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.
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.
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 :)
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