2018 was a very fast year. To revisit a few things that had happened and evaluate their value it is useful to write them out. It also helps to inform other people I cannot spend so much time with to update them. :)
Table of Contents
“Life is like a play: it’s not the length, but the excellence of the acting that matters.” ― Seneca
Some of my goals for 2018 were:
- Keep progress at university
- Keep organization of non-profit
- Get into machine learning
- Get another job for new experiences
- Keep cold shower
- Stay sporty
- Social life and love
University / Business Law
This was a quite good year in terms of university progress. Lecturewise I was focusing on
- Criminal Procedure Law
- Company and Capital Markets Law
- European Law
- Labour Law
- Tax Law
- Inheritance Law
- Principles of International Law
- Constitutional Law
- Banking Law
There were some negative results in the first term but this was due to the limited time available and “ambitious” workload in general. What I had realized this year, especially with university duties, is that one is more capable of things that you would imagine at first. We are really able to stretch according to the tasks that are thrown at us. This is essentially what makes us grow. Demanding more than we are capable of in the first place. And this was the case with all law-related endeavors this year. Once again the Pareto Principle showed its value.
As there was not much time available I need to trim down efforts on organizing events. Surprisingly it turned out to still work well enough to continue them. Of course, this is also due to the great work of my co-organizer Robert Axelsen, but I was surprised that it kept going. It also showed the main value of the events, which is not really the organized content, but rather the exchange of people.
We need to change some things I think. We should keep identifying strengths and build on them. Additionally, we need people. One or 2 persons can only do so much. To really change something, to make dreams a reality, we need to work together. Everyone can contribute with a little, and that is how we can build something that stands the test of time.
Getting into machine learning
This technological discovery is something that can really change a lot in my opinion. Therefore I wanted to get into it. I did the online courses from Stanford about Machine Learning and Deep Learning, and was amazed by its power. Unfortunately, and I really came to realize this in my next job, it takes a lot, really A LOT, to be sufficient and productive with it. All the math in the background, all the statistics, all the programming specific additions need a lot of knowledge. As Liad Magen, one of my colleagues said: “If you don’t understand the tools you are working with, you are not more then a kid playing with lego”. Even though it was always clear to me it was good to hear it from time to time.
Hence, I decided to focus first on finishing my Master's degree in law before going into depth with machine learning. It does hurt to not pursue the most interesting things at a time, but it is of no good use if you are doing too much and not in depth. I thought I can just do it on the side, like my university studies, but this was wrong. Building on a foundation on the side is doable. Building something on the side that requires that much attention is not doable.
Focus is key.
Getting another job
Life is about growth. The more experiences one is able to collect, the more he is able to contribute to building a good life. Therefore I wanted to experience another company additionally to my current job as a web developer. It was quite easy as there is always a high demand for people that are able to learn and have an optimistic mindset it seems. Working two jobs and studying regularly proved to be harder than expected. It is definitely possible, but depending on the overall efforts, it requires serious commitment. I came to witness that it is even harder to work in two places because every company has its own mindset, its own philosophy. Each project is different and requires a different set of skills. To work in those environments you need to be adaptable and flexible.
And again, this is why I like it so much. It requires you to be in a changing state. It is like Bruce Lee said. You have to be flexible as water. If you put it into a cup, it becomes the cup.
Experiencing multiple companies synchronously also showed me how difficult it is to actually run a company. Ultimately, a company is the total of its people. The more people you have, the more diverse the company is and the harder it gets to actually implement the original vision. With great power comes great responsibility. Running a business is a balancing act. One has to find the balance between the foundational concepts of a company and its inevitable change as it grows with new people. Selecting the right people is probably the most important job as an executive member of an organization.
Cold showers and meditation
This is huge. As I picked up the Wimhof method (combining meditation and exposure to the cold) I was already confident that this is something that will stick with me. It turned out to be true. For more than a year I am now constantly showering as cold as possible. The effects it has on me are superb. To name a few things that have improved:
I was not really sick since I started. Also, other health issues like pollen allergy were reduced if not eliminated completely.
Clearing the mind and body through ice showers has proven to be the most efficient thing for me to sleep well. As I am a person who has constantly new ideas and things to do I always found it hard to go to sleep and just relax. Having an ice shock before the bed helps to clear the mind thoroughly. It is like a reminder that you are human. Thoughts and worries are closed down. Simply because you cannot think when being exposed to cold water. You can only feel, and that is why it helps. Closing the mind helps to go to meditation mode, which prepares you for relaxation, which is ultimately necessary for going to sleep well.
I also want to mention the importance of sleep here. This year I tried consistently to get at least 7 hours of sleep. I realized that this is absolutely necessary to get the best out of yourself. It is better to lose 2 hours of work because of sleep than trying to get more done in a sleepy mode. As I operate my life in a way that always demands a clear and sharp mind, I cannot compromise on this issue.
Understanding the body
Being surrounded with so many things to do, we can easily forget about our main instrument, the body. As I was always doing lots of sports I was always body aware, but there is more to it. Controlling a part of your body is just a very small fraction of what you and your body are capable of. Being able to really witness your body, feeling the strengths and problems, takes constant practice of meditation and awareness. You cannot pursue dreams if you do not know yourself. Get to know yourself in order to be ready for the challenges ahead of you.
A great example is working overhours in a day. To be really efficient at pushing your body to a limit you have to know and identify a limit. Most people think it is good to work overtime and cramping as much work time as possible in a day to get the job done. Most often, I witnessed, that is not true. Being in a sub-optimal state of thinking (due to overwork) causes more damage than it actually helps. Only one who has mastered this himself is able to see it. If not identified and addressed properly it causes not optimal results.
Taking cold showers everyday needs discipline. Every time you are asked to put yourself into a painful state to achieve greatness. I chose the word pain here on purpose. Because it is painful to expose yourself to the merciless cold of the fresh water after a long day in winter. You might be tired, hungry or cold. It takes courage to embrace the ice that is raining down on you when all you want is just a warm bed. But all this helps to discipline yourself. As Greg Plitt said: “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain”.
This year this was again an easy task. Sport is the balance I need. Therefore I do it. There is no week without sport. The gym is my second home basically. However, I might want to consider certain challenges. As I come to love Yoga more and more, I can imagine doing it in a more professional manner in the next year.
Social life and love
As I am constantly exposed to other people because I am doing a lot of things, I come to enjoy people more and more. The diversity and opportunities within each person are amazing. I am always thinking about investing more time into relationships, but then it would mean a compromise on all the other things I do. It was a pretty work driven year and I assume the next year will be the same. This is something I want to work on more in the next year. It should not be a compromise. Not a substitute. But rather something that fits the whole picture. Pursuing goals and work while building relationships on purpose. Doing things together but staying focused on the overall goal. As every person is different it requires the right type of people finding each other. And the only way to find them is to meet new people. Every month I meet many people but I should focus more on the process of integrating them into my daily life if possible. The same goes for love, which is just a deeper connection with people.
Another great year is arriving. I love to see how more and more opportunities arise. In all areas of life. Reflecting on a process allows seeing its changes. Life is getting better and that is amazing. We simply need to sharpen our mind and attitude to see it. Often, our limitations are only the ones we set ourselves. Letting go of those is scary but fruitful. Curiosity is what ignites change. Change is what makes life better than it is already.
Thanks for reading my article! Feel free to leave any feedback!