This week I’ve been putting together a business plan for 2017 and it has me thinking about 2016 progress and future aspirations.
This New Year’s mindset has spilled over into my personal life too, apparently, because this morning I started pondering what I’ve learned this year. These ideas have changed me for the better. Actually, in most cases, they represent habits and mindsets that I’m working on rather than those that I’ve already integrated into my life, which tends to take me a long time.
Stoic Mind Hacks
The stoics teach tricks for gratitude, resilience, maintaining tranquility, and seeking virtue. These can be found in my post on the book Guide to the Good Life, by William B. Irving.
Author and computer science PhD Cal Newport had a big impact on me this year. I read both of his books – So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Deep Work – and followed his excellent blog. His idea of career capital has sort of oriented my mindset about my career: skills are more important than passion and when you build your skills (through Deep Work), you’ll not only thrive in our changing economy but have the autonomy to write your own ticket.
Regularly contemplating your own death can actually make you more happy and productive. I wrote about this in my post on death meditation.
Ego is the Enemy
I set out in 2016 looking to learn more about humility and character. I found it in Ryan Holiday’s book Ego is the Enemy and David Brooks’ book The Road to Character. Both were excellent. Long story short, our egos are destructive and I’m on a journey to notice my ego’s impact and try and minimize it.
I recently read Daniel Pink’s excellent A Whole New Mind. I love his concept of symphony because it’s what I’ve been working on my entire career as an engineer:
Focus and analysis are not enough. We also need synthesis – seeing the big picture, crossing boundaries, combining disparate pieces into a new whole.
I’m sure I’ll be digging into his other New Mind concepts, like design and story, in 2017.