110: 2021 Yearly Themes


00:00:00   Are you ready to say goodbye to 2020?

00:00:02   You know, I'm not sure if I'm ready to say goodbye to 2020.

00:00:06   You want to stick in it for a little bit longer? It's nice and comfortable in here.

00:00:10   Yeah, I'm not going to immediately back that statement, Myke.

00:00:13   Okay, well I'm gonna join literally every single one of our listeners

00:00:18   and wish goodbye to 2020. So goodbye 2020, we're nearly into 2021, the optimistic year.

00:00:24   Goodbye 2020.

00:00:25   We hardly knew you.

00:00:27   - Do you?

00:00:28   (both laughing)

00:00:31   - It's time for yearly themes.

00:00:34   - Yearly theme time, the best time of the year.

00:00:37   - It is really the best time of the year.

00:00:38   Yearly themes for 2021.

00:00:40   So we're looking ahead to our next year.

00:00:43   I guess we should start off with a brief recap

00:00:45   of what yearly themes are.

00:00:47   My favorite thing that's happened

00:00:48   since our last yearly themes episode

00:00:50   is you made that wonderful YouTube video, the themes video.

00:00:54   I will put that in the show notes.

00:00:55   There's a very good primer for the idea

00:00:57   of what a theme is, what it is like to have a yearly theme.

00:01:01   But if you want a bit more information,

00:01:03   we can go into that here.

00:01:04   So we've been doing yearly themes on Kotex since 2016.

00:01:09   - Oh my God.

00:01:10   - Don't think about it that way, it's fine.

00:01:12   Every year we get together,

00:01:14   we review how our last year has gone

00:01:17   and the theme that we set for ourselves

00:01:19   and talk about what we're looking to achieve

00:01:20   in our coming year and then set a theme around that.

00:01:24   So the things that we want to achieve,

00:01:26   where we want to be, what we want to focus on.

00:01:29   We kind of encapsulate these things

00:01:30   and tie them up with a nice little theme bow.

00:01:33   Now yearly themes, they are not resolutions, not at all.

00:01:38   Resolutions should go in the trash.

00:01:41   New Year's resolutions are a terrible idea.

00:01:43   Do you want to tell people why New Year's resolutions

00:01:45   are a terrible idea, Gray?

00:01:47   - I mean, where does one even start?

00:01:50   But yes, they're goals that you set a year in advance

00:01:54   that you often think about with mere days,

00:01:58   if that, of forethought.

00:01:59   It's just like everything about them

00:02:02   is structurally doomed to failure.

00:02:05   And I think themes exist as a nice general layer

00:02:09   above goals.

00:02:11   Goals, if you want them to exist,

00:02:12   need to be shorter term than a year.

00:02:16   It's just, it's way too far and it's depressing

00:02:19   and it's awful.

00:02:20   So no one should do new year's resolutions.

00:02:22   So I'll give a good example to our listeners.

00:02:24   So a lot of people might set a New Year's resolution

00:02:27   of like, I wanna lose 10 pounds by March

00:02:30   or something like that.

00:02:31   And these are like these fixed goals

00:02:33   that you can succeed or fail with.

00:02:34   But if you set for yourself, for example,

00:02:37   the year of health as your yearly theme,

00:02:39   there's so many things that you can achieve

00:02:41   over that 12 month period that could contribute

00:02:44   to the year of health, rather than it just being like,

00:02:47   well, I didn't lose those 10 pounds, I lost eight,

00:02:50   so I failed.

00:02:51   It's like, no, but if you have the yearly theme of the year of health, you did what

00:02:55   you wanted to do, or maybe your year of health could be focusing on your mental health instead

00:03:01   because you decided that you don't want to lose the weight.

00:03:04   So there are lots of different things that you can do that could ladder up to the year

00:03:08   of health that makes it more of a thing that at the end of the year you can look back and

00:03:13   see what you've accomplished rather than focusing on the things that you didn't.

00:03:18   And they're adaptable and flexible as you go on because as might happen, a year could

00:03:25   be quite different halfway in than you were expecting at the start.

00:03:30   And then you also would just feel bad of like, "Oh, I'm never going to achieve my goal."

00:03:33   It's like, no, no, no.

00:03:34   Themes can be malleable.

00:03:35   They can change to fit the situation.

00:03:37   You just want to be moving in a positive direction.

00:03:41   And if there's one thing that 2020 has taught us and all the Cortexians is that I think

00:03:46   need to establish our yearly themes in such a way that in case they can take a

00:03:49   harsh left turn. We'll talk about that in a little bit. Themes are intended to be

00:03:53   broad. Like getting better at something is great, you don't have to be the

00:03:58   ultimate version of it. So like there's one of the things you were talking about

00:04:01   in the video that you made of positive trend lines being a good thing, you know?

00:04:06   That's just like as long as you're moving towards where you want to be, that

00:04:10   is improvement. Just being at the ultimate stage of that is not necessarily

00:04:15   what you can achieve. You don't know what's going to happen in your year.

00:04:18   So having a theme can help you move towards areas that you're looking for rather

00:04:23   than be like all or nothing based around one particular metric that you've set.

00:04:28   So when you're choosing a theme for yourself, try to stay broad.

00:04:32   Don't make a defined route or path.

00:04:34   Think about the kinds of areas that you'd like to focus on. Allow for adapting.

00:04:40   As you reference it as broad directional resonant.

00:04:43   These are these three little words that I really liked from the video that you made.

00:04:46   So yearly themes, they're all about trying to help you build the life you want to live,

00:04:51   whether it's personal stuff, work stuff, creative stuff, or a mix of all of them.

00:04:55   And for the last few years, my themes have been exactly that.

00:04:59   And my theme that I'm going to talk about later on in this episode for 2021 is I think

00:05:04   one of the most all encapsulating themes that I have looked at so far.

00:05:10   It touches on, I think, every single part of my work, creative and personal life in

00:05:16   a way that they haven't usually.

00:05:18   And so that's what I think, like a really good yearly theme, you can find parts of

00:05:24   it in everything that you do.

00:05:26   And I think that that really helps, again, enforce the idea of this being an

00:05:31   achievable thing, because I may not achieve my yearly theme when it comes to

00:05:35   the creativity stuff, but maybe I did with my personal life, my relationships.

00:05:39   And so, you know, that's what makes these things really good.

00:05:41   It remains like this overall kind of umbrella for your year.

00:05:46   So.

00:05:46   I'm very intrigued to find out what it is that your theme is going to be this year.

00:05:51   You're really, really setting it up there.

00:05:53   I know.

00:05:53   This is foreshadowing.

00:05:55   But we have a lot to do before we talk about what our themes are.

00:05:59   We like to review our theme from the year before.

00:06:03   So we take a look at what we set in 2020 at the beginning of the year, or it's

00:06:08   at the end of 2019, and then we reflect on how it's been.

00:06:11   I've already kind of done a bit of this this year,

00:06:14   but we haven't done it for you.

00:06:15   So can you give our listeners a reminder

00:06:19   of what your 2020 theme was,

00:06:20   and then talk about how it's been?

00:06:23   - Yes, I will do that just as soon as I change the batteries

00:06:27   in my backup recorder.

00:06:28   Hold on one second, Myke.

00:06:29   (laughing)

00:06:31   - How good's the backup recorder if it has no power?

00:06:34   - The backup recorder that I watched

00:06:35   the little light blink out as you were talking

00:06:37   thought oh no you're doing failing the one thing you're supposed to do

00:06:45   i'll be right back levels levels okay okay

00:07:01   levels levels okay great all right backup recorder

00:07:05   backup. So yeah, you were in the interesting position of doing the half-year theme switch,

00:07:11   a Cortex-first this year. I did not do a theme switch this year, and I'll say at this point,

00:07:18   usually the weird thing that happens is we record this episode in December, and this is the time

00:07:28   when people are thinking about New Year's resolutions. Every year in the past I've

00:07:33   always felt like summer is the time that you have to decide on what your theme is going

00:07:38   to be and it comes to you sometimes the theme picks you you know this happens and so often

00:07:45   when we're talking about what the themes are I'm already half reviewing how it's gone because

00:07:52   I've been living the theme for half of the year yeah and we've always been off kilter

00:07:57   But this is the first year where that has not happened.

00:08:01   So I did not have my summer decision of what the theme is going to be.

00:08:06   I was wondering for a little while of like, "Gee, I wonder if this is even going to

00:08:10   be a thing that occurs to me," because since this year was so different, it didn't feel

00:08:16   quite like there was a summer and everything was just in a different place.

00:08:19   So this year I actually, for the first time, have had a theme run for the full duration.

00:08:27   So basically 18 months from the summer when I first thought of the Year of Clarity, which

00:08:33   was my theme for last year until now.

00:08:36   And so I'll s--

00:08:41   How to put this?

00:08:43   As the intro alluded to, Myke, 2020 has not been a good year for most people.

00:08:50   I think we can make that as a general statement.

00:08:53   Yeah, I think you could probably get away with that one, Gray.

00:08:56   I don't like to generalize.

00:08:58   But if I'm gonna generalize on something, it will be this.

00:09:01   Yeah, and specifically, when you're going to try to make a generalization that, say,

00:09:06   encompasses the entirety of the human species on the planet for a year.

00:09:11   There's very few things you could say.

00:09:13   But to say that 2020 was not very many people's best year,

00:09:19   it's probably a pretty safe statement.

00:09:22   And for me, you know, my 2020 got totally interrupted.

00:09:26   It was originally going to be lots of travel and lots of family travel in particular,

00:09:33   and all of that got canceled.

00:09:37   But if we put aside all of the obvious things,

00:09:42   and I'm just talking about myself,

00:09:45   2020 has been one of the greatest years of my adult life.

00:09:49   And I will very easily attribute that

00:09:53   to just a perfect alignment of theme and events.

00:10:01   So I feel incredibly grateful to having the Year of Clarity to help in what would otherwise have been just like a really uncertain time.

00:10:13   Yeah, you were set up perfectly to maximize everything you wanted, because there was nothing in your way.

00:10:21   Yeah, that's a good point. That's a good point that there was nothing in my way in very many cases.

00:10:26   And I think also it just, it really helped me just focus a lot on what is important, what matters,

00:10:38   like what actions can you take, like all of the obvious stuff, but just repeatedly thinking about

00:10:44   like the clarity of decision-making or like what is it that you're trying to accomplish here.

00:10:49   It really did work tremendously in my favor.

00:10:53   And it's a strange thing to say, you know, because again, like within this context of,

00:10:58   "Oh, 2020 has been fantastic and the Year of Clarity is amazing."

00:11:03   You know, it's in the background of,

00:11:06   "Oh, I haven't socialized with another human in person for almost a year,

00:11:12   and I haven't been in a store or a restaurant of any kind."

00:11:16   - I don't think we have ever gone so long about seeing each other.

00:11:19   - Yeah, I mean, that has to be true.

00:11:20   - Well, it'll be a year, right?

00:11:22   - About now, I think I last saw you on New Year's Eve.

00:11:25   - Yeah, I think that's right, yeah.

00:11:26   I saw you last in person New Year's Eve.

00:11:28   And yeah, I only saw a couple of people after that

00:11:32   and it was like, well.

00:11:33   - Goodbye everybody.

00:11:34   - Goodbye everyone, I'll see you later.

00:11:37   So yeah, it's been an interesting experience

00:11:39   and I'm also just in this uncomfortable position

00:11:43   of feeling guilty about that, but it is just the truth.

00:11:48   - I'll tell you, Gray, it's good you do.

00:11:49   'Cause if you said all of this stuff and just felt nothing,

00:11:53   it's bad.

00:11:55   At least you're being able to acknowledge that,

00:11:59   yeah, you've had been able to focus and have a good year,

00:12:01   but you're obviously very aware of the fact

00:12:03   that it's also a terrible year for pretty much everyone.

00:12:06   If you didn't feel guilty about having had

00:12:08   a productive year in that sense, it's like,

00:12:11   oh man, he's finally gone over the edge.

00:12:14   - Yeah, and it's also,

00:12:17   It's been an interesting experience just talking to other people where just, you

00:12:22   know, sometimes you have to calibrate like, you know, many people I know are

00:12:25   having terrible times and then it's like, well, you know, you want to keep it to

00:12:28   yourself in those moments about like, oh really everything's great within this

00:12:31   tiny radius in which I exist.

00:12:33   But this is, this is here where it's like, okay, we're talking about how

00:12:36   have our years actually gone.

00:12:38   And this is just the truth of it for me.

00:12:40   Although what I would say is it does feel like another piece of evidence on the pile

00:12:45   for what is like the inevitable endgame of my life being a completely disconnected recluse

00:12:53   in a cabin somewhere who every once in a while packs a video onto the back of a mule to send

00:12:59   into town to be uploaded to the internet. It does feel a bit like, yeah, you could totally

00:13:06   live that life, dude, and it wouldn't be a problem.

00:13:08   From the outside, it does look like you have had, from an output level, a very productive

00:13:13   2020. Like it has been very productive for you and I assume the plans that you set in

00:13:18   place that we spoke about on the show, topic lock and all that kind of stuff, which came

00:13:23   from the Year of Clarity, it seems it's from the outside, it seems to have really worked.

00:13:28   Oh, yeah, totally. And this is where I want to again, pitch to people who are thinking

00:13:33   about themes, the real power of amorphousness, and it's perfectly okay for themes to be fuzzy

00:13:42   Like, they don't have to be really precise.

00:13:45   And, you know, I listened to the last year's episode, you know, before this one,

00:13:50   'cause it's always interesting to hear how you are in the past, and...

00:13:53   Like, I know what that Grey was planning.

00:13:57   Like, I know all of the things that he wanted to do with this new clear vision

00:14:02   and many of which involve travel and explicitly seeing people,

00:14:08   and like, there were so many things that he wanted to do,

00:14:10   And all of that got completely washed away.

00:14:13   But this fuzziness of the theme allowed me to achieve many of the same things that I wanted to achieve,

00:14:22   but just in what ended up being totally different ways.

00:14:25   And yeah, I always talk about this idea for people, like, you want to be trying to build a life that you want to live?

00:14:33   And, you know, in this past year, Year of Clarity helped me really focus on, okay,

00:14:39   If your radius has been shrunk from "I can go anywhere in the world" to, you know, "This apartment is my existence."

00:14:47   You know, what is- what does living a life that you want to live mean in that context?

00:14:53   And I took it very seriously, and this is why, you know, I got exercise equipment, you know, um, very early to try to establish this as a thing.

00:15:04   And also thinking about the video production, it was really a case of,

00:15:09   "Well, I'm going to dive into the projects that I'm working on.

00:15:16   Like, I can focus on this completely and clearly in a different way than before.

00:15:22   There's fewer distractions from the outside world.

00:15:25   Who knows how long this is going to last?

00:15:29   You know, you never know in any particular moment.

00:15:32   but I could always use that as an advantage to focus.

00:15:35   And the strange thing about the year of

00:15:38   knowing that there's not even going to be the possibility of a social interruption

00:15:44   does allow a kind of deeper focus on things.

00:15:47   Like, it has been interesting, and

00:15:51   I think it's also been measurably successful.

00:15:56   Like, if you look at the uploads for

00:15:59   the past 18 months versus the previous 18 months.

00:16:03   Like I've just put out a lot more videos

00:16:05   over the course of that time.

00:16:08   And I also think, you know,

00:16:09   because what started off the year of clarity

00:16:11   was changing the business model

00:16:14   for the way that I make the videos.

00:16:16   - Yeah, you were set up nicely in that regard.

00:16:19   - Which then also just changes the way I think

00:16:21   about the production of those videos.

00:16:23   And so I don't wanna just upload more.

00:16:27   Like I also wanted to really focus on the things that I think are interesting in those videos.

00:16:33   So focusing on things like the rewatchability or the interconnectedness.

00:16:37   And also understanding that I can trust that the core audience will give something a try,

00:16:45   even if it's just like reading a spooky story or whatever.

00:16:48   So I'm really pleased not just with, "Oh, there's been more videos over the past 18 months."

00:16:56   but I'm also really pleased with the variance in those videos.

00:17:01   They're more different from each other than in a previous 18 month period.

00:17:06   And without a doubt, again, Year of Clarity has helped me kind of focus on that

00:17:12   and realize like making and consistently working on the videos

00:17:18   and uploading those videos is the thing that keeps me the most happy.

00:17:25   And it is also the thing that has the biggest impact on the outside world.

00:17:31   It's the thing that the most people see by a huge margin.

00:17:36   It's the thing that affects the business revenue so I can pay myself

00:17:41   and I can pay all the people that I work with.

00:17:42   So it's like clearly the epicenter of everything that I should be doing.

00:17:49   And for me, it was really well timed to have a year where it's like,

00:17:54   thinking back to Past Gray, I know that he wanted to do a bunch of new things,

00:17:59   but I'm, again, strangely grateful that I had a year that constrained me

00:18:05   to focus on just the the core of everything, which is the YouTube channel.

00:18:10   So yeah, I mean that's part of it.

00:18:14   And then, I mean, just on the other half of it is,

00:18:17   I feel like I've come out of this quarantine better than when I went into it.

00:18:21   And that's professionally in terms of video production, and also just, I'm pretty sure I'm in the best physical shape of my life.

00:18:29   I saw a picture of you the other day.

00:18:31   Oh yeah?

00:18:31   I agree, you look great.

00:18:32   [Laughter]

00:18:33   Thanks Myke!

00:18:34   You look really good, you look young.

00:18:36   [Laughter]

00:18:37   You look like you've gone backwards, I don't know what this thing has done to you.

00:18:42   But yeah, you look great man.

00:18:44   Yeah, I took a painting, so I painted a portrait of myself that will get older as I get older, and so that's uh...

00:18:50   That's another thing I learned in my, you know, you gotta pick up a hobby over a quarantine and

00:18:55   that's been one of mine. Finally you found the link, right? Yeah, I found the link. But again,

00:19:01   like that's a side effect of, and you can hear me in the previous year talking about it, of

00:19:06   really the pandemic and lockdown making me take exercise as I, the phrase I kept using is like

00:19:18   deadly seriously. Like this is, this is incredibly important. You can't blow it off

00:19:24   and creating for myself a home gym. And there's a trick that I've done this year, which has,

00:19:32   I'm still, I'm still with you here, Myke. Like I don't like exercise. It's not fun.

00:19:38   Mm-hmm (affirmative)

00:19:39   But what's different with this is in previous times, I've had exercise be a regular,

00:19:47   regular like part of my week and I've gone long stretches where I've maintained exercise.

00:19:52   But what I've done here is I've made exercise a part of my day in the same way that

00:20:01   brushing my teeth is part of the day. And it's, I really think it's made a huge difference.

00:20:08   And in particular, the thing that I've done is I hate morning exercises. Like it's never worked

00:20:16   for me that like, again, those people who get up and they're like, "Oh, I'm gonna run two miles

00:20:20   before I start work." It's always annoying. We're gonna get real sweaty before starting the day.

00:20:26   Yeah, but the thing that does work for me, which has turned it into, no matter what happens in the

00:20:33   day, you've made some progress on this. So I get up, I have my normal wake-up routine, brush my

00:20:39   And then before starting the writing work, I do one set of like one exercise and that's it.

00:20:48   It's like seven minutes tops, but it's just one thing.

00:20:53   And with the, with using weights, like I find that is genuinely effective,

00:20:57   at least for that one muscle group.

00:20:59   And I've been doing this, this daily one morning exercise as I think of it, like every day.

00:21:08   day for basically this entire time. And yeah, sometimes days get busy and I don't get to the

00:21:16   full workout that I want to do later, but this has really again cemented this as part of my life.

00:21:23   Like, this is part of the wake-up routine. It's just something that you do. The day hasn't really

00:21:28   started yet. You can always take seven minutes in the morning to do one exercise. Like, you know,

00:21:36   you're never that pressed for time.

00:21:38   And, you know, this again fell out of having the time

00:21:44   to really try to think about,

00:21:47   "Okay, even when I'm at home and I have exercise equipment at home,

00:21:50   what are the obstacles that get in the way of sometimes doing the exercise?"

00:21:54   And feeling like I have solved this problem

00:21:57   and I have now turned at least some portion of exercise into basically toothbrushing.

00:22:03   So that's, I feel like this is, this is my review of, of the Year of Clarity.

00:22:08   Never has a fuzzy wuzzy theme been better matched with circumstances.

00:22:14   And I also don't expect that ever again will a theme be more well matched with circumstances in my entire life.

00:22:22   I did want to ask you, obviously one of the big work milestones or markers in your year

00:22:31   was our old friend the T-coi incident.

00:22:34   How did the Year of Clarity help you navigate that?

00:22:36   - Yeah, it totally was involved

00:22:38   in that decision-making process.

00:22:40   Year of Clarity also trickled down

00:22:42   to some of the internal business stuff.

00:22:45   So there were sort of like clarity sub-goals

00:22:48   that I discussed with my assistant,

00:22:51   for what we wanted to do business-wise,

00:22:53   and again, which we've achieved really well together.

00:22:56   But when the T-coi incident came up,

00:23:00   This was also another one of these cases of, you know, especially in like the first

00:23:05   24 hours after I realized, oh, there's this catastrophic error in the, in the video.

00:23:11   The question of how to handle that again is not immediately obvious.

00:23:17   And it's also not clear cause you're trying to make a judgment of how bad is this

00:23:22   error, you know, how, what, what is the appropriate level of responding to this?

00:23:28   And without a doubt Year of Clarity, just, I thought about it a bunch and it just

00:23:34   helped think about, sure, we could leave a comment and that would be mostly fine

00:23:41   for just about everyone about like, oh, the type of missile was wrong.

00:23:44   But again, this is where things are just amorphous and fuzzy and Year of

00:23:50   Clarity means something internally, but it felt totally right that the actual

00:23:56   correct response was to drop everything and try to emergency rush a video describing the whole

00:24:02   situation in two weeks. And I'm really glad we did that. You know, in the end, I'm being able to look

00:24:09   at that video now with a little bit of distance. I'm happy with the way it came out. I feel like it

00:24:15   does do a really good job of explaining, like, here's what happened, and here's what we're

00:24:20   thinking about. It made that more obviously the right decision in the framework of, like, what is

00:24:26   the clearest possible thing to do in this situation.

00:24:29   But again, you know, you can argue that without the theme you may not have been able to approach

00:24:35   that so well.

00:24:36   Because this is one of those things where, you know, like having an error in a video,

00:24:41   which is obviously, it's an important thing for you, it's a thing that you want to never

00:24:45   happen because it's, you know, it goes against what you're trying to produce, right?

00:24:50   You don't want errors.

00:24:52   Because I'm your friend, I poke fun at you a little bit of it because it feels like,

00:24:56   me on the outside the error that you made is not that bad but I know I

00:25:01   understand that it doesn't matter how big or small the error is an error that

00:25:08   changes part of what you were saying is something you never want to occur right

00:25:11   like it's otherwise you wouldn't bother putting so much time into the research

00:25:15   it's like why put so much time into the research if you if you're okay with

00:25:19   having errors you know you may as well just rush these things out there but

00:25:22   There's an interesting thing where with things like this, things that seem so large to people

00:25:28   who are independently creative, it's inside of a large company.

00:25:32   It's like a process.

00:25:35   Someone can tell you what to do.

00:25:36   Like, "Oh, you made the error?

00:25:38   Oh, we'll go talk to Mandy.

00:25:41   Mandy's got it all sorted out.

00:25:42   She can give you the two-step plan to fix this problem."

00:25:46   Or like, "Ultimately, there was an error and someone's going to be mad at you, but like

00:25:52   whatever, it's not gonna affect the corporate wheel that much.

00:25:56   These are these types of situations that occur where it's like you have to work out how to

00:26:02   handle this yourself and no one can help you.

00:26:07   You have to do it.

00:26:08   And being in that mindset, the clarity mindset, must have been very good for you to deal with

00:26:14   something that is really important to you and is kind of the first time there's something

00:26:19   that has happened.

00:26:20   you do tease me about it.

00:26:21   And every time you bring that up,

00:26:23   I always feel this immediate reason of like,

00:26:26   but Myke, let me explain to you

00:26:27   why this is a perfect storm, right?

00:26:28   It's not just that it's an error.

00:26:30   Like, let me explain, here's the five reasons

00:26:31   why like this error is a catastrophic error, right?

00:26:33   Which again is the whole point of the video that exists.

00:26:36   Again, for the people who listen to us talk

00:26:39   and are interested in the self-employment part of that,

00:26:43   this is also the thing that is the biggest burden

00:26:48   the hardest part about being self-employed and the thing that you just you just can't internalize

00:26:56   as an employee until you're out all on your own and it's like oh it is entirely on my shoulders

00:27:04   and even if I'm working with other people like it's still ultimately like this is where this is

00:27:10   where all the responsibility lies and yeah I mean it's funny that you you mentioned about like oh

00:27:16   the mistake stuff because it does immediately cast my mind back to you know when I worked as a

00:27:20   teacher and I would make a mistake or something would go wrong and yeah you're right there's some

00:27:25   process or whatever or someone is unhappy with you and then you leave the meeting and it's like

00:27:30   okay but nothing happens right someone was just annoyed at me for 10 minutes and and life goes on

00:27:37   yep but when you're doing something on your own it's like you don't you just you have no idea

00:27:42   the variance of all possible outcomes is enormous.

00:27:45   And so, yeah, it did really help with that.

00:27:50   And also just in some of the post-mortem stuff,

00:27:54   it's definitely helped in some of the fixing the workflow

00:27:59   and adjusting the way things work and going like,

00:28:01   "Okay, how can we make sure to minimize the possibility

00:28:05   "of this kind of thing happening again?"

00:28:06   I wouldn't want the Tico incident to happen

00:28:08   in a different year, because it also, again,

00:28:11   just the sort of luck of it is I was able to just,

00:28:15   well, this is the next two weeks of my life.

00:28:17   It was 100% is going to be just spent on this

00:28:20   and like, go, go, go.

00:28:22   - You didn't have any events.

00:28:23   You weren't somewhere you didn't want to be.

00:28:25   - Yeah, there was no conference.

00:28:28   I mean, this is also why,

00:28:30   this sounds like a fantasy land from a previous life.

00:28:33   I have YouTube friends who I know

00:28:36   they will just schedule videos to upload

00:28:40   at the time that they want to.

00:28:41   and if they're going to be on a plane or whatever,

00:28:43   like that's what happens.

00:28:45   And I always feel like,

00:28:46   (laughs)

00:28:47   how can you do that?

00:28:49   - Our CMS has a scheduling system, right?

00:28:52   And I can publish episodes whenever I want to

00:28:55   based on that.

00:28:56   I never use it.

00:28:58   - Yeah.

00:28:58   - I never will publish something

00:29:00   unless I am ready to publish it

00:29:02   and I'm able to sit and just make sure it's all good.

00:29:06   - Yeah.

00:29:07   - Never.

00:29:07   - I totally get it, yeah.

00:29:09   And this has reinforced that of like,

00:29:14   don't upload a video right before you're going

00:29:16   into a conference.

00:29:18   (laughs)

00:29:20   But again, that's from a fantasy world

00:29:23   that doesn't currently exist anymore.

00:29:25   But still, again, it's why things lined up,

00:29:27   like there wasn't any other distractions.

00:29:29   It's also a side effect of, we can get to this later,

00:29:32   I probably did it too many times this year,

00:29:35   but it is also like, why is it that this year

00:29:37   There's, there's not only more videos, but there were more timely videos than in

00:29:43   other years and it's, it's again, the same thing of like, there's a lot of space

00:29:47   this year, there's very few interruptions.

00:29:49   If I wanted to make the call of I'm going to spend seven days on the Supreme Court,

00:29:55   I could just make that call and go.

00:29:58   Like there just, there just weren't other interruptions.

00:30:00   And so the shape of many projects, at least at their start, which we'll get

00:30:06   into later was very clear this year.

00:30:09   - Okay, it's gonna be interesting to see

00:30:12   what you are realistically able to bring from 2020 forward.

00:30:15   I think that's gonna be an interesting thing

00:30:18   over the next couple of years,

00:30:20   how you actually are able to, if at all,

00:30:22   realistically bring the Year of Clarity

00:30:25   into other more normal times.

00:30:29   - Yeah, yeah.

00:30:31   - We're not gonna know this, I'm just intrigued to see

00:30:33   if or how this one can realistically be carried over.

00:30:37   - Yeah, I agree.

00:30:38   The one thing I will say is, as we discussed,

00:30:41   ideally one of the things that happens with themes,

00:30:44   or for the ones that particularly are resonant with you,

00:30:46   is they just become part of the way

00:30:48   that you think about things.

00:30:50   And with Year of Clarity,

00:30:53   its time has come and its time, I think,

00:30:57   is ebbing in some way.

00:31:00   But without a doubt,

00:31:02   I feel like I just have a much stronger sense of, I don't even know quite how to

00:31:08   put it, but like decisions should not only be like logically correct, they should also

00:31:15   just intuitively make sense and be clear.

00:31:19   I feel like I've become much more attuned to like hesitation over decisions and

00:31:27   recognizing like there's something here that I haven't clarified.

00:31:32   And yes, this decision is like logically correct, you've got it all on the piece of paper,

00:31:37   but I'm like more sensitive to like slight hesitation somewhere in the system and being like,

00:31:45   "What is that? Like let's figure out what this-- there's some part of this that like I haven't

00:31:51   fully unraveled." And I think that's one way in which Year of Clarity is going to carry with me.

00:31:57   is it's hard to articulate, but yeah, I feel more sensitized to the decision-making process

00:32:06   in a way that I—not that I wasn't before, but I'm just much more aware of. So I mean,

00:32:13   that's what I would say. But yeah, you're overall right that this is hopefully not a reproducible

00:32:20   year and so it may have fewer applications to the near future.

00:32:27   But maybe that's not important though, right? Because maybe the work that you've done

00:32:31   in 2020 has laid a foundation, you know, stabilizing the business in some ways which you were already

00:32:38   going to do irrespective of 2020 and how it went, pay dividends in the long run. So you

00:32:46   You might not need to be in isolation for 9 months to still have benefit from the work

00:32:50   that you've done this year.

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00:34:51   So I abandoned my original 2020 yearly theme in July

00:34:55   to respond to how my life drastically changed

00:34:58   during the pandemic.

00:35:00   I think pretty much any other year

00:35:02   I would have been able to carry on my theme.

00:35:06   But the problem was my original theme,

00:35:09   the year of refinement in 2020

00:35:11   was mostly focused on taking my foot off the gas,

00:35:16   which was just from a work perspective,

00:35:20   Just not a thing that I was able to do in 2020.

00:35:23   So in episode 104 of Cortex,

00:35:26   I provided the review of my original yearly theme

00:35:30   and then set my new yearly theme.

00:35:33   So if you wanna hear my review of the Year of Refinement

00:35:36   to that point, you can go and check out that episode

00:35:39   and it's there for you to listen to.

00:35:42   - Yeah, I mean, we can still pour one out

00:35:44   for the Year of Refinement here on this episode.

00:35:46   - Yeah, we don't know what we're pouring out though,

00:35:48   'cause we never got to learn about the wine.

00:35:50   So.

00:35:51   - That's all, oh God, oh God.

00:35:53   And yes.

00:35:54   - I have been bumping on a introduction to wine

00:35:57   tasting course that Steven bought me for my birthday.

00:36:00   I have been bumping that down the line for the last year.

00:36:04   It's like, well, why don't we do it in two months time?

00:36:06   Why don't we do it in two months time?

00:36:08   I had to pay 15 pounds to extend it past the year.

00:36:13   'Cause it was like a voucher, right?

00:36:14   - Right.

00:36:15   we're like, look, we usually don't extend them,

00:36:18   but obviously, you know, what are we gonna do?

00:36:21   Could you pay us a little, I was like, fine, right?

00:36:24   I'll give you 15 quid and then we'll do it sometime in 2021.

00:36:28   - Yeah, yeah.

00:36:29   It was heartbreaking and bizarre to hear you talk

00:36:33   about your refinements on the 2020 show.

00:36:37   Just again, it's like, I don't know,

00:36:41   it was like listening to a little flower describe

00:36:44   the glorious future that it's going to have as you can see a steamroller slowly moving

00:36:49   toward it in the distance.

00:36:50   I couldn't listen to it.

00:36:51   I think that's fair.

00:36:52   So I listened back to the episode like you did and when I got to that point I stopped.

00:36:57   Yeah I think that was a good decision.

00:36:59   I couldn't do it.

00:37:01   Basically so I set up the year of shift instead so you know I realized that I was in a position

00:37:08   where I had to adapt and I had to change a bunch of stuff

00:37:11   in my work and the challenges of a world-changing event

00:37:15   put a lot of stress into my work life.

00:37:17   And it was, you know, this is not a thing

00:37:19   that I would normally do, but it was just,

00:37:22   these things don't come along very often

00:37:24   and I had to adapt.

00:37:26   I needed a new theme.

00:37:27   I couldn't just pause my theme or say,

00:37:29   oh, like, I'll just take some elements of it.

00:37:31   I had to go back to the beginning again and set a new one.

00:37:35   And so I break my theme down into like a bunch

00:37:37   of little things that I would like to focus on.

00:37:39   None of them goals so much, but just how the themes come to be.

00:37:44   So the year shift had a bunch of sections and one was to shift the business model

00:37:49   of Relay FM to focus on our new membership program.

00:37:53   And this has gone so well.

00:37:55   Um, it was an incredible amount of time and effort over basically a six month period.

00:38:04   I mean, I think I've said it on this show already, but I'll just say it again,

00:38:07   cause it's, it's worthwhile for the recap is both me and my co-founder,

00:38:11   Steven have said that we have not worked so hard since we launched the company

00:38:15   over a crunch period of time.

00:38:19   And it was needed because being able to get the membership in place and revamp it

00:38:24   to what it was and give all the benefits and including like the membership bonus

00:38:29   shows with the bonus content and having our discord and all that stuff.

00:38:34   It took a lot from technical messaging and content, but it able, it provided us

00:38:42   with like a new baseline that we could build from and, and financially provided

00:38:46   me a bit more security in time of uncertainty, which honestly is it

00:38:49   continues, right?

00:38:50   Like, uh, advertising continues to be uncertain.

00:38:54   Yeah.

00:38:55   And so having not just a new baseline from the support from our members, but

00:39:03   also a kind of pressure release valve of if things got really bad again, we have something

00:39:13   that we can lean on and being able to have that in place provides much more relief for us.

00:39:23   I mean, yeah, I think the, you know, people who are not in or adjacent to the industry,

00:39:30   you know, may not be aware, but yeah, the, the, the whole world of advertising and all of the

00:39:37   content that it provides is just, it's, it's been a hell of a variant year for that.

00:39:46   And so, yeah, that's why like, you did so much work to get that membership up and running,

00:39:52   to be like this this foundation upon which Relay can stand. Like I still can't believe how

00:39:59   quickly and you were able to get it to roll out at all. Like it was just I can't imagine the

00:40:07   the time that you put in to make it happen. Yeah it was a big it was a big event for us to do it and

00:40:13   you know what was really important to me which I feel like we've delivered from

00:40:18   is that there was a value exchange.

00:40:21   We already had a system that provided content once a year,

00:40:27   like in our kind of our techs adventure specials

00:40:30   and that kind of stuff.

00:40:31   And we could have lent on that and said like,

00:40:34   "Look, this is a difficult time.

00:40:36   We're unsure what the future holds

00:40:38   and we'd appreciate your support."

00:40:40   We could have done that,

00:40:42   but I wanted to be able to provide more value

00:40:47   in exchange for it and I feel like we have succeeded on that you know so the

00:40:54   shows that I am really working hard on for the membership the shows that have

00:40:58   to find membership stuff that I'm working on we produce more content which

00:41:04   takes more work but that's what I was comfortable with you know just and we

00:41:09   have done you know the easy thing to do the thing people always ask us to do is

00:41:12   Just remove the ads and give us an ad free feed and that's fine

00:41:16   But I still I it felt better. It felt more right to me

00:41:20   To then also have more content

00:41:24   Like that's what has always felt right to me is that it's the balance of those things

00:41:29   Like you don't have to hear the ads anymore because you're giving us money and what I can give you is content

00:41:35   That's what that's what I quote unquote sell always right and it took a lot and it continues to take a lot

00:41:42   but I'm very happy with it.

00:41:43   And similarly, so another thing that I wanted to do

00:41:45   was to shift my focus more to content over business.

00:41:50   So thinking about the thing that I love to do

00:41:55   and the thing that I think I'm best at

00:41:57   is helping produce the content,

00:41:59   not necessarily just running a business, right?

00:42:02   And I wanted to see how I could start to spread that out

00:42:05   more over the last half of the year.

00:42:08   And what I'll say is I've definitely spent more time

00:42:11   2020 focusing on making content the best it can be and I want to continue doing that but

00:42:17   I haven't handed anything off.

00:42:19   Okay.

00:42:20   Right.

00:42:21   Yeah, I was wondering about that part of it and how you felt like that's gone.

00:42:26   Um, it's too soon.

00:42:29   Okay.

00:42:30   For me because the thing that I hadn't accounted for is that I wouldn't be able to let anything

00:42:39   and go very easily.

00:42:40   - Okay.

00:42:42   - And I think that that time is still to come,

00:42:45   but we need more stability again.

00:42:47   And that's gonna be in the future.

00:42:50   - So your assessment is like,

00:42:52   this is not a good time to be cutting projects.

00:42:55   - No.

00:42:56   - Okay. - No.

00:42:57   - I think that makes sense.

00:42:59   - So like, you know, really the things that are occurring

00:43:01   are the things that were already happening, you know?

00:43:03   So like, one of the things I wanted to do

00:43:05   and to continue to do, and the thing that is happening

00:43:08   is that I deal less with advertising sales

00:43:13   and that has been a thing that's been moving along forever

00:43:17   as we have a sales manager.

00:43:19   She's better than me

00:43:20   and she handles most of the new business now.

00:43:22   And I was looking at kind of applying that thinking

00:43:25   into other parts of the business.

00:43:27   And I didn't really have a good goal

00:43:29   and it just like I wanted to move along that path.

00:43:33   That has not happened at all.

00:43:35   And all I've really done is add more in,

00:43:37   which I'm spending more time on producing the content

00:43:41   than I ever have, and I haven't decreased anything.

00:43:44   So I think that there is still a desire to rebalance this,

00:43:49   but I don't know when that's going to be.

00:43:53   I don't have a plan for that,

00:43:56   and I'm fine with that for now.

00:43:59   - Yeah, I think this is also just another example

00:44:01   of circumstances change and yeah,

00:44:05   if you're creating a new value proposition

00:44:09   for people to pay money for content,

00:44:13   this is the time where it's like, yeah,

00:44:14   you're gonna be spending more time creating that.

00:44:17   And yeah, again, it's why I like that.

00:44:22   I think your shift to the shift theme was great

00:44:26   and I'm glad that you recognized

00:44:27   that it was a thing that you needed to do.

00:44:30   because it couldn't be more at odds

00:44:33   with what needed to happen than the previous theme.

00:44:36   And I feel like this is a good example of it.

00:44:38   Like you said, you haven't worked this hard

00:44:41   since the founding of the company,

00:44:43   and that makes sense for this year.

00:44:47   And that's how things are sometimes.

00:44:50   I do, as your cohost and as your friend,

00:44:54   I do hope that you are able

00:44:58   to relinquish some more responsibilities at some point in the not too distant future.

00:45:05   But yeah, I think it would be very ill-advised to have done that this year.

00:45:10   - I think I've learned something about myself this year. I think that the pandemic has,

00:45:18   and like the way that I've worked through it, has really shone a light on part of my

00:45:24   which is that I can't let go.

00:45:29   - Okay.

00:45:30   - And that's something I know I need to work on.

00:45:32   So I'll tell you one way this has manifested.

00:45:36   I have not taken a day's vacation since January.

00:45:39   - Okay, yeah, that's too many days.

00:45:44   Even for a busy year, that's too many work days in a row.

00:45:49   - I have not taken a day off where I should have been working

00:45:53   which is what I would do in the past.

00:45:55   It's like, you know, I'm going on vacation,

00:45:56   so I'll move stuff around for a week,

00:45:57   or I'm traveling, so I'll need to like

00:46:01   have someone else fill in for me,

00:46:03   or I'll skip an episode or something.

00:46:05   I've not done any of that.

00:46:06   And this year, I have also not been very good

00:46:09   at observing weekends at all.

00:46:11   And the reason this has happened

00:46:16   is because I have not done it.

00:46:18   Right, like I have decided no, I cannot.

00:46:22   And that is how I have felt.

00:46:23   I cannot, I cannot take a day off, right?

00:46:27   And that is not good.

00:46:29   And I know it's not good,

00:46:30   but there's nothing I can do about it right now.

00:46:33   And unfortunately, there are two times this year

00:46:36   where I've tried to take a vacation

00:46:38   and work has pulled me back in again.

00:46:40   So we are now at the end of the year

00:46:43   and I haven't done it.

00:46:45   Luckily Christmas is gonna give me that time.

00:46:49   I will be taking a week off over Christmas,

00:46:50   which is something that we always have done.

00:46:53   And it was just a case of like,

00:46:55   we plan to take the Christmas week off every year.

00:46:58   So all the shows were already blocked off on the Canada.

00:47:01   Everyone else is expecting they wouldn't be working.

00:47:04   So maybe I'll just do five monologues for a week,

00:47:06   but maybe I'll just take that week off.

00:47:10   I think the only day off that I've had thinking about it

00:47:13   was Thanksgiving day.

00:47:16   But I only shifted the work back to the Saturday and Sunday.

00:47:20   Like, you know. - Right.

00:47:22   - And I only had Thanksgiving Day off

00:47:24   because no one was around to work.

00:47:25   - Right, I was gonna say,

00:47:27   because all of your coworkers are American.

00:47:28   - Yeah, I had no choice.

00:47:30   But yeah, look, I'm very aware of the unhealthy situation

00:47:34   that I put myself in this year by doing this.

00:47:37   - Yeah.

00:47:38   - But I also just felt like there was never a point

00:47:42   where I could have pulled myself away.

00:47:47   - Yeah, and I'm not gonna argue against you there, right?

00:47:50   like, you know, I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna po-poo you about like, oh,

00:47:53   you should, you should take more weekends off like this much more so than,

00:47:58   you know, for you than for me because of your industry.

00:48:01   Like you had to have a real crunch year and there's just,

00:48:04   there's just no way around that. And that happens sometimes.

00:48:07   I could have decided not to, but I wasn't willing to roll the dice on that.

00:48:11   Yeah. I, yeah. And, and I, I, I think I would, I would have viewed that as,

00:48:17   as, as, as a, I don't quite want to say irresponsible,

00:48:20   but I would have felt like that would be a bad set of dice to roll.

00:48:23   Like the trade-offs here don't make sense.

00:48:25   And so I'm just glad to hear that, you know, coming to the end of 2020,

00:48:31   you're at least recognizing this situation and recognizing-

00:48:34   Because I'm so f***ing tired, Gray.

00:48:36   Like I really am so tired.

00:48:39   Like in a way that is not I'm sleepy.

00:48:46   It's like, I'm at the edge of burning out here, you know?

00:48:51   - Right.

00:48:52   - Like I know it's there.

00:48:54   And you'll hear my 2021 theme, like you're hearing it,

00:48:59   a man who's aware of it.

00:49:02   - Okay, good.

00:49:03   - Because there's just been a lot of stuff

00:49:06   like I'm getting to the end of my rope,

00:49:08   as my name would say with it.

00:49:10   Like where it's just like I've reached the maximum

00:49:13   that I can live my life this way but I just cannot see, like lots of people who

00:49:23   are smarter than me and who know me better than I know myself will tell me that I

00:49:28   should have taken a break this year but I will argue against all of them because

00:49:33   I just could not have done it. There's not just my livelihood, there's lots of

00:49:41   people's livelihoods at stake over this last year and we've gotten through it

00:49:46   and I I cannot see a way in which it would have been to use the word that you

00:49:53   said like responsible of me to not have my hands on the wheel constantly

00:50:04   it's and I know that there are people listening to this show who I'm sure who

00:50:09   who have been in the exact same boat as me.

00:50:11   Like lots of business owners, I'm sure,

00:50:15   have had a very, very different year

00:50:17   trying to navigate this stuff,

00:50:19   because it's like, you know,

00:50:21   like more bad stuff happened in a four month period

00:50:26   than like three years worth of bad stuff.

00:50:31   Like it was just, you know, March to May was a bloodbath.

00:50:36   It was just horrible.

00:50:39   And going through that, knowing that at any point

00:50:43   it could happen again, I just felt like I had no choice

00:50:48   for my own sanity to not be on, switched on constantly.

00:50:54   And look, I know I'm starting to pay the price

00:51:01   for it a little bit now,

00:51:05   But I am happy to take that

00:51:08   than to have been in a situation where

00:51:12   things could have gotten really bad and they didn't.

00:51:17   - Yeah, yeah, and again, I agree with you.

00:51:21   Knowing some of what you knew about the industry

00:51:23   at that point in time, you were right to make this call.

00:51:26   - And also, no, it's not a way to live my life.

00:51:30   And I'm sure I'll be able to look back at this time

00:51:33   and be like, ah, so that was when

00:51:36   I started to change my life again.

00:51:39   And I see this as a point to enable me to do that,

00:51:44   but I had to get through it.

00:51:45   Anyway, so other things that I wanted to shift,

00:51:50   I wanted to shift my own approach to finances a little bit,

00:51:53   just personal stuff, thinking about like what savings are,

00:51:56   what my retirement is, like all those boring things.

00:52:00   - Right.

00:52:01   But when you are put in a situation where you're like,

00:52:04   "Oh boy, am I gonna lose it all?"

00:52:06   (both laughing)

00:52:08   You kind of like try and be a little bit more responsible.

00:52:11   - Yeah, when the finance tree gets shook

00:52:14   by the winds of global change,

00:52:17   you start looking around and thinking,

00:52:19   "Hmm." (laughs)

00:52:21   - I prepared a way for this.

00:52:23   Yeah, just a thing to think about.

00:52:25   And also I wanted to shift my mental energy

00:52:28   to get back to learning some new things.

00:52:31   So when I had downtime, when I had space, what was I doing?

00:52:36   And this came from the sense of like,

00:52:39   everything outside is so horrible.

00:52:42   Stop looking at that when you have any spare time

00:52:47   and try and look at new things,

00:52:49   find new things to occupy yourself.

00:52:52   So more text listeners and subscribers will know

00:52:56   that I had a brief flirtation

00:52:58   with trying to learn programming.

00:53:00   - I was wondering if you were going to mention that here.

00:53:02   - Did not go well. (laughs)

00:53:04   That was an arc for a few months, that went away.

00:53:08   Because I found other things that I like more.

00:53:11   - Yeah, yeah, I think the programming 2020

00:53:16   was not fertile ground for that project.

00:53:19   - Yeah.

00:53:20   - But also, I think, yeah, you immediately found

00:53:24   other things that you like more.

00:53:26   - Yeah.

00:53:26   - And it made sense to shift your attention

00:53:28   very quickly to those things.

00:53:30   So like this is one thing that has kind of been out for my whole year is I've found a sport that I enjoy which is Formula One.

00:53:36   I cannot believe this. Okay, okay. So when I was listening to our old episode, you know, and just like hearing what we're talking about and

00:53:45   when you mentioned you were starting to get into F1 last year, that was one of those things that I mentally chalked up as a 100%.

00:53:53   There's no way Myke is still following F1 now.

00:53:56   I'm into it big time.

00:53:57   There's no way that's gonna be your case.

00:53:59   I absolutely love it. I love it.

00:54:01   I can't believe it.

00:54:03   If I had to bet money on one thing, I would have bet that the F1 was no longer around.

00:54:08   I can't believe it.

00:54:09   Oh man. It's so good. It's so good.

00:54:12   It's something that me and Adina really enjoy together.

00:54:15   That's amazing.

00:54:16   And we're just really into it.

00:54:18   Like, we love the races. We love following the drama between the races.

00:54:22   Do you have a team that you follow?

00:54:24   Who's your home car team?

00:54:27   It's it's cuz I'm cuz it's been like my first year. Mm-hmm

00:54:30   I'm still kind of I've moved around a lot and I'm more focused on

00:54:35   particular drivers than teams

00:54:38   okay, people will hate this but I I do I really love Lewis Hamilton like and

00:54:44   The reason people will hate that is because he's the best

00:54:48   Mm-hmm, but I can't help but a pretty I really appreciate him as a

00:54:55   Competitor and also was a like a role model. He's really kind of come into his own this year and a lot of really great ways

00:55:01   Plus it's like it's quite incredible to have started watching this sport at the year where?

00:55:07   He has started to break all the records for being the greatest of all time

00:55:11   Oh, okay

00:55:11   Good timing that's quite a time to come into a sport when you can watch someone who is the best at the top of their game

00:55:19   Right, that's been a very fun thing for me

00:55:22   And it's one of the reasons that I really enjoy watching him.

00:55:25   And there's a few other people like a guy called George Russell, who I really like.

00:55:28   And there's there's a lot.

00:55:30   Basically, we've come into a year where there's just a lot going on.

00:55:35   I really, really recommend the Netflix documentary Drive to Survive.

00:55:39   It's like this is why we got into it.

00:55:42   My friend Austin recommended that we watch this documentary

00:55:46   because he loves F1.

00:55:48   And that's also been cool because we we've been sharing it together, too.

00:55:51   and we spend a lot of time talking about it together as well.

00:55:54   So yeah, it's just been a really nice thing for me this year,

00:55:56   like a nice new thing to get into.

00:55:58   So I really love that.

00:55:59   But my biggest, biggest new hobby this year is keyboards.

00:56:04   Into them keyboards.

00:56:08   - You become a keyboard maniac.

00:56:09   - The custom mechanical keyboard world

00:56:11   is a world that I have dove into big time,

00:56:14   but we're not gonna talk about it yet.

00:56:15   We're gonna talk about it later in the episode.

00:56:17   - Okay.

00:56:18   - The last thing in my year of shift

00:56:21   was to quote, "shift product creation for Cortex brand."

00:56:25   That had a very specific meaning

00:56:28   that I didn't really get into.

00:56:31   It has taken a ton of work

00:56:34   and I guess we can talk about what that means now, right?

00:56:38   - Yes, Theme System Journal.

00:56:41   - Second edition.

00:56:43   I have been working on this since April,

00:56:45   actively, every day.

00:56:49   It has been something in the works for months before then.

00:56:54   I think probably in kind of January, we put the work in in creating the new artwork that

00:57:03   would go in the journal, if you would call it that.

00:57:06   So like the actual what it would look like.

00:57:09   But then the production, the creation of the product has been a daily task since April

00:57:15   to now.

00:57:16   You can go to cortexmarch.com right now and buy your own second edition theme system journal.

00:57:24   It's finally here.

00:57:26   It is finally here.

00:57:27   Oh my god, it's finally here.

00:57:31   So I want to dive into what we've done with this.

00:57:37   So one of the things that hasn't changed is the system that underpins the journal.

00:57:44   So the journal itself is still broken down into three main sections.

00:57:48   You have your yearly theme pages, where you outline the theme that you've chosen, which

00:57:52   I'm sure you will have chosen, either by now or maybe just after listening to this episode

00:57:57   once you've got that inspiration from our themes.

00:58:00   You then have your journal pages, which is where you spend time reflecting on your day.

00:58:06   So you write down like how you're thinking, how you're feeling.

00:58:09   And then your daily themes pages, which is where you keep track of some prompts that

00:58:13   keep you on course with your theme. There is more to the system than this. If you're new to the

00:58:19   theme system, go to thethemesystem.com where we outline in more detail what each of those sections

00:58:26   are and how you can use them to help create a real kind of daily reflection of your yearly theme.

00:58:33   And this has been something that I've been using every day now for multiple years at this point,

00:58:41   because I'd created the system before there was a journal.

00:58:45   Right?

00:58:46   And this idea of having this book, which I come to every day,

00:58:51   where I write down kind of what the good things in my day were,

00:58:54   what the bad things in my day were, what I'm thinking about, what's on my mind,

00:58:58   and then go and kind of like check off, like,

00:59:01   have I made progress in these eight things this day?

00:59:05   It's been a very useful thing.

00:59:09   And I would say for me this year, once I changed my theme to the year of shift and going in every day and being like, am I moving the needle on these things that are important?

00:59:19   It has continued to be like a really, really great thing for me this year.

00:59:23   So I really encourage people to go and check this out.

00:59:27   If you have a theme or if you have a theme that you're working on, the journal is a great way to make it a part of your every day.

00:59:34   You want to externalize your thoughts in some manner and having this structure to help keep bringing you back to the theme is incredibly helpful.

00:59:48   I've always said like journaling is just so, it's so effective, it's shocking how well this can work to just revisit in an external way that's not just in your head,

01:00:03   thoughts that you want to revisit.

01:00:04   And if you've never tried it, if you, like, I just incredibly strongly

01:00:10   recommend that you give it a shot.

01:00:13   Like get a theme journal, you know, it's, it's a new dawn at 2021.

01:00:19   And I think this, this can be an incredibly helpful way to direct

01:00:26   this ship of your life going forward.

01:00:31   Now for people that have tried the journal out before, or for people that are interested

01:00:34   in what is different, I want to talk about some of the things that we've done.

01:00:38   So we've made some slight modifications to the print and the pages to basically make

01:00:44   these areas of the book the best that they can possibly be.

01:00:48   So for the journal pages, we've added an additional data box at the top of the page.

01:00:53   This is where I write down what pens I'm using every day.

01:00:57   But it's just like a really thin box that goes across the top.

01:00:59   It's like one little piece of information.

01:01:00   I thought you could put the weather in there, you could put a song that you're listening

01:01:04   to in there, a quote, something like that.

01:01:07   This is like a nice little, just a thin piece of information.

01:01:09   We've also numbered the pages now.

01:01:11   Previously we were working on a system of having just, you write your own numbers in

01:01:16   if you wanted to, and I get why people wanted numbered pages rather than writing their own

01:01:20   page numbers.

01:01:21   We've now found a way to make that work.

01:01:24   There's a lot of considerations you have to make about printing to allow for page numbering.

01:01:28   It's kind of a weird thing, but I found a way to make it work so the pages are now numbered

01:01:33   if that's the thing that's important to you.

01:01:35   And on the daily theme pages, this is where you kind of track your little things for the

01:01:39   day, we've now added more rows and more columns.

01:01:42   So each double page spread lets you track 15 days.

01:01:46   We have six of these, so you can track 90 days in total, which now matches with the

01:01:51   journal pages.

01:01:52   So each book is good for 90 tracked days.

01:01:55   So depending on how often you're tracking or how often you're journaling can last you

01:01:59   anywhere from like three to six months or maybe more.

01:02:01   It took a lot of work to try and work out what the optimum number is and I went with

01:02:06   15.

01:02:07   So if you do 15 days per double page spread, you can do basically two weeks if you track

01:02:12   every day, three weeks if you track every work day, and it's also a quarter of a season.

01:02:18   But the biggest changes for the second edition is the fact that we went back to the literal

01:02:25   drawing board with the book itself. It is made completely differently. The book is now

01:02:30   made in Europe, which has made the making of the book a lot easier for me.

01:02:34   Yeah, I mean, I've got to say, talking to you about it, this has clearly made one of

01:02:40   the biggest differences in just the feedback time for going between iterations.

01:02:47   And also, I've had a lot of physical prototypes made, and I can have them the next day.

01:02:53   magic getting a next day delivery. So the prototyping stages have been really

01:02:57   important for me because I guess the key difference here is our first edition

01:03:02   we were working with our very good friends Tom and Dan at Studio Neat who

01:03:06   make a selection of incredible products from accessories for your technology

01:03:11   products to some of my favorite pens and paper out there. Dean System second

01:03:17   edition, it was all me. So I made every decision. I worked with all of the suppliers. I basically

01:03:26   felt like I was at a point where this was always what I wanted to do. I wanted to be

01:03:29   the person who made all the decisions and I needed the expertise and I've got to that

01:03:35   point. So I chose every paper we're using. I chose all the production and did the whole

01:03:41   thing as one of the reasons why it took from April to December because we started again.

01:03:48   It's a huge accomplishment and when we were talking about the journal, the idea of it

01:03:57   years ago now, who even knows? This to me was always one of the really important things

01:04:03   about this as a product is like, this is where I want you to express your pickiness in the

01:04:12   physical form of the thing.

01:04:14   Like I wanted you to be completely happy with the paper and the design and the way it feels

01:04:21   and all of the little intangibles that someone who is deeply familiar with the whole pen

01:04:29   and notebook world is sensitized to.

01:04:32   And for this second edition,

01:04:35   the amount of work that you've put into it

01:04:37   is just, it's inconceivable.

01:04:39   It's a huge amount of work that you've done on this,

01:04:43   and it's come out amazing.

01:04:44   - Yeah, I've been using some variation

01:04:47   of the second edition since May.

01:04:48   So as we've been prototyping it,

01:04:53   I have been using the prototypes.

01:04:55   I was, I think, surprising the print company

01:04:58   that we were working with, 'cause this isn't,

01:05:00   I found out this is not normal to prototype

01:05:04   and continue to prototype so frequently.

01:05:07   You know, it would be like, okay, I would choose a paper,

01:05:10   we'd have a prototype made, and I was like,

01:05:11   ah, I'm not so sure I wanna try this paper.

01:05:14   And they would send me the new paper,

01:05:15   and they'd be like, are we done now?

01:05:16   And I'm like, no, no, we need to prototype that paper.

01:05:18   And I kept doing it multiple times,

01:05:20   and it was quite confusing to them.

01:05:22   And I'm not sure why it was, but you know.

01:05:25   I was never happy with just, okay, so we're now going to use this paper and then we'll

01:05:32   just go ahead and make it.

01:05:33   So no, I want the book in that paper.

01:05:36   I've found so many interesting things this year, like about the way that paper products

01:05:42   and how paper reacts to the way in which it's printed.

01:05:47   So the prototyping process would never give me the actual final version.

01:05:56   So the machines that they use for prototyping are not the same machines that they use for

01:06:00   mass production.

01:06:01   Which makes sense because a lot of the cost in producing paper goods is using the machine.

01:06:10   If you make a thousand, it's not double the price of 500.

01:06:13   It's actually a marginal difference.

01:06:16   A lot of the something that's used in these industries is a lot of the cost is turning

01:06:21   on the machine.

01:06:22   Like that's what the cost is.

01:06:24   And there were like, you know, so I found out a lot of the different attributes that

01:06:28   these types of prototyping machines will do to a paper to the final product.

01:06:32   And yeah, it was like a lot of iteration and the materials in the journal are all different

01:06:39   now.

01:06:40   So the paper was the thing that took the longest.

01:06:43   was months of samples and then prototyping those samples and I think

01:06:48   that we've landed on something that feels more luxurious. So the paper is

01:06:54   thicker than it was before which was something that was really important to

01:06:57   me which has made the book itself thicker it's made the book more

01:07:01   substantial feeling and I have lots of different pens and this journal will

01:07:07   stand up to all of them. It will take all of them. Thicker pens than a

01:07:13   pens, different types of inks. I'm really happy with what I consider to be just an

01:07:18   excellent all-round paper. I'm very very pleased of it and this is the thing that

01:07:24   I fretted over the most because it was important to me. One thing I did not want

01:07:30   to do as Myke Hurley, one half of the Pan-Adic podcast, was put his name on a

01:07:35   book that was not made of great paper and it was it was like you're staking

01:07:41   your reputation on this kid, you better do it right."

01:07:44   And I'm really happy with where we've ended up with it.

01:07:47   - Yeah, I mean, again, I think the listeners can hear it,

01:07:50   but this is a journal that is made with a lot of sweat

01:07:54   and a lot of love.

01:07:56   And it's also, I mean, you say it there very quickly,

01:08:00   but I think it's just an indication of,

01:08:03   yes, most manufacturers are not used to a client

01:08:07   who wants to do many revisions over the course of a year.

01:08:11   But I have the journal in my hands,

01:08:14   like the latest edition of it,

01:08:15   and I think the effort that you have put in

01:08:18   in all of those little decisions

01:08:20   that most manufacturers designing a journal

01:08:25   don't spend that amount of time on,

01:08:27   it really comes through

01:08:28   and it shines through the journal itself.

01:08:31   It is the sum of a very large number of small decisions

01:08:36   and it came out great.

01:08:39   - Thank you.

01:08:40   The cover is really great.

01:08:42   So we're using a thicker, more durable,

01:08:46   more premium feeling cover.

01:08:48   It retains its beautiful debossing.

01:08:50   And also the binding process was really important

01:08:54   for me to keep, which is basically when you open

01:08:57   the notebook it will lay flat at any point.

01:09:00   This is something that's actually quite difficult to do,

01:09:03   but I'm really pleased we're able to do it.

01:09:04   And now the cover itself is thicker,

01:09:08   the book more easily stays closed on its own as well,

01:09:11   which I like.

01:09:13   And one of the other things from using the original journal,

01:09:15   and we got a lot of feedback from this,

01:09:17   from the cortex and zygote,

01:09:18   and also from just myself in using it,

01:09:20   was trying to come up with some system of bookmarking.

01:09:24   And we tried to add a ribbon to the old book design,

01:09:27   and that was really complicated

01:09:29   in ways that I never would have imagined.

01:09:31   And so we came up with a system that I much prefer,

01:09:34   which is every page, the corner of each page is perforated

01:09:38   with this really large perforation

01:09:40   that makes it very, very easy

01:09:42   to pull off the corners of the pages.

01:09:44   And the perforation is also rounded,

01:09:46   but as you tear off each corner of the page,

01:09:49   when you look at the,

01:09:50   it's not the spine, but the opposite of the spine.

01:09:55   When the book is closed and you look at the page edge,

01:09:58   as you're pulling off the pages,

01:10:01   it almost starts to look like a progress bar

01:10:03   through the season.

01:10:04   - Yeah.

01:10:05   - And I love this detail.

01:10:07   So not only can you very easily find where you are

01:10:10   as your next day in the book,

01:10:12   but as you look at the physical book,

01:10:14   you get to see your progress through the theme

01:10:17   through a year.

01:10:18   And I think that that has come out to be

01:10:20   one of my very favorite things about the second edition.

01:10:22   It makes it quite novel and I really love that a lot.

01:10:25   - Yeah, I also think it's such a great solution

01:10:29   to a problem that's not what you were looking for.

01:10:32   You know, you want a bookmark,

01:10:34   but you come up with something better,

01:10:36   which is the progress bar of the theme over the season.

01:10:40   It's really lovely.

01:10:42   - So yeah, that is the second edition

01:10:44   of the Theme System Journal.

01:10:45   It is available right now.

01:10:48   - It's really real.

01:10:49   Like, this day is finally here.

01:10:52   - Yeah. (laughing)

01:10:53   I kind of can't believe it at this point.

01:10:55   - I know.

01:10:56   - We have more of these in stock

01:10:58   than we've ever had before,

01:10:59   but I have no idea,

01:11:01   I genuinely have no idea how we could either have enough

01:11:03   stock for six months or six weeks.

01:11:05   We never know with this.

01:11:07   - We never know.

01:11:07   - We have ordered the most we've ever ordered

01:11:09   because this is the time of the year

01:11:11   that people want them the most for good reason.

01:11:13   - Yes.

01:11:14   - Now is the time to go and buy one.

01:11:15   Go to cortexmerch.com

01:11:17   and you can pick up a Theme System Journal,

01:11:19   second edition for yourself right now.

01:11:21   They are in stock and ready to ship.

01:11:23   So if you check it out, we really appreciate it.

01:11:26   And I hope that if you do pick up one of these,

01:11:29   not only will it help you with your year,

01:11:31   I hope that you'll be able to tell how much work went into it.

01:11:34   I want to reiterate that I'm a big believer in this idea of themes for your year.

01:11:41   I think it is by far one of the biggest impact things you can possibly do for the least amount

01:11:51   of effort.

01:11:52   So if you are thinking about it at all, I really suggest you give the Theme System Journal

01:11:59   try. Do it to express your gratitude for the tremendous amount of work that Myke has put in,

01:12:05   and do it for yourself, for the, like I said, the dawn of a new year for a way to, a way to

01:12:12   improve things. And also for the Cortex listeners, just to let you know, like, yes, Myke and I have

01:12:19   put in a very big order of journals, um, but I am going to promote this on my YouTube channel

01:12:26   At some point. So, I'm just saying right now, if you want a journal, now is the time to buy them to make sure that you get a journal.

01:12:39   Because we, look, be real, we legitimately have no idea what that's going to mean. We don't know what that's going to mean.

01:12:45   Yeah, we don't have any idea. Like, you know, are the YouTube viewers as interested in the journal as the Cortex listeners?

01:12:55   I have no idea but I am just saying like if you're listening to this episode right now

01:13:02   and you think yeah I want a journal you should get a journal right now.

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01:15:44   Alright Gray, what is your 2021 yearly theme?

01:15:48   *sigh*

01:15:50   I'm like, every year I feel like you want me to just dive right into it.

01:15:55   You can take whatever route you want to take.

01:15:58   I'm perfectly fine just telling you this year.

01:16:01   Oh, okay.

01:16:02   This year is year of the voyage.

01:16:07   Oh man that's good. Ah see I hate it because I really struggled with my name this year

01:16:12   and you have such a good one. The names the names are hard the names are totally hard.

01:16:18   Well sometimes they're easy most of the time they're hard like sometimes the name just like

01:16:23   boom right like year of shift I was super happy with that and it came to me really easily. This

01:16:29   year's name was a little trickier but yeah well like I don't I don't know if you even want to talk

01:16:33   about it now, but like, you know, we've, you know, because obviously we know we're going to be talking

01:16:36   about the themes at the end of the year. We never discuss what our themes actually are, but we have

01:16:42   sometimes had conversations sort of about the ideas of the themes, and I knew that you were

01:16:51   having some trouble coming up with a theme for this year, which I think, again, is no surprise,

01:17:00   And it is also why, like, you know, when we talked about it, I wasn't worried either because, you know,

01:17:06   I had only just settled on my idea of a theme, which again is months later than it normally happens.

01:17:12   So I think it's just a, it's a, it's a difficult year for things to come together and to think about.

01:17:19   And also then having for, for us being in the position of having a name that also has to not

01:17:27   not just mean something for us,

01:17:28   but can communicate something to the listener

01:17:31   also adds a difficult challenge

01:17:33   in what is the yearly theme gonna be.

01:17:36   - Yeah, exactly.

01:17:37   What I will say about that now is

01:17:41   I've really struggled until it's crystallized.

01:17:44   - Oh, okay, good, good.

01:17:45   - Right, there was a point in the last couple of weeks

01:17:47   working on this where I was like, I got it now.

01:17:50   - So, "Year of the Voyage" is different in several ways.

01:17:56   One of the things about this theme for me is, you know, as we've discussed, I think it is important that themes...

01:18:07   It's not that they can't have a fail state, but you should try to design them so that they don't have a fail state.

01:18:13   You know, thinking about how this year was very unexpected.

01:18:17   You know, we're also in a situation where, again, the variance of what next year could be is quite high.

01:18:25   It's hard to know, like, what is the next year going to look like.

01:18:29   And so for me, I very much wanted to have a theme that was a coin with two sides.

01:18:37   And so the first part of that is, when you were talking about

01:18:42   how will clarity continue to be part of your life going into the future?

01:18:46   It's interesting because yes, that is a thing that will happen.

01:18:50   But what I really want to establish as the thing going forward in my life indefinitely

01:18:59   is this idea of Spaceship You.

01:19:03   Like, I think for me this year, like, anyone who has listened to us talk on Cortex for years knows, like,

01:19:11   I've been talking about a lot of the ideas in Spaceship You for a long time.

01:19:18   None of it is like, "Oh, I just came up with all of this stuff this year."

01:19:21   But the pandemic forced me into a consolidation of a bunch of what I knew were the most important ideas in working life for me

01:19:32   and also gave them just an incredibly solid mental framework.

01:19:38   And so the first side of the coin is, no matter what happens in the rest of the year,

01:19:46   no matter what it looks like, you should be able to really double down on your life is spaceship

01:19:58   you now. That you're going to maintain this incredibly strict separation in the physical

01:20:07   environments and really make this part of your life. Another reason for having this big year of

01:20:16   of the voyage and thinking like, this is a year's goal that no matter what happens, you're

01:20:22   going to keep up with this concept.

01:20:26   Is because I think like, of course, even for me, like 2020, it wasn't all sunshine and roses.

01:20:33   Like there was one part in the year where I was feeling really down and we'd sort of discussed

01:20:38   it a little bit on the show.

01:20:40   And part of what had happened at that point in time was like, I just recognized that I had

01:20:46   lost track of reassessment points.

01:20:48   You know, what started in the year as like, okay, we'll lock down for two weeks

01:20:54   and then we'll reassess in a month and then we'll reassess on July 4th.

01:20:59   That after one of those, there was no reassessment points and that

01:21:05   rapidly just felt terrible.

01:21:07   Like, oh, I guess we're just going to stay inside indefinitely.

01:21:13   There's nothing to count on the calendar.

01:21:15   on the calendar, like it happened very subtly without really noticing.

01:21:19   And it was also very helpful with Year of Clarity because it, once I

01:21:24   recognize what was going on, I was able to kind of like think through the

01:21:27   situation and realize what the problem is.

01:21:29   And so one of the things that I want to do with Year of the Voyage is actually

01:21:33   set like this reassessment point one year in the future and have it be for me a

01:21:41   little bit like how you often describe the themes as a North star, that like,

01:21:47   this is a, this is a guiding point.

01:21:50   There's, there will always be like a reassessment point, no matter what

01:21:55   happens, that is next year when we discuss our themes, that one of the big

01:22:00   things will be the continuation and the deepening integration of Spaceship

01:22:08   U into my life.

01:22:10   What will you be reassessing?

01:22:11   Well, so what I mean by a reassessment point is just in the same way that

01:22:16   lockdown has been extended a bunch of times, I want to be able to know we are

01:22:24   having another year of Spaceship U no matter what happens in the external world.

01:22:30   Because that concept is not intrinsically linked to lockdown.

01:22:36   That concept is much more about how do I work?

01:22:41   And in this year, even, I mean, just some of the dumb stuff

01:22:45   that we've talked about over the course of the year,

01:22:46   like, oh, I painted my office deep blue, right?

01:22:51   To visually separate the space.

01:22:54   That stuff has also really contributed

01:22:56   to doing more core work in this space.

01:23:01   Like, that has totally helped.

01:23:03   And I feel like I've gotten much more into the projects when I'm working here.

01:23:08   And so this is like the thing that I want to keep going and just keeping

01:23:17   this going is a good theme for the year.

01:23:22   Like in the world of all possible variances, this is an important thing

01:23:27   Because maybe 2021 looks a lot like 2020.

01:23:33   We don't know.

01:23:34   Maybe it doesn't, but I'm pre deciding now that in both of those scenarios,

01:23:40   embodying spaceship you is a good idea.

01:23:46   And so when I say year of the voyage, there is a way in which that means like

01:23:52   means like this is an internal voyage into the way that I maintain and think about and use the

01:24:03   physical spaces around me to facilitate and encourage the activities that I want to do.

01:24:09   Exercise, work, health, all the rest of it. So this is like setting the North Star.

01:24:16   And I guess at a certain point, whether this year or the next year, part of it will be

01:24:23   how do you take the expedition craft out into the world, right?

01:24:28   Like how do you move the spaceship with you if you're going somewhere else, right?

01:24:34   Okay, exactly.

01:24:36   Now we get to the other side of the coin, which is Year of the Voyage.

01:24:42   One year of lockdown was refreshing.

01:24:46   Two is probably too much.

01:24:49   (laughing)

01:24:51   Right?

01:24:53   And so--

01:24:54   - Too much of a good lockdown.

01:24:56   - Yeah, it's too much of a good lockdown.

01:24:58   I like that.

01:24:58   And one of the things that was just growing on my mind

01:25:06   as we came to the end of the year

01:25:08   and thinking about like, what are the themes?

01:25:11   What's next year going to look like?

01:25:13   I realized that long-term, I am not going to go two years without seeing my family in

01:25:24   person.

01:25:25   Like, I don't care what the state of the pandemic is, that is not going to happen.

01:25:32   This is partly what I mean by like, year of the voyage in some ways is the opposite of

01:25:37   the fuzzy wuzzy year of clarity.

01:25:39   Like, I am kind of setting myself up with a little bit of a fail state, but also this

01:25:45   is one of these things of like, if I've ever been determined about anything, this is one

01:25:51   of these things that I'm determined about.

01:25:52   Like, I refuse to go two years without seeing my family in person, and there is almost no

01:26:02   price to pay that it, like, that I wouldn't pay.

01:26:06   Like, do I have to be in America, do the lockdown thing for two weeks and like, risk getting

01:26:11   Corona at the airport, right?

01:26:13   Like all of this stuff, it's at some point the scales go on the other side.

01:26:18   At time of recording, we're in a very interesting position with regards to all of that because

01:26:24   You can be like cautiously in large caps, optimistic, lower case, italic

01:26:35   subscript about next year with some of the things about the vaccine rolling out.

01:26:42   And so it, it does actually throw some interesting complications into how do I

01:26:49   think about the risk and reward of endeavoring on a trip to the United States

01:26:53   at some point next year if it is going to happen.

01:26:56   It does change some of the mental calculus of like,

01:26:59   when should that happen and all of the rest of that.

01:27:03   But it doesn't change the fundamental decision of like,

01:27:06   it's going to happen one way or another.

01:27:10   Yeah.

01:27:10   Cause I guess when you say complication, it's like, if there was no vaccine,

01:27:14   then it's like, well, there's no good or bad time to go.

01:27:18   It's always bad.

01:27:18   I'll just go.

01:27:19   That's it.

01:27:20   So this is the funny thing, like I decided on year of the voyage, basically

01:27:25   two weeks before all of the positive news about the vaccine started coming out.

01:27:29   And that doesn't change my calculation, but it does like at time of recording,

01:27:36   it does mentally for me push back.

01:27:39   When does this mean?

01:27:41   I'm like, okay, right now the correct risk reward decision is to wait until

01:27:48   there is more information about the vaccine and how fast it's rolling out and like, blah,

01:27:53   blah, blah, blah, blah. That may mean pushing back the trip to later in the year does make

01:27:59   sense. Whereas yes, when there's no vaccine, it's like, I could go in January, right? Because

01:28:05   there's, there's no upside in waiting at all. There's just downside in that it takes longer.

01:28:09   So that's like the opposite side of the coin is a very specific thing that in most

01:28:19   years would saying like, "Oh, my theme is Year of the Voyage and one of the things that's

01:28:24   going to happen is I'm going to America."

01:28:26   I'm going to discover the foreign land.

01:28:28   Yeah, like it would feel like such a tiny and inconsequential thing to have part of

01:28:32   it as a theme, but I actually expect like when this happens, it will probably be a big

01:28:38   deal.

01:28:39   kind of thing where I have to make a lot of plans about, okay, burning maybe two weeks

01:28:45   before and two weeks after and how does this work and if I'm in America, like, how do I

01:28:50   coordinate everything that's going to happen?

01:28:51   Like, when the trip happens, it's going to be a logistic deal no matter what the situation

01:28:58   is.

01:28:59   So that is the long term and the big term is like, I will see my family in 2021.

01:29:07   There is a smaller part of that, which is the shorter term.

01:29:12   - Right, so we have long term, big term, short term.

01:29:14   (laughing)

01:29:15   Do we have tiny term?

01:29:18   - No, no, no, like, okay, it's very simple.

01:29:20   It's a coin, there's two sides of the coin.

01:29:22   - There's three things.

01:29:23   (laughing)

01:29:24   - Right, the others, no, no,

01:29:26   but the other side of the coin has two parts, right?

01:29:28   The long term and the short term.

01:29:30   - When you say like big term,

01:29:31   it's like if the coin lands on its edge.

01:29:33   - By the way, I haven't told you yet

01:29:35   that there's a sub theme, but we can get to that later.

01:29:37   Nice!

01:29:38   [Laughter]

01:29:39   I'm taking a page out of your book with the sub-theme.

01:29:42   But so, for Year of the Voyage, the other part of that is also, I have to get out of

01:29:48   the house more.

01:29:49   Again, like, I've loved Lockdown more than any man on the face of the earth, probably,

01:29:54   but again, it's not a situation that I can have continue indefinitely.

01:30:00   Like it just can't.

01:30:02   And one of the things that I have for this theme is exploring the things that are safely

01:30:11   within my radius.

01:30:14   You know, last year I was thinking like, "Oh, I'm going to explore the world and I'm going

01:30:18   to see all of these things and I can make videos on the interesting places that I visit."

01:30:23   And this year I'm kind of revisiting that but on a much smaller scale.

01:30:28   So I definitely do want to get out of the house more and I know myself I need an excuse

01:30:37   to do that. Like I need a reason to do it.

01:30:41   Yes, yes.

01:30:42   And I can't just tell myself like, "I'm gonna get out of the house more because I

01:30:46   won't. Like I won't do it. I've lived with me long enough to know that he needs

01:30:52   two reasons to do a thing. One reason is never enough."

01:30:55   - Yeah.

01:30:56   (laughing)

01:30:58   Yeah, that's really good.

01:31:00   - What do you wanna think about that bike?

01:31:01   - No, that's like a really beautiful way of summing it up.

01:31:04   I like that.

01:31:05   - Yeah, and so I did do like,

01:31:10   I did do a very tiny test of this,

01:31:14   which is I did get myself a bike,

01:31:18   which is something I haven't owned in London

01:31:21   in like 10 years.

01:31:22   But part of the reason I also convinced myself to get a bike was, "Oh, you can now go to places that are outside your walking travel radius," which is what you've been limited to for the previous year.

01:31:37   And you know, who knows, maybe you'll film a video about those things.

01:31:42   Maybe you'll make a video about the very fact that you got this bike.

01:31:45   Like I needed to give myself this excuse for the reason to get it.

01:31:50   and just having the bike and being able to extend

01:31:54   my travel radius has been a really nice improvement for me.

01:31:59   So here's, okay, so here's where I'm gonna like call

01:32:04   on the cortex and a little bit to help me out with this.

01:32:07   Let me talk about the frustrations of being someone

01:32:10   who runs a YouTube channel sometimes.

01:32:13   - Wait, what do you, you sometimes run it

01:32:15   or sometimes have frustration?

01:32:17   - Sometimes have these frustrations, right?

01:32:19   So it's specific to being a YouTube channel.

01:32:21   So keeping this in mind, I've been thinking like,

01:32:24   okay, I've lived in London a long time

01:32:26   and I know some of the interesting places

01:32:29   that exist in the city.

01:32:30   And like, oh, I'm aware of interesting places

01:32:33   that exist in England in a way that like,

01:32:35   just when you live somewhere,

01:32:36   you like come across these places.

01:32:39   And so I've tried a few times in thinking about

01:32:43   how am I gonna do this to reach out to places

01:32:48   that I think, "Hey, wouldn't you love to have me come and make a video about your place?

01:32:54   Oh, or I know this interesting thing is here. Can you just grant me access to be able to

01:33:01   see this thing, like, when no one else is around? Just give me access to be able to

01:33:05   film this thing and I can talk about it, and wouldn't that be cool?" You know, you're

01:33:10   a little museum that's open to the public, or, you know, you're just—there's a million

01:33:14   places like this in a big city that are interesting places. And I cannot tell you how incredibly

01:33:21   frustrating this is to actually try to do because every place that I've contacted, this

01:33:29   is how the conversation goes. "Oh man, we would love promotion. What television network

01:33:35   are you with?" And I go, "I am a YouTuber." And they go, "Oh."

01:33:42   [laughs]

01:33:43   Right?

01:33:43   Where they go like-

01:33:44   And, and from, at this point, it, it blows my mind how frustrating the conversations

01:33:51   are or how quickly this gets shut down.

01:33:53   And they're like, we would love to be able to show off this thing or like, yes,

01:33:57   please come let us know the number of crew who are going to be here.

01:34:00   And I'm like, no, it's just going to be me.

01:34:02   It's going to be me and my phone.

01:34:04   And then it's, it's somehow completely impossible to do.

01:34:07   It's infuriating.

01:34:11   It's absolutely infuriating.

01:34:13   It's like more people than the typical television show would even command, right?

01:34:19   Yeah, I mean, this is one of these things where this is going to sound like a brag,

01:34:22   but it's less than a brag that it sounds like, which is, yes, if I made a video about

01:34:27   like some interesting places in the city, I know my vlogs don't get the same number of views

01:34:32   as the animated things do, but if you are in the orbit of the entertainment world,

01:34:39   I never don't find it shocking how low TV viewership numbers are.

01:34:47   When I know someone who's involved with an actual TV show and they tell me like,

01:34:53   the viewership numbers, I don't understand how that entire industry exists.

01:34:58   It's shocking. It's absolutely shocking.

01:35:01   Well, no, great. What it's just showing is how undervalued online advertising is, right?

01:35:08   That's what it is, because it's just advertising that's keeping it going,

01:35:12   but for some reason people find that allure of TV worth the money.

01:35:16   I guess. I mean, I guess that must be what it is.

01:35:19   But yeah, so like I find myself in these weird Alice in Wonderland kind of conversations of like,

01:35:24   I can almost guarantee you I can get more people to know about the work that you do,

01:35:29   or know about this museum or whatever, but you only want to work with TV things.

01:35:34   Like it's just, it's maddening. Like it's totally maddening.

01:35:37   And so, yeah, I found myself really thwarted on what were basically my first five or six ideas of,

01:35:45   "Oh, I would make a video about this place," or "Oh, I would make a video about that place."

01:35:48   And I've contacted them and they're like, "We're not interested unless you're TV."

01:35:52   And so my call here to the Cortex audience is like, "Okay, listen, I know some of you

01:36:00   live in the United Kingdom."

01:36:02   Right.

01:36:04   Okay.

01:36:05   If you work at a place that you think is interesting, get in touch.

01:36:12   This, this is all I'm saying.

01:36:14   I feel like with every one of these places, I just need an in.

01:36:17   Like I need someone who's there.

01:36:20   To vouch for you.

01:36:21   Who, who, who vouches, who can vouch for this, right?

01:36:23   And who can be like, oh, this guy will make an interesting video about the

01:36:30   thing that we do here or the location that this is, and I've listened to him

01:36:35   to him for years and watch his videos for years, you don't have to worry that this is like some

01:36:41   rogue prank YouTube channel or whatever.

01:36:43   He's not going to come in and punk us.

01:36:46   Yeah, he's not going to like smash your vase because it's funny, right?

01:36:50   But yeah, like that has totally been my-

01:36:56   So annoying.

01:36:57   It's incredibly annoying.

01:36:58   And like, I don't want to name any of these institutions in particular.

01:37:01   Ah, let's do it, let's put them on blast.

01:37:03   [laughter]

01:37:05   No, I'm not gonna do it.

01:37:07   But I've just had...

01:37:09   just some crazy exchanges

01:37:13   where it...

01:37:15   it 100% has the feeling of like

01:37:19   if someone in this room

01:37:21   just watched my channel, this would be fine

01:37:25   and you would let this happen. But I think there's something really weird

01:37:29   and off-putting to people of like, "I'm not going to be showing up with a crew."

01:37:33   You know what it like, my assumption as well, like I would expect for a lot of the types of

01:37:37   places that you're trying to get in contact with and stuff, the perception of YouTubers is not good.

01:37:43   And they heard about the person and the bad thing that they did, and that's what they must all be.

01:37:49   So we don't trust these kids and the YouTubers.

01:37:54   Yeah, yeah. So this is like my other side of the year of the voyage is I've got to get out of the

01:38:01   house. I'm definitely seeing my family, that's 100% happening, but also I need to create reasons for

01:38:08   me to get out of the house because otherwise I know me and I won't. And so again, no matter what

01:38:17   happens in the world, I am fairly confident that I can arrange safe transportation within

01:38:26   the United Kingdom to an interesting location.

01:38:29   Like that's a totally achievable thing, you know, no matter what's going on.

01:38:33   So what is the mechanism for these interesting places to get in contact with you then?

01:38:39   Yeah, so I want you to use the contact form on my webpage.

01:38:43   So it's cgpgray.com/contact.

01:38:44   That's where you should go.

01:38:45   It would be in the show notes too.

01:38:47   - Yeah, it'll be in the show notes.

01:38:49   - I feel confident for you here because we do not have

01:38:52   the largest podcast audience in the world,

01:38:55   but we have a big one.

01:38:57   And our audience sometimes makes me feel like the world

01:39:01   is smaller than it is.

01:39:03   Because there's been many times where I've said a thing

01:39:07   or we've said a thing or we've asked for something

01:39:09   and somehow we end up finding someone.

01:39:14   - Yeah.

01:39:15   And so I feel good for you in this because this is exactly the type of thing that surprises us a bunch.

01:39:21   Where like, "Oh, hang on a minute. This person does have an inn in this place."

01:39:27   And I think there's like, we've spoken about it as like a selection effect and all that kind of stuff, right?

01:39:32   That there is probably an over indexing of the type of people that work at the type of places that you would like to visit

01:39:39   that would also listen to this show for the same reasons that you want to go to those places.

01:39:43   Yes, exactly. So this is also what I'm betting on here is the

01:39:48   Cortex audience is not going to be a representative sample of the general population.

01:39:54   No.

01:39:55   If I can say so, Myke. I think our audience on average is much more interesting than the general population.

01:40:00   I would agree with that. I've met lots of our audience and they are.

01:40:03   There's no way that's not true. And so the chances of those listeners working at a place that's interesting

01:40:11   or like knowing someone who they can recommend to be like, "Hey, this guy's looking for projects,

01:40:16   you know, get in touch."

01:40:17   And so what I also just want to specify with this is "interesting" is this word that I

01:40:22   use a lot, and it's because I think it is impossible to describe characteristic of minds.

01:40:31   Why do people find things interesting?

01:40:33   Impossible to say.

01:40:34   Why is F1 interesting to you?

01:40:37   Why did it stick in your mind?

01:40:39   sort of give reasons and describe the sport or whatever, but like fundamentally, I feel like it's

01:40:45   it's just a thing that exists in brains. And so when I say like I'm looking for interesting

01:40:53   places, that is an extremely broad invitation. Some of the places I have tried to contact,

01:41:01   I think very many people would regard as super boring, right? But it's like, I think that they're

01:41:08   doing something interesting in this location.

01:41:10   So what I would encourage people to say is like, don't doubt

01:41:16   that the place is interesting.

01:41:17   Like just, we've talked about rolling the dice on, on this show.

01:41:22   And, and this is a case of like, I want to encourage listeners to just

01:41:26   roll the dice and get in touch.

01:41:29   And like, maybe something works out.

01:41:31   There's nothing to lose here for either of us of just like, I sometimes don't

01:41:35   even know what will catch my own interests.

01:41:38   So this doesn't have to be like,

01:41:41   "Oh, I'm the curator of the British Museum."

01:41:45   Right? Like that is not what I'm looking for.

01:41:47   (laughing)

01:41:49   - I am the aid to her Royal Highness.

01:41:55   - Yeah, exactly.

01:41:56   Like, now, you know, keep in mind,

01:41:59   I'm not gonna turn those down, right?

01:42:00   - No, if you are one of those people,

01:42:03   you have got a leg up,

01:42:04   but you don't have to be one of those people.

01:42:07   Yeah, yeah, and I think, you know, again, I feel like I can say this to the listeners

01:42:13   here because they're going to be familiar with like the kinds of things I've made videos

01:42:17   about, and I think one of the favorite comments I ever receive on videos is when people say

01:42:22   something like, "I never thought I would be interested in this topic, but like I really

01:42:29   liked this video."

01:42:31   And I think a lot of the things that I cover at first glance can seem quite boring, but

01:42:38   there's actually something quite interesting about them.

01:42:43   Just to give an example of the kind of thing that I'm thinking of.

01:42:46   Myke, do you know the UK property show Escape to the Country?

01:42:51   MIKE Oh my god, yes, Ray, I know Escape to the Country.

01:42:55   [Laughter]

01:42:57   How would you describe it for the listeners?

01:43:02   Two retired people want to move from the city to the countryside in England.

01:43:09   People who claim to be estate agents or were once estate agents in their life but now present

01:43:14   this television show, I guess just go online and find a selection of properties that they

01:43:21   They will then take the retired couple to go and look at in the hopes of finding them

01:43:27   a new home.

01:43:28   It is like white glove Zoopla or whatever, right?

01:43:31   Like it is white glove real estate.

01:43:34   They will then talk about it and nobody ever buys one of those houses.

01:43:37   Well, when they do buy a house, it happens maybe one in a hundred episodes is the most

01:43:40   exciting thing that ever happens.

01:43:42   And it always happens in the post-credits section as well.

01:43:45   I happened to catch an episode recently of a show that was not Escape to the Country,

01:43:49   it's one of the other various spin-offs of this show

01:43:51   where they like escape to Spain or whatever.

01:43:54   And they actually made an offer on the show

01:43:57   and I could not believe it.

01:43:58   (laughing)

01:44:01   - Like this has genuinely been one of my favorite shows

01:44:06   for years, like it's been on forever.

01:44:09   - Which is why I groaned because--

01:44:11   (laughing)

01:44:12   - 'Cause yeah, you know, I mentioned it.

01:44:13   - The Grays will bring up "Escape to the Country" a lot.

01:44:17   - We watch it a lot, right?

01:44:18   We love it. It's great.

01:44:20   - Look, I know, I know you do.

01:44:23   - So the reason I bring it up now, again,

01:44:27   is the key characteristic that I love about the show

01:44:32   is they almost never,

01:44:34   there's like cuts and edits are very rare.

01:44:37   Like the whole thing just plays out so slowly

01:44:40   and it's brilliant.

01:44:42   I love it.

01:44:43   But the thing that happens also on this show

01:44:46   is to mix things up a little bit.

01:44:48   You know, they'll, they'll visit the first two houses and then they have a

01:44:53   little like intermission where they'll often visit some local place in the area.

01:45:00   And they'll, they'll do a little, it's often, it's like an arts and craft

01:45:05   section where they're like, "Oh, we've gone to this brewery to help

01:45:08   the local brewer brew his beer."

01:45:10   Here is where they put paper over cheese.

01:45:14   And this is what this little shop does, is like, they make the nice folded paper that

01:45:18   goes on top of the cheese.

01:45:19   Cuz you definitely- you need a break from all of the hot property action.

01:45:24   You gotta calm things down a bit.

01:45:25   Just a couple days ago we saw an episode that I felt like took this to brand new heights,

01:45:31   which was, they visited a button museum, right?

01:45:34   Which was just about buttons.

01:45:41   And-

01:45:42   And the woman who was in charge of the button museum was talking about

01:45:47   the history of button making.

01:45:49   And I was sitting there on the couch like, wow, this is what I mean by like,

01:45:54   you don't have to hit an amazing bar.

01:45:56   Like I watch escape to the country and find the sections where they go to like

01:46:02   just the local horse, bride-ery place, right.

01:46:07   Or they're going to take lessons on whatever.

01:46:09   they're going to take lessons on whatever.

01:46:10   Like I find all of those sections delightful and I love them.

01:46:14   - You've definitely set the bar with the Barton Museum.

01:46:17   Like you're good now, everyone gets it.

01:46:19   (laughing)

01:46:21   - So that's, I just wanted to clarify on that part of that.

01:46:24   So that's Year of the Voyage.

01:46:28   - Man, I cannot wait for the like kind of pointless

01:46:32   CGP Grey travel show.

01:46:34   I'm genuinely like really excited about it.

01:46:36   'cause I know it's something that you would be very good at too.

01:46:41   Here's the thing, like, I don't even really know what I'm doing here, right?

01:46:45   But I just think I've been trying to do something like this for a while.

01:46:51   And T-Coy was the first time I really made something along these lines of like,

01:46:59   "Oh, I went to a place and just filmed it.

01:47:02   and it turned into a year-long nightmare that exploded in my face.

01:47:07   But it was like, I was still really glad to have done it and gone to this place.

01:47:12   And I've also had the frustration of over the past few years

01:47:16   trying this in a few ways, and like,

01:47:20   it had just— other projects like just haven't quite worked out.

01:47:24   But I do feel like,

01:47:27   again, it will never have the kind of audience that the animated stuff does,

01:47:31   But there's definitely some section of the audience who does like the vlogs

01:47:37   and people who liked the T-Coy video and a couple of just like the, you know, the live stuff that I've done.

01:47:44   And so, I feel like if I'm going to try to set an explicit goal to explore this more,

01:47:53   this is the year to do it.

01:47:55   This is the time to do it as a way to trick and force myself out of this really comfortable shell that I've been living in for the past year.

01:48:08   And so it's also why, like, I'm very happy to kind of put myself on record by making a call to the audience of like,

01:48:16   "Get in touch if you think you're at an interesting place."

01:48:21   and, you know, I don't know if worldwide travel is a thing that's going to happen this year,

01:48:27   but I feel like I can safely negotiate UK-wide travel no matter what happens.

01:48:34   I'm not gonna lie, this is my favorite of your themes.

01:48:37   Okay, I wasn't sure what your reaction would be. I feel like this is a little ridiculous and weird.

01:48:43   Well, that's kind of why I like it. It's got like a real practical element and then like

01:48:50   an interesting like challenge and then also this spectacular little project in the middle.

01:48:56   I'm glad you like it. Now I do have a subtheme but I cannot continue onward with the show

01:49:05   without knowing what your theme is like I need to know what are you what's what's the mic theme

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01:50:54   [BEEP]

01:50:55   The Year of Reinvention.

01:50:56   Ooh, okay.

01:50:58   So I have like an overall kind of like statement to it and then in my usual way a bunch of little

01:51:05   things that ladder up into this wider theme.

01:51:09   So the second half of 2020, maybe like the last three quarters, I guess, has seen just an immense

01:51:17   amount of change in my professional life.

01:51:20   And I mean, this was encapsulated by the year of shift, right?

01:51:24   Like everything I had to do to get where I needed to be, where I wanted to be, to achieve what I had

01:51:31   set out that year to start achieving, you know, just to get all those things done was harder, right?

01:51:37   like getting the journal ready.

01:51:38   Like the plan was always,

01:51:40   the second edition will be ready now.

01:51:43   And like even doing that was monumentally more difficult

01:51:46   because of COVID, right?

01:51:48   So just getting to that part to get to now

01:51:52   was just to saw a lot of change

01:51:54   and a lot of things that I had to do differently.

01:51:57   And 2021 is gonna be focused on making these things

01:52:03   regular parts of my life, permanent things.

01:52:07   So the stuff that I wanna do in 2021,

01:52:11   it's not all brand new,

01:52:12   but all of these parts add up to the new overall thing.

01:52:18   So I was really like,

01:52:22   the working title of 2021 was a year of new

01:52:26   but I didn't wanna make it that.

01:52:28   And then the more that I've kind of focused

01:52:32   these elements I came up with reinvention. So like, the world is going to be different post-pandemic

01:52:39   and so will I. Maybe in more of a way than I would have thought. So got a bunch of things here.

01:52:47   New outlets for myself is one of them. One of the things that I really wanted from the year

01:52:55   of refinement was hobbies. New hobbies. And I have ended up walking into some of them just

01:53:01   over this last few months and building and customizing mechanical keyboards has been

01:53:08   that thing for me. This was the thing that came up on the show a long time ago and we spoke about it

01:53:14   a while ago and I've kind of been talking about my journey a little bit more in Mortex, which is our

01:53:21   member show. You can go to getmortex.com and you can sign up. And I've been kind of like

01:53:27   checking in with you on this along the way.

01:53:29   And at this point, this has become something

01:53:32   that I have absolutely loved this year,

01:53:37   is finding this new hobby for myself

01:53:39   and being able to do something with my hands

01:53:44   and learn skills and take in knowledge and information

01:53:49   in a world that I knew nothing about

01:53:52   or didn't even know existed.

01:53:55   So that's been like a real great outlet for my energy.

01:53:59   And the type of media and entertainment and information that I can

01:54:05   consume in this world is a really great

01:54:09   distraction from other things.

01:54:12   Because there's very little realistic,

01:54:17   practical overlap with the rest of my other pursuits.

01:54:20   Like there are things that are similar, you know,

01:54:23   like you use these keyboards with your computer, right?

01:54:27   Like they are electronic, you know?

01:54:29   And there are like these parallels

01:54:31   with design and aesthetics, right?

01:54:34   But it's not like how gaming and technology

01:54:39   are basically the same industry, right?

01:54:41   - Yes, yeah.

01:54:42   There's too much overlap.

01:54:43   - Too much overlap.

01:54:45   And this is way less overlap.

01:54:48   And so I've been really enjoying it for that.

01:54:50   And I still have more to say on that,

01:54:52   but that's coming in a later part of the theme.

01:54:55   But just general hardware tinkering is something

01:54:58   that I also wanna do a little bit more of,

01:55:01   because now I'm getting a little bit more comfortable

01:55:05   with electronics, because you kind of have to learn

01:55:09   some of the basic steps in building keyboards, right?

01:55:13   - You know how to solder now.

01:55:14   - I know how to solder now.

01:55:15   So stuff like that, it's bringing down

01:55:18   some of those barriers from a world of technology

01:55:20   that before now I've been kind of like that.

01:55:23   I couldn't even begin to understand that.

01:55:25   And it's like one thing that I want to do,

01:55:26   which is similar to this in some ways is I want to build a new PC.

01:55:30   So that's going to be something that I'm going to do early in the year.

01:55:32   But in general, outside of these things,

01:55:37   I want to find and continue to identify new places

01:55:41   for my energy and my creativity.

01:55:44   There were times in 2020, especially like many people

01:55:47   where I felt stuck in a rut.

01:55:51   I'm going through the motions here.

01:55:54   So I want to continue to feed my desire for new things

01:55:58   and new interests that I've always had

01:56:00   and continue to have.

01:56:02   And it's one of the things that I think is best about me

01:56:05   and why I can have the type of career that I have

01:56:09   in the type of podcasts and media that I create

01:56:12   is that I have an insatiable need for new information.

01:56:17   and curiosity and finding out about new stuff.

01:56:20   And I want to continue to feed that about myself

01:56:22   because it is what makes me feel creatively fulfilled.

01:56:26   I notice about myself,

01:56:29   one of the problems that I've fallen into in the past

01:56:32   is that it meant that I needed

01:56:33   to make new podcasts about them.

01:56:35   And I have definitely been able now to decouple that,

01:56:38   that I don't have to make a new podcast

01:56:42   about everything that I'm interested in.

01:56:44   This is something that I have learned

01:56:46   over the last couple of years.

01:56:48   And that this actually dovetails into,

01:56:51   but what it doesn't mean is that I can't do stuff

01:56:54   with this information.

01:56:56   So with keyboards, keyboards have brought

01:57:00   Twitch streaming back into my life.

01:57:01   And for the last two or three months,

01:57:05   every single week, at least once a week,

01:57:07   I have been doing a Twitch stream focused around keyboards.

01:57:12   And it's been really great.

01:57:14   And so this is part of the next thing,

01:57:15   which is doing something new.

01:57:18   And I have been setting this thing up

01:57:20   so that in 2021 it can become a more permanent fixture

01:57:25   in my life again, and like video, right?

01:57:28   Because I love video, I love things in video.

01:57:31   Video has lots of considerations and things to learn

01:57:34   and things to get better at, but I hate editing video.

01:57:38   - Right.

01:57:39   - And so I stayed away from video.

01:57:42   I like the production of making it

01:57:44   and everything that goes into it,

01:57:45   but I don't like all of the stuff that happens after it.

01:57:48   You don't have to edit Twitch videos because it's all live

01:57:52   and what you do is done and that's it.

01:57:54   When I press stop broadcasting,

01:57:56   I can just go on with my life.

01:57:58   There's no more.

01:57:59   And I really like that about the medium

01:58:02   because I'm used to producing live.

01:58:04   Like I do it all the time.

01:58:07   It's not a concern for me.

01:58:09   It's very easy for me to do that.

01:58:10   It's part of my skillset.

01:58:12   And being able to do this stuff with Twitch is great

01:58:14   because I don't have to do something that I consider to be really difficult.

01:58:18   You know, video editing is much more time consuming than audio editing.

01:58:22   I can do it. I'm happy with my ability and my skill.

01:58:26   I just don't enjoy it. And so I really like Twitch streaming for that.

01:58:30   And it's really great to build this

01:58:33   new little community and new interest and

01:58:37   I've been super pleased with my progress so far

01:58:40   and I'm really really enjoying the Twitch streaming stuff.

01:58:44   But there's something that goes alongside all of this, which I hadn't

01:58:49   realized was important to me, which is building something that belongs to me only.

01:58:56   I don't have this. I am genuinely blessed to work with some of the most

01:59:03   interesting people I've ever met and I love working with all of the people that

01:59:08   that I have the pleasure of working with.

01:59:10   But I also have to

01:59:13   collaborate with all...

01:59:16   I can't just make decisions in the content that I produce

01:59:19   and no one can tell me I don't want to do that or I would prefer to do it this way

01:59:24   or why don't we try it that way.

01:59:26   I don't have something that's only mine.

01:59:29   Like, I have co-hosts, I have partners in all of my endeavors.

01:59:36   And in the last 10 years, maybe even more, my whole kind of like creative professional life

01:59:44   for all of my endeavors, someone's been there with me, which has its so many upsides.

01:59:51   But I haven't had my own space to do my own thing about something that I really care about.

02:00:00   And what I love about the keyboard stuff and the Twitch streaming that go together is that

02:00:08   all of this is completely unconnected to my previous endeavors. No one else that I know

02:00:14   is into this like I am. This is something that I found on my own and I love and you have a

02:00:25   a keyboard and you love your keyboard.

02:00:27   Yes, that's correct.

02:00:29   I have a keyboard and that is where it ends.

02:00:31   Right, but it's something that you care about is having the tool that you like.

02:00:35   And my co-host on Upgrade, Jason, he has a similar thing where he has a keyboard that

02:00:40   he likes and he went through a process of finding the one that worked for him and then

02:00:44   stopped, right?

02:00:45   But this is an area which is constantly evolving and there's all these cool designers and there's

02:00:51   all these artisans.

02:00:52   and there's actually quite a lot of parallels with my pen hobby

02:00:57   and the keyboard hobby.

02:00:59   They have similarities, which is how this whole thing began.

02:01:01   But this is a thing where nobody that I work with cares really about this world,

02:01:09   like I do.

02:01:10   And it's a whole world of content creators and designers similar to the world that I'm in,

02:01:18   but it's over there on its own.

02:01:21   And I'm really loving trying to get into this world more and learning what it's all about

02:01:28   and the terminology and who the cool people are and it's like this whole thing.

02:01:34   And I love that it's everything I'm building is just mine.

02:01:37   So like, it's like working on the branding of it all.

02:01:41   I am the one who makes the final decisions and all of that.

02:01:45   And what it all means and what it looks like and what the content I'm going to do is and

02:01:50   when I'm gonna do it and how often and how long and everything is just mine and

02:01:55   I am really enjoying all of what that means for me and it's so far been a very

02:02:03   refreshing thing and it's been a great thing to have on my calendar to look

02:02:09   forward to every week and to make headway in. It's been fantastic I've

02:02:14   loved it. Having side projects in general is healthy for me. If I'm able to learn

02:02:20   new things along the way it's a great bonus and what I'm really enjoying about

02:02:25   this whole thing right now is that I'm starting to build a thing which is

02:02:30   meaningful to me and is my thing to move forward and I'm loving that.

02:02:36   I have to say, talking to you over the course of this year, you have been so genuinely

02:02:42   when talking about keyboards and so engaged with it.

02:02:46   And I've been startled at how huge this world is

02:02:51   that you've shown me.

02:02:53   (laughs)

02:02:55   And I think like my dad always said

02:02:56   that everything is a world unto itself.

02:02:59   And with the keyboard thing, you can just pick anything

02:03:02   and your first reaction is always gonna be like,

02:03:05   how much can there possibly be to this?

02:03:07   And the answer is infinity.

02:03:08   The answer is always infinity.

02:03:10   It's never not.

02:03:11   Never not, it doesn't matter what you're picking and what you're thinking about.

02:03:15   And yeah, I feel really happy to have seen this interest be developed and cultivated

02:03:24   by you and, you know, made into a thing with your Twitch channel and developing the branding

02:03:31   around the Twitch channel, which is just entirely yours and very Myke.

02:03:36   And I like this.

02:03:37   I like that this is something that you're continuing forward into 2021.

02:03:43   And I like that it's me, like the branding is Myke.live.

02:03:48   That's the, the, the branding of my Twitch channel when it's the URL and it's my

02:03:53   name, you know, and I like that.

02:03:55   Like it's, it's, it's something that's just mine and you know, I reserve the

02:04:01   right to do other things on that Twitch channel and I will, you know, like, but

02:04:05   Its core focus right now is this new hobby that I am just greatly enjoying tinkering with and

02:04:14   learning more about. And so it's been a great thing for me over the last few months and I

02:04:18   think it's going to be something that I'm going to continue to enjoy into 2021. Building new norms

02:04:25   is another part of this. Looking at what this last year has been like and what it's going to

02:04:31   mean for my future, one of these things is a permanent reduction in travel.

02:04:40   Even when I can do this again, when I could in theory be on the road once a month every

02:04:46   month, I'm not going to do it anymore.

02:04:50   Okay, okay.

02:04:51   Do you have specific limits?

02:04:53   This is really interesting and I can totally see how you could start to think about this

02:04:59   as a how is my life going to be different?

02:05:02   How am I going to reinvent what my life is?

02:05:05   Like what are you thinking around this?

02:05:09   - I do not have hard and fast limits.

02:05:12   - Okay.

02:05:13   - But I know it's gonna be way less.

02:05:16   There was a lot of travel that I was doing,

02:05:18   which was superfluous, really.

02:05:20   It was just like this would be nice to do.

02:05:22   And I'm not gonna do any of that anymore.

02:05:27   And a lot of the travel that I will do

02:05:32   needs to be vacations if it's gonna be anything, I think.

02:05:37   - Hmm, right.

02:05:39   - We'll come back to vacations in a minute,

02:05:41   but there's just been a change in my priorities

02:05:45   and there was a time,

02:05:48   so I was talking to a friend about this

02:05:50   a couple of days ago and he said something to me

02:05:52   which has really helped me understand this.

02:05:56   There was a time in my life when I needed to travel

02:05:59   more to help establish

02:06:03   my working relationships.

02:06:07   And I don't need to do that anymore.

02:06:09   You know, there was a time five years ago when going to all these conferences was

02:06:16   beneficial to me for building what would help be my

02:06:21   future career.

02:06:21   I do not need to do that anymore.

02:06:25   and there are things which are really important for my business which I'll always travel for.

02:06:32   There are certain events which are important and they're going to continue to be important

02:06:38   and I'm going to continue to do them, you know, but there is also a lot of travel that I was doing

02:06:44   to, you know, attend a conference that I was just kind of interested in but I didn't need to do it

02:06:50   But I wanted to go to the place and I wanted to experience that part of the world

02:06:53   but I'm just

02:06:57   It's such a

02:07:00   Big thing to keep taking all this time just cost this effect every time I make one of these trips and I

02:07:07   Just I have found out that I don't need it. I just wanted it and

02:07:13   I don't I just don't I know I don't have to continue doing this

02:07:19   and so it's going to be something that I reduce a lot.

02:07:24   Wow. I mean I was always impressed and shocked with the number of times that

02:07:34   that you would fly to America. But again I think this year has definitely

02:07:39   shown that the world can keep spinning with a dramatic reduction in travel.

02:07:45   And yeah, I mean this is also one of the interesting things about having spoken to you for years and doing this show for years is

02:07:53   I wouldn't have thought about it until you just mentioned it now but I think you're totally right that you're always moving through different phases of your life and your career

02:08:03   and it's easy to continue doing the things from the previous phase without reassessing them

02:08:12   This does feel like it's a good one to reassess,

02:08:16   and one that is thrown into sharp relief

02:08:19   because of this previous year.

02:08:21   - Yeah.

02:08:21   - I mean, yeah, I know you don't have hard limits on this.

02:08:25   - No.

02:08:26   - I'll be curious to see what does this actually

02:08:29   translate into over the next year.

02:08:32   - I think the biggest, like when I talk about,

02:08:34   the biggest reduction will be in travel for work, right?

02:08:37   - Yeah.

02:08:38   - That's gonna be the big reduction.

02:08:41   I may have taken 10 work trips a year,

02:08:43   maybe it will be three.

02:08:45   And I don't know hard and fast

02:08:49   what it's gonna look like yet,

02:08:51   but I know that I am committed to it being less,

02:08:54   like a lot less.

02:08:55   - Yeah, and this also feels much bigger

02:08:58   than just like a yearly theme subsection.

02:09:01   This feels a little bit, I mean,

02:09:02   I don't know if I'm overstating it from your perspective,

02:09:06   but it does feel to me a bit like a recognition

02:09:09   of a probably, if not permanent, very long-term change.

02:09:14   Like I'd have a hard time imagining three years from now,

02:09:21   like being in a situation or a position where you're like,

02:09:25   I wanna fly to America every month for work.

02:09:27   It's very difficult to imagine that.

02:09:29   - But I mean, that's kind of my theme this year

02:09:32   is very much drawing a line.

02:09:36   and there was pre-2020 Myke Hurley and Post.

02:09:42   And this last year has crystallized a lot of stuff for me.

02:09:49   And even if these things, some of these things,

02:09:51   sound like the types of things I would have spoken about before,

02:09:55   I just need to really try and get across that.

02:09:58   In my mind, I'm thinking about them very differently and very definitively.

02:10:03   And these things are different.

02:10:05   I mean, so like, there are things which sound like stuff I've spoken about in the past,

02:10:10   and I still have a couple more little things to talk about.

02:10:14   But they are very much like, I have spent time understanding who I am, and what I want to be.

02:10:26   And that's what I mean by the year of reinvention.

02:10:29   It's like, I understand who I am, I understand what I do, and I understand how I react to things.

02:10:36   And this year, and then moving forward, is a lot of me

02:10:42   leaning into what I want to lean into and pulling back on what I think needs to change.

02:10:46   Okay, I feel like I have a much deeper understanding now of reinvention.

02:10:50   Yeah, yeah.

02:10:51   Vacations!

02:10:54   Hmm, okay.

02:10:55   I just have to take more of them.

02:10:57   More than none of them?

02:10:58   More than none of them.

02:10:59   more than none of them and even if and when things return to a more like 2019

02:11:05   like feel that I need to be switching off more. I don't have a plan for that

02:11:13   like I really don't but I have recognized that it is something that I

02:11:18   need to work on this year for the future. That my "vacations" quote-unquote

02:11:25   were they were tricks right like oh I'll take a few days off because I'm going to

02:11:32   X place and I mean ostensibly it's a work trip but it's gonna feel like a

02:11:38   break because it's not like my normal life yeah that that is a real trick for

02:11:44   yourself I've done that oh yeah the shows I'm recording but I'm doing them

02:11:50   but with different views so it feels like a vacation.

02:11:53   Like no, I know I have a weird job

02:11:58   and I have a fun job and a job

02:11:59   that lots of people would want,

02:12:01   but I work hard and I work long hours

02:12:05   and I feel like at this point I've put in enough time

02:12:08   that I can actually start taking some vacations.

02:12:13   Like real weeks off.

02:12:15   And so that's the thing that, again,

02:12:19   I don't know how much of this realistically I'm going to get to do in 2021,

02:12:23   but this isn't about just 2021. Right.

02:12:25   Like this is about like taking a little bit more control of this stuff

02:12:29   for now and then moving forward. Direct support.

02:12:35   So membership has been, you know, as,

02:12:39   as we mentioned in kind of the wrap up of 2020 has been like a really,

02:12:42   really great thing.

02:12:43   But I know now that this is going to continue to be something which is going to

02:12:49   continue to get focus from me moving into the future. This wasn't just a 2020

02:12:54   thing to help kind of get us out of a bad spot. It's like no this is a legitimate

02:12:59   way as a creative professional to make a portion of your living and I want to

02:13:06   continue to explore what that means and continue to take guidance from people

02:13:13   like you as to what it means to be a creative professional who relies on

02:13:20   support from an audience directly. And so I'm really happy with where I've

02:13:27   gotten to with this show and with the other shows that I produce that have

02:13:31   membership content but I want to play around with what that means, what

02:13:37   that content can be and where it can be pushed to.

02:13:41   And I want to keep moving this forward in 2021

02:13:46   into different areas and see what feels right.

02:13:50   - Oh man, like every, this is like the biggest theme

02:13:55   that you've ever done.

02:13:56   I feel like every one of these little subsections

02:13:58   is like a giant bomb of things to be processing,

02:14:02   just even as you're saying it.

02:14:05   So yeah, that is another entire thing

02:14:08   that could have been a theme unto itself,

02:14:11   but is also extending to the future forever.

02:14:14   - It's a groundwork year.

02:14:16   2021 is a year of laying the groundwork for future things.

02:14:21   There's gonna be a lot of exploration for me

02:14:26   in really trying to understand

02:14:28   kind of what my next 10 years are gonna be like.

02:14:34   So like I didn't talk about it

02:14:35   because we were in a weird time,

02:14:37   but 2020 was 10 years for me in podcasting.

02:14:41   - Wow.

02:14:43   - It was in April.

02:14:45   I've been doing this for a decade

02:14:47   and like it just wasn't a thing to celebrate, right?

02:14:50   We were like three weeks into lockdown.

02:14:52   So I just kind of kept it to myself

02:14:54   and I wanted to do something to mark the time,

02:14:57   but I never did.

02:14:58   So from 2021,

02:15:01   I am hopefully moving into my next decade.

02:15:04   And if that's gonna be the case,

02:15:09   it feels like a time to be like,

02:15:11   all right, what did you learn over the last 10 years?

02:15:16   Let's keep moving it forward.

02:15:17   10 years doesn't mean anything.

02:15:18   Like we've spoken about this in the show,

02:15:19   but as human beings, we'd like to round things up.

02:15:23   It's like the fact that we do the yearly themes

02:15:24   in December, January, right?

02:15:27   As you said, really it could be in February

02:15:29   if you wanted to, it doesn't make a difference.

02:15:31   We could do nine monthly themes, right?

02:15:33   Everything's arbitrary.

02:15:35   This show could just be a theme for the month, every month, that's it, right?

02:15:39   But like, we like to kind of like to look at things in these

02:15:43   nice little neat compartments and...

02:15:45   Yeah.

02:15:46   And 10 years of anything is a big deal.

02:15:48   It's why the decade transitions are a big deal.

02:15:51   It's why it has a word.

02:15:52   Human civilization thinks about 10 year periods at all.

02:15:56   Like, what were the nineties like?

02:15:58   What were the 2010s like?

02:16:00   Yeah, it's arbitrary, but it is also, it has meaning.

02:16:05   It has meaning.

02:16:06   - I'm happy I started in 2010,

02:16:08   because I can always just round it to the tens.

02:16:14   I'll always have that, right?

02:16:15   2010 to 2020, 2020 to 2030, you know?

02:16:18   And so, you know, it just feels like that to me of like,

02:16:23   what'd you learn in the last 10 years

02:16:25   and how do we move them through to the next 10?

02:16:27   and I was just forced in 2020 to rethink a lot of stuff.

02:16:32   You know, this may have, what I'm doing right now,

02:16:36   this like taking stock and what do I want

02:16:38   this next long-term period to be like,

02:16:40   it might have been what I always did

02:16:41   because of this 10 years thing,

02:16:43   but I was forced to look at my work

02:16:48   in a much harsher light than I normally do

02:16:51   because of the pandemic.

02:16:54   and it has, I think has helped me realize the things that like I care about the

02:16:59   most and the things that I also have ignored where I shouldn't have,

02:17:04   you know, I have two more. Yeah. Go, go. All right.

02:17:08   Cortex brand product development.

02:17:11   We have finally, hopefully,

02:17:15   gotten the theme system under control, right?

02:17:20   So the journal now is what I want the journal to be.

02:17:24   It's what I've always wanted it to be.

02:17:26   It is where we think it is best for its long term.

02:17:30   We have gotten it into a place where we are happy

02:17:34   with the production.

02:17:35   I'm much happier with the timelines of things.

02:17:38   My expectation now is it should be a manageable part

02:17:42   of our business, that we should just be able

02:17:44   to look at stock levels, we reorder,

02:17:47   and it keeps going from there, right?

02:17:49   That is what we have spent the last 18 months working towards.

02:17:53   And you know, it was a, it was a punt that ended up turning into a thing.

02:17:58   And you know, now going into where we are now going into 2021, we're

02:18:05   hopefully going to get a much clearer idea as to what the theme

02:18:09   system means for our company.

02:18:11   But it's taken this long to get to here.

02:18:16   My hope in 2021 is that we will now be able

02:18:21   to look at new products.

02:18:24   Like, as we said this before,

02:18:28   but Cortex brand was never supposed to be just the company

02:18:31   that we had that makes the journal.

02:18:33   - Right, it's not the journal company.brand, right?

02:18:37   It was always supposed to be a bigger thing

02:18:42   with more products.

02:18:43   It's just product one turned out to be an enormous deal.

02:18:48   - And also was a really hard thing to make.

02:18:55   And then we had a pandemic to deal with.

02:18:57   And then, you know, and then, and then, and then.

02:19:00   We have the next areas that we want to pursue.

02:19:04   And so I'm hoping that 2021 will see the first of those.

02:19:09   I think that would be really great.

02:19:12   And then the last thing I want to talk about for now

02:19:13   Mega Studio. So this is a much more short-term part of the year of

02:19:19   Reinvention. It doesn't really ladder into the Reinvention theme at all

02:19:24   honestly, but it's just a thing that I really want to achieve this year so it's

02:19:28   going in, I'm shoehorning it in. That's fine, that's very acceptable. The studio

02:19:34   over the last nine months has felt like it's been in a permanent state of being

02:19:40   unfinished. There's been a lot of stumbling blocks outside of our

02:19:46   control, you know, like the ability to use it the way that we'd first imagined

02:19:51   using it, we couldn't. Like I've had to, both me and Idina have had to maintain

02:19:54   home office setups as well, which was the whole friggin point of getting this

02:19:59   space was that we wouldn't do that anymore, but we've had to keep it because

02:20:03   we're not sure how long we can be here for, you know? Like if we need to

02:20:09   lockdown again or if we want to lockdown again or whatever you know so that that's been tricky

02:20:16   but having this space has been the best part of my professional life this year because

02:20:24   it's provided me with the mental clarity and strength to do everything else. Without this

02:20:32   space I would be in a much worse mental place right now because considering I

02:20:39   had taken no time off if I would have been at home every day working for this

02:20:43   whole nine months probably would have lost my mind somewhere in the middle of

02:20:47   it. You know talk about burnout I know I would have burnt out big time during

02:20:53   that period of time and being able to for the time that I've been able to be

02:20:59   here which unfortunately has not been as much of the year as I wanted to be right

02:21:03   there was a what like March to June period where I wasn't here at all but

02:21:11   the the act of getting up getting ready coming to the studio doing my work

02:21:17   coming home being at home that has helped me like a lot a lot and it has

02:21:26   been this fantastic new thing for me that is also enabling other things. I can

02:21:33   only do all the keyboard stuff and all the Twitch streaming stuff because I have

02:21:36   this space. I couldn't do all of it at home. It just wouldn't be possible for me

02:21:41   to be able to have this stable video environment which I can have here

02:21:45   because I have space here to set things up the way that I want and to as my

02:21:50   needs and use cases adapt, I can adapt with it, but unfortunately I've yet to be

02:21:57   able to get this place into some kind of stasis. You know, there are so many things

02:22:03   that keep changing and I've yet to even be able to set this working environment

02:22:08   up the way that I want and there's still a lot of stuff, I mean honestly like even

02:22:13   this isn't a big thing, but just like the computers that I'm using keeps changing

02:22:18   and that is causing frustration in it, right?

02:22:21   Like I can't even get that set.

02:22:23   And like all work environments,

02:22:27   me and Adina have been learning

02:22:29   how we want to use this space.

02:22:31   And I feel like we have a much better idea of it now

02:22:35   and I'm just hoping that in the next few months,

02:22:37   we can move further towards getting it set

02:22:42   the way that we want to.

02:22:43   so that in 2021, by the end of 2021,

02:22:48   I want to have removed my home office.

02:22:50   But we're gonna have to wait and see

02:22:53   if it's possible to do that.

02:22:54   - I would like to pitch to you

02:22:59   how this is part of Year of Reinvention.

02:23:03   - Okay.

02:23:04   - I view this as the caterpillar that was 2019, Myke,

02:23:12   began to spin a cocoon that was Mega Studio.

02:23:17   Mm, okay.

02:23:19   Right?

02:23:20   And that cocoon spinning took a much longer time

02:23:25   than expected.

02:23:28   It was a big old cocoon.

02:23:30   Right?

02:23:31   Yeah, it ran out of silk off way through.

02:23:33   Yeah, but as the year of reinvention,

02:23:38   this is your pushing off platform

02:23:42   for 2021 Myke and beyond.

02:23:45   So that's the way I think,

02:23:47   yes, you getting it finished and set up this year

02:23:52   is a smaller target,

02:23:54   but it is to complete the work that past you started

02:23:59   to enable the thing

02:24:00   that is the base of the reinvention.

02:24:05   That's my pitch to you on,

02:24:07   I think this is still connected.

02:24:09   - You've said something now, which I seem to have,

02:24:12   I kind of got it wrong in the order.

02:24:13   Like Mega Studio is the top of this list

02:24:15   because without it, I am not able to do these other things.

02:24:20   Because part of the reason that I don't feel the need

02:24:25   to travel as much anymore is because I'm not at home

02:24:29   all the time, working from home, being at home.

02:24:32   You know, I used to like to travel

02:24:34   because it would break up my life a bit.

02:24:39   But being here does that.

02:24:41   You know, like, I'm in a different area of London when I'm here.

02:24:46   I'm travelling, I'm getting the feeling of being on the move.

02:24:50   It's giving me more activity and I can explore different new things here.

02:24:55   You know, like, I am in a better area here for walking around to different stuff than I am where we live.

02:25:03   Again, we haven't been able to really put that into practice because the types of things that we would go to,

02:25:09   go to, we don't go to them in COVID times. We will again. And so it does enable all this

02:25:15   other stuff. And also is for my business, a different financial commitment. So like,

02:25:25   I have made the decision to have this studio at the expense of even being able to travel

02:25:33   as much as I would before, because I have a new financial commitment to make sure that

02:25:37   maintain you know mm-hmm so you are right and and I like that you said that

02:25:42   and that's actually really helped kind of crystallized that part of why this

02:25:48   fits into my year of reinvention so that is my theme gray it's a big one and it is

02:25:57   the biggest one ever this for me though is the the the in cap it goes back to

02:26:03   what we were talking about at the beginning of the show.

02:26:04   I can't complete anything in here.

02:26:08   There's nothing to complete.

02:26:10   Everything has no end.

02:26:14   The point is that by the end of 2021, my goal is to look back and say that I have

02:26:21   moved the needle on all of those things.

02:26:24   But none of them have like a point that I get to in the year, I'm like, tick.

02:26:33   I've done it because none of these things have a defined end to them.

02:26:38   They're all things that by the end of the year, I want to have progressed in some

02:26:44   way that I can look back and be like from where I was in December, 2020 to December,

02:26:49   2021 and say like, yes, I have moved forward on all of these fronts.

02:26:55   Would you like to hear my sub theme?

02:26:57   I would, yes.

02:26:58   [laughter]

02:27:00   [breathes in]

02:27:02   This is a very different year, I think, for both of us.

02:27:06   You have this big, overreaching, epic, decade-long start to your theme.

02:27:13   I think I've never had anything that's more specific and sort of bitty?

02:27:18   And like, it's kind of fun?

02:27:21   [laughter]

02:27:22   In a way, as well?

02:27:23   Yeah, yeah. Maybe whimsical?

02:27:25   Yeah, whimsy's a good way to describe it.

02:27:27   And so I'm going to continue with that because I think there's, there's some part of my brain,

02:27:33   which after the amorphous fuzziness of Year of Clarity has been craving some more specific things.

02:27:43   And so there is this sub theme that I do want to mention because it, it feels like an important

02:27:51   lesson learned from Year of Clarity. So the sub-theme to continue with the with the nautical

02:27:58   metaphors here is clear the decks. So I've really learned something as well about myself this year.

02:28:09   It's something I've kind of been aware of but it really crystallized in this past year which is

02:28:16   going back to human interest. Like, why are humans interested in things?

02:28:21   And I think one of the best ways that I can know what my own internal emotional state is

02:28:31   is expressed in "how much do I find things interesting?" And this year I know that I've

02:28:41   been doing great, that it's not like some some trick of the brain to cope with what was actually

02:28:46   disaster because I've never been so interested in almost everything. Like, you can laugh, it's

02:28:59   perfectly fine. As an example, you know, I've always like, I find history mostly really boring,

02:29:05   but this year it's like, "Oh, I've read a lot about the Cold War," which I feel like in almost

02:29:09   any other time I would just be like "oh this is boring, who cares?" But again, you can't explain

02:29:14   interest and I've never had a year where I feel like my brain has wanted to go in just so many

02:29:22   directions and this, you know, this comes and goes and I feel like "oh it's a good, it's just a good

02:29:29   barometer for like emotional well-being, it expresses itself as interest in things."

02:29:38   you know, but everything comes with costs, and being interested in lots of things is great,

02:29:45   but you have to direct that. And this is where the topic lock that I talked about

02:29:53   came into play. For clarity in what I'm working on, I'm going to pick some projects as locked

02:30:01   and consider, like, "I'm going to work on these and I'm not going to switch topics." Like,

02:30:08   I'm gonna get it finished so that I know what am I actively working on.

02:30:13   But here's the thing, Myke. Brains are tricky. You can't trust brains.

02:30:22   They're always trying to find ways around your rules, and one of the things that my brain totally

02:30:29   did this year, which compounded on itself over the months as they rolled by, which was

02:30:38   locking a topic and then I would finish the video on that topic.

02:30:46   But I would tell myself repeatedly, "Oh, there's a lot of these little things that I'd like

02:30:52   to quote "follow up" quote "quickly" about related to this main video.

02:30:59   And so I spawned in my mind, like very many little followups or light gray video ideas that were

02:31:08   supposed to attend the main videos.

02:31:12   And this is just one of these ways where it's almost hilarious to me how your brain can trick

02:31:18   you because it's like when I put up a main video, have I ever quickly wrapped up a little

02:31:27   follow up within the next few days after the video goes live? No, never. Never. Like, I'm

02:31:34   I am like a, you know, a snail curled up in a shell after the video goes up. It's exhausting.

02:31:40   And I know from experience that I can never actually do any of these things. But because

02:31:44   I was just so interested in so many things, like, I just had all of these little, like,

02:31:50   residue ideas left over after the main video on something was done. And my brain was sneaking

02:31:59   these past the topic-lock idea of like, "Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, no, this isn't a video.

02:32:05   This is just a little thing. This doesn't count. Don't worry about this. You can now

02:32:10   lock what the next topic is and somehow you'll wrap up these little extra videos really quickly

02:32:18   in your spare time.

02:32:20   You know, perhaps you'll work on them in the afternoons when you know from full experience

02:32:24   that you work terribly and inefficiently and don't ever try to do writing in the afternoon.

02:32:29   But maybe you'll finish writing them up then because they're quick and easy.

02:32:32   And so Clear the Decks is a sub-theme that is really important to me.

02:32:38   one is I've got way too many of these little like open boxes in some sense around of things

02:32:46   that I wanted to follow up on videos that I have done this year that I just didn't.

02:32:53   That didn't work out because how were they ever going to work out? Like when was I going

02:33:00   to work on these? Not in the morning when I was working on the locked topics, you know,

02:33:06   Like, it just wasn't ever going to happen.

02:33:08   So I am, you know, when Christmas rolls around and it's the new year, January is a famously

02:33:17   slow time on YouTube in particular, I'm really going to go through everything that I thought

02:33:25   I was going to follow up this year and make some really harsh decisions about closing

02:33:33   these topics down for good.

02:33:36   It's like, yes, the main video is up,

02:33:39   and these additional ideas,

02:33:41   I am putting them away in storage.

02:33:44   They're gonna have to go,

02:33:45   because we need to clear the decks

02:33:49   for the year that's coming up.

02:33:52   The second part is me realizing,

02:33:55   "Okay, topic lock was a great idea,

02:34:01   I need to get around my tricksy brain and recognize that topic lock has to be bigger

02:34:10   than I was originally thinking about it.

02:34:14   If it is to be taken seriously, it has to mean the main video and also anything that

02:34:23   you think is going to follow up that video, so that I cannot lie to myself that the quick

02:34:32   and easy videos that should follow up a main thing, that they are not still under topic

02:34:39   lock.

02:34:40   Which means, if they're going to get made, they have to use up the prime hours in the

02:34:47   morning of writing time.

02:34:50   They have to use up the prime hours of directing time and thinking about the visuals and everything

02:34:55   else.

02:34:56   I'm really happy that I've, over the past year, been able to make like those light grey

02:35:01   and those easy videos.

02:35:03   But the videos that did happen still occurred when I took them seriously as, yes, this is

02:35:10   a light grey video, but it is topic locked.

02:35:14   - Oh, no, I get it.

02:35:15   - Right?

02:35:16   - Yeah, I thought you were saying like, "No, I'm not gonna do those."

02:35:19   and I was gonna say, "I don't think that's a good idea,"

02:35:21   but now I get it.

02:35:21   Like, you will give those videos the same treatment.

02:35:26   - Yes. - Right.

02:35:27   - They have to get the same treatment.

02:35:30   Everything has costs.

02:35:31   The whole reason that I'm able to do the job that I do

02:35:35   is because I will become interested in lots of things,

02:35:39   and I like connecting different topics,

02:35:42   and I like exploring and trying to figure out

02:35:44   what are the useful things here,

02:35:45   but like, I really have to constrain it,

02:35:48   and topic lock out of Year of Clarity felt like the first correct tool that made a big difference,

02:35:55   and this is clear the decks is like an extension of that idea.

02:36:01   Okay dude, you can have three topic locked things at a time.

02:36:07   But, when you want to bring up a new thing on deck to be worked at,

02:36:15   everything related to this topic has got to go back below decks.

02:36:19   You can't tell yourself, "Oh, I just have a two-minute extra idea that's going to go along

02:36:26   with this." No, you don't. You either finish this one before we bring up the new stuff,

02:36:32   or we make the decision that this is not going to happen.

02:36:36   And it's just interesting because like, rolling into this December, I had a hilarious,

02:36:44   hilarious number of quick little videos that kept getting pushed back into December that I was like,

02:36:53   "Oh yeah, it's totally reasonable that in December I'm gonna have seven tiny videos that are following

02:37:00   up all of the things that happened this year," right? And it's like, it was never gonna happen.

02:37:03   And I walked into that trouble by not being really serious about it, and because I found myself like,

02:37:11   spread across too many of the things that I was interested in from over the whole year.

02:37:17   It was like, oof, I put the December video in like a shaky position of getting made because it was

02:37:24   just spread across. Oh yeah, yeah, there's the main video for December and there's also going

02:37:28   to be all of these other things. And it was just like a trick. So for me, when I was talking before

02:37:37   about this idea of integrating Spaceship U into my life, like, very deeply. This is also part of

02:37:48   it, and it's why the reason, like, I've chosen language that matches up with vessel language.

02:37:55   It's like, keeping the decks clear is just as important as all of these other things.

02:38:02   And like you, you made steps in the right direction last year, and we just need to

02:38:08   tighten this concept to make it flow more smoothly.

02:38:11   So that is my sub theme going into next year is like clear the decks phase one,

02:38:18   make decisions about which of these are actually going to happen and be treated

02:38:22   seriously in the production process, even if there's still light videos.

02:38:28   And which of these, almost certainly many of these, am I going to make a decision?

02:38:33   No.

02:38:34   Like, that's just not going to happen and that's fine.

02:38:36   And then after that is done, keeping the decks clear and not letting this like tricky expansion

02:38:46   take place that slowly caught up with me over the course of the year as it progressed.

02:38:54   So that is my sub theme.

02:38:55   All right.

02:38:56   I think that's yearly themes.

02:38:57   That is yearly themes. This is an epic yearly themes episode.

02:39:03   If you want to send in your yearly theme, ask cortex questions for next time, I think

02:39:08   we might do some of those. You can send a tweet with the hashtag #askcortex or you can

02:39:12   use question mark ask cortex in the relay FM members discord. If you have a yearly theme

02:39:18   that you want to share, you can share it that way. You can also share it in the subreddit.

02:39:21   I really love it when people share their themes. I think these episodes are, they're big

02:39:27   deal for us and it's really enjoyable and rewarding to see what people are doing in

02:39:35   their own lives with their own themes.

02:39:38   It's definitely one of the nicest and best times around the subreddit and I also think

02:39:43   it's a great tool for people who are thinking about this for themselves.

02:39:46   So I really encourage everyone to share their themes in the subreddit.

02:39:52   And once you have shared your theme, there's no better way to put it in place than with

02:39:59   the Theme System Journal that is here and is magnificent.