creativity takes courage

It’s been two years since I wrote a post about resolutions and the new coming year. At that time I was concentrated on seven things I wanted to accomplish or improve.

I got some things done, and some didn’t even get a chance. These days I feel resolutions alone are not enough. Even if you are committed in starting something new, that’s not enough. The real challenge is sticking with it, because results will not materialize for a while.

In 2019 I learned that consistency is the most powerful thing we can do to achieve something in our lives. Regularity, steadiness, iteration, continuous improvement are the keywords that define successful results.

In the 2007 documentary “The Pixar Story“, Steve Jobs appears to talk about those early years of Pixar. He said:

If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.

Steve Jobs

I think this is the key lesson I want to take with me for this last year, and for life, to be honest. Achieving something meaningful will always requires hard work and it has to be done consistently. Some will say this is obvious, but I think there’s not a lot of people that actually do it.

So before thinking about what I want to do in 2020, let’s talk about what I’ve done in 2019:

  • Work: I worked for 10 different projects at my current job, and 8 other projects in my spare time. I like the number 18. It means life in Hebrew. I’ve always felt my work and my life were combined. I’m grateful that I still find joy in the work that I do, and still can’t see myself doing anything other than working with web design and web development.
  • Travel: I traveled twice this year. I went to Brazil, where I got to participate and celebrate the wedding of one of my oldest and dearest friends. I also got a chance (just the next day) to celebrate my birthday with my entire family and friends. Then, a short month after that I had the opportunity to travel to San Francisco and visit the Facebook campus! I was invited by another dear friend and we spent an entire week there. I visited other companies in the Valley and had a magical time. I should probably write a post about that experience later (note to self here!).
  • Finance: I learned a lot about the stock market this year (way more than I expected), and started investments that hopefully will pay off in the long run. Investing and finance are topics that require continuous learning and commitment. Thankfully, I think I got exposed to the best person I could in this matter: Warren Buffett. I learned about his life, his investment teachings, his influences, his views of the world, and more importantly, about value investing. I feel that his wisdom will definitely stay with me for a very long time.
  • Health and Wellness: This was the first year in my life that I committed to exercise on a weekly basis, with the help of a professional (another dear friend). I kept going and I started to see the results, until I stopped a few months later. It was probably the worst decision I made this year. But I intend to get back at it and put more effort. I’m already feeling the pain of not sticking to that routine. The body keeps scores and it always wins.
  • Life: In 2017 one of my personal resolutions was to build meaningful relationships. The next year I met my girlfriend and we’ve been together ever since. It has been a real building process, in the best sense. Step-by-step we’ve been discovering each other, and we’ve been developing a deeper connection. I’m learning a lot, making mistakes and doing things right at the same time. Love is not a straight line for me like it seems to be for some people. It never has been that way for me, and I don’t think it will ever be. But I believe in building, and it’s much easier if it’s with someone you love.
  • Learning: Outside of investing, I learned a lot of other things in my field of expertise, and in multiple other topics. There are too many items to put in one list, but that would includes a range of subjects: from WordPress with WooCommerce and subscriptions methods, to relationship mechanisms with Esther Perel and Brené Brown. I read two wonderful books (back to back) on these topics, and countless articles and notes online.
  • Entertainment: I watched 16 new movies (that I actually kept track). 5 of those were documentaries. I also fully watched 5 different new shows (mostly on Netflix), and at least 3 new specials (comedy and life related).

When I think of it, this all seems a lot to me. To some it will mean very little. But this is a self-reflection post, so who cares?

Now for 2020, here’s what I’m thinking…

Honestly, I just want to improve and have more consistency in all these areas. But I’ll try to be more specific and add some color to things along the way (no particular order here):

  • I want to start a new project. My goal is to start a website to talk about the Open Web. I believe it is a topic that I can write with some experience. I think we need a plethora of voices and opinions in this subject. I don’t know if my voice will have any impact or make any difference, but I believe it’s something I can contribute. I already have a name and domain. I just need to kick things off.
  • I want to reduce my “side hustle” projects (in web development) to focus on new things. This has always been a difficult one for me, but every year I feel this is something I need to strive more and more.
  • I will move to a different place in a month. With luck, that move will bring about some needed change in some areas of life. It will also force me to think more consciously about minimalism and getting rid of things (something I started to focus back in 2017).
  • Read more books than news. This one can be difficult with all the distractions and attention grabbers, but I intend to put real effort there. Plus, with a heavy political scenario and things happening in the US (and a crazy election year), I feel the news will be more toxic than anything. I think shifting my attention will not only be healthier, but almost necessary to focus.
  • Spending time with the people that mean the most. Finding balance between the time spent with my girlfriend, friends and family has been a massive challenge for me in the past two years. I believe discovering the right balance here will be essential for my own sanity moving forward.
  • Focus more on optimism than pessimism. “There is no positive in being negative”. I heard this one in the beginning of the year and it stuck with me. Not easy, but again, essential.

An entire decade is over, but I have a sense that this next one will have a lot in store. What I have to do is to keep swimming.