2017: A REFLECTION

Read.Write. Teach. Learn

We row forward looking back. Before embarking on the voyage of making new year resolutions, it pays to sail, even if just for a bit on reflective waters. See where you are coming from to gain perspective on where you are heading.

2017 was a giant learning curve. At the start of the year, I made the sort of resolutions self-help experts worth their salt guide against-totally unspecific, not measurable and not bound by time. Let’s say I was anything but SMART. My resolutions were simply to read more, write more, teach more and learn more. While I have no metrics against which to measure vague injunctions as these, I am of the opinion that indeed, I succeeded in my mission.

I read more non-medical literature than I have read in the past several years put together. I read fiction, lots of non-fiction, articles, blogposts and newsletters. I read the four gospels through and through for the first time. I pondered wise sayings from the wierdest places. I breathed in words and exhaled awe. I didn’t read a hundred books or even fifty but I submerged myself in words.

I wrote. I started writing on Medium and I even challenged myself to write for 31 days without pause. Throughout the month of December, I showed up everyday. There were days of gold, there were days of dross but I stayed the course. The real win to me is that I have all these pieces of writing that I can choose to improve at anytime. I periodically click on a piece at random and edit. Editing is truly a divine act and I am grateful for it.

I am a teacher so it goes without saying that I taught. But this year was different. I went out of my way to teach. I started an Instagram account for my students. Nobody I know is doing that. There is no reward, no compensation. Just the satisfaction of lighting a flame over and above just filling pails. And I won’t stop. I’ll keep it up. Until in my own little way I am able to start a teaching revolution.

And I learnt. I learnt things outside of Medicine. I learnt about stoic philosophy and behavioural economics. I enjoyed learning about various cognitive biases, putting labels to concepts I had vague ideas about in the past. And the heuristics, the shortcuts we take in our thinking that make our reasoning flawed.

Reflecting like this makes me see a little bit of where I want to go. In 2018 with the headlights beaming from the charges of the year gone, all I can see are a few feet ahead. I realise I have digitally documented my writing and teaching activities (Medium and Instagram) and to some extent my learning (what I learnt has fed a substantial proportion of my writings). I haven’t archived my reading to the same degree. So I decided to do just that using a Facebook page, Readings.

Launching today January 1, Readings is a digital archive of selected material from books, blog posts, articles, texts or whatever I have read in the recent past or I’m currently reading. The criteria for selection will be profundity in content and construction or both.

I haven’t set SMART goals for 2018. I am sticking with the Read, Write, Teach, Learn template. Rather than specific goals, my focus will be on building and sustaining habits.

I am grateful for all 2017 taught me and I look forward to more adventures in 2018.

Happy New Year.

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