I found an old note on my Dropbox Paper account which I highlighted some key things in my life during the entire month of February 2019. I recorded these notes on a daily basis during that month so it is interesting to see how a fresh and accurate recollection of my mindset stacks up after 2 years (obligatory: wow that went fast). So without further ado, here are the original notes with my current status listed below each point. May these takeaway lessons serve you in some capacity on your path.
- I am pretty amazing when I focus.
To this day, this is still true. It’s amazing how often I forget this. As a follow up, I learned a lot of my most successful ideas and actions never occurred while I was staring the problem in the face, only when I stepped back and gave myself time to think.
- Sugar plays a huge negative role on health. During the month of February 2019, I probably did about 150g+ of sugar for too many days in a row.
This is still true. I no longer count my calories like I used to but I have cut out huge amounts of sugars and processed desserts and pasties. I still am a cookie monster but not nearly as much consumption I was doing before. Additionally, what the hell are Oreos made out of? The actual cookie part is so well made, it is like crack.
- No one understands what I am trying to do with my car/transportation issue.
This still happens. During the time, I got rid of my old shitty car and was using Lyft and public transportation to get around. Since then, I am still using Lyft, but COVID-19 provided it’s own blessings, one in the form of remote work 🙌. This has worked better for my finances (getting rid of debt) and not having to worry about car costs during a time it would sit idle. I will probably get another car AFTER all of this COVID stuff shakes out (so a few years).
- High sugar/carbs definitely drain my energy after lunch.
This applies to the previous point but it still stands. Before I would have been super sleepy after lunch but I have been skipping breakfast and having a fruit smoothie with protein powder, milk, apples, bananas, strawberries, and pears after my mid-day walk (in place of lunch). This has done numbers for not only my mental health but physical as well.
Lessons Learned – A Focused Start
- Tech support reduces focus through the nature of the work.
Tech support is a key area I have gotten better at managing. The very nature of the work means I am pulled in different directions by different instructions all at the same time. I think this was a key factor that played a role in the events of How 2020 Became Year Zero. I will probably make a separate post later that addresses the lessons learned here.
- Just Start where you are.
No matter what you are aiming to do, starting where you are is probably the best advice you can get in one sentence. Maybe to make the BEST graphics, you DO need a $2000 laptop. But you can still START with your $500 and get your name out there.
- I spend way too much time trying to craft the perfect cover letter/resume/etc.
The best solution to this type of problem is to aim for BEING ready instead of trying to GET ready. The best way to accomplish that is to take weekly notes and keep details regarding the things you have worked on and achieved as you go through life. This way, instead of trying to recall an obscure project from 2 years ago, you can simply pull up your notes from your phone.
- Jury Duty – even when watching the same case, people will forget facts over only 3 days. People are bad with numbers.
Following up to the previous point, document things when you are experiencing them. It will probably be crucial for saving your life. I have become very used to writing down my random ideas and taking notes of what’s going on. Of course, it is entirely another beast to DO something with that information.
- In order to get respect, you must command respect first from yourself.
This is a non-negotiable for anyone. For me personally, I realized I wasn’t respecting myself by putting myself in AVOIDABLE positions where I NEEDED the assistance/support of other people. As an example, think of getting a car you can’t afford but always needing help to make your bills at the end of the month. I would consider that disrespectful to myself.
- Some people do not consider speeding reckless driving since everyone does it.
This was related to the case I had for Jury Duty. The reason why I wrote this as a lesson learned is that the relationship between speeding and reckless driving can be replaced by anything. It ties into the previous point as well. If I choose to take a risky action which could end in a dangerous result, the blame 99% of the time lies with me, NOT the millions of others who do it.
- My side projects are ADDITIVE to my CORE skills.
This took a while to learn. The purpose of things like Designed by Paris is to be able to experiment and share results with the world. And through doing that, I can open up doors that I never known existed. This also relates to the previous point about “being ready” versus “getting ready” when an opportunity presents itself.
Lessons Learned – Changing Assumptions
- The Focus Zero work seems very beneficial. Focus Zero is doing work with NO distractions (audio/video/phone/etc).
A younger version of me would have called this BS but I have learned to admit when I am wrong. Doing very brain-intensive work (for example, learning Python) in near silence seems to be the way to go for me. Your mileage may vary of course. Of course I listen to podcasts, music, etc when doing unimportant things like administrative tasks like writing this post.
- Ask people what they want BEFORE doing lots of work.
I learned this the hard way of course but the lesson was worth it. Some people don’t know what they want so it is up to you set the expectations of exactly what services and products you offer. Save yourself the headache by doing the hard work upfront: finding out exactly the end result they want.
- What someone would pay for (in terms of design, etc) isn’t always what I would pay for. The Do Attend meme showed me that.
This relates to the previous point, but from the position of a seller. Try not to put your personal tastes into products/solutions made for other people. I mean our personal tastes matter but just because I don’t see myself buying X doesn’t mean that other people will feel the same. The best idea is to test your market and see what they WILL respond to. This was a crucial lesson that shows up almost every week.
Also, as a follow up: here is a shirt I designed for a meme in 2019 that sold a few hundred designs. And if you never heard of Do Attend, you can educate yourself on that craziness here.
- Waiting (and/or hoping) isn’t a valid strategy.
To be honest, I am still dealing with this issue even today. I am much better than before but it is still there. It is one of those things that are constantly at the edges, waiting for its opportunity to catch you off guard. The way I have been mitigating this is to analyze if I really need time for a better outcome or just additional resources and act accordingly.
For example, for working out, I still need to do the work each day knowing that I will get the results I want faster than I thought but slower than I would prefer. Whereas paying down debts is just a matter of getting enough money to accomplish that. I can’t lift 10,000 pounds once and become ripped instantly lol.
Hopefully that list of the lessons I learned in February 2019 will be useful to you. Maybe something that helps you figure out your place and time on this gameboard called Life.