Oh, what a year, what a lovely year! (My 2020 year review)
Following the tradition from 2018, and 2019, I'm looking back at the past 12 months.
2020 has been the craziest year of 21st century (so far!). World as we knew it changed, and many things we took for granted disappeared. Welcome to the new normal.
For me, this situation had uncovered true face of many people. People who were nice became nicer, toxic people became even more toxic, creative types even more creative, and stable people even more stable.
For all those who helped in any way, who kept being nice, and found creative ways to make this year better for everybody, thank you!
What went well this year?
1. Mindfulness & Self-Awareness
The more chaotic the world became, the less I focused on what's going on.
As an antidote to the chaos, I worked on my mindfulness, and practiced self-awareness.
As a result, I'm pretty happy most of the time. I still have my downs, but these days there are not many circumstances that can influence my level of happiness for longer than a few minutes.
2. Health & Fitness
This summer, I've been in the best shape I've ever been.
Thanks to lockdown, I stopped eating out and started cooking more. Less grocery trips lead to less junk food, and with gyms closed, I jumped into calisthenics (pun intended), and running.
I was already seeing big improvements, and then my friend Jacob challenged me to join #75hard. The goal of that is to build grit, discipline, and self-worth by pro-actively doing hard shit for 75 days. It was great.
Thanks to this (and cold showers), I felt better, looked better, ate better, and felt like I can handle anything.
Over the last six years, I tried out many roles and responsibilities, whether as a startuper, or freelancer. I learned a lot, but I always jumped into something else just before the real, long-term results came in.
This august, I got an offer I couldn't refuse. I said yes and joined a startup that ticked so many of my boxes.
I'm now working as Head of Product, doing what I always enjoyed the most — designing stuff, creatively solving problems, and talking with clients.
I'm working with a great team focused on the right things, and I'm working on something that's tied with learning. Love it.
Before you scold me for traveling when the world is in pandemic mode, let me explain.
I did my first out-of-Europe trip to Morocco in February, just before the pandemic hit. Then spent a few months in lockdown. And then escaped Czechia in August, just before the second wave came.
I dreamt about it for years, and in 2020, I spent four months living in Tenerife as a digital nomad.
To be honest, it also scared me, but after looking into what's the worst that can happen, I decided to run a little 4 month experiment to see how it really is. And I loved it.
What didn’t go so well this year?
As with everything in life, here's the other side.
1. Social life
Turns out two lockdowns, and spending third of the year in a foreign country are not the best recipe for flourishing your social network. Noted.
With that said, I learned the beauty of jumping on a Zoom call with friends from around the world. I also learned that playing chess this way is a lot of fun (I recommend using this).
2. Online presence
This is somewhere between good/bad.
In 2019, I was way more active on the internet. I was writing posts, creating stories on Instagram, “building my online presence” as the experts call it.
This year, I mostly dropped it in favor of more important things. Along with reducing my time on social media.
Since I do enjoy it, I might start creating more content again soon. But for now, I prefer to keep my head low. This way, I'm more peaceful, and more productive in other areas.
What have I learned
Now the fun part.
1. Wherever you go, there you are
Being a digital nomad reminded me of a big truth:
Just moving to a different town, or state, won't change who you are. You will never become new you without putting in the work.
Don't rely on the new environment to change you. It won't do anything for you in the long term. You will inevitably fall back into your old routines as deep under, you're still the same person.
With that said, when nothing else works, packing your stuff and changing scenery can be the first step. The spark of novelty can be a good starting point.
I learned that myself in 2019, when moving to a different city marked the start of me working myself out of depression.
2. Selling is an essential part of whatever you do
In the past, I disliked selling. I felt that it's not part of my job. I told myself that the client is not paying me for the sales, but for what I deliver. That if I just focus fully on my craft, that'll be enough.
It's no surprise I only went into sales mode when I absolutely had to. And that my freelance career was like pushing the boulder up the mountain.
Finally, I changed my mind on it. I began to see it as an essential part of my job, something I have to learn, practice, and do. My freelance career was very different after that.
You can be the best at something, but if you can't sell it, nobody will care.
3. The more people you know, the more open the world is for you
I'm still learning this one. As an introvert, I always focused more on quietly working more than on socializing.
A lot of the opportunities and experiences I had this year were thanks to other people who made them happen. On my own, I wouldn't have the job I have right now, on my own, I wouldn't be able to have so many amazing experience during my visit to Tenerife.
I'm writing this as a big reminder for me to get up and every once in a while go and meet new people.
4. Keeping up to date on the world news will destroy your happiness
I feel like this year we were bombarded with more toxic stuff than usual.
More clickbait, more “news” that prefer more views over what's true, more chaos, more screaming, more monkeys in the circus.
“It’s the news’ job to make every problem your problem” — Naval Ravikant
Being bombarded with all those problems, that just has to have an effect on your sanity, anxiety, and stress levels. And when something makes you anxious, you can't help but focus on it, and keep watching.
Sometimes, the media makes it like the world is going down in flames, when in reality we're living in the best age ever.
If you really want to know what's going on with the world, don't consume the quick, junk-like stuff like news. There are way more ways to learn about current state of everything from places that are not optimized for clicks.
Or just cut it out of your life completely. The big, important news will always find their way to you.
5. It's never as bad as your brain tells you it will be
The hardest part of cold shower is just before you in.
Your brain is running through catastrophic scenarios, creating a picture of how horrible it will be, how much will you suffer, and how is it not worth it.
But then take a deep breath, step under the cold water… and it’s meh at best, slightly uncomfortable at worst.
“We suffer more often in imagination that in reality.” — Seneca
Don't be angry at your brain, the same process probably saved your great⁸ grandfather from a sabre-tooth tiger.
By being aware of this happening, you can take back some control, and handle some situations better.
Here's to a better 2021!
Thank you for reading this far!
Got inspired to write your own 2020 review? Send it to me on instagram.com/lozitalks (or just say Hi)
This review (as well as the previous one) was inspired by James Clear and his annual year review.
And yes, the title is Mad Max reference.