Sunday, June 25, 2017
To Change The Conversation
My attempts to write a true Sunday Post failed in the past.
I started this blog to maintain a scrapbook of ideas, as I live through my immigrant life (which, presumed I, would only be a temporary phase). But the overarching priorities of the migrant life - to 'prove' myself - soon took over. Over time, this blog became more like a 'billboard', an advertising space, an extended CV of sorts, where I, somewhat desperately, wanted to show off and make a point. Indeed, all that was counter-productive: Experts write papers, not blogs. But it is that the charm of expertise, even if limited to occasional recognition by complete strangers through my blog, which subverted my motivation. This is what I want to undo now.
It is important to undo this for several reasons, but primarily as I change myself. At this very moment, I am at the end of one journey and embarking on another. It has been three years that I stepped out of my boot-strap enterprise and got into working for another organisation. This brought financial stability, at least for a while, which I needed after the two years of living off my savings. This also gave me exposure to the world of American start-ups, with a different set of possibilities and challenges than I had known thus far. And, the experience was decidedly mixed - I learnt a few things but a lot more of what is not to be done - and I have finally, and irreversibly, reached a point when I must move to the next phase of life. This means all change, including what I do with my writing.
One of the troubles of writing the blog for projecting expertise is that this means rejecting honest thoughts. The obsession with who is going to read this, which comes with public sharing of the posts on platforms such as LinkedIn, leads to scrubbing the posts of any personal emotions or feelings, even about work matters or professional fields, and this was creeping into my writing. So, as I decided to draw a line on the work front and embark on a different set of activities and ambitions, I decided to make this blog very different: No more sharing on LinkedIn or Facebook (though the link on the signature panel of my personal email will stay) and to turn to posts of more personal nature, going back to what this blog was meant to be.
I know it is time for me to be 'unprofessional'. I chose to write this blog as I wanted to write - let go of the conversations that I so often have with myself. The concerns about professional 'projection' were totally corrupting, therefore. In a way, it was laziness: I did not want to write different posts for different platforms. It was also the obsession with visitor numbers on this blog that made me share different things that I write all on this platform. Changing this blog today - as I intend to do - would mean letting go of all that. Quite a change, but I am feeling upto it.
I feel so because I feel stuck. I would not call this a midlife crisis - because I know what I want to do and where I get to next - but something like a professional deadlock: I am doing something that I no longer enjoy. Also, I feel ready to return to the project I abandoned three years ago - the network of creative schools - and I shall return to it without wasting any more time. Indeed, I have been exploring these ideas for a while, connecting up with people and experimenting with models, but what kept me from doing it is my intent to complete the current job at hand. Lately, though, I reached a point when I realise that I can't make much of a difference - in fact, I am currently being employed not to make a difference but so that I don't try to make one! The excuses I have given to myself for carrying on - that I am learning - are well beyond their validity date, and I have truly reached the time when I must commit fully.
Such a change - from being a passenger to taking charge - means that I must first attempt to be more honest with myself. This involves risks, but I have had a risk-averse three years and that did not, in the end, improve where I was. Making this blog more personal and honest is the first step, and hopefully, this will permeate into all the things I do and say in the coming days.
To start, I am committing myself to a 100 day project. This has worked for me in the past, when I needed to change course and transform my habits. This is about living differently for 100 days, and keep track of the attempts and outcomes as I go along. This is what I turn to now, and hopefully I can record my progress on this blog as I go along. My current 100 day project has a number of objectives, including reading and writing a lot more, living differently and better, and getting started with my creative education project (which would involve several steps, starting with exiting my current job, taking up a few freelance projects successfully and starting up the project by pulling together all the necessary factors and networks). I am conscious that this may not be of any interest to many people who read my blog, and I would hope my more occasional posts on Facebook or LinkedIn would still engage them in some way. I, however, hope to engage with others, whose friendships I enjoy on and offline and who have been a constant presence in everything I did over the last several years, without whom there will be less dream and less meaning in my life.
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How To Live
"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
- Theodore Roosevelt
- Theodore Roosevelt
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
- T S Eliot
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