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Jun. 19th, 2011

Rizwan - Pretty

A common theme...

"Why can't I make money doing (X), doing what I want, and what makes me happy?"

I've hard this umpteen times this year; from folks ranging from 21 to 45; and it breaks my heart to hear the pain. I've heard it four times this week.

I never had this particular concern. Not in that way. I'm still feeling out the reason why; if it's a function of upbringing and culture; or my disconnection with my own passions vs my intellect/ego - or an ability to make myself happy (enough) with what I'm doing.

I wonder if this is a recent artifact; with the idea of following ones passion and being satisfied in ones own work being more prevalent than they were in my father's generation.

There's one other thought. There's a series of patterns and skills connected with work successes that have come over the years; regardless of whether the work is inspring - and I sometimes see how the absence of those skills/patterns works against those who are feeling lost, unsatisfied.

A series of disconnected observations without a conclusion. Life, I suppose.

Jun. 7th, 2011

Warning - Self Improving Software

Well that's funny.

So; I've been angling for a new set of responsibilities and things to learn professionally; and it's starting to come to fruition. And I may be asked to do it more; not as a side project, but as part of my responsibilities.

And; what feeling springs from my gut? RUN! Go back to the safe stuff; where you know you can deliver; and you're unlikely to fail! Go back to code and widgets and hide from actually making money.

Wow; fear of the unknown plays funny tricks on us. *scolds said fear*

All I can say -- Allons-y!

May. 31st, 2011

don't blend in

Trust in that which is difficult.

Prime recently summoned a number of us to give a speech at Maxicon; in a TED-style salon we call TedXMaxicon. His topic was Alternatives; and this was my speech. I am super proud of it, and thrilled as punch by it's reception. 
 
[It was proof read for presentation, not for reading. Some additional text is blatantly stolen from Lorre. There's a lot more in the way of supporting quotes that were removed for the presentation; I'll share them later.]

It's a six page read; please make some quiet time to read it if you're truly interested.

here we goCollapse )

Feb. 18th, 2011

I've been pondering moving to Europe or Asia for 6 months before Hollee's in law school.

I've been pondering moving to Europe or Asia for 6 months before Hollee's in law school.

London's lovely, but spendy and "too easy" - the point is to acclimate to a new culture (and market) - UK's too easy. UK is the king of telecom, though.

Paris was (and is) a temptation. French is quite learnable.

Stockholm was the clear winner a year ago, but not knowing Swedish (or being willing to learn) stands in the way - and I think Hollee would break up with me before she'd spend a winter in Sweden. (well, not really. )

Prague - but I've never been.

Dublin - lovely, but same issues as UK.

I'm sorely tempted to consider Barcelona. Thanks to networking, I've got some folks I know here already - great mix of expats and locals, a debaucherous city (woo!), distinct culture. I could get my Spanish to be "good enough" in a month. And really; the rest of Europe is a train or plane ride away. And it's a pretty cosmopolitan city - and Nafessa loved it b

Hong Kong or Singapore are the other temptations - but I've got biz contacts in the UK and it'd be somewhat helpful to be local. (if we grow our Aussie biz as planned, then HK makes more sense again.)

Since I'll be paying rent (or a mortgage) in the US; staying in a super expensive place isn't really tenable.

This only really makes financial sense if we launch another great product; but it's important enough to me to do, even if it dips into savings a bit.

Aura

I feel surrounded by an aura of considered introspection, increasing confidence, limitless potential, loving kindness, overwhelming inspiration, respectability, self-affirming courage, gleeful generosity, intentional vulnerability, compassionate acceptance, overwhelming gratitude, a growing reservoir of peace and sight of vast new horizons. (and a realization that I have to find my own way now rather than asking to be taught - it's the path; not the destination that counts.)

If this is a hallmark of what my thirties can be; BRING IT ON.

Dec. 9th, 2010

Dr Who - Tardis Addict

The trip

As I keep traveling to more dangerous parts of the world; I'm finding that social media's a good way of letting folks know - 'hey, I'm still alive!.' [Being in Lahore when Bhutto was shot, for instance.]

It's also a way of getting over the first week jitters of reading FB and Twitter and missing my friends and loved ones dearly.

Anyhow, Hollee's on point for this trip - she'll have the best way to get a hold of me, followed by Graydon.

The plans :

Depart Dec 12, LAX to MUC to JNB to CPT.
Capetown - Dec 14-17
Mombasa - Dec 17-20
Arusha - Dec 20
Serengeti & Ngorogoro - Dec 21-25
Zanzibar - Dec 25-29
Dar-Es-Salaam - Dec 29-Jan 2
Johannesburg - Jan 2
Okavango Delta, Botswana - Jan 3-5
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe - Jan 5-7
Chobe National Park, Botswana - Jan 7-10
Depart Jan 10, BBK to JNB to LHR to LAX. Home at 1:40pm on the 11th.

I'm in town until Sunday; then have to leave on a work trip.

I'm making an effort to try to see all the people I really care about; but I'm failing miserably at that. Hugs to all of you; here's to a Happy New Year for us all, my family and I not killing each other on this trip, and many happy returns for all of us from our various holiday plans.

Nov. 22nd, 2010

Dr Who - Curiouser

The past 18 months…

I recieved an email from someone on the asterisk-biz list who reacted to my current quotes in my sig.

“I think you learn more from disappointment. But I think that success loses its sheen after a while and you begin to see that there’s no such thing as absolute success, that there’s always failure and there’s always disappointment and there’s always loss. But the secret is learning from the loss and realizing that none of those holes are vacuums. They’ll be filled up. And if you try to fill them up with ego or a kind of immediate gratification, you’re going to short-shrift yourself and you’re going to lose the opportunity to find out what happens when you give the loss space to fill itself and let life kind of come in and fill the cracks. ” — Michael J. Fox

“If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.” — Thomas Edison

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love” — Rumi

He checked out this site and asked if I had made any progress on the workflow posts I had made.
My reply to him was lengthy; and ended up becoming as much of a state of the Rizwan as I’ve written recently. It’s incomplete, missing important details, entire parts of philosophy, citations, and editing. Certain people aren’t credited nearly as much as they should be.
It would take me days to properly write this — and it’s a worthy task, but not today. I’d spend too much time over the specific word choice, and how it would be interpreted, and how it might affect other’s thoughts of me. Today’s writing was flow, and heartful — and is included below.
I’m working on more of a focus, spiritual workflow right now than a strict task workflow; if only that until I establish a better workflow, no combination of GTD and Omnifocus will help. There’s a little bit more written at my Livejournal blog; but most of it is similar to below; such as http://rizwank.livejournal.com/2010/08/27/
I’ll take an opportunity to riff for a moment as I wait for this DNS server to reboot. (Going to probably repurpose this for the blog anyhow – thanks for prompting it. =) )
Reading GTD introduced me to the concept of ‘mind like water.’ Responding with the appropriate amount of energy and focus.
Inquiries into Inbox Zero led me to reading Merlin Mann. At one point, he notes that if you’re struggles to organize tons of X, the problem may not be your organizational system but that fact that you have tons of X. (And that you have to keep expending energy trying to find new organizational systems.)
The idea of “doing less” is patently fearsome to me. I’m 29; and I can still quote Breakfast Club – “When you grow up, your heart dies.” The idea of not accepting every invite, being everyone’s friend, and taking every buisness opportunity caused chills.
And then I read “Better”. http://www.merlinmann.com/better – my take away : Do less, better. I’m an engineer, photographer, gamer, entrepreneur, costumer, mild non-conformist, and a born philomath – but the thing that enables all the other parts of me was my engineering; and I could do better for myself by being better at a few core things, (and a jack of some trades) rather than being a jack of all trades. This is also the change I feared most about getting older; assuming it was made out of fear, inadequacy, or apathy – rather than a considered decision of a human being realizing that days are finite.
Add in Seth Godin’s ‘Dip’, (Or Merlin Mann’s ‘Creative Suck’, or the ‘Resistance’ in the Artist’s Way, perspectives from ‘The War of Art.’) – and the idea that there are spectacular returns for actually being focused; diminishing returns happen at the middle of the time series; it takes off again on the far end.
Add in a practice of meditation, particularly Mindfulness Meditation – integration of mind and body; an acknowledgement of their innate interconnection; and the fabulous benefits of forcing the mind to not think… even for just a moment. From that comes more Eastern writings – Rumi in particular. (Muhammed and the Huge Eater, as an example); and realizing the beauty in metaphor and the wisdom from past centuries that I’ve simple ignored — and the value of feeling alongside of thinking. My psychiatrist introduced me to the ideas, and it’s been hugely influential.
The Michael J Fox interview on NPR that led to that quote came at just the right moment, when I’d been spending lots of time thinking about expectations and it reinforced my attitude that adversity is best treated as a source of learning – not even just to avoid it in the future, but to know myself better.
Watching ‘Dharma and Greg’ with my girlfriend led me to observe Chuck Lorre’s Buddhist transformation (http://www.chucklorre.com/index.php?p=2), and led to a lot of reflection on my behavior; and an appreciation of Zen. New thoughts on awareness, suffering, judgement.
Scads of articles on focus and scientific studies on multi-tasking remind me that we’re just bad at it – even myself; who once prided myself as being a very efficient multi tasker. The best resource (beyond all the above mentioned) is http://zenhabits.net/archives/ – particularly focus.
So where have I ended up – not having executed on these growing ideals as well as I would have liked; but compassionate with myself for the attempt. I struggle to learn to learn to say ‘No,’ to stop seeking the approval of others, to stop letting a trained rational and logical sense from keeping me from listening to what I actually feel rather than what I think, to take time for myself; not for entertainment, but for quiet and peace, and allow the intuitive mind space to breathe. My RSS Reeder still is overwhelmed with flagged entries and unread entries; but I’m learning to slowly let go and just delete feeds. My email is still a nightmare. My task list is still a nightmare. My Instapaper account is filled with articles about focus that I simply have to make the time for; but I haven’t learned how to do that yet.
But I write occasionally, take notes after appointments, and skim my musings to myself to remind me of what’s truly important and who I *want* to be.
I’m building a list. The things that are important. The people that are important. And learning to say no to the rest. Until then – obligations and projects that make me feel alive will continue to get pushed aside by petty wastes of time; and the people that truly enrich me will continue to get crowded out by everyone else. I’m going to try to be stingy; not with my wealth, but with my focus and attention. And to take a Sabbath day.
So; I haven’t come to any conclusions as to a workflow; but have realized that the system has to change before a workflow can be erected.

Mirrored from The Second Order Effect.

There may be additional comments there.

Oct. 25th, 2010

Dr Who - 10th red/blue glasses "Who?"

Doing less, better.

I've got milage tickets to DC for the Rally to Restore Sanity this weekend. Hotels have not yet been arranged.

I'm thinking about not going.

There's enough going on in my life right now (home shopping, finances, server moves) that things are above the usual stress level.

Could I manage the Rally, the late night flight on Friday, and the four days in chilly DC? Absolutely. I know from past experience that this level of stress can be managed and that I can somehow have my cake and eat it too.

But I won't enjoy the taste of it.

The idea of saying no to the rally, "because I need to take some time at home to relax, focus on my work, and start saying no to things" is a terrifying one. It feels like it's a step on the path to mediocrity. I stop pushing myself and the wonderful things in my life will go away.

All sorts of reasons to want to go; political interest/support; not wanting to miss a unique experience; and there's less bullet-point worthy ones to stay (or to go to a hotel room with my laptop and plow through my stressors.)

To steal from Merlin Mann - All I know right now is that I want to do all of it better. Everything better. Better, better. I don't think I'm giving most of the things in my life the attention they deserve; and the only way I can think to manage it is to do less things.

When confronted with a decision; I try to identify which one scares me - and then do that. It's curious that *not* going is the one that scares me.

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