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Choices not outcomes

Camp fire

 I've been writing quite a lot recently. I just haven't been writing here, because my priorities and aims have changed.

Frankly, my life has changed.

I wrote recently that I've stopped doing design work, which came about for various reasons. I've also stopped covering design so much, which has been coming for a while. Being a designer, and writing about design, seemed cool, possibly a bit glamorous.

But I've always enjoyed being outdoors more than indoors, and that's been especially true since having kids. Also, this site has never provided me with enough income to do it full-time, so spending time and money to find things to write about began to feel more and more like a burden.

The problem was, I was always trying to chase outcomes. If the site becomes popular, I can earn money from it. If I design this for this person, I can be a full-time designer. If, if, if...

The internet is littered with failed blogs and abandoned sites. Often it's because the owner(s) quickly tired of what they initially found interesting. Other times it's because the business behind it failed.

Extrapolate that to other areas of life, and I found I've been doing pretty much the same thing all over the place. That's why I've got a list of abandoned projects, fitness regimes, business ideas, and more, as long as my arm.

I was obsessed with reaching an outcome so much that I ignored the steps - and small accomplishments - along the way. I'm guessing many of us do so.

So instead of thinking about what to write here for free, I've chosen to write an increasing number of education-orientated pieces, for which I get paid very well. Not only is the money very welcome (and helpful with a mortgage and two kids), the work is very enjoyable, and comes with the added benefit of helping my career. What initially seemed like a minor change, or choice, to make in my life has had nothing but positive outcomes. All while not thinking about the outcomes at all.

Likewise, in terms of health, instead of aiming towards nebulous goals, I decide to go out more (hence the camp fire in the picture), spend more time playing outdoors with my kids, and choose walking or cycling over public transport. The outcomes have once again been resoundingly positive: I feel much better both physically and mentally, I can relax much more easily, I'm no longer constantly distracted by my phone, and I sleep better.

Then there are knock-on benefits, like choosing not to smoke, choosing healthier food, choosing to get home as early as possible and not drink rather than heading to the pub. And also choosing to not write anything here rather than force myself to write something.

And it's all come about by focusing on positive choices rather than outcomes.


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Richard, 'Seems like you have found your calling - way to go.
I've been taking a sabbatical from design work as well, design world can be discouraging. I took it up, needing to reinvent my life, for a number of reasons: I felt I had the talent. I liked the premise of industrial design - 'improve the quality of life over a broad base'. And I wanted to leave my mark, to show I had been here.
Small successes but a bit short on outcome. I think that comes after it's over. In the meantime I'll enjoy the journey otherwise it like waiting for Godot.

Chuck, great to hear from you! I hope all is well. The design world can indeed be discouraging.

The big disappointment is what design world has evolved to; trendy shit-for-bones knick-knacks. 'Not much going on in my area that is inspiring.

Gee, that didn't sound right. To quote Gauguin: 'there is always a heavy demand for fresh mediocrity'.
This mentality is what drives the markets. Exceedingly boring for me.

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