Reflecting on the year 2018


As 2018 came to a close, I reflected on the past year and tried retrospect the past year. I have now been doing this for few years. Compared to past 2-3 years, this year I had mixed feelings on things which went well vs the things that did not go well. Every year as I reflect, a few things that come up as action items to improve upon. I even put them to practice for some time, but they don’t last longer than a few weeks - lucky if they last a few months! Why?

I started to seek answers to it. This time, the good thing was that I was reflecting and asking this question to myself by about beginning of September.

The busy mediocre life

Life had gone mediocre for past few years. I was no longer coding full time as I transitioned each day more into role of manager. While a welcome change, I wasn’t still able to pull myself out of the lower level details of everyday operations, making my day miserable and extending well beyond 8 hours of working, to even fill my personal time. That left me with less time with family, friends or any socializing. On a career life, it also mean that I hardly had any time left to up-skilling myself, beyond whatever little I get in my job. Most of the time the work was valuable to others, but mediocre to me. I was missing innovation, or learning any new technical skills - even though excelling in technical skills has been sort of my identity throughout my career so far. I felt the need for a change.

Change is hard

I was quick to start with learning some new technologies. I had some success, as I could over few weeks of time, pick ground on something very different from my day to day work. In the world of technology, some fields are so vast that it is very difficult to know where to get started. I could break the ice for Big Data and AI.

However, I needed techniques to master the skills - not just on the subject, but also in managing time and maintaining the learning rhythm. I also remembered, that I had started similar efforts some time earlier too. But every time these efforts were overshadowed by other priorities ( often work related) and I was not able to continue the momentum of the new learning initiative.

All these things that happened were not as smooth as described. I was in utter chaos - regarding career, learning, life and lifestyle. Understanding that there is a chaos before any change, I could console myself. However, I wanted to give a good direction to this burst of energy and chaos.

Seeking motivation

I realized that I needed lots of motivation, and changes in the lifestyle fundamentals. I still had motivation from the career counseling course Mindshift done almost an year ago. Its main focus was that change is possible with learning. Then I remembered that its professor Barbara Oakley still had another course on Learning how to learn, that could possibly provide me with some of the necessary motivation and life advice.

I completed the course. I was also scavenging for interesting reads on the Internet to improve my daily lifestyle and achieve more in the life. I am left with some great thoughts - some of which are my lifestyle goals, while others are tips.

Change is possible. Big changes always start small. Learning is lifelong, and an important ingredient to changing your life for good. A change to the life needs a change in lifestyle. Adequate rest and good night sleep is very important to learning - and hence change. Exercise is an important part of your well being, healthy body and mind - and hence important to learning and change. Scheduling time for things is the best way to get it done - TODO’s simply overwhelm you, and pull down your confidence. The best way to improve on something is to plan for it. Review your plans against your execution at regular periods to improve upon it. Write down your progress to track it and improve upon it.

The journey of change

I am in the process of bringing these changes to my life. This is a journey, which I want to document in the coming days on my site as I try to bring change to my life. Documenting it will also serve as my commitment to the change that I want to bring to my life, monitor my own progress, and more importantly - serve as my motivation when I am in need of it. This is not a new year resolution, but an attempt to embrace and seek continuous change to improving life - a life of greater joy and self-gratification.

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