Thinking playfully

So, thinking freely, what’s the PhD about then, and who cares?

It’s really about helping people to see systems. To many people, systems are invisible. UV rays are invisible but they will still burn you, and so will systems if you’re not careful. At the same time, since social systems are really just made of people, when ‘the system’ does something to do us, it is really people who are doing it. And this also means that each of us is part of systems that do things to other people. This raises questions of responsibility, especially when things go wrong. Because most of us are not good at thinking about systems, when something goes boink, we are usually tempted to assign responsibility either to an individual, or to ‘the system’. This doesn’t help us very much if we want to understand what went wrong, or how and why it happened. Instead of looking at objects (this person, this group, this system), we should be looking at the relations between objects. It is how the objects relate to each other that makes a system. If we understand how the different parts of a system relate to each other, then we can act to change things for the better.

An agenda for 2019

If 2018 was about reconnecting with what makes me tick in new, changed circumstances, I’d like 2019 to be a year of putting a few decisive stakes in the ground. This will be a year for picking a few key strengths and focussing hard to take these to the next level while keeping free of distractions. It’s a year for getting back to basics, stripping things to their essentials and running lean. If it goes well, I will move onward with confidence in important ways and the amount of ground I cover should be noticeable both to myself and others.

So, three things. ..

How did I do in 2018?

How did I do in 2018?

This time last year I made a list of things that must, should or might happen in 2018, and I hoped that everything on that list would align towards cultivating four personal qualities that I wanted to focus on after separating from my partner, as these felt like ‘the real me’ I wanted to reconnect with. Through my actions, I wanted to be someone who is independent, curious, healthy and delighted. By focusing on these things, I also hoped I would be someone others found delightful in turn.

So how did I do?

Give me the ball, I’ll hit the game winner…

Give me the ball, I’ll hit the game winner…

This song called ‘Game Winner’ by Joey Dosik is a belter. Aside from the amazing chords, rhythm and gospel harmonies – as if someone had given Sam Smith 40,000 volts of personality – and the fact that it invents and owns the category ‘basketball love song’, it is actually the simplest and most euphonious expression of how I go about life:

 ‘Give me the ball, I’ll hit the game winner...’

That’s really the only plan I ever have. All the associated activity and apparatus of goal-setting and organising that you might see me doing is really just about getting to a point where that could actually happen.

Goals for 2018

Ok, I’m changing up the format this time. This year I’ve identified four personal characteristics I most want to focus on – everything I do this year should align with one or more (or even all) of these. The four personal characteristics are:

  • Independent
  • Curious
  • Healthy
  • Delighted

Separately, I’ve come up with a list of specific things I’d like to do, get involved in or work on this year. I’ve prioritised these into three groups – ‘Must Happen’, ‘Will Probably Happen’ and ‘Might Happen’.

Below I’ve written a few lines about each of my targeted personal characteristics and included the prioritised list of specific goals.

How did I do on my 2017 goals?

How did I do on my 2017 goals?

I set myself some broad areas of focus for 2017 as part of my usual end of year reflection rituals last year:

  • Professional Career
  • Zen
  • Business
  • Body
  • Creativity and Play (I later changed this one to Voice)

Reflecting back, 2016 was a good year and when I set my goals for this year I intended to ‘continue in roughly the same vein, with some small but significant shifts in emphasis’. Let’s see how things unfolded and how I did.