Happy 2014!

Happy 2014!

Happy New Year! I delay my “new year resolutions” to February 2nd, Groundhog Day, as the post-holiday period is a chaotic time. It takes a while to process the entire year, too, so I prefer not to rush the process. That said, I have a few preliminary thoughts that I’d like to capture.

  • First, I’ve been feeling weary from the past year. The last half of 2013 was particularly tiring; if my life were a documentary, the director would have edited out that entire period or replaced it with a condensed montage of footage of me working at a desk, because not a lot happened. 2014, I think, is going to be a lot more maintenance, so I am not going to make any grand plans, at least right now, in favor of learning to make-do with making slow progress as I learn a number of new skills really well. A more positive way of putting this is to embrace slowness and truly experience it. I’ve never been very good at embracing slowness in a proactive way; waiting things out, as I have done before, is not the same as really being present in the moment.

  • Second, there is a lot of long-term learning that I have to embrace as well if I want to have the kind of exciting breakthroughs that I desire. Rather than pursue the excitement of learning something brand-new, I want to build upon hat I’ve already started to learn and have mastered to a certain level: design, programming, team-building, blogging, writing, and e-commerce. I am reasonable competent at all these activities, but it seems I have been at the same level for a long time. In years past, the temptation has always been to find a new angle or discover a different niche, perhaps reframe the game and invent new rules for it. This year, I feel that I’ve played out all those scenarios, and they all lead to the same locked doors. To go through those doors, I need to fashion the sequence of keys to unlock them, and that will be by learning how to build them through applied work. Not even hard work…just work alloyed with persistence and mindful engagement to get to Design+1, Programming+1, and so on. It suggests a new style of work-life balance, though I haven’t given this much thought yet.

  • Third, there is an reduction of communal scope that I think is necessary in my life goals, at least during specific blocks of time. Rather than trying to be on top of trends and seeking external validation by monitoring what everyone else is doing, I think I’d like to turn inward and produce my own independent trends. By that, I mean creating a sense of achievement based on the evaluation of my past work, not by comparing it to what other people have done. That also means looking to how people react to my work as affirmation, and seeking that approval as the end rather than seeing it as data.


p>The overall motivation behind these three thoughts is this realization: I am in the process of changing myself from a consumer to a creator. The consumer mentality is one of intake and replication, of following existing processes and making them fit in exchange for certain benefits. There’s nothing wrong with that, and it is the very core of a stable economy. However, if I approach the creative act with the consumer mindset, I am doomed to failure because of the mismatch between expectations. The creator mentality is one of unique output, of trying new processes that don’t fit at all, in exchange for uncertain outcomes.

I’m somewhere between consumer and creator as far as my work goes. I am yearning to explore the creator part, and I think that means trying to create more change through the solo act of creation. At some point, I can take what I’ve learned to create and build something around it, but for now I feel I need to withdraw to my hermitage, clear my mind of distracting external metrics, and see what happens.

It should be interesting. More news as events warrant!