GaryVee

It’s always a surprise to people when I tell them that I’m into Gary Vaynerchuk. 

He’s confident, always pumped, and with his fast-talking can seem somewhat aggressive. I, on the other hand, am quiet, rodent-like and can seem like I’m on Xanax. 

Watch one or two of his videos and it can seem like GaryVee is all about hustling and selling. But the main takeaway I get from his content is his call for self-awareness.

I realise that every time I get caught up in some hype, when I do things that are trending but not necessarily what I believe in, there’s a lack of authenticity that’s obvious. 

Just because every other business out there is calling for scale and hockey-stick growth doesn’t mean that’s what every business should be chasing.

The point is to know yourself (or your business) enough to know what you want or don’t want to do, to know what you’re amazing at and what you’re just so-so in. 

“Crushing it” is only meaningful if you want that “it”.

Be yourself, is the loudest message I hear from Gary Vee’s content. And take responsibility for who you are or become. 

My choice, my mistakes, my fault. No regrets.

We have more power than we think we do.

Joy

When I first read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I couldn’t fully understand the idea of things that “spark joy”. 

As someone who’s generally quite unsentimental, I don’t have a lot of things, and I can be quite ruthless when culling my personal possessions. 

Things were functional or they weren’t. Either I used them regularly or they belonged with someone else. 

The idea of things being happy when used, that I can understand. I always feel sad for possessions that lie dormant in my space and prefer that they find a proper home elsewhere. 

But things that spark joy were a mystery. I couldn’t understand how things could spark joy. 

Until I bought my current laptop bag, which I feel this inexplicable love for. 

And suddenly, I remembered that as a child I had a t-shirt I wanted to wear every day. I had a pen I always carried around, a stuffed toy I couldn’t sleep without (I still have it).

As a child, it’s so much easier to experience joy, to really feel it in all its splendour, to let it wash over you with no baggage attached.

There are days when I miss being a child. And this nostalgia reminds me to savour every moment. 

Creature

Every single time my life settles into some kind of routine, I start to feel uncomfortable.

There’s a creature inside me that wants to scratch its way out. It doesn’t like being tied down. It wants to be free.

And yet, I’ve found a way to placate it, to say, “This boredom is another challenge to surpass. Find excitement in the mundane.”

I tell it, just another month. And then the next month I tell it the same lie.

I say, we can leave anytime we want. I say, hang on a little longer.

It lets me lie because it knows, this is how we survive. This is how we thrive.

You’re not done yet, I tell it. Finish the job.

And then when the lies stop working, I use positive reinforcement. Do this, and you’ll get to play Sims 3 all day Saturday.

Finish this and you’ll get to work on your book. I’ll let you lie in bed all day and read tomorrow if you just be civil right now.

I’ll let you be a hermit next week. But you need to be social this week.

Tomorrow I’ll let someone choke you while fucking but could you please just be normal for today?

Saturday

Saturdays are no-work days for me but there are weeks when I’m tempted to cheat. 

At times, it’s because there are deadlines looming. Other times, it’s because I’ve read something inspiring or had an idea flash and can’t help myself. 

This week was a combination of those two. 

But I’ve learned that if I give in and let myself fall into that stream of work, I’ll do it again next week. And the next. And probably the next. 

I’ve learned that if I’m not careful, it leads to fatigue. Like when you work a muscle out too much, it takes longer to recover. And I’m always frustrated when that happens. 

So I have a solution for myself. 

If there are deadlines looming, instead of working, I fill up my calendar for the following week with all the times I should work on that project. It helps to reduce the anxiety that stems from thinking that I won’t be able to finish in time. 

All inspiration and ideas are written down so that I won’t forget. This can be a good thing, because not all the ideas are actually good ideas in the current moment. 

Sleep is a good filter. Things become more solid after a good night’s sleep. 

Audio

After some hmm-ah-ing, I’ve added Audible onto my list of media services to subscribe to. I’m on the free 30-day trial and after a day, I still have mixed feelings. 

One of my goals this year is to double the number of books I read last year, which means that I want to read at least two books per week. 

(I’m 13 books ahead of schedule thanks to Kindle Unlimited, which I am really getting into.)

So I thought, why not audiobooks as well? My typical thing to do while commuting is listening to podcasts. It would be easy to substitute that with an audiobook. 

Or so I thought. It’s not been as easy as I thought it would be. 

The thing with listening to books is that I often miss parts because my mind wanders. When I’m reading, I tend to highlight the text, let my mind stay longer on certain points, form connections with things I’ve read or learned elsewhere. 

When I do that with audiobooks, I come back into the moment and realise… I’ve missed a whole chunk of the reading! So I rewind and listen to it again. Rinse and repeat. 

This happens less commonly when I listen to podcasts because it’s more conversational. 

On the other hand, what I do love about audiobooks is that it gives my eyes a break. I often read before I fall asleep and that can be hard to do some days. 

The jury is still out. Let’s see how the next 29 days go. 

Do you listen to audiobooks? What do you love about it?

Journalist

For years I’ve been hearing that journalism is a dying career. In uni, and then even after I began work as a journalist, I was told, the job market isn’t great, nobody is hiring now.

And yet, throughout the years, I have seen a constant need for storytellers, a demand for people who know how to digest technical information quickly and turn it into something understandable, or informative, or entertaining.

Journalism may be a dying career (I don’t think so) but the skills we learn on the job are extremely transferable.

Phillip Smith, the Founder of Journalism Entrepreneurship Training Company believes that the skills that journalists have developed make them ideal for entrepreneurship.

“They already have the skills that we look for in entrepreneurs — that mythical classification of people who breath life into new, novel, and often innovative ideas,” he wrote in an article on Medium.

Although he is making a case for journalists to start something of their own within the same profession, I’ve found that the same skills apply within other industries as well.

As a young reporter, I learned to think on my feet, to get some kind of story at all costs, and to do it all within tight timelines.

I’ve been told that I’m a bad writer, that my ideas don’t make sense, that I’m not good enough. And through all of that, I have learned not to crumble.

No matter what job you’re working, no matter what your profession is, there is something to learn and there will be something to use in the next chapter of whatever career path you choose to pursue.

The machines won’t take all our jobs. And even if they do, we must trust ourselves and know that we will figure something out.

Perception

There are days when I am disappointed by everything around me and I’ve begun to notice that it’s usually people that I am most disappointed by. 

But in Feb 12’s reading, The Daily Stoic asks, “Why are you subjecting yourself to this? Is this really the environment you were made for? To be provoked by nasty emails and an endless parade of workplace problems?”

Written based on Epictetus’ Discourses which calls for us to “keep constant guard” over our perceptions, it is a reminder that I have more control over my environment than I think I do. 

Epictetus goes on to say that our perception is not a trivial thing to protect. By controlling our perception, we are protecting our “respect, trustworthiness and steadiness, peace of mind…”.

“For what would you sell these things?” he asks.  

Complete peace of mind can be hard to come by, but we can certainly foster it, reduce disruptions to it. 

There’s no point stressing out over things that I have no control over. When I am disappointed, is it because of what people have done, or is it because of my perception of what they’ve done? 

The world shapes itself according to how we perceive it.