond a “Thanks”) heartily wishing a “Merry Christmas”.
The main differences were:
- “Live” candles on the Christmas trees: a brazen flout at fire safety. Though they do have the highest candle consumption per capita in Europe.
- Holding hands and singing around the Christmas tree: after dinner on the 24th the tree was moved to the centre of the room and everyone gathered in a circle. We then held hands, and everyone started looking at each other. I was half-expecting this to be a prank, and for everyone to say “Haha – OK only joking, let’s all sit down now and exchange presents”. But no. This was a legit thing that was about to happen. The youngest cousin started singing a carol and we all followed along and began walking in circles around the tree. Needless to say, my Danish was not good enough to either follow along nor contribute. When it came to my turn we figured out what was an English tune that everyone knew the words to. That ended up being “Last Christmas” which was probably one of the few times George Michael made an appearance at Danish Christmas…
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