12 May 2013
Somehow I didn’t enjoy the supposed ‘ups’ as much as I thought I would, and conversely, in a strangely sadistic way, the downs actually ended up making me much happier. Sure they sucked in the beginning, but just like the happy things, I got used to them. Once I got used to them, I began to figure out how to overcome them. And I did, and it felt freakin’ good.
My biggest takeaway of Year 26: if life feels like smooth sailing, it means you’ve gotten stuck in the baby pool. Here’s looking forward to another challenging year.
Things I’m grateful for this past year:
- The GF, who stuck by me and inspired me through her own example, who always tried to nudge me in the right direction but never pushed or shoved (even when she probably should have).
- My family and friends who supported me through the tough times, even if they were >5000 miles away.
- The opportunity to be working here in London, in a job I’m passionate about, with people who were willing to impart their knowledge and collaborate.
I’ve just finished “59 Seconds: Think a little, change a lot” by Prof Richard Wiseman. It was recommended by Amazon after I had bought another book, so compliments to Amazon’s recommendation algorithm (can I take a look pretty please).
It’s marketed as a self-help book that’s backed by real experimental research, although I found it to be a fascinating book on the irrationality of the human mind and how easily it can be influenced in a substantial way by subtle changes (perhaps my perspective was coloured after completing Dan Ariely’s “A Begínner’s Guide to Irrational Behavior”.) For example, a survey conducted in front of a funeral home and at another location 3 blocks away found that people who answered the survey in front of the funeral home were more positive about charitable donations, and listed kindness and generosity as important personal attributes more often. This is one of a number of experiments showing that people behave differently when reminded of death, even if the reminder is only subtle.
In the spirit of the experimenters, I will be following some of the techniques in the book (most of which involve writing! How convenient – I happen to have a dead blog to revive) so expect some strange posts ahead.
FOR SCIENCE! (and happiness)
1 January 2012
In a sense, 2011 was built on much firmer foundations that had been built over the previous year -- a new job, new home, new licence, new lifestyle -- that I spent the year getting used to. Stability was supposed to be the reward of all that hard work, and I guess I did enjoy it for a while. But stability is like chewing gum: it's nice at first but then gets stale after a while. And one year is too long to spend chewing on the same piece.
Next year's focus will be on finding more pieces to chew. It's not going to be a pretty year by any forecast (especially the one by the Mayans), but as long as that one doesn't come true I should be fine.
Have a great 2012 everyone!