Half Year Review 2020

Half Year Review: 2020

Yesterday’s tomorrow doesn’t look like today

14th of July

The primary half of this year has been above all else, throughout the uplifting and the depressing, interesting.

January signalled a turned page and distinctly new chapter of my life. On new years day I was in the following situation.

I had just left Amsterdam, after living nearly 3 years there. I had just left my girlfriend, after living nearly 3 years with her and I had just started writing and wet-stoning my interests here.

This was all coupled with a realisation of sufficient confidence that I need not anymore be someone else’s employee. I had just come to grips with the notion of being self employed.

Now, writing in July, this is a relatively refined look at things.

I write these sentences with gratitude for your audience and am cognisant that you likely do not know me. I have never publicly shared personal information online. Certainly not my goals and ambitions.

As I pen to paper what follows (as it were) I intend to one way or another resonate with you despite the two us knowing nothing more about one another than a mutual and steadfast curiosity to learn.

My inspiration to write this ‘reflection’ styled article was spawned five minutes ago after finishing reading David Perell’s ‘Mid Year Review‘.

Few things rid anxiety as writing down overflowing thoughts.

When life get’s a tad overwhelming and you inexplicably wake up at 2am with too much on your mind you can be sure of one thing.

There is a mess upstairs which needs organising.

You must reduce the pressure you accumulate on your cerebral. Alain de Botton talks about the ‘Philosophical Meditation‘. A five minute writing practice which creates hundreds of hours of value.

I guess this ‘Half Year Review’ is simply, for me, a more glorified version of Botton’s ‘Philosophical Meditation’. Our brain is not always going to filter information according to our preferred hierarchy. You might forget that marvellous idea you had on the train because your brain prioritised fussing over your next meal. You might forget that important family date because anxiety promoted work concerns in the filtration process.

The way Perell so brilliantly laid out his current state of the union has challenged me to attempt the same. Because despite the lockdown, serendipity has once again dealt me a hand that changes everything.

My future as it stands now, was completely inconceivable to me at the beginning of the year.

In several months I will have moved to Stockholm. I will be operating a coffee wholesale business, I will continue prospecting interviews with interesting people. I will be launching a storytelling based musical podcast, I will continue writing, continue uploading videos, and most importantly, continue in life and a re-found love with Emma.

Taleb Bringing In The New Year

Keep an open mind and say yes to opportunity. You have NO idea where it will take you.

I am a lucky benefactor to have learnt this lesson so early in life.

The world is as noisy as it’s ever been. I feel like I am exponentially exposed to new ideas day on day (we have learnt a lot about the exponential this year). Twitter, podcasts and the news deliver us a Prometheus dosage cocktail straight into your veins daily. 1 part good, 199 part bad.

It’s an overflow of information.

Productivity hacks, books you must read, new people with amazing insights, drink more coffee, drink less coffee, read more, write more, politics! Work harder, make more time for yourself, see your mates, write more, read more, here is the answer, there is the answer…. stop!

To be alive in the year 2020 is an undeniable privilege, we have access to everything. But we are living in the wild west of content creation, we have access to everything. Methods of filtration and personalisation are in the very early stages of innovation, and while they are being worked out we are all ginnie pigs for experimentation.

However despite the noise, amongst it all there is such gold to be found. In January I discovered Nassim Taleb who amazingly, has managed to rewire quite significantly my outlook on the world. I found him through Naval Ravikant who appeared as a guest on Farnham Street, which I discovered on Twitter. The upside of noise.

Nassim’s ‘The Incerto‘ was the voice and letters which brought me into the New Year and so began my journey into randomness.

Was It The Bat Soup Or A Chinese Lab?

In my 25 years of existence I must be right in assuming this is the most historically significant year I have ever lived through.

I am fully aware how subject to recency bias this assertion might be, but I tell you, things are nuts and it bloody feels like it!

To put it mildly… the Coronavirus has been disruptive. You certainly don’t need (or want) me to recount any of this here. But I think it is worth mentioning how much the chaos of Corona has served as both a catalyst for creation within society as well as destruction.

As I am writing this it looks like I am about to go into a second lockdown here in Sydney.

To Make A Long Story Short

In the 2-3 month period I had in lockdown and working from home, I got really busy.

Working from home allowed me significant extra time. Not only was the absence of travel via negativa, but it turns out the removal of office politics also adds hours to the day!

With this extra time I managed to cultivate numerous add ons.

  • I published a review of all 5 books from the Incerto.
  • I created a Youtube channel and have uploaded 20+ videos.
  • I have created the Wyar podcast.
  • I have created Koala Kaffe.
  • Came to the decision to move to Stockholm with my girlfriend.
  • Maintained a good output at work.

I got busy.

Projects + The Future

Atlas Geographica

This blog has existed via the ether for precisely one year now. Although it has only received my attention in the last 6 months, I am proud of the both the quality and quantity of content published in this time period.

It all stems from the blog. When random ideas spawn into my mind it is here where they eventually come, like Maximus and Russel Crowe, to live or die.

All projects stem from here. I envision Atlas’s growth to coincide with more contributing authors. I recently published ‘Coronavirus & Conspiracies‘ from contributing author Benjamin Davis from Topical Magazine.

The email subscription list is fundamental and cornerstone to Atlas’s robustness.

Subscribe here.

I will email you once every two weeks a maximum two line message plus links to the best that has filtered through. Articles, music, interviews, videos, whatever has earned your attention. I will attach.

Subscribe here.

The point of this email is simply so I can remain engaged with you, my dear reader. The email will never be invasive, and will always be authentically me. I want it to be a welcome bi-monthly distraction that brings a bit of inspiration to your life.

Subscribe here.

Youtube, The Idea Of

View here.

I started off with an ambitious 90 minute video summarising the main points from The Incerto… something Taleb would despise. Then moved on to published a long Mental Models video as well. I really like Youtube, I enjoyed the process of making the videos immensely.

I got a bit lost in the SEO of it all, trying to get clickbait titles and thumbnails to work for me. Plus there was the hidden ambition of Youtube fame. Nothing crazy, but I got carried away with the subtle analytics, doing all the right practices for subscriber growth and channel views.

The types of videos I have up there at the moment are too early for the current state of Youtube. The Youtube audience is overwhelmingly male, and overwhelmingly distributed in the teenage, young adult age group. The most popular videos are entertainment, gaming and culture.

My videos don’t really fall into any of these categories, they are educational and, if I’m honest, not as well produced as I think.

The channel exists! That is what matters most. I will be making steady contributions to Youtube for the foreseeable future there is no doubt.

Wyar Podcast

As these letters fall into place on my screen the Wyar podcast has 0 episodes published.

More on this in the annual review.

Koala Kaffe

Köp Kaffe Online.

This is the tagline for Koala Kaffe, access here.

It translates to ‘buy coffee online’. I am going into the coffee biz. Coffee merchant, to be exact. My ambition is to wholesale to the homes of Swedes some the finest coffee they ever had the pleasure of drinking.

Koala Kaffe is not actively targeting to supply cafes. Rather we are aiming to deliver coffee to homes and offices. Most of the coffee consumed in these two domains are typically purcahsed at the supermarket. Supermarket beans are more often than not,

  • Stale
  • Blended
  • Cheap

Koala Kaffe is not and none of the above. We produce the type of coffee the most expensive and fancy cafe’s wish they could sell.

Will have more to say in yearly review.

Stockholm, Sweden, Meatballs

After only 6 months back at home I am leaving the country again!

My intention was to come here and get on with things. Pressure from all around (and internally) was pushing me to get to Sydney so I could ‘get a career job’.

Well, I quite my real job and didn’t have anything more or equally career there to supplement it.

Not for a lack of looking though.

In the last 6 months I have sat some very interesting job interviews. Including apprentice GM for mid sized Australian multinational manufacturing company as well as GM for small flower gifting business.

Both of these jobs offered very fascinating and insightful interview processes and it wasn’t the threat of the work that intimated me but rather, the commitment. The commitment to location. The commitment to an industry. I am 25 and extremely unsure about most things but certainly sure about one thing. I want the freedom to move.

This has surely been my biggest revelation through Covid-19 and moving back to Australia.

Health & Vanity

I interrupted the writing of this post to get up away from the table and make myself a Nesquick sandwich. Two slices of manufactured white bread spread over with a triple serving of margarine topped with an equally decadent heaping of gloriously fine Nesquick chocolate powder.

I tell myself that I care about my health.

I am certainly susceptible to addiction. I fane away from gambling because I find it way to fun. I have managed to reject most drugs most of my life. I’m afraid I will like them just a little bit too much. I find way too much comfort in drinking and anxiety brings out of me the most horrible heating habits.

Addiction exists on a wide spectrum, and is a fascinating mental debilitation I am trying to educate myself on more and more (expect a long form article on addiction shortly). I wonder if I am a food addict.

I currently weigh 95kg and am 192cm tall. I am losing my hair. Although recently some of it seems to be coming back?

I think 85kg would an ideal weight that would render me healthy to increase my future prosperity, athleticism and longevity.

Emma tells me she doesn’t mind, but I am sure a big belly and a sly double chin don’t couple as attractive features.

Fasting

Murray (my brother), is eating one meal every 36 hours mas o menos. He has some of the worst eating habits I could possibly imagine. Although he is seemingly benefiting from all the positive markers of longer fasting, he will sow into his belly eaaasssily in excess of 3000 calories every time he sits down.

Fasting needs to compliment your social life, not disrupt it.

I have gone through periods of OMAD (one meal a day) and periods of intermittent fasting for 2 years now. I like this ‘diet‘ a lot.

The science on fasting seems conclusive, we were not designed to be constantly foraging, however the one major barrier I am constantly met by is boredom and habit.

Working from home, isolation, self employment, these things do not compliment the attempted faster. I am drinking more coffee than is healthy, and regularly failing to see through dedicated eating windows.

This must be improved.

Booze

I drink more than I should but do I drink too much?

What worries me most about the sweet grape, the golden nectar and the strong water, is not the calories, hangovers or even liver damage, it is that their consumption kills my brain cells.

If I am honest, those initial downsides alone make an easy trade off for the upside of booze. But drinking kills brain cells and brain cells do not grow back (so they say).

If I propel myself to 75 years old and it turns out my body is going to live longer than my brain, then no trade off is worth dementia.

Recently, I have tried limiting booze to exclusive events. No more three or four just for the sake of it, hopefully I can follow through on this ambition. It is likely that nothing causes innovation like desperation, and like a smoker with lung cancer, it is likely that nothing will stop me from drinking all together until it is too late.

My Vision

So much of my time is spent passively listening to and consuming podcasts and audiobooks of variety. I feel lucky to have found a habit that yields dual benefit. I both thoroughly enjoy the background noise as well get to learn loads as well.

All of my mentors have risen through this medium. It is a shame I am yet to meet any real world mentors (especially in business) but I feel nonetheless, looked over from on high by my audio buddies.

I have had the wisdom of Christopher Hitchens, Tim Ferriss, Shane Parish, Jordan Peterson, Russ Roberts, Naval Ravikant, Tyler Cowan, Nassim Taleb and so many more to lean on as mentors when I have had questions or doubts.

Although our relationships are without intimacy, I feel close to them all the same.

The prevalence of brilliance for free through so many different mediums is sending the message to more people than have ever heard in history the answers to their questions. I have no doubt that my generation and then every subsequent generation to come are going to be more learned, mature and erudite than the generation previous. This is absolutely the consequence of the internet and the general honing and sharpening of it’s signal.

My vision for the future is getting more pixelated with every day. After many years of dodging commitments I am finally rationalising a comfort in them. I feel like I CAN commit to Sweden, I CAN commit to Emma and I CAN commit to my personal ventures.

One can only come to these conclusions confidently, through repetition in failure and the art (if you can call it that) of mistakes. For my own learning I have been proven wrong on multiple occasions that the compounding value of x is only achievable through a steadfast commitment to that very same x. Nothing comes fast, and nothing comes easy. At least that’s what it seems like. Tell me if you’ve found the secret formula.

The beautiful upside to commitment, of which I am finding as well, is that it yields and traces a more steady boom and trough cycle than I initially thought. The downsides become less severe while the upsides continue to trace higher and higher.

December is unlikely to realise what I have envisioned right now, however, unlike the past, it is only the details that will have changed and not the narrative in total. The uncertainty I project now is one of details, what state will Koala Kaffe be in? How many Wyar episodes will have been published?

I am happy to ebb and flow with details.

In the past, my vision of the future was always blank because I was comfortable with, and encouraging of, complete change. A new country, a new set of friends, a new commercial interest, whatever flavour seemed sweetest.

For the first time in my memory this is not the case, let me see how it goes.

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