2010 – The Year Ahead

Picking up from yesterdays post about 2009 and how good a year I had, I thought that it was also appropriate to consider what is ahead for 2010.

Last year I sat down with some serious consideration to goal setting and planning out my year ahead.What I hoped to have for my┬ápodcast, income, home and social life. Then as the year wore on I realised that despite my good intentions many other things were being thrown up in my path creating situations that prevented or changed the direction of things that I had set out to achieve. Some improvements some challengers but things that changed where I thought I was travelling, thereby creating a feeling in me that I didn’t have control on my life and frustration that I wasn’t able to make the goals realised as I was told would be achieved if I followed the rules of goal setting. Basically what I’m saying is that the classic western goal setting model doesn’t seem to work for this little black duck.

So as I mentioned in the last post, as I started on this exercise in May to just opt out of what is expected and make my decisions based on what is appropriate in each moment and the relative ease at which my life now seems to be evolving I’ve decided on some new goals for this new year.

  • Goal 1 – I intend to be fully engaged with every activity and make any decisions that need to be taken in that moment.
  • Goal 2 – Any time I fall into emotional considerations of the future or reminiscences of the past I’ll concentrate on Goal 1.

If you haven’t realised goal 2 is actually a variation on goal 1. It’s just that I’m still not brilliant at this and I sometimes have to remind myself to go to Goal 1.

Oh! and just in case you think this is not, or is a real goal, I don’t mind what happens anyway.

I’m just here Now.

Life is a Game
A Game to be Played
You can never Lose
You can only Win
So long as You Play. ’91

End of 2009 – Brilliant

Another year wraps up and I’ve been reflecting on it lately.

Back when I came up with the idea and started Your Story I commented on how the years were all the same and the disappointment that there wasn’t any real change from year to year, of my desire to shake that up. Now it’s now been nearly 3 years.

I didn’t really have any idea what I was doing when I started on this path those few years ago but I knew that I needed to start and see where it would go. The first 15 years of my adult life were wonderful years with a great marriage, adventure and achievements but after that it was particularly tough. Now I can say that of the last 15 years since my marriage went south these last 3 years have been the best, most rewarding and enlightening years.

When my daughter was little I used to say that I was running a one off, 18 year experiment in parenting and I’d get back with the results on whether I achieved anything when she is 18. Now that she is I think that experiment has been very successful but that is another story. Just the same as parenting, this last year I’ve been running another experiment in not planning, not goal setting but

Ian in Buenos AIres

simply going where the moment takes me. It started way back in May when I decided, just for one week to have a Societyfast. What could go wrong for one week of not buying into all the stuff of society?

As it turns out after that week I decided not to reconnect with the system and that’s the way it’s been all year since then. Now I’ve always done things somewhat my own way but this was really ramping it up. I have for the majority of the year slept, worked, danced and travelled as it’s seemed right in the moment. I’ve done my best not to project into the future and reminisce on the past. I have at times been far from perfect from achieving this and I have sometimes bought into fear and sentimentality but generally I’ve been able to reconnect after a time and just enjoy the moment. And what wonderful moments I’ve had.

In the last year I’ve only worked about 10 weeks which has caused me to live very lean but my life is wonderful and rich with friends old and new. I have a wonderful social life thanks to my dancing and all that Tango has given me. I’ve travelled yet again, this time to Buenos Aires. I’ve worked for a time with an artist and on Narnia – The Voyage of the Dawn Treader where I made some wonderful things. The podcast is evolving and I’ve managed to meet and get a whole new level of guests to come onto the show. My skills have continued to improve both with audio and video while some people, though only a few, seem to like what I’m producing and keep coming back.

But most importantly I’ve discovered that if I take the time, to take no time, to just be in the moment and make decisions on what needs to be done now and follow that quiet feeling inside me that says that I should do … right now it all seems to work out. Leave my petty ego out of it and be content with whatever happens whether it’s others or my doing doesn’t matter. Instead of worrying I’m starting to have an attitude that something will happen, it’s just that I don’t know what it is. This is creating a new state of wonder, where I don’t know what is going to happen but like watching a film I’m curious and wonder what will evolve. Amazingly it’s working out different and much better than I could imagine.

Yes, what will come of the New Year. I wonder because I have no idea.

Lets find out…

Work – Is it an addiction?

I’ve finished work a while back on the Narnia movie again. I was initially on for a month, which is where I wrote the previous post, then off for a month, then back on for 2.5 weeks and now yet again I’ve not worked for a few weeks. Since I finished up I’ve been thinking about

Book Stands for the Movie

Book Stands for the Movie

this crazy life of mine and how it flies in the face of the Western method of work, whether it’s valid or irresponsible of me, if I’m burning my bridges for my future or if maybe I may actually have something here.

When I finished I knew I had to do the whole readjust again back into the mental head-space of just hanging out doing my thing again. It’s very easy to plug into work, as once I’m on a Job there is a first morning where I get up and head off to another first day and from then on it’s routine. The longer I work in that one place the more ingrained the routine becomes and the more comfortable it all is. That is until the routine becomes boredom. Then another type of stress starts where I question my existence and waste of life in that environment and yet again I have to leave to find myself.

That is very much the way it is for most of the permanent work that I’ve done and the great advantage of working contract is that normally I can stick it out long enough until the project is complete which hopefully isn’t too long and then I get the change that I need. So film work often suits me well in this regard.

Finishing and readjusting to no work is not as easy as compared to starting as I don’t have the distractions that work gives me from what I call the “Void” or “Nothing”. However there are two ways to approach this.

  1. Get another Job is what everyone asks and expects. In a lot of ways that is the easiest option. But for me after all these years of doing the variations on this lifestyle I know that it will go the way that I’ve outlined above. Normally six months and I’m a spent force, bored and ready to move on. It even tends to manifest in physical disturbances in my body brought on by the low but permanent levels of stress.
  2. Embrace the Void. Now it’s not exactly Nothing. It’s not as though I wake up sit down and do nothing until I go back to sleep that night as I have my personal projects and day to day order to keep functioning so there is a whole range of activities and a constant supply of new and interesting opportunities turning up daily to keep me active. However compared to the 40 hour week, 48 week year work model it appears to be a void that requires filling.

The challenges with embracing the Void is that there is no order projected onto the future, no planning and no surety. It’s very much living in the moment and taking the opportunities as they arrive on a moment by moment time frame. That flies in the face of the Western model of how to get things done. I’m supposed to have lists, goals, plans for what I want to achieve and a step by step approach to achieving them. I’ve read the books on goal setting and that’s the way they say to achieve what your after. Sure that’s the model and if you have a specific goal that is what you do to achieve it, I get that.

But what if you haven’t the goal at the moment?

Continue reading

Emergent Mind of the Financially Deficient.

I was listening today to an episode of Radio Lab about Emergence and it seemed to reflect and meld a few things that I’ve been wondering about lately.

Emergence is the concept that a group has an intelligence that an individual doesn’t have.

Take an ant colony. An individual ant will stupidly wandering around aimlessly doing what individual ants do and will perish in a short while without the help of others but when the ant is involved with a larger group the chances of one tripping across something that is of value to the nest increases. Then the group has the ability in their innate organisation and beneficial behaviours to create the patterns that will maximise situations. This emergent group behaviour allows the development of the nest.

The same is said for the way herds, swarms, cities and brains operate.

In the programme they say the the individual neuron in our brains is much like the single ant but when combined with the gazillions of neurons in our brain they work in harmony much like a nest or hive, to create something much greater than the sum of the individuals.

This got me thinking of a few things about human behavior and how for some of us we can grasp some concepts as self evident while other ideas, no matter how much we attempt to understand, we just can’t comprehend.

In my case I find the process of design, as in the assembly of the components to achieve a design in a proportional elegant way quite simple. I have the ability to take complex shapes and rotate, invert and rearrange it within my mind while balancing the engineering and end purpose all the time with cost and manufacturing technologies. Quite simple really. Some of this I’m sure is from my training but I’m equally sure that it’s one of my talents, the way I am, the way my neurons are wired up.

But ask me to do my tax and I’ll book out a day to get frustrated and even then procrastinate until the last moment. Try to have a discussion about share trading with me (and I have looked into it) and my mind starts to shut down no matter how important I want to make it. I just don’t care nor do I understand the importance of, and this is my main point, “MONEY”

We’re all told that we have to have money, and that we have to play the game or get out of the way. But no one says you have to make your own furniture, or our own clothes. If you can’t do these things your not told to get out of the game. However we’re all told that we have to know how to play the money game so we can get others to do the things that we can’t do. So why can’t we get someone to make us the money like we get someone to fix our car. Because the system is designed to screw us if we do. The only way to offset getting shafted is know how to play the money game or bad luck, you’re to blame for not taking care. Just consider everyone who are getting right royally shafted at present after taking the advice of consultants for the last couple of decades. As in the case of cheap home loans and Bernie Madoff.

Because of the importance that has been placed on playing the money game the few who have a natural harmony for it are held up as demigods for all of us to aspire to and emulate, while those that have equal skills as a mechanic, scientist or farmer are respectfully demeaned as not as valuable as an Investor.

We come into this world with our genetic heritage(nature) and life experiences(nurture) which when combined create the only possible way that an individual can be. Together these create our individual Emergent Mind that behaves in the only way that it can.

So if the outcome of who we are is controlled by the nature and nurture components that are involved in the life experience and we miss out on the, Money Stuff as outlined above, or for that matter the Parenting, Partnering or Making Stuff, how can we possibly get it?. Mmmmmm

Well the way things are now we have two choices.

1. We can’t do anything, so just deal with it.

2. Go get the education(experience) and learn how to do it.

We live in a money focused obsessed society. If you can’t do money your a dysfunctional and irrelevant member of society. After all look at all the ads in the papers and on the web of normal everyday folk making a fortune so why can’t you?????

Well maybe it’s not about knowledge, but about the particular way in which individual brains are wired(through genetics and experience) to see how money is created.

I’ve meet individuals as I’m sure you have who just say making money is easy and they have all the things that money can bring them. I’ve often looked at them and wondered what can you see that I can’t? What is the elusive obvious?

I did a week-end seminar a few years back, then for three days afterwards I could see opportunities all around me to make money, I could SEE(figuratively) money. For a brief time I had the vision as if someone had given me magic spectacles, to see what others could see but until then I couldn’t. I think the seminar rewired my neurons for a time.

Then it faded… It sounds bizarre I know, but it made me realise that there are physiological ways to perceive the world in different ways.

I know some things well and I see them easily. I know parenting and personal health without thinking. I can treat a partner well and I’m a good employer as well as a conversationalist. I’m empathetic and I have manual dexterity to make things along with the ability to laugh at the fact that I don’t know interior decoration and I can build a great matrimonial bed.

In our modern world it is said that many of these things are important but the ability to make money is number one and if you can do that all the others, as deficiencies, they are tolerable. We all know wealthy people who can’t do (insert deficiency here) but they are still respected because they are wealthy.

So my frustration is simply that I know that there is a emergent dynamic in our brains that enables us to see the world intuitively, to generate wealth like I know how to make a table. I know it’s simply not about knowledge but about having the components within the wiring of the brain to enable it to see the opportunities that are around us at all times.

I feel like my mind is like an ants nest that doesn’t have any idea how to collect bread crumbs. I know that they are there to be collected but I can’t sense them and when I trip over one it’s enough for just the moment. Meanwhile the bankers and corporations are strip mining the picnic table.