Saturday, 4 April 2015

You Say Hop & I'll Hop; Switch from maker to manager, Better your craft & Going for two years without spending money

Being self-employed has a lot of benefits. You have autonomy of workspace, complete control of how you'll do the work, and you can keep taking as many coffee and snack breaks as you like. You can even let your cat or dog sashay around you, as you're sitting there at your desk ( or on your sofa), for a longer morning than you thought, because you forgot to shower up and get dressed before you got into work mode.

The aforementioned may be familiar to some people. I'm guilty as charged. Especially on the odd saturday morning, which means I'm still randomly pulling a 6 day week.

When you work for yourself, you are the maker and the manager. In effect, you're doing the lot :-

5 ways to switch from maker to manager—and back again

Meetings tend to take up a lot of time. And sometimes, this is justifyable and necessary. New product, new innovation, new corporate schema and so on, need a lengthier bed-in time than sales results and general seasonal overview type stuff. But shorter meetings, broken into different sessions over different days, can tend to be more effective, in my opinion, than long two or three hour ( and more) scenarios which necessitate long breaks.

And the same goes for workflow. If you can remain 'in flow' whilst working, for longer than a few hours on a regular basis, then you may have a level of awareness and almost zen-like or spiritual communion with your craft than most people.

Even when I've been working on a piece of music, I automatically tend to switch out every few hours, just to give my creative and energy 'batteries' a chance to reset themselves. It also allows you to pull an NLP ( Neuro Linguistic Programming) trick of walking away from the scene, and coming back to the matter at hand with a refreshed set of synapses. This allows you to be more objective with your work, and can make the task of editing and re-synthesizing your output a lot easier.

What's better still, is having some great friends in your field, pushing you to improve your output :-

Want to Better Your Craft? Make Friends with Talented People

I confess that I never used to be comfortable with having my work judged in person by people who cared, but who didn't ( in my mind) necessarily know what I was doing. That's where you have to look hard in order to find a peer group that you can feel will improve your game. This then means you have to allow yourself to be (and feel) humbled by those better than you, which is something that not everyone can admit to doing. All sorts of reasons can come into play, but ego and self-consciousness are the main culprits.

But I can personally vouch for this; if you can spend some time at the very least around those who are at a higher level in whatever endeavour you're hoping to attain a level of mastery in, and be like a student, you will manage to acquire a level of greatness that you may not have thought possible. I'm fortunate and blessed that I have people like that in my life to this day. Even if there's one person around that compells you to just listen to them, rather than talk, then you will learn more than you could possibly imagine.

Learning to live a life with money and all the extra accoutrements it can bring you, isn't difficult. After all, it's the capitalist flowchart and dream, reaching it's natural conclusion.

But what about living a life without money? How long do you think you'd last?

Shantanu Starick: How I Went Two Years Without Spending Any Money 

I'm not averse to the odd bit of bartering. However, what Shantanu has done here, requires a level of derring-do that I'm not sure I'd have the impetus to muster now, simply cause I enjoy a level of comfort which comes with the certainty of having enough to sit down and not have to think or stress about day to day survival, on every level.

Working hard, and being flexible are things that can be paradoxical and synergestic at the same time. In order to work hard at something, there's a level of repetition involved.

The easiest example to give, is going to the gym and working a particlar muscle or part of your body, over a course of weeks or months . You see noticeable results over a period of time, in accordance with how much effort you put into that particular exercise. Concentrated training on your biceps and triceps, for instance, can have quicker visual feedback compared to doing circuit training over the same time period. However, it could be argued that the circuit training has more of a general benefit to your wellbeing, as it encompasses cardiovascular exercise in the process.

In effect, variety is the spice of life, and again I'm fortunate that I've worked in different areas and fields over the years, which is something I never intended upon, when I was still figuring out what to do whilst at college. Maybe I'm still figuring out what to do, in the sense that there's a slight restlessness that drives me to tackle various projects, which after the event I sometimes consider to have been out of my 'normal boundary', so to speak.

Flexibility is the key to survival in our modern times. Holding on to your principles and morals is always a good thing; that is what shapes and brings forth our character.  But if you cling too tightly to any paradigm that no longer serves where you are now, or is even starting to cause you distress and harm in some way, then it's time to reconsider the situation. For what we do now, allows us to think some way ahead, in order to change our future.

As a wise man once said, fate is for those too weak to determine their own destiny. Every second is an opportunity to do something else and every minute is a chance to be truer to your own vision. For instance,  I've recently entered another decade of my life. And just like when another new year arrives on January the first, it takes a little time to acclimatise to the fact that it's another phase of life that I've entered into.

The same goes for the arrival of a new decade. Time and how I spend it , means more to me now than it did a decade ago. I try to spend more time enjoying life, than pondering over what's next. That means doing more, rather than thinking about it too much.

I hope you're doing the same. Especially if you're old enough to remember the early '90's with absolute clarity. In which case you'll remember when 'baggy' was a way of dress style. There was rave, MC Hammer and of course Vanilla Ice. Heady days.

Ah..it wasn't too long ago. Not if I can remember all of that.

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