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!

2017 : The Road So Far

With this year slowly ending, I felt it was the time to have a small look back and see the road I’ve travelled on different aspects of my life in 2017. While this has been quite a difficult year, it lead also to a lot of improvements, learnings, new habits useful to share and to discover new improvements paths.

Health

I started the year with a weight of exactly 80.2kg and a 22% Fat Mass. 12 months later, thanks to several improvements, I’ve reached 68kg and a 15% Fat Mass. I still have some work to do (especially dive into fitness and weight lifting on a more regular basis), still I’m quite proud of the work accomplished.

I’ve reached this by taking some simple steps: cutting sugar from my food intake (and most related carbs… well except for pizza. You can’t refuse pizza.) and adopting a ketogenic diet. This lead at the beginning to some headaches but finally I feel more energized, dynamic and less nauseous overall.

Based on some readings, I’ve also started to take some supplements: magnesium citrate & krill oil mainly. Those helped me to get a better brain health. Since I take them, I’m able to make connections between things more quickly, but also I’ve gained a capacity to focus on things, which was quite a challenge due to my ADHD troubles.

I’ve started 2017 by removing coffee and alcohol from my alimentation. Since then I’ve started to slowly reintroduce coffee (mainly for the taste), and I’ve lost the unfortunate side effects. I drink it less than before, and I don’t need it anymore to feel energized. Alcohol has been reintroduced quite quickly mainly due to two things : first I spotted that some of my depression events where provoked by either life events I didn’t want to acknowledge or simply by reacting to some kind of alcohol (bye whisky, it has been quite a ride), secondly I’ve noted that when you’re the only sober person in a party, it’s really hard to keep a conversation with someone drunk without wanting to kill them.

Spirituality

I tried to keep the pace with daily meditation (depending mostly on daily energy and mood) and must say that it really helped me to sort things out, keep my mood under balance and be able to analyze some events and encounters in a more clearer way. This is still something I’d recommend to anyone regarding the improvements it does to one’s life. I’ve divided the meditation in several parts (and learned to use mudras to improve my energy flow):

  • Mindfulness: take the time to acknowledge the time and space you’re in and how your body is feeling, what thoughts are going through your mind and labelling them
  • Premeditatio Malorum: imagine what could go in the worst possible way for the day ahead, experience how it’d make me feel
  • Projection: picture what I want to reach on several level, and be able to set steps to get there by projecting ahead
  • Forgiving: take one person in my life that hurt me, relive the moments I felt hurt and then forgive this person, and letting her go.
  • Reverse gap: take some time to acknowledge the road I travelled so far and express gratitude for all the things I’ve done until now.

I kept the habit on journaling almost every day on my life. This transformed a lot from a place to empty my thoughts to something more structured. Nowadays it’s divided in several parts I’m able to go through quite quickly:

  • Acknowledge 3 things I’m grateful for in other people
  • Acknowledge 3 things I’m grateful about myself (this is quite hard)
  • Try to remember parts of my dreams (this helped me acknowledge some things that were bothering me but that I didn’t want to bring up to the conscious level)
  • Set 3 things I want to accomplish for the day.

Brainfood & Mental Health

I’m finishing this year with 128 books read, and I’m quite happy with the result. While I was a bit afraid at the beginning of the year concerning the quality of the books I was reading, this year end has been really fruitful and brought to me a lot of books I’d totally advise:

  • Progress, Ten Reasons to look forward to the future (Johan Norberg): lately I’ve seen a lot of people being quite negative about the world we live in and the state of our society. This book help us to develop a more objective view of our times and to see that things are, in fact, going better and better in every possible way.
  • The Code of The Extraordinary Mind (Vishen Lakhiani): This book really helped me setting some things straight. It shows how you need to change the way you look at things and how to adopt a more healthier way to go through life and its events. It also forces you to examine some rules you live by and to destroy them. I’ve developed a spreadsheet to help you question the 12 areas of life balance exposed in the book, available here.
  • Homo Deus & Sapiens (Yuval Noah Harari): I can’t express how much I’ve learned from those two books and how it changed everything I learned until them. From the beginning of our stories to the way our cultures have been shaped, those are truly eye opening. For everyone interested in our common history and future, those are must read.
  • Gaïa : A New Look at Life on Earth (James Lovelock): The Gaïa hypothesis is something I was deeply convinced before encountering this book. James Lovelock exposes here some scientific theories about it and gives a new look about the planet we live on. Mind blowing in every possible way.
  • La route du temps — Théorie de la double causalité (Philippe Guillemant): Time as we experience it seems like a finite dimension on which we have no control. In this book, Philippe Guillemant shows that things might be different than we think they are and that we have some control about both our past and our future. It also shows that our minds are way more powerful than we think they are.

Based on an idea from Buster Benson, I’ve started to write my Book of Beliefs, it encompass everything I believe in in a perpetual draft state. Everytime I learn something new or that I change my mind about something, I edit it. It’s already well developed and some readings and experiences lead to dramatic changes, but this really helped me setting things straight in my mind and establish some basis for discussions.

I’ve also finished writing my second book. While it’s still under correction, the draft version is available here. It was a real help in getting through my breakup and learning to let go, and I’m quite happy with the result (and the fact that it’s now out of my head).

After some time for myself, I’m keeping my listener role on 7 Cups. There’s something highly efficient in helping others get through life events, and I’ve found there some way to give back to the world and help people around me. I’ve discovered that it was something I was really happy to do and, in some ways, needed to do. So if you ever need some anonymous help, don’t hesitate 🙂

Work

A lot has changed about this during this year. After some time freelancing (which allowed me to finally gain a real confidence in my capacities and about what I wanted to do), I’ve decided to take several decisions.

Things started thanks to a friend who opened my eyes. For a year, I was supposed to search for a flat to buy. After 6 months, she simply asked me how many flat I had visited. Two. Two flats in six months. She then asked me if I really wanted to buy a flat. This is when I realized that deeply I didn’t really want to buy a place but that was something I was supposed to do. And then I digged deeper.

I realized that I wasn’t happy at all in Belgium. While for years I’ve put this on being in a relationship or single, I slowly realized that, in fact, I wasn’t finding anymore what I was looking for where I was living. I was, in a metaphoric way, dying. I wasn’t learning anything anymore except through books. While on the economic side things were bright, on a mental state I couldn’t live like that anymore, not at almost 30 years old.

There was only one thing I could change: where I was living. After some self examination, I’ve ended considering several states around Europe. For the first time in my life I wrote a real motivation letter, send it and things went really well. In the space of one month and half I moved to Paris and started to work for a company I admire, UX Republic. Since that, I’m finally challenged on the professional level, I’m able to discuss and debate about ideas I couldn’t in Belgium. There’s still some steps I want to take, but I’ve never felt so alive.

The Road Ahead

2018 will begin for me in this new country, new city. I’ve already started to make some friends and encountered a lot of different people. I’ve set my intentions for this year in a more clearer way, and based on things depending only on myself:

  • Keep learning and evolving, teach and transmit: I’m slowly giving back more and more through some internal conferences, and this is slowly I want to expand more. I’m also setting things straight to be able to start a master in management and innovation sciences, something I’ve been willing to do for years but always refused.
  • Be surrounded by love & Help people: While I’ve decided to be happy in the present moment, I’ve also decided that I wanted to deepen my relationships. Finally I’ve learned that love wasn’t only based on my soulmate relationship, but through all my relationships. I’m eager to meet new people and build new relationships. I’m also still willing to help as much people as I can this year.

All those are depending only on myself and doable. While there are things I want to reach for next year (fitness based for example), those are not the most important things for me and this is something I’ve finally learned. I still have a lot of time ahead of me, so many things to discover, test, learn, so many people I want to meet and things I want to see. There’s only this moment, and in this moment, I’m finally happy being myself. See ya next year!

“This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny.”
Steven Pressfield, The War of Art