As I began to write this review for 2020, I wanted to highlight that the ever-increasing death tolls that continue to rise has left a mark in history. I want to take this opportunity to send out my condolences to the families who have been affected by COVID-19.
I applaud everyone who has upheld their responsibility for the safety of others and themselves. I further wish to send my humble gratitude to the front line workers who have risked their lives and continue to do so in tackling the overwhelming odds of COVID-19.
This review is a compilation of my learnings from the past year. It has taken me a while to cement my learning outcome to wrap off the accountability loop. This review is a reflection of my internal appreciation and gratitude for the countless online mentors, writers, and content makers who have been a source of inspiration.
I hope these lessons are just a few examples that could act as a source of wisdom for others.
Shoot, edit and repeat
Written by the author: Austin Kleon, the book Show you work expresses the meaning behind “document your work”. I started a YouTube channel: planning, shooting, and editing videos. I began adding value through my creation. I showed my process-based work to indicate that every process of a completed project is pivotal. As I continued my stream of creation I decided to hone my production value by investing in various equipment. I consider it as compound value investments – a new camera, lights, an external microphone have only added value to my creative process.
In this journey of creating, I was consistent in my production of uploading a video per week – running with the idea that I need to focus on quantity, not quality. Learning from my mistakes I improved on my editing skills. I later became consumed in spending time scripting, researching around the topic to a greater depth. This halted my process of publishing every week. I ended the year with 22 subscribers.
Learning Outcome: Enjoying the process of learning doesn’t need to be a task.
Hold yourself accountable
Coding, web-designing, learning to play the piano – these were some of my goals that I engendered without any planning in 2020. I’ll continue to pursue these goals to build a sufficient competency in 2021 with accountable planning.
As part of my work, I was tested from the prospect of learning in an uncomfortable environment. In November and December, I became involved in external testing at a customer site. This opportunity was both my risk and luck play to expand my expertise. I became equipped with a unique experience of travelling to a new place, becoming accustomed to an unfamiliar working culture in the field. I took accountability for the opportunity and prepared myself as best as I could. I won’t digress I’d stepbacks that I consider as my learning curves.
Learning Outcome: Learning or being provided with the opportunity to learn is a form of risk or luck. It’s a risk because you’re challenged. It’s luck because you’re in a position to learn where others aren’t able to.
Above all, recognize that if you have had success, you have also had luck—and with luck comes obligation. You owe a debt, and not just to your gods. You owe a debt to the unlucky.” —Michael Lewis
Making a pact to read more
Here’s my list on Goodreads for my current selection of books. In the interest of setting goals, I targeted a goal of 15 books at the start of 2020. I began to read and listen to authors, understanding the insights of various kinds of literature that have impacted my growth set and my mindset in a new direction. I ended the year with a number higher than 15. I invested in tools like Kindle and Audible as my medium. I held myself accountable by creating my own biased summarizes of the books that I have read and making it available for others to review.
Here are some of my summaries to ponder on.
I find it intriguing to commit my time to summarize the valuable teachings of a book for those who are overwhelmed by their own schedule. A means to provide bias perception that highlights distilled teachings.
Learning Outcome: Make a pact and create a process that benefits ALL.
To invest for financial independence
I have come to learn that educating myself to hone my financial literacy is critically important. I began to unfold my fear of the unknown and started to act against it; I began to invest.
Don’t rest your money, invest it.
P.S. I am not a financial advisor. Anything I state on this topic is biased.
- I experimented with ETFs with Vanguard and opened an investing account to invest on a long term basis. So far the returns are good due to dollar cost averaging.
- I also started to understand the meaning of ‘Asset’ and ‘Liabilities’. I am now actively trying to build various streams of ‘asset’ based income. For those who are not familiar with the two terms, let’s clarify to provide more information.
- Your car is a liability if the sole purpose is personal. It’s an asset if there are multi-purposes of having a car like working as an uber driver.
- Your house is a liability. However, if you rent a room, the house becomes an asset because you’re earning an income.
Learning Outcome: Understand the psychology of money and how to use it for one’s benefit.
Self-invention through writing
Writing has become a new kind of meditation therapy. Commencing deep work for 60 minutes whilst listening to instrumental songs on repeat. As a practice, this feels quite a rhythmic routine. Early 2020, I began the journey of writing a blog post each week. I took no notice of the structure in my writing short or long-form; it didn’t matter. I wanted to build consistency, which reflected in every new post. I even decided to expand and stretch my writing cap with a weekly newsletter in the same year. I called it Monday Madness. Reflecting on the past week highlighting various snippet of values that I’d encountered.
Writing has allowed me to express my interests in a variety of topics. In the concluding months of the year, I decided practicing long forms of essays; minimizing my consistency in publishing a post to every few weeks. This entailed a greater depth of research, which enabled me to distil insights from scholars in the field, authors and other bloggers. Initially, it was tasking, but the joy in learning from others provided a refreshing new insight.
If you haven’t already considered, please visit my second home on the internet – Monday Madness.
Learning Outcome: Writing is my therapy.
How I viewed time?
I began viewing my time as a valuable commodity. I recently came across a quote:
The rich invest in time, the poor invest in money.Warren Buffet
At the start of 2020, I started practicing the art of a daily schedule. I would allocate tasks and try to remain true to them within the day. I educated myself to hone my productivity with tools and techniques. I improved my weekly workflow to achieve more, to get things done rather than procrastinate.
There is a natural inclination to procrastinate and I’m no different to it. To hold yourself accountable in the moment of procrastination by reminding yourself – what should you be doing with your time? provides a much needed reality check.
Here are some of the things I’ve learned on being productive:
- Default Activity
- Eisenhower Matrix
- Reduction Steps of Habit
- Improving every day by 1%
- A Secondary Network
- Fast Bad Wrong
Learning Outcome: Be conscious of how you spend your time.
Building my networking
One of the primary goals I had set out for myself in 2020 was to meet new people. I was able to achieve this as I became involved with a network marketing company. In the last three months, I have met many new people, it’s refreshing to witness individuals who share a similar drive to myself. I grew relations that I consider to be a catalyst to my growth in the coming year.
Learning Outcome: Meeting new people, new ideas and new relations enlarge your circle of growth.
Thank you for taking your time to read this review – I hope you had an amazing start to the New Year and wish you the best for your endeavours in 2021.
I am a writer and a graduate engineer working in Leicester, UK.