Sunday 27 January 2013

#3 Repetition

Probably one of the best metaphorical illustrations of how to make progress in life is the progress of life itself. Organisms reproduce many times in order to try out different variations. Through this repetitive behaviour, over time, natural selection helps to facilitate the development of superior organisms... or something like that.

I've been asking a few people lately about the sorts of books that they're reading because one of my new year's resolutions is to get through a book a month. I might add this one to my list. I understand that Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers" emphasises a handful of observations, one of which is that the really successful people are the ones that spend over ten thousand hours on the thing in which they want to become proficient.

Gladwell's observation is at best a reminder of the correlation between effort and results, which I just managed to point out in far less than however many words he used. I rekon it's probably still a good read though because it doubtless contains other suggestions for how a person might make the most of their existence and because lengthy stories are a good way to imprint short messages in the mind.

When I try to think of examples for success that I've had, it similarly tends to involve repetitive behaviour along with quite a few hours of "effort", with the results being recorded and various tweaks made now and again to the standard formula. The examples I thought of were all the running that I did last year, the brownie recipe that I perfected and several years ago when I was job hunting, spending hours identifying roles, making calls and logging the results.

Finding an activity worthy of such devotion isn't always easy but when a person comes across something that they wish to do for hours, then there is a chance that they have found something in which they will be successful.

Sunday 20 January 2013

#2 Fear

It feels scary to be approaching thirty. Not in a mindless way. In a more fundamental, biological way. It's quite a good fear to have. I can't just say "where has the time gone?" I keep a diary, I know exactly, to the day, where it all went. Accentuated by the recent developments and setbacks in the lives of my friends and family, changes in their relationships, health, careers, finances, social lives and leisurely pursuits, changes in my own focus and the likely possibility that in the years to come, corporate insolvency may not be the tap of hot and cold running employment possibilities to which the economy has so reliably given rise since I graduated. It admittedly continues to do so as I write this. Too bad for the High St but it's cold outside. If only Netflix had a larger film selection.

Speaking of the weather, the last hours of work on Friday were postponed, Laura's birthday was postponed, the trains were postponed, football on Monday is probably postponed, some people driving places are postponed, flights were postponed, meanwhile in Canada... but then they have snow all the time. Somewhere in Europe would probably be a better example.

Saturday 12 January 2013

#1 One week in

Woke up this morning to find I was out of chocolate. I know that we're two weeks into the new year but writing a blog daily, or even almost daily, was proving difficult. Here we are at the end of the first full week of the year (last Monday was the 31st), feeling optimistic at the prospect of writing a weekly blog and yet pessimistic about the unforgivable lack of chocolate in the house.

At 9am on a Saturday, you might wonder how much of an issue this was but after last night, arguably last week and though I really shouldn't ever say this, the last 28 years (what? I like chocolate...), it was definitely time for some. Fortunately I had cocoa powder. 

You can make a brownie in a couple of minutes by mixing cocoa, sugar, flour and water in a mug in roughly equal proportions and nuking it for like half a minute, then maybe a bit more depending on your microwave. It's not the best brownie in the world but then breakfast isn't the most important meal of the day. On the other hand, if you think that it is and you'd like to follow a recipe to make sure that your beloved micro-brownie is the same as everyone else's, you can click mhyaa.

As this first weekly post replaces the daily ones I wrote earlier, here's some other stuff you might have missed:

- you can multi-task by walking and eating at the same time
- there's a girl in Ireland whose dad works for KPMG
- there are some restaurants and pipes on Edgeware Road or something.
- some people complained about losing child benefits

I needed to save these images somewhere to use as links.

These too.

Lastly, these.

Oh, and this.

Plus some more.