12 Lessons from a Semi Failed 2018
Entrepreneurship, Life, Love and Living in General
2018 was a weird year for me. I lost my job. Spent most of my savings on ideas that resulted in a room full of stuff I can’t quite get rid off. Waved off a million different recruiters. Decided to live the ‘dream’. Attempted dropshipping.
And all the while consciously trying not to lose my mind over how I’m going to pay rent.
Here are 12 lessons I’ve learnt over the past 12 months.
1. Slow the f*ck down
I suffer from what we call ‘Rushing Woman’s Syndrome’. There’s even a book about it.
The months feel like a blur because each week, I’m always scrambling to do something. New projects. New ideas. New everything. Then I become overwhelmed and completely shut down. I always feel like I can never keep up — like I’m always scrambling and the days just trickle away with nothing achieved in particular.
It’s a horrible way to live — to always be rushing to meet unachievable self imposed and unrealistic demands. I created my own unnecessary rat race and as a result, I sacrificed being present with the people that are truly important to me.
What I really need in life is to slow the f*ck down and just focus on one thing a a time — to be present and actually live my day and do the things that really matter today.
2. You don’t really need coffee
It’s the most legal narcotic in the world — widely accepted but wholly unnecessary.
Don’t get me wrong, I still drink it in the morning out of habit. I did however go on a no coffee stint not too long ago. The withdrawal headache was an ass but I needed it. I was too dependent on it to function and was getting the side effects of insomnia.
After that entire ordeal, the one cup of coffee a day now has an impact again. I can now feel the coffee buzz again. Forcing myself to go on a coffee detox made me realize how much of a habit it was in my daily routine.
I don’t really need it. I just like the taste of it and gives me a sense of grounding in the morning — if you know what I mean.
3. Social media is a dick to mental health
It’s been almost a month since I’ve deleted Facebook from my phone. While my fingers occasionally swipe to where the icon used to be, I no longer use it mindlessly.
I still have an account, only to stay connected to the rest of the family via Messenger. I don’t mind talking to them and sending photos of the baby. I just don’t post anything on my wall. Nor do I look at my feed.
I feel better. Lighter. Less stressed out by what everyone else is doing. It’s mindful isolation from years of being too connected to all the people I’ve met over the years but don’t really talk too anymore.
Now I strive for real relationships rather than like counts.
4. Stop watching YouTube gurus
Over the past 12 months, I’ve watched more than my fair share of how to make money kind of videos. As a result, I’ve spent more money than I’ve ever done in the past year.
Everyone is an expert it seems. You should be wary of them.
Watch things that feed the brain. Watch things that are fact based. Watch things that doesn’t involve spending money — because growing as a person is much more valuable than trying to grow your bank account based on the experiences of others.
5. Being self aware will guide you to be a better person
When we were children, we act, think and make decisions based on our primal instincts. Some of us never really grow out of it and it takes a conscious effort to stop and assess your existence in a particular moment.
To be able to stop and be wholly aware of your thoughts, your choices, implications, moods and everything else in between is part of being a mentally stable and wholesome adult.
Unfortunately, many of us are not capable of this on a natural level.
Learn to be a proper adult by learning to be properly self aware. It takes effort. It takes practice. But all the while, it’ll be worth it and help you to be better person.
6. Allow yourself to go through the tunnel of emotions to heal and grow
At 28 years old, I’ve never truly was allowed or allowed myself to go through the range of emotions in relationships. I avoid painful emotions simply because it’s painful. I skirt around the problem, unwilling to meet the issue head on.
But the moment I allowed myself to be vulnerable, to cry, to do things that I would never do – I found myself.
Sometimes, what you really need is to move through the unavoidable tunnel of emotions, especially negative ones, to properly move on in life. You can’t travel forward towards your destination if you’re still standing right where you are.
7. Set weekly goals
Because a month or even a year is too long. Besides, weekly victories are more rewarding in frequency than monthly and yearly ones.
I find that weekly goals satisfies my need for constant progress without the weight of having to complete one big task. It also helps keep procrastination at bay.
Still set yearly goals nevertheless. I use my weekly goals as stepping stones towards where I want to end up. It’s short enough to make concrete progress and frequent enough to make a compounding impact.
8. Learn to take a break
After losing my job that was my entire life, I jumped right back in with applications and then later with projects that were meant to make me a millionaire by now.
Oh how silly I was.
I was stressed out, overworked and was semi brain dead. I hated my existence. I hated my career choices. As a programmer by vocation, I lost my original desire and love for code.
Then one day, I just decided to call it quits and just spend time with the baby. I was present. I didn’t do anything. I went outside and played on playgrounds for about 2 weeks straight. I disconnected from technology and quit coffee. I avoided retail therapy.
Turns out, that was enough to recharge my depleted willpower and reawaken the love I had for programming. I thought I hated it but it turns out that I just needed a really good break.
9. Have Patience
People often think that I’m one of the most patient person in the world. However, to those that really know me or have been around me long enough, will know that I quickly pick up projects and then move onto the next within a month or two.
I have a short attention span. I want instant results.
It comes with being conditioned by instant gratification through technology.
As a result, nothing gets done despite being busy all the time. Why? Because I don’t have the patience to see things through. This issue will be my main focus point over the next few months because if I can’t finish things, then I don’t have anything to deliver.
10. Skip a year
Over the past few years, I find that I’m either planning too closely or too far away.
Working towards where I want to be next year seems like a better goal. It’s short term enough for me to work towards and long term enough for me to do something about it.
I’ve got grand visions for 2020 and 2019 is the year that will get me there. But first, I need to do the things I need to do in order to get there.
11. Nutrition Determines Who You Are
It affects your mood, how you view the world, your ability to remember things, how awake or tired you are and how you interact with the world.
Nutrition is overlooked and don’t get me wrong, I’ve had periods where I lived on instant noodles and felt like crap. My mood was all over the place. I was snappy. I was angry. I was not the person I wanted to be.
Eat right and you’ll be right.
12. Master at least 1 Thing in Life
I’ve always felt inadequate when it comes to my skills. I’m one of those people that can jump onto any topic and be adequately proficient at it in a short time frame.
However, when it comes to being a master at something, I don’t really have anything concrete.
So I’ve chosen my thing. It’s my selling point and works well with my vocation as a developer. I’ve chosen my primary programming language and I’m going to stick to it until I feel like I can confidently teach others without having to look it up on Google.
Don’t get me wrong. I can code. I’m just not happy with the level of proficiency after 5 years of work in the tech industry and jumping around to the next best thing. I want to gain proficiency vertically rather than horizontally.
So this year, I will make mastering at least 1 thing my main priority.
It helps to do a personal self review and seems doubly fitting to do so right at the beginning of the year. I still haven’t figured out my entire set of new years resolutions just yet. Or rather, I don’t plan on making new years resolutions at all — but Where Do I Want To Be Next Year goals.
It’s more a vision of who I want to be and figuring out the steps on how to get there. We make New Year resolutions because we want change. But I think the popularized goal setting methods is superficial and that’s why many people often fall off the wagon by the second or third week.
To be someone else, you need to change who you are currently.
So no new years resolutions for me — just a grand vision of who I want to be in 2020 and a flexible, weekly game plan to get there with a conscious awareness of my bad habits and traits that may curtail my progress.