Here we are, 2016 is almost over, and a quick look back seems reasonable at the things that worked and didn't work for the last 12 months. I had a blast in 2016, and it was my first year without any external education (school, university), so I was free to do what I wanted to do. The peculiar thing is, a lot of my time I did study and learn a lot, but it was a lot more practical than I thought it would be.
My major goal for 2016 was to find a new source of educational inspiration. Motivated to try out new things, like building my website, I found that Online Learning Courses were great and that videos are the best learning source for me (although I knew that before). Also, I found myself listening to more and more podcasts than music on my commute. It was also a year of purchasing book after book after book. Possibly I never read more in my life. So yes, there is still a thirst for new information in me.
I want to tackle the new year with a similar mindset but keep some of those things I learned and picked up in 2016. Since this might be interesting to some of you, I wanted to share these things. I documented most of them in the last 50+ posts I wrote this year (another habit which I will continue), so this is just a summary of the most important ones that are here to stay.
As a marketer, I have the tendency to give everything a name and make it practical to remember so I created the "3-L-Rule" for myself that I will follow in 2017. It stands forListen, Learn, and Love.
To make this rule your own here are some of my actions behind those words for a successful 2017.
It starts tricky because it does not mean that you should listen to other people, it means that you should more often listen to yourself. This might also be a maturity thing for me, but I think that I got an excellent grip now on myself and I know what I want to achieve and how to make it happen. I appreciate other peoples opinions and advice, but that does not mean that I will act on it. Sure I will continue to listen to that, but my actions may be different from that.
To clarify some more, I do not mean listening to my general train of thought but to dig deep and listening to what motivates me intrinsically. This is the motivation that lets me have fun with my work and hobbies; I do not really have currently anything that drags me down or that I do not want to do.
There are two basic actions I can recommend for achieving this state of clarity.
My first advice is to pick up any form of meditation. It sounds cheesy and weird, but we will see a rise in this trend pretty soon because this will be the next fitness trend once people are done with their bodies. In a world where almost everybody has a gym membership or does workouts on a regular basis, we see a rise in burnouts and other mental issues in the workforce. Increased sick days and so on. So the next health trend has to be based on the piece of mind. So meditation is a winner in that realm.
Being only one month short of having practiced meditation for a whole year, I can say that it changed a lot for me. Improved calmness in any given situation, work related or other, better sleep quality, increased focus during the day, more sense of self just to name a few.
The best thing is, you do not have to have a gym membership or anything. I recommend using technology, meaning your smartphone. To get you going, you should try out the app called "Headspace". It has a free ten days program that will get you started. The app is based on guided meditation and will give you ten consecutive days of a 10-minute meditation a day.
I started in February of 2016 with the app, and I wrote about it after my first ten days of it on LinkedIn. Feel free to have a look here.
The second advice in this part is to keep doing something that you loved in your childhood. I still do many things that stuck with me the last 20+ years but the most dominantly would be playing video games.
It is astonishing how much I still benefit from playing video games; it is everything but a waste of time. It helps me with creativity, imagination, hand-eye-coordination, reflexes, staying on top of technology, embracing change and learning new patterns and so forth.
It could also be your favorite sport, in Germany this would be soccer for many people, it could also be reading fiction, watching movies, the list goes on. However, one that you regularly do and not once every blue moon. You keep in touch with a more playful site of yourself, and it helps to keep a young and agile mind.
If you want any game recommendation I need more context from you, but feel free to comment, and I will make sure to give you one. For anyone else who is not convinced, you should take a look at my article from July 2015 about "Why Videogames Help To Stay On Top Of Technology."
We are coming now to the second building block of my rule. I mentioned that I was now officially out of any external form of education, so it is now up to me to keep getting educated. Moreover, it is crucial to embrace this mindset. Just think about the fact that everything that society talks about and celebrates recently wasn't even here ten years ago. Just think of the iPhone, Apps or Facebook. None of it existed in the mainstream (Facebook was still a college phenomenon back then).
My formal education did not even cover those current trends, so I had to learn it in the workplace, and I had to learn it fast. Times are changing rapidly, and we have to deal with it if we want to stay relevant. Even people who still don't want to be part of Facebook, use at least Whatsapp. There is a constant shift now of attention and interaction. It will only get faster.
So, to keep up with new developments, increase my portfolio and to stay relevant I invest in my education.
My top recommendations for you to at least take a look at are the following sites that I have been regularly visiting in 2016:
They have basically courses for anything and it is a brilliant start point for learning a new software, skill or platform. However, you also shouldn't neglect the biggest of them all and the world's second largest search website: Youtube.
I also wrote two articles about education in general that I would love to recommend at this point. The first about my general view on modern education and what it is not but should be: Education - Time To Wake Up! and how you might be able to pick up a new habit quickly: The Power Of Routines
The final "L" in the rule might just be the most important one. Under "love" I would like to summarize everything that is based on human relationships, like trust, caring, empathy, EQ, inspiration, and giving.
Although technology makes it easier for us to keep in touch, it is also much harder to maintain regular contact with someone, especially when not everybody is a Social Media junkie.
I want to overinvest in relationships in 2017. I do not mean gathering more Facebook friends than ever before, no. I mean looking at my inner circle of 3-5 people and invest in that relationship. Besides family, my best friends are with me for more than 20 years now, and we still hang out regularly. It is getting harder because life takes different routes and people move, marry or just disappear, but I value those relationships. I love context. I am happy about meeting new people but when was the last time somebody became your friend for life? I am an only child, and I love to call my closest friends brothers and sisters, because that is what they are to me after all this time, an extended family.
I wrote about this a year ago, saying thank you or appreciating someone who helped you is so important, you should never underestimate the effect.
2016 was also a year of many tragedies and bad news, but just because our news channels love to get your attention with all the bad stuff, you should not forget the many good things that happen too.
If you want to have a closer look at what I mean by saying thank you and its impact, take a look at my post from last year, it is still on point: "Remember To Say 'Thank You' This Holiday Season".
It was a great year, and I wish everybody a brilliant 2017 with lots of energy, new experiences and a year's worth of listening, learning and loving.
Thanks for reading.