It was a huge 2011 –
- 5 different jobs across 4 continents and 7 countries (with telecommuting from another 2).
- A career change from sustainable buildings into microfinance / small scale renewable energy
- 95 blog articles (thanks for reading!) and a heap more articles published at Good Return and the Fifth Estate.
I learnt some big things –
- Together, we can make sh*t happen. Everything around us was created by people just like us. So let’s do it.
- Becoming an artist doesn’t just mean learning how to paint.
- Have a mission. As Seth Godin so aptly puts it – plans are great, you need plans. But plans fail. (And if you suffer from a chronic illness, it’s important to know that a mission will outlast any plan which you may have had to put to one side – with a big thank you to a certain someone on this one.)
I learnt some interesting life skills –
- Meditation works.
- If you spend long enough in a place, people will occasionally start mistaking you for one of their own. And occasionally, you’ll mistake yourself for one of them.
- Envy of any kind is pretty stupid. People always feel envy for people who are just above them, who manage to attain things just out of reach. But there will always be people much better off and much worse off than you. And if you are reading this, your lot in just about everything is pretty good.
I learnt there are some things which I would like to get better at –
- Like eating more frequently (every few hours),
- Reading a book every week or two, and
- Listening more. This includes interrupting less – even those interruptions which are just in my mind. As Jacqueline Novogratz says: be interested, not interesting.
Perhaps most of all, I learnt I have many people to say thank you to –
- To all the organisations I’ve had the opportunity to work with this year – in particular Good Return,
- To those that have taken the time to tell me their story – through what can best be described as a “year of interviews”. I can’t thank the countless people that have given me their time enough – from Australia to Ghana, from managing directors to women taking out $500 yearly loans, from 3 year olds to 93 year olds,
- To those that have taken the time to listen. Even though I don’t really get lonely, life on the road can sometimes be very exciting / miserable and in those moments there’s nothing like some who is willing to really listen while you are very excited / rant on. From those that listen often, right down to those that might have just listened once (like the Indonesian grandmother who I met in KL airport who smiled a lot when I talked and gave me a mint) – Thank you.