Sunday, February 28, 2021

Life Lately: Redeeming the time, habit stacking, and a gift for you

There were some really, really, beautiful days this week

Four weeks ago, at the end of January, I started that post by saying January felt like it zoomed by. I could say the same thing about February. In fact, when I woke up this morning, I thought to myself “how is it another Sunday already?”.

In St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he asks them to make the very most of their time on earth, recognizing and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence. Whenever I feel like time is flying by, like I do today, I stop for a moment and ask if I am making the most of every day that passes.

The answer is never yes. Like most other people, I have good days and bad ones. Sometimes I bring my A-game and power through the day, other times I’m low on energy and slow waltz through the hours. I now think of St. Paul’s exhortation as an ideal, something to strive for on the journey to being better with each day that passes.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Life Lately: My first snowman and rediscovering a sense of play

My first snowman. I promise subsequent ones will be cuter.

I have been trying to play more lately. My natural tendency is to take things seriously and that is no fun, so I’ve been looking for opportunities to rediscover the sense of play I lost as I transitioned into an early adolescence. So, when it snowed recently and it occurred to me to make a snowman, I shut down my first reaction – which was “but I should continue reading this book about Index Funds”.

The idea of making a snowman and the reality of making a snowman turned out to be different. First, we didn’t have a lot of snow so I needed to shovel the snow on our balcony with a dustpan. Second, I didn’t realize I couldn’t just wear any gloves. I couldn’t compact the snow no matter how hard I tried in gloves and my fingers got wet very quickly. So I took them off and went with my bare hands.

It’s definitely not a handsome snowman but that doesn’t matter to me. What matters is that for those five to ten minutes when I scurried around looking for buttons for the eyes, a Sharpie to draw on the smile, and a bamboo skewer for the arms, I felt like the happy child I remember from the 90s.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Life Lately + Book Summary - Decisive: How to make better choices in life and work

"Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." - Robert Frost

While scrolling through LinkedIn during the past week, I saw an update from someone who had made me a fantastic offer for a role in Product Management at an American Industrial Goods company towards the end of my year in business school. For a brief moment, I let my mind wander and explore what could have been if I had taken that offer, or any one of the other offers I received towards the end of that year.

This doesn’t happen often, but from time to time something will trigger retrospection and I’ll wonder for a few moments what those paths may have held. I always come away from these moments thinking the same thing – I followed an exhaustive process to make my decision and I made the best decision I could have made. As icing on the cake, detailed essays spell out the process I followed, the factors I considered, and the conclusions I reached. 

I think it is powerful to be able to move forward knowing I made the best choice I could have made. It means there is no lurking regret, no wishing I had done things differently. When I went through challenging patches in consulting such as a lengthy period on the bench or a poorly-defined project, I could think back to how I had chosen that position and trust the process.

Sunday, February 07, 2021

Life Lately: A life on our planet

Unblocking gutters that had been clogged for years as part of the Sanitation Corps. Picture taken by a friend during my National Youth Service in Lagos.

When I was 13, I tried to invent a process for recycling plastic. There was a stream in our area that I had crossed on my way to school since I was about 4, and I had seen the stream go from clear water with lovely little fishes and tadpoles to filthy water packed full of plastic waste. Being slightly nerdy, I started scouring the library for relevant material and attempting to melt and reform plastic at home. I did not succeed and I ultimately gave up after a month or so to do more ‘fun’ things – like text Westlife lyrics to girls at school.

I have since learnt this was playing out across the world, and in fact had started decades before I observed it. I have also learnt the problem transcended the amount of waste we were creating and how we were discarding it. It extended to hunting animals to extinction on land and in the sea, cutting down swathes of forest, and burning huge volumes of fossil fuels. The earth had become ours, run by humankind for humankind, with little left for the rest of the living world.

I have just finished A Life on Our Planet, a brilliant book by David Attenborough. I had seen the Netflix documentary, but it was picked by my book club at work so I bought a copy and read through it over the past week. In this brilliant book, Sir Attenborough describes how the world has changed in his lifetime (he’s 94) and lays out a vision for rewilding the world and restoring its biodiversity.