It’s interesting to see the path people take developing their skills, interests, and hobbies. I’ll read stories about those who are passionate about something and have focused intently on building a skill since they were little kids. They’ve written books, created television shows, maintain active social media channels, and have loyal fan bases. It seems so simple. Pick something. Focus on it. Become an expert.
I’ve rarely found that to be the case for me. I also doubt that it’s the case for most other people as well.
When I look back on my hobbies, it’s more of a long and winding road than a straight path to success. I find that I tend to dabble in lots of things, working on them here and there. I’ll accumulate knowledge and skill until it reaches a flashpoint. Then, out of nowhere, a spark comes along, and wham! I’m hooked.
Such is the case with how I developed my passion for baking.
I’m a big fan of Rohan’s Learning A Day blog. He does a great job synthesizing complex topics into powerful statements. In this case, his point is that “media companies have somehow convinced us that there are few things that matter more than staying up to date.” We are bombarded by content from emails, news articles, blogs, podcasts, social media, and television. There is so much coming at us that it’s impossible to stay up to date. As he would say, it’s a “fool’s errand.”
Believe me, there was a point in time where I bought into what the media companies were selling. I tried to stay up to date, and I failed. And out of the failure came a valuable lesson. Life is not about the amount of content you consume, it’s about the quality.
Even if you haven’t watched the movie The Social Dilemma, which I would highly recommend by the way, you know that users are being exploited on the internet. It’s no secret that social media, news, and many other types of websites and mobile apps make money selling their users’ data. If we know this, why do we keep giving it to them?
Yes, the website owners, app developers, and software engineers bear a lot of the responsibility, but it’s not all their fault. We, as users, bear a lot of the responsibility by enabling them. So long as we are willing to trade our data for “free” software, the owners and producers will continue exploiting us for their gain. It’s like a person addicted to smoking blaming the cigarette makers for their poor health. Yes, the cigarette makers are responsible. But, if one knows smoking is bad for you, why would one keep doing it?
Giving away our data and engaging in questionable online behaviors are bad for us. It’s time for us to “just say no” and change our internet and overall software habits.
While house cleaning blog topics recently, I stumbled across a few articles lamenting the state of the technology industry. The common theme throughout these articles was how technology companies were exploiting users for their personal gain. You would think that these articles would have been written in the last year or two.
Think again. Many of these articles were at least three or four years old, with a couple written ten years ago.
Where am I going with this? We’ve known about the dangers of the large, powerful technology companies for at least ten years. During that time, nothing has changed. Nothing. If anything the problem is only getting worse.
It’s been said that we can choose our friends, but we can’t choose our family. For better or worse, we’re stuck with them. In my case, even if I were able to choose my family, I wouldn’t choose any differently. I’d choose the same parents. Every. time. I wouldn’t trade them for any others. Ever.
Each year I like to review my fitness goals for the prior year and set new ones for the upcoming year. Doing these reviews helps to keep me focused and on track. As people like to say, you achieve the results you measure.
My goals for last year were centered around working out, walking, and diet. These have been the areas of focus for the last 3 years, and I plan to continue these into 2021. As you’ll see below, the COVID pandemic impacted my goals for last year, and I’m still figuring out how to adjust my goals for 2021 based on the challenges of the continued lock-downs and closures.
Let’s get into it by looking back on 2020 and then ahead into 2021.
Looking for books to read this year? Then, do I have a list of recommendations for you. As I’ve done in prior years, this year’s list is broken down into General Recommendations, Personal Development books, Business Reads, and a collection of what I like to call Fun Reads.
Since I did a better job this year of balancing my fiction and non-fiction titles, this year’s recommendations are strong mix of recreational and serious reads. Keep in mind that my tastes lean towards technology and science fiction, so most of the books on the list are from those genres.
My reading for this past year is locked in. I’m not expecting to finish any books between now and the end of the year. Therefore, I figured it was a good time to review and organize my reading list for 2021.