Writing to learn, learning to write. With practice comes clarity of purpose. #100days
64437 words

Day 169 - To breathe

I went on a long walk, and it was the first time in somewhile, that I didn't feel lonely. Two things happened. I had a goal, I was walking to pick something up from someone, and I was listening to an audio book, that kept reminding me to breathe. It encouraged me to breathe in over 3 to 4 steps and breathe out over 3 to 4 steps.

Practicing this while walking allowed me to notice things like the petals of jasmine on the floor, and the child whose mom I asked about the toy she was using. I think my lightened state made me feel more cognizant of others, and they related to me as a result, and took a few moments of their time to converse.

I played with my son, and kept consciously snapping back to his reality, with each moment of awareness, reducing the seconds I spent on things that didn't belong in that moment.

I folded my laptop screen closed, and turned my phone over when my wife approached me with a request to be heard.

I acknowledged my body and it's need to be hydrated, noting the dryness of my lips, and the tension in my jaw.

Tomorrow, I will note the feeling in my body, and exercise. Inshallah

Day 168 - My foray in to service design pt1

It's Dubai Design week, I attended a session on the future of Design careers hosted by a local design college. At the end of the talk, a member of the audience came up to one of the speakers and asked them about graduate education options for service design, for context, they had experience in architecture and wanted to gain enough exposure to practice service design, something that is difficult.

Their question had me thinking about the rough seas, islands, and icebergs I needed to traverse for a chance at a career in service design.

Doodle - rough seas

“Therefore do not deceive yourself! Of all deceivers fear most yourself!”
― Søren Kierkegaard

When I was recovering from my time in "H.R.", I only knew that I should apply for H.R. roles; after all these roles are what defined me, it made me who I was, and my value was inextricably linked to me being able to perform in these roles for someone, in some company. I'd invested years of my life in this, what else could I do?

Those thoughts had me stuck in a loop of interviews, rejections, mindless applications and eventual depression. These are the rough seas my friend, where the nights will be dark and leave you feeling cold, thrashing violently between waves of despair, apathy, and rejection. This is going to be 80% of your journey, because the validation I sought, is the one that was least useful.

It took me sometime to look past the waves, and see the guiding star, which led me to an island.

Day 167 - Cr... curiosity

There are stories you read, of billionaires in garages, and a lot of them, are accompanied by stories of them as children, and their first experience with a computer.

In most of these stories, you learn that the protagonist was encouraged to learn, to read, and to experiment with the desktop computer by their parents. Through guidance, and deliberate mentoring, they went on to build applications and a life in the technology industry, albeit with some access to privileged networks.

I like my life, I also try and stay away from sitting too long at a desk, so I don't regret this life I have.

If memory serves me right, I remember my father's desk, with an ugly grey box, that had boxes of books of something he called daws. I remember that I had to stay away from the daws. Sometimes, I'd get caught being on the daws, fiddling with a floppy, that had what looked like people going up and down the screen, it was that era's state of the art soccer game.

That curiosity remained, and in later years utilized to get free internet, fix people's PCs and reboot their modems, amongst other things.

Day 166 - Craving community

Transcribed by the wonderful Brandon. Thank you for finding value in what I shared.

“I just sent a long email to the mapping people, Sutra, can't remember what it was called. Kumo.co out something. They have a weaver app. I've been trying to map this community forever and in my mind, I know why I need to map it. It's because so many things have happened between members and till date, some people meet each other and they're like OH! And I'm like how do you guys not know each other! You’re in the same group! how do you guys not know each other.

I want to offload my knowledge through this mapping exercise. And at the root of it, its just trying to get people to connect at a more human level. Especially when our lives go into so many different directions and places and you can't all identify each other in the work that we do and how it relates to each other.

So I wrote them a long huge email, being like please give me access, give me support, I would want to do this before I leave. Because it would be such a waste, and I think especially within organizations they, the kumu/coho people identify it as. You've got two people on either end, you've got the bottlenecks that take on all of the information and (don't share it) and become bottlenecks, that's within organizations. And also you've got the quiet heroes that nobody knows that they do these things to facilitate.

I'm not looking at this from the organization, I'm looking at some of the things that were written about just mapping organizations. But how do you map community, one that is not self-organizing.

It's just one or two or three maximum four nodes in this community that are able to connect people together and are selflessly giving their time.

HOW DO YOU MAKE THAT MORE VISIBLE so that people understand the kinds of behaviors that have been benefitting them and in that manner EMULATE that behavior and GENERATE it becomes GENERATIVE EMPATHY?”

Day 165 - Who is your hero?

This is a question, that bothers me every time I hear it. A part of me feels guilty, because I don't identify with the common answers people regurgitate (parent, celebrity, religious figure).

Another part of me feels that anytime I hear the above trinity of hero figures, it's a cop out. I also have trouble defining what a hero is, I can only assume that everyone has a definition that is personal to them, and so I let the above thoughts ebb away.

Here's the thing, I think I figured out something that could work for me. While chatting with a friend, I encouraged her to do what I thought she did amazingly well (website down). I told her that she was my self-accountability hero.

It clicked for me at that moment! I have many "heroes", they're just really great at the something I most appreciate about them. The thing that humanizes them, and makes me believe that I could do this too!

Day 164 - What is anything?

How could one define values, thoughts, ideas, movements, initiatives, morals, goals, motivations, energy, needs, dignity, desires etc?

Could we move forward based on shared understanding of our experience?

What is necessary?

Day 163 - Task stacking

I managed two days this past week. The second time was a little more interesting.

I intended to run on the spot like a friend suggested. But this time, outdoors since the weather is getting better.

I didn’t feel like leaving the house so I made some coffee, I couldn’t drink the coffee because we ran out of milk. So I left to get some milk, on the way, I spotted our nanny with lil dude, so I stopped by to say hi, he reached out so I took him for a speed walk session. That was a good 5 mins. Then I remembered that I initially intended to get milk, and remembered that I also wanted to get a beard trim. So I decided to run the 50 meters to the barber, only to find them closed. I remembered there was another barber, 150 meters away, and I could get milk from near there. So I ran the 150 meters, to find that barber also closed. Since I was already out, I figured I’d sprint the 100 meters home.

I forgot to buy the milk, I didn’t drink the coffee, but I learned I was super out of shape because I started seeing stars in the elevator.

Somehow task stacking vs habit stacking worked in this instance.

Maybe I’ll run the 200 meters to the bakery tomorrow morning.

Also I just caught up on almost 6 posts. yay.

Day 162 - Elevator moment

Depending on my mood, I've been trying to connect with people using small talk. I live on a high floor, at a height that is just over the comfort barrier for silence.

You know the one, where you have to acknowledge the person in there with you, treat them like a human being. I think I'll keep better notes about these experiences.

After all, what better way of testing that old adage "people remember how you make them feel", than in an elevator where they have no control.

Day 161 - Learn the business

I sat in on a meeting, where the purpose was one, and the outcome was another.

I didn't feel so underprepared for sometime.

Yes, I was expected to have all the answers.

No, I shouldn't have been expected to, nor was did purpose align with what I was there for.

This is the first time I've felt the acute need for 'designers' to understand the business. Even if the business is that of stakeholders, and even if it is at a level of depth that others don't expect me to know.

I must learn the business, and as a service designer, this must be all business. Not unlike my former role in operational HR.

Day 160 - Run 5 mins

Oh this one I did! I guess it was an intention that I set.

Day 159 - Time to take stock

I think this one was about the recurrent theme of taking a look at past posts and trying to figure out what could be repurposed. I haven't listened to my audio books in sometime as well so the nature of my posts and their quality has been reduced.

Day 158 - Approval is a movement

Yea...these titles are a little too cryptic for me. What could I have been thinking? It's as if I scribbled down some notes that felt golden when waking from a fuzzy dream.

Day 157 - Do it anyway

I've been missing a few days, and recently added a few post titles as a placeholder for posts. I assumed then that I'd remember what I wanted to write about. Clearly I was mistaken, I can't remember what I was supposed to do anyway?

Day 156 - I need shoes

There was a pair of shoes my brother once gifted me. They were Nike Roches. They were slip on shoes, and I ended up using 3 pairs over 5 years. They were discontinued.

I've not been able to find a shoe that hugs my feet the same way that pair did. Every once in a while, I walk into a flagship store and ask, 'Is there anything like the Roche', I get a pitying look every single time from the assistants, 'No, they've been discontinued, there's nothing here we can recommend'.

That's how good those shoes were, they don't want to up sell anything, they understand my pain, and I respect them, and I leave.

Day 155 - Grow up

There's an assumption that most everyone has that's correlated with age. The older we get, the more likely we end up assuming people have their shit together.

And surprise! They don't! Not by a long shot. Not by a 'the earth is really flat', 'climate change is a ruse', 'fossil fuels are fine' kind of long shot.

What aging allows people to do, is play a game of chicken with a train called accountability. When it hits, It's going to hit hard. Whether the hit is to their ego, their reputation, or the illusion of self importance that they created. It all comes apart.

I'm done assuming people have their shit together.