Stream of Consciousness – January 2020

As promised, here is the stream for January, or a least some mind emptying as February is starting. I realized the work I have done through exploring my psyche through hypnosis by confronting past pains and scars and realizing that they didn’t hurt me as much as they did before. Doing the gratitude exercise for my birthday also helped me quite a lot envisioning things through another lens, calmer, quieter.

I’ve kept my promise of journaling every day, keeping track of my mood, this helped me to realize that I’m feeling in fact quite good (neutral good) 90% of my days, but bad days tend to taint the whole week once they happen. Keeping track of my moods and journaling helps me reframing each day to what it is only : 24 contained hours. Writing down 3 things I’m grateful for each night also helped me see things on a brighter side.

On difficult things, I took the time to express gratitude towards the persons and events that hurt me in the past, allowing me to reframe those past events through a more positive lens which helps me to move on. By reading The Velvet Rage, I realized some wounds I collected around the way growing gay and the depth of the feeling of loneliness I had growing up. While it’s not a problem, this feeling left a scar in my inner child and is something I’m working on to heal slowly.

I started listening to more podcasts (finally), learning a lot of things. At the moment some of my favorites are: Daily Stoic, The Art of Manliness, Shrink for the Shy Guy, Meditation Minis, The Knowledge Project, Myths and Legends, … I’m listening them mostly while I’m working out, sometimes to relax and slowly a bit more at work when I need less focus than usual. I’m also slowly gathering ideas to develop one of my own with a friend, I’ll work on that and perhaps you’ll hear more in the coming months. I just discovered a great Youtube channel full of meditations and hypnosis sessions !

I realized I was searching a lot of validations from others in the past years, and it cost me a lot on my mental health. Slowly I’m allowing myself to be more independent and to see things in another way.

I realized that most of the problems I had with some people or groups where mostly due to problems I had about how I was seeing myself, and that by allowing myself to accept those issues, and to not worry about what people I don’t care about could think about me, I could grow and feel better about myself. There’s still quite a path to walk, but I’m realizing things bit by bit and it’s allowing me to grow at my pace.

I started a drawing lesson on Udemy, while I’m not constant in my practice, it’s something I aim to develop more as I need something more creative in my life. Perhaps I’ll come back to writing things, but at the moment I don’t have a clear inspiration to pursue. I hope I will be able to show you my drawing progress in the coming months.

I finished the 21 Day Mindset Reset created by Carla White, which allowed me to do quite a lot of progress about what I want, expect, and where I’m coming from. Knowing where I want to go for the next years is my main goal for this year, so it will be a focus for the next streams I think and it’s something I’m working a lot on.

I realized I was quite nostalgic of having missed a lot of things in my youth, but I think it’s something we all have to live with. I don’t feel the need to catch on, it’s more a kind of “I wish I had more enjoyed those times when I had the chance“, and also “I wish I hadn’t based my decisions on my relationships” (sorry dad you were right).

I’m happy of what I have accomplished, I just realized that I could have taken an easier path with a hell less of problems and heartaches to reach this point in life. But those problems and pains made me who I am, so there was something to gain, and I hope that one day I’ll reach a part of the path where those feelings of regrets and pain will be gone 🙂

The more I grow old, the more time tend to speed up and I must admit it’s quite frightening… Weeks feel long but months pass at the speed of sound, I’m sometimes really afraid about how much time has already passed and how fast it is going. I wish I had more time to enjoy the people around me, to learn and grow, to feel more at ease, to concentrate on the things I want to grow but time seems to go faster and faster slipping through my fingers (I’m even having nightmares about this to say the least).

Until next month, I wish you all the best, I’m honored you’re taking some of your time to read this. And if you want to exchange, don’t hesitate to reach out 🙏🏻

32 Gratitudes

Today I’m 32 years old, looking backward at that strange teenage boy with no willingness to live I’d never have thought I’d reach that age and in the same time I’m so glad to have. Therefore it was important for me to take the time to express my gratitude about my life at this stage.

  1. I have a wonderful companion, supporting me and pushing me to evolve and improve every day.
  2. I have a wonderful close family, even if I’m living in another country now, I know they are always supportive and we can always talk.
  3. I have good relationships with both my parents, something I thought I’d not have anymore when I came out at 16 years old and that evolved greatly over the years.
  4. I’m grateful for the friends I have in Belgium, who supported me in my idea to move out from the country and whom I can see every time I come back as if it was yesterday. And also for this friend who also moved to Paris and often forces me out of my confort zone.
  5. I’m so happy to have found rich, interesting and welcoming new friends when I arrived in Paris. Without them, I don’t think I’d have survived living in this city.
  6. I’m so lucky to have been born in this part of the world that allows me so much freedom, possibilities and security.
  7. I’m lucky to have been born in an era where I can be myself and love who I want to love without fearing of being killed.
  8. I’m grateful to have access to such an amount of knowledge, books, movies, and so much music, more than I could ever listen to in one life.
  9. I’m grateful for my cat, even if I gave him two names and wasn’t sure of his gender until he was one year old. But I’m so grateful to cuddle with him when I come back from work.
  10. I’m grateful to have found a work in which I can find equilibrium between a lot of the things that interest me and that I don’t hate.
  11. I’m lucky to be able to travel and see the world and its wonder, to have seen Reunion Island, Iceland, Italy, and so many more places.
  12. I’m grateful to have all my senses and be able to experiment the world in its glory.
  13. I’m grateful to have such a wonderful extended family that I enjoy seeing every time we have the chance to gather.
  14. I’m grateful to be able to speak and/or write several languages which allow me to build bridges with other human beings and learn from them.
  15. I’m happy to have kept a small part of the child in me, that allow me to not take everything too seriously and to not have become one of those suited drones.
  16. I’m happy to have reached a professional level where I can say no, where I can say I quit, where I can say that I want to change and where I’m not shackled.
  17. I’m grateful for all the books I have read that were written by greater men, and for all those I still have to read and learn from.
  18. I’m happy to slowly find my way in life and understand myself more and more everyday.
  19. I’m grateful to always have met such wonderful colleagues in each one of my jobs.
  20. I’m grateful to have an acute business vision that allows me to make decisions quickly about projects viability and interest.
  21. I’m glad to have found people I can turn to when I need advice and guidance.
  22. I’m glad at 32 years old to have finally integrated sport in my life and to have greatly improved my health.
  23. I feel honored to have people that look up to me when I feel I still have so much to learn.
  24. I’m grateful to be hypersensitive and to be able to experiment such strong and colorful emotions.
  25. I’m grateful to slowly learn to be happy with my body and how I look.
  26. I’m lucky to live in a place at peace, not having to worry about wars.
  27. I’m lucky to finally feel safe financially and be able to not have to worry about money anymore.
  28. I’m grateful to have the time to think, reflect and question my life, situation, goals and dreams each and every day.
  29. I’m grateful for all the memories I’ve gathered through the years which now live in my head.
  30. I’m grateful for the pain and bad times I went through for what they taught me.
  31. I’m happy to have survived my suicidal tendencies and decided to “give a shot” at life.
  32. I’m lucky to have loved, love and will love.

2019: The Road so Far

Right on time to kick off this year, time to do a small wrap up of the year that past, the end credit of an annual stream of consciousness.

Talking about the blog, I must admit I don’t feel the urge to write that regularly. However, in 2020, I set a goal of writing a stream of consciousness each month to ensure some regularity and to go hand in hand with my gratitude journal habit. So let’s start this wrap up.

Work

It’s been almost a year that I joined Bankin’ and discovered the French startup ecosystem. There I had the chance to encounter wonderful colleagues from whom I learn a lot every day. Even if, with the strike still ongoing in France since beginning of December, I miss them quite a bit working remotely, they’re still present every day through Slack and I’m looking forward to see them back.

The work had its challenge. I had the chance to build an UX vision from the start, and while I’m already proud of what we achieved, I feel a lack of structure in the way I can handle things and I’m looking forward to lay some better foundations for our product process in 2020. But for 2019 I had the chance to :

  • Gather all our users feedbacks in one single place
  • Ensure that all feedbacks are tagged by expressed need
  • Give a full visibility and hierarchy of our user needs
  • Did 30+ user interviews accross France and give an overall picture of our users
  • Build the first Bankin’ persona based on user behaviors
  • Worked on several product improvements with the team
  • Deployed several user metrics (NPS, UEQ & UMUX Lite)

For 2020, on top of the structure, I also aim to inject more positivity in the way I see things and try my best to adopt a non defensive way of seeing things at work.

Health & Spirituality

2019 was a major change on this path. I gained a lot of weight, which led me to encounter a lot of problems with my self esteem and self image. And I couldn’t handle seeing any photograph of myself.

Thanks to Aadam from Physiqionomics, I started working on myself since september. In the space of 5 months, I went from 88kg to 73kg and still working on it. I’m now working out at least 3 times a week through weight training, and doing some cardio on the other days. I’m feeling more and more at ease with myself and started accepting again photographies of me 🙂

For the first time in my life, this weight loss is done in a healthy way, through meal prep and sport, and not dangerous cutting off food or bad health behavior.

Brainfood & Mental Health

Since February, I’m also seeing a hypno-therapist with whom I’m working a lot on curing past scars. This really helped me even if it’s for the long haul, but the benefits keeps on showing and I’m feeling really lucky to have found her. I’m still seeing her once a month and it’s always a great gift to myself.

I kept on journaling but only for the gratitude part, this helps me end the day on a positive note and give me a great way of seeing the time that has passed (thanks to this app).

This year I wasn’t able to finish my goal of books reading, but managed to reach around 40 books still. It was mainly due to changes in the way I traveled to work (by bike now) and also by the fact that my new life changes took quite a lot of energy to set in motion. Still aiming for 50 books next year, and will do my best to carve a bit of space to read.

I stopped publishing new things in my newsletter for several reasons. First I grew tired of self-development books and wanted to read more fiction, to dream, hope, whatever. Second, I discovered that self-help books put all the toll on the individual and while I think people have a lot of responsibility in their life, you can’t always “look at the bright side” when bad things happen to you, and sometimes society has its problems too. Thirth, I discovered that when I wrote I couldn’t express myself exactly how I wanted and always felt that there was something missing about what I wrote and that I was able to say more things when I was talking than writing. So perhaps I’ll start a podcast, perhaps not regarding the amount of podcasts already existing now, but we’ll see where this project goes.

In 2019, I had the chance to keep on developing a great group of friends on whom I really can rely on when I need and with whom I’m able to talk on a deep level (or get drunk and do stupid things, can’t lie). I’m still happy also in my love life and looking forward to have a place of our own in 2020 🙂

The Road Ahead

I’ve just finished setting my goals for 2020 on 4 axes :

  • On the economical side: try to spare more and build a good security net. I achieved being debt free in 2019 and started aiming toward this, so it’s on the track.
  • On the brainfood side: aim to read 50 books (and at least 5 biography), attend some meet ups and write 12 streams of consciousness. I’ll aim also to attend more cultural events. Get rid of the toxicity of online networks by decluttering my feeds or learn to get rid of bad people (mute, block, whatever).
  • On the health side: keep on working out 3 times a week, aim to feel good in my body, meal prep every week for lunch and also aim to declutter all my rooms and get rid of the things I don’t need or feel attached to.
  • On the work side: try to find that makes me vibrate and feel alive, and try to learn how to develop a side of myself that feel at ease at work and empowered by my work. Try to learn also to see what I have accomplished and not only what’s left to accomplish.

So that’s a first step to kick off this new year, and I’m looking forward to keep on building up things for 2020.

Rewind Repeat | Stream of Consciousness #4

It’s been quite a long time since the last time I had the chance to write a post here, so here we go… It’s now been two years in Paris and things have been quite moving, changing and evolving

Professional Life

Since the last post, I left my previous company, after a bit more of one year, because I wasn’t feeling in line with the values and the way things worked in it. The things on which I was working on were also quite heavy on my mental health and slowly killing me, so after having to take a several medical break because I was having a serious nervous breakdown, I decided to quit.

I joined a startup here in Paris which aims to help people to learn how to handle their financial life (yes, I work for this, me :D) and get to know how to improve and evolve. I had the chance to find some really great people in here, with a deep human touch and interesting projects. Not everything is always great, but I’m hardly satisfied so that’s ok.

However, I’m slowly reaching a stage in life where I’m putting quite a lot of things on hold to give me some time to think about. At this point, I’m not sure about how I want to evolve in a professional way for the years to come, nor where exactly I want to work. I’m taking quite some time to think all this through, helped by some friends, workshops and new mental models. We’ll see how it goes.

Personal Projects & Growth

So the newsletter is currently on hold, after around 50 editions, but because a lot of things changed and I to be honest, I didn’t have the time to read that many books in 2019. With the new work, my time to go to work changed from 50 minutes to around 15 minutes, most of the time done by bike (so it’s quite hard to read and ride at the same time :D).

However, this year has been quite big on the personal level :

  • After years having a hard time to live with it, I finally had a masectomy. I had hormonal troubles since I was a teenager, leading to a small breast and some level of pain, most of it psychological leading me to have a real trouble to expose myself bare. The surgery was a real success and it’s really helping my mental health. I’m not ashamed anymore and I can finally breath 🙂

  • During the last four months I worked with Aadam (Physiqonomics) who coached me to improve my nutrition and develop gym habits. Since working with him I lost more than 10kg and it’s still going on. I learned to cook all my lunchs for the week during the week-end, to ensure a good meal and the best macronutrients. I started the weight training recently and I’m in the “oh my god I’m so sooooore” phase, but it’s a proof that my muscles are working (dying). After years doing things by myself and evolving like a yo-yo it feels good to have a good structure and someone to work with. I’ve got so much more energy now and feel pretty good most of the time.

  • For now almost a year, I’m working with a psychotherapist doing hypnosis to help me cope with some scars from my past. It really helped me and continues to do so. I see her one time a month and we work on a lot of things, but my mind is finally getting clearer which is great 🙂 In the meantime, I’m back on medication, having finally accepted my depression and well, if it helps, let’s do it (and it does help). I’m alternating between meditation and hypnosis mp3 on a daily basis, and it really helps.

  • I (mostly) stopped smoking (ok I still fails sometimes when I’m drinking, but as I also stopped this except for special occasions, this is getting rarer and rarer).

  • I dyed my hair in white (or gray depending on the mood), because I wanted to test it and I’m really happy with the result. This also break a big part of my Body Dysmorphic Disorder, as my mind has now a hard time trying to affect my self perception with this big change

  • I started to clean my social life, getting rid of toxic influences and allowing myself to be more blunt about what I accepted or not. This also affected my online life. After years of trying not to get in a bubble, I decided I just couldn’t take the aggressiveness of a lot of people online and so I block on sight. Or piss them off until they block me. But I just can’t take this “two-sides” mentality going on nowadays, so I’m burning bridges. This also goes for some old acquaintances who became quite anti-science and started to dwelve into conspiracy theories : good ridance.

It’s about time we calm (the fuck) down.

Thanks XKCD

Some months ago I decided to remove almost every data in my Facebook account. Not because of the usage of my personal data (about which I may have some concerns but mostly don’t care) but to refrain me to go there except for events and the occasional use of Messenger as most of my friends aren’t on something else. I grew tired of the way we show ourselves on social medias, but mostly I grew tired of myself.

Some months ago, I realized I wasn’t myself when I was interacting with people through social medias. It was harder and harder to have grounded conversations based on arguments, and I tended to adopt the two basic reactions of human nature: fight or flight.

I was slowly getting tired of seeing several behavior in my social feeds. Being it anti-science arguments, anti-experts behaviors, constant fearmongering, … but mostly I grew tired about how we seem to have lost our capacity to just listen to other arguments.

Slowly I realized that there was simply no point in trying to discuss things on social medias. Slowly we all became activists for everything in our life. And the problem with activism is its inherent incapacity to listen to any argument going against itself.

But while on social medias I could easily avoid discussions, mask people, perfect my own little bubble, I realized that in real life, a flight or fight response just wasn’t possible. I realized that social medias slowly made me behave in a more agressive and nervous way in real life than what I ever was before. Therefore I decided to slowly cut the cord.

First I purged my Facebook account, then refrained my Twitter usage. Gone are the apps from my phone, but gone also is the stress they made me feel every time I saw someone post something “wrong”. Because I realized that those apps where the go to places I went every time I was bored. But I also came to realize that I was simply trading my boredom against more and more stress.

The impact of this is quite dramatic. I realized that I was behaving in a way I simply hated. But I also realized how people around me were acting on social medias in a way I abhorred.

I don’t know how we are going to evolve as a society, but seeing the constant violence on social medias, I must admit that I’m afraid about our democratic system. Sure we can all live in bubbles where there’s no “violence” (but do we realize how smaller and smaller those bubbles are becoming?), but this isn’t a way to build a society.

This isn’t a post against social medias. I don’t want to be a part of this group that constantly blame the tools. I think there’s something deeply wrong going with us and our ability to interact with other people. Sure our tools granted us a greater digital safe-space, but we are the one who decided to agressively attack any people with a slightly different opinion from our own.

A society is a set of shades, it’s full of colors, it’s not black and white as we tend to see the world. And while activists are necessary, we can’t build a society of activists. Such a society wouldn’t be a dream, but either a totalitarian nightmare or doomed to constant skirmishes.

There’s nothing great in attacking other’s people when they try to discuss and have a different opinion. There’s nothing rewarding in cutting off a discussion with a sassy meme. There’s no greatness in having +100 people blocked on every social medias as soon as they have a slightly divergent opinion. It’s time we calm the fuck down. It’s about time we slowly learn to live all together again if we still want to build something out of this world.

2018: The Road So Far

Ok I’m a bit late, but it’s never too late to wrap up a whole year, and this will act also as a stream of consciousness and way to plan things ahead. You might also notice that I decided to switch back to a self hosted blog due to several changes in the monetization strategy of Medium.

This require a bit more of maintenance but I was able to set up everything almost right (ok, I might have broken some things or two). So let’s start this wrap up.

Work

The biggest change that ended 2018 was the fact that I decided to leave UX Republic and my work as consultant. A lot of things led to this decision which was quite difficult, but after 9 years of working for big historical companies, I wanted something more real in life.

Something were I felt I had a real impact and where 80% of my energy wasn’t focused on solving corporate politics problems. I realized that I wasn’t feeling well even if my work was recognized, that I wasn’t feeling fulfilled at all. And while I’m not advocating per se for following one’s passion, there’s a clear line where work starts to become a destructive force more than anything and where it’s time to leave.

As from February 2019, I joined Bankin, a start up aimed to help people manage their money, a smaller team but building something that has a real impact on people lives and where I feel that my competencies could be used at their fullest (and where internal politics will be hopefully less than 20%).

Health & Spirituality

On this part I’m not really proud. 2018 and my work problems took quite a toll on my health leading me to loose almost everything I built in 2017. My willpower was depleted and therefore I regained most of the weight I managed to loose

I started 2019 by cutting sugars again and reducing carbs. I also practice intermittent fasting, which is quite great (except for the fact that people keep looking at you like a weirdo when you’re not eating). Reducing sugars already helped to feel a bit more energized.

I started to keep an eye on my sleeping patterns and influences while also journaling everyday and I’m slowly able to spot which things impact my health and energy level. I’m also slowly getting back to meditation, something I also lost going through a lot of things last year.

Brainfood & Mental Health

I finished 74 books in 2018, less than last year but those were heavily oriented toward self improvement and work. Some of the most important readings for 2018 were :

  • Start with why: This book helped me solve a lot of questions by providing me with a clear framework about the things I wanted to sort out in my life and clearly led to some of the work related decisions. It’s a book I advised for everyone.
  • The Filter Bubble: a book showing you everything the Internet is hiding from you. Very important to read especially with algorithms presence growing more and more and getting involved deeper and deeper in our lives in ways we don’t realize.
  • Man’s Search for Meaning: a profound life lesson from a survivor of the horrors of World War 2, something everyone should read. True and life-changing.
  • 21 Lessons for the 21st Century: I’m a big fan of Yuval Harari and while Homo Deus disappointed me a bit, I really love those 21 lessons. His lessons are really important problems we must tackle now if we want to evolve and create a world we’re proud to live in, and it’s something I really look forward to.

Thankfully, 2018 didn’t destroyed everything, I keep on updating my Book of Beliefs, which evolved quite a lot but not as much as in 2017. I changed my mind on some things, especially crypto influences and global politics, but unfortunately 2018 wasn’t full of learnings on this.

I built my newsletter, which has around 140 people and on which I’m able to work a lot. I wanted to make one every week, but things in 2018 had such an impact that it wasn’t possible. Still, I was able to write 31 newsletters and it’s something I’m quite proud of.

Love & Social Life

Thankfully this was a really highlight of 2018. I’m living with someone wonderful who’s doing a lot to support, help and love me everyday, this is something I wasn’t expecting and one of the big positive part of 2018.

I also made some really strong connections and real friends in 2018. I realized some people were always there when I needed to talk, help or support. And this is something amazing as I realized some of those people were like childhood friends to me while I didn’t knew them 1.5 year ago. Kudos to them.

The Road Ahead

My goals for 2019 are quite clear, and will look a lot like : get the fuck back on tracks.

I’ll work on feeling empowered at work by doing something I love and having a real impact on people lives.

I’ll get back on tracks in terms of fitness by having a better food consumption and also get some exercice back (walking to work for example).

I’ll go back to meditation everyday to be able to give my mind some space and breathing.

And I’ll do everything in my power to avoid getting crushed again.

Here we go 2019!

Creating a digital identity system ?

This is just some thoughts written down while reading 21 lessons for the 21st century. I’ll update if needed, feel free to discuss.

Reading 21 lessons for the 21st century makes we wonder how we could develop ownership on our own data / digital identity. We tend to rely on states, but they can be quite slow to move, evolve, especially when we look at how fast the digital landscape is moving. Therefore there is perhaps a room for a personal digital identity system which would allow us to give / remove access to our personal data and to to keep those informations up to date.

First I thought about a blockchain solution, allowing us to secure our data, but then I realized how much of our “identity” is moving. A blockchain solution would be a real problem for a lot of people.

Some examples I had :

  • Transgender people have to be able to change their gender and name
  • People leaving their country might adopt a new nationality
  • The simple act of moving out means our address isn’t something fixed
  • People can change their name by legal means, therefore even our names might change

People should also be able to own those data totally, which means some kind of self hosted solution as relying on a company (Facebook much?) to own those data is too big of a threat. But then, what kind of solution ? A physical system means it could easily get lost, a digital one would require both hardware and basic skills, and what happens if we lost the hardware ?

Still thinking about it, will update if needed.

One year in Paris | Stream of Consciousness #3

So it’s been already one year in Paris. One year that I decided to switch my life around, leave Belgium for France and to reboot several parts of my life. The decision wasn’t easy, but the bet wasn’t too risky. After one year here it seemed necessary to write things down and look at the road so far.

Professional Life

I can say that this was the best decision of my life. Moving to Paris allowed me to reboot a giant part of my life for the better. In Belgium, I always felt I was stuck because of my bachelor degree (blocking me from strategic possibilities) and because of the professional landscape. While I do love my country, there was something that I couldn’t wrap my head around, it was how so many people settle for something good enough. This lack of ambition and vision slowly killed me while being there, moving from the country changed that.

But France isn’t that much better I’d say. There’s certainly a kind of ambition lying here and there, but it revolves mostly about being the french version of something else. They can’t seem to open their eyes to the outside world, focusing solely on their local market and competitors. Fortunately some people start to move things around and it’s for the best. I also realised how much this country is focused on words instead of acts. Here you’ll find 100 people able to tell you how you should do things, be bitter, angry or resentful, but in the end very few will get their hands dirty and get to work. This is not a behaviour I want to adopt.

After several talks with the company I work with, I was awarded some responsibilities that could help it grow. I’m deeply grateful for this chance, as this give me the unique opportunity to help other people grow and develop another mindset. I’m still trying to figure things out, and I know that the way I act most of the time is not really business wise, but reaching 30 years old I decided it was more important to be true to myself than to act the way corporate people would like me to act. So I’ll still crack a joke here and there, I will still talk to people across the company whatever their positions might be, and I will still be bored as hell during a 2 hour Powerpoint meeting.

I’ll also be able to give a training on GV’s Design Sprint in September (and several other dates), a workshop I truly love and which can accomplish great things with the right people. This alongside with the chance to have taught at the Gobelins (a school I admired when I was younger) felt like crossing things on my bucket list and felt damn good.

In my previous stream of consciousness, I was expressing how my professional life took a toll on my mental state, I can now say that those dark clouds are over. I have so many things I’d like to accomplish and so many things to put in motion that I’m truly looking forward to get my hand dirty in September.

Personal Projects

Beginning of June I started a small newsletter project called Tranches de Livres. My purpose was to write each week about a book I read, what I learned from it and how people could apply it in their daily life. So far I’ve managed to write every week and got around 125 people to read it which is far more than I thought would be possible.

This little project allowed me to dive back in important books of my life and what they taught me as well as to be able to give back to other people everything I had learned along the way. It also helps me to decide what I should read next and made me talk a lot about deeply interesting subjects with various people. Something I missed a lot in my life from time to time.

Growth

I’ve just finished my 59th book for this year. I learned a lot of things through the books I read even if some were quite deceitful. This helped me wrap my mind around a lot of things and reach the goals I set to myself in the last stream : meditation ✅, push ups everyday ✅ (around 30 a day now, started at 5), cook more ✅ (ok, this is also because I want to lose weight), write more and launch the newsletter ✅✅.

During the last months I learned to structure a bit more my mind and what I wanted to say as well as when I wanted to say it. This helped me have meaningful conversations that lead to several life changing decisions concerning my professional life.

I also realised I had a giant problem with the way I was seeing myself. After years of battling dark thoughts (on which I want to write next), I thought the battle was over, but I realised that the way I was physically seeing myself was a big problem in my psyche. So I went back to therapy (CBT) to try to solve that, and I hope it’ll solve things out. I just never realised, hidden behind other problems, how I couldn’t stand the way I look, this grew to proportions I just can’t stand anymore : refusing to have my picture taken, refusing to see a recording, hiding my image feed on the screen when doing a video call, … This is not something I want to live with anymore, and certainly something that isn’t true. So I’ve got a big work to do on that, but I’m crossing fingers, I’ve battled worse demons.

Next Steps

  • Keep on the session with my therapist
  • Swim once to twice a week
  • Keep on cookin
  • Meditate (almost) each day (we all have very busy days sometimes)

Changes & Toll | Stream of Consciousness #2

So here we are, end of April, and a lot of things happened since the first stream and I’m still quite surprised about the magnitude of the changes, the impact on my mind and energy. As my mind is clogged again, it was time to relieve a bit the pressure and put things in perspective to be able to go ahead with a clear head.

Professional Life

Things went to evolve in unexpected ways and I’m glad they did. I’m taking a new role as real Lead in my professional life, having to manage 5 people and ensure their well-being. While it’s quite interesting, I’m a bit concerned about the fact that all those people are quite great. Don’t mistake me, that’s a great team to manage, but I learn to grow through difficulties, and I’m afraid I’m not learning enough without at least one black sheep (but when I’ll have one trust me I’ll hate myself for writing this).

I also gained a supportive role in my company, being able to welcome newcomers, set a nice welcome path, but also to create growth opportunities for them and anyone who’s not afraid to grow. Working hand in hand with others, we started to create a growth e-mail course to be able to maximize the potential of our new recruits and we’re going to implement it quite soon (still beta testing some of this).

I gave a talk about the impostor syndrome, something I’d never think I’d do. It went really nice, in fact I wish I had the ability to duplicate myself regarding all the discussions that this talk sparked. So much great people, so much shared experiences, this was really a great moment (even if it was frightening at first). The talk is available here. I also had the chance to write some articles for my company, but there’s still a lof I want to write about.

As for the company, I still love it quite deeply and don’t regret being a part of it. However, as for all companies, there’s some things I’d like to change, see evolve, and aim for a better. But this time I have the chance to make a change, so I’ll do my best to invest myself in proposing and implementing those changes for a better. And I really hope this will do a lot of good and improve a company I already respect quite a lot.

However, I have to handle a lot of politics and related topics, so this is taking a toll on my mental state, leading me to be quite exhausted. I’m slowly trying to distanciate myself to be able to take back my energy and jump back on my feet. While being an empath is great and transform you in a touchpoint for everyone in need to talk, I still have to find a correct way to declutter my mind and distanciate from other’s problems. Ongoing…

Personal Projects

I’ve got a lot of ideas in my mind. As I’m reading quite a lot of books during the year, and keeping notes in a common place book (in fact it’s more of a file), I’m wondering if there was a way I could capitalize on that. So far I’m thinking about either a newsletter (… and it’s done !). I’ll give it some thoughts, it’s something I could work on this summer.

On the side, I’ve decided to go back to code, so I’m trying to learn how to handle javascript in a better way and aim to start a framework just as Vue.js. I also started to experiment with UI to improve my skill set, but both those are for my personal life. Unfortunately, I discovered that the more skills you have, the more roles are expected from you and this is something I don’t want. I had parts of my life where I had to work several roles, and it lead to not being able to do any of those correctly because of a lack of time. This is something I won’t do again.

Growth

I read a lot of things lately that help me grow and made up my mind on some things. A new cardinal rule I set for people is now Acta non verba, meaning that if a person doesn’t act and just keep on a talking, his words aren’t worth shit. Same goes for talking about values and not living according to them. I’m tired of people spending their days giving by morality lessons on how society / government should behave while not implementing those changes in their personal life. Be the change you want to see in the world, is still the biggest motto ever.

Same I don’t believe in society as a separate entity. Society is a set of people, therefore it’s important to implement changes on the people scale. Expecting the “society” to implement it is reliving some unsolved daddy issue. If we want to change society, we have to do it on our level, than go all the way to the top.

Skin in the Game — Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Love life

Things happen when you don’t expect them too, and I guess this is true. While I decided to stop worrying about dating and things like that, I met someone really great. The start of our relationship hasn’t been the best, we both hoped for a cleaner start, but I must say that the last 3 months have been really great and this relationship is everything I could expect (kudos to him ❤).

Next Steps

Some things I want to implement for the next months

  • Meditate again everyday
  • Push ups everyday (Kaizen way)
  • Start the newsletter
  • Cook more instead of eating outside
  • Learn to distanciate myself through meditation
  • Write more when I need to empty my mind.

Changes & conscious choices | Stream of Consciousness #1

I’ve been living in Paris now for more than 6 months. The reasons that made me leave my country were multiple: lack of intellectual stimulus, feeling of getting stuck in a career path too soon, uninteresting professional landscape and way too much memories everywhere. After six months, my mind is a bit clogged and need some relief to structure things a bit.

Professional Life

On this part I must say that I got everything that I expected. My career evolved in the most interesting way and at an incredible pace those last months, and the coming months promise interesting challenges I couldn’t expect to find in Belgium. It seems that in order to evolve you have to break things and dare to jump. While it has been a bit frightening, I’m really happy with the results.

Concerning the French professional world, things are quite different. I think the main part is how much the personal side affects work and how everything is tied to human relationships (and no clear division between work and its producer). From time to time I have the feeling of being stuck in a Game of Thrones episode, which isn’t quite pleasant as I’m usually the kind of person that tend to avoid conflict when it’s unnecessary and who try to be honest. Politics and powerplay makes navigating into the French professional landscape quite strange.

Colleagues & friends

While I always thought myself as more of an introvert, I discovered that I needed people around me way more than I thought. And on this side I’ve been quite lucky, the people have met until here, mainly thanks to my work and social networks have been both intellectually challenging and profoundly humans. I discovered tremendous people and some of them already play a big part in my life and in the span of 6 months became really important for me, some of them I can really call close friends. I’ve also discovered friends with whom I can be totally myself, without any needs for barriers or anything, which felt quite as a relief when I lived most of my life using a fake self persona to go through social life.

However, there’s a dark side to this. While work helped me to connect easily with people in an interesting way, I found the way people behave here in Paris quite strange. I tried to connect outside my circle but always felt that you somehow need to gain the right to talk to some people. After some time trying to engage into unilateral conversations, I decided to dedicate my time to my friends here and colleague and avoid some areas (I’ll develop).

Gay places, apps and lgbt life in general

I’ve always had troubles getting into the LGBT life, and wrote quite a lot about it. But after some years of trying, I’ve decided to take some radical decisions and cut the ties with anything related to it. I’ve deleted both the dating apps (which helped me rebuild my self esteem and personal energy) and quit the LGBT associations I was part of.

The main reasons were both the fact that I didn’t felt I needed to keep on trying to have conversations where I had to gain some divine right to talk to the person. In fact, I was exhausted to always be the one leading the discussion without any feedback. This hit me after meeting a friend’s friend for the 4th time and when he realized he didn’t knew a single thing about me… because he never returned any answer.

The second reason was the perpetual drama. As I said I hate conflict, especially unnecessary conflict. I couldn’t take anymore the relationships drama going all around, keeping in mind who wanted to talk to who, who was deadly enemy and things like that.

This also lead me to leave my main Twitter account and focus on my professional one. Since then I feel like I’m able to breath and feel generally better about myself.

Rebuilding a social circle

With all this I’ve rebuilt a social circle of what I consider to be people both intellectually challenging but also benevolent people. Being with them makes me grow, evolve and learn. And I’m assured that any drama coming my way won’t be unnecessary but something that requires time, dedication and help to grow.

I’ve taken steps to remove all the toxic people from my life, but also the people who hurt me even not willingly. I have enough good and close friends to keep on hurting myself.

Dating

I’ve deleted the apps to give myself a bit of breath but also because I realized several things. The first one is that the reason that make me synchronize with a human being are quite blurry, and hard to define. This lead to a lot of search on the dating apps to find those special people I could connect to. But spending a lot of time on those apps takes a deadly toll: self esteem destruction, constant comparison toward society ideals, rejection, … The fact was that I was investing a lot of time on those for maybe 1% return of investment. Not a great idea.

The second reason was that I realized I needed time for myself. The previous years haven’t been kind on the sentimental level and I was barely able to stand up again. While I think I have a lot to offer, it’s time also for me to meet someone who’s ready to invest into a relationship as much as I am. I realized that those things would come in time, but that now, I didn’t have any energy left, nor the capacity to handle another failure. I can accept to welcome things as they come, but can’t invest in this area of my life all by myself at the moment.

In contradiction, I’ve realized that I was ready for someone to enter my life. While it’s still healing, my heart finally stopped aching. I’m still in defensive mode, so the next one will have some battles to fight, but still, I’m ready to accept someone for who he’s and not because I’m in pain. And that’s quite an evolution. The thing I expect from a soulmate became also quite precise which helped me quite a lot.

The next steps

I thought I’d stay 5 years here, but reconsidering some parts (mainly how the society works and things I’ve expressed here), I think I’d switch to 3 years then see another place. I realized there was much to discover still and places to go, and I’m too eager to stay in some place I don’t really love.

I wanted to tackle a master in management, but I realized that this was important only for the French society. The competences I’ve gained and will gain in the coming months will be more valuable than any paper I could gain, and the financial and time costs would be way too heavy for what I could gain. There are other ways to evolve that will suit me better, so I’m still giving me sometime to think about.

And that’s aaaall for the moment.

P.S. : Thanks to Yoan for this idea, it indeed helps a lot.