79: 2019 Yearly Themes


00:00:00   Two traditional episodes back to back.

00:00:03   This is an established tradition though.

00:00:05   - We're quite traditional here at Cortex.

00:00:08   - Yeah, yeah, around prime Cortexmas

00:00:11   is when we get the most traditional.

00:00:14   And that is now, we're in Cortexmas prime season.

00:00:17   - The best part of the year.

00:00:18   - The most productive time of the year.

00:00:20   That's how the song would go.

00:00:22   - No, that's not how the song would go at all

00:00:24   because it's the best time of the year.

00:00:26   I don't think Cortexmas is the most productive time

00:00:29   the year. Don't try to tie me into that, Myke. All right, well anyway, it is time to talk about

00:00:35   our yearly themes for 2019. What are yearly themes, Myke? How would you describe this

00:00:42   to listeners? This was the thing that was established a few years ago now, where you

00:00:47   mentioned that you were trying to focus, I believe the year of less was the first yearly theme.

00:00:54   - Yes, I was. - It was when you had decided

00:00:56   that you wanted to kind of pull back from some commitments

00:01:00   and just try and get things all taken care of

00:01:02   a little bit more.

00:01:03   And we were talking about that a bunch

00:01:05   and I really liked the thinking around a yearly theme,

00:01:10   like some kind of overarching idea

00:01:15   that can guide my decisions for a year

00:01:18   based upon how I feel.

00:01:20   And so I then decided that I wanted to implement

00:01:24   a year of less in 2017.

00:01:29   So I decided that that was something that I wanted to do.

00:01:31   And you enjoyed the year of less so much

00:01:33   that you wanted to keep that going.

00:01:35   So we both set themes in 2017 to run the whole year,

00:01:39   and then we set themes again for 2018.

00:01:42   And now here we are to set our 2019 themes.

00:01:46   - Right, right, okay, that makes sense.

00:01:47   I was trying to think about what the timeline was.

00:01:50   And it was very fuzzy.

00:01:52   It's very fuzzy in my head, but yes,

00:01:54   the year of less, the most glorious of the yearly themes,

00:01:58   the clearest of the yearly themes,

00:01:59   and also very successful the year of less.

00:02:02   But as I remember it now,

00:02:03   I believe I was pitching it of the year of less

00:02:06   and then in brackets gray.

00:02:08   It was like, I was less involved in things.

00:02:10   That was what's with my pitch for the year of less.

00:02:12   - I think the actual phrase was year of less, me.

00:02:16   Ah, okay, right, all right, that sounds good.

00:02:18   That sounds good.

00:02:19   - Right, I think that was the original thing.

00:02:21   And that was just something that had prevailed for a while,

00:02:23   but then back in January of 2017 was when we were like,

00:02:27   "Okay, this is a useful thing."

00:02:31   So then we started out setting them officially since.

00:02:35   And I think since then,

00:02:37   I've really gotten excited about all of this

00:02:42   and I set multiple themes for myself throughout the year.

00:02:45   and I have two for this year,

00:02:49   like I had kind of two and a half for last year,

00:02:52   'cause I had one theme, the year of positivity

00:02:54   that was a holdover from June to June.

00:02:57   But I really enjoy these themes

00:02:59   because I see my yearly theme as like a North Star.

00:03:03   So when I'm working through the year

00:03:07   and I'm making decisions and potentially big decisions,

00:03:12   I look at my theme, what did I think I wanted to do?

00:03:16   How did I feel last year that informed me to change in some way?

00:03:20   And does this new thing align to that?

00:03:23   Because that's where my themes come from.

00:03:25   My themes come from a frustration I've had throughout the year or was built over a year.

00:03:32   And then I plan my next year based around that theme.

00:03:36   So it could be something that's annoying me, you know, like something that I want to change,

00:03:40   Or it could just be like a creative itch that I want to scratch, right?

00:03:43   Like there is something that has been bubbling up inside of me over the year and it's kind

00:03:48   of become more and more.

00:03:50   So then I decide, right, the way that I'm going to output this, the way that I'm going

00:03:53   to fix this is I will set a theme for the next year, which will allow me to act upon

00:03:59   the feelings I'm having.

00:04:00   And that's your initial thing.

00:04:01   That's where the year of less came from.

00:04:03   You were very frustrated, I think, with how 2015 went for you.

00:04:06   So in 2016, you were like, nope, we're going to change this.

00:04:09   and 2017 and 2018 themes for both of us have been pretty similar in that regard. It's like,

00:04:16   we did a thing, it went how it went, good and bad, and we've decided that for the next year

00:04:21   we want to move forward in a different way. Yeah, and I also like yearly themes because

00:04:27   New Year's resolutions are dumb and ineffective. Yes, let's make this very clear. Themes are not

00:04:33   resolutions. Resolutions are an action, a goal that you've set for yourself. A theme is an

00:04:39   overarching idea which doesn't necessarily have any things you must complete, but will

00:04:45   just help guide you with the decisions that will naturally come to you, rather than you

00:04:50   trying to force a decision on something that doesn't exist, which a resolution is.

00:04:53   Yeah, and it's also why I really like the theme thing, and when people are thinking

00:05:00   about productivity and goals and things, it's very easy to get caught up in specifics. And

00:05:10   I feel that the theme is an excellent counterbalance to that of, it's just an idea. You think of

00:05:18   it as the North Star. I think of it as just a kind of background process that's in my

00:05:24   mind where it's not directly affecting anything, but it's just sort of there.

00:05:28   I think that they're pretty, the way I'm thinking about it, they're pretty similar metaphors.

00:05:31   Yeah, but it has this effect of just tapping decision making a little bit in one direction

00:05:38   or another. And also for me, while we have traditionally now, enforced by Myke, this idea

00:05:47   that we talk about the yearly themes in January, I feel very freeform with these themes. And I

00:05:54   I really think for anybody who's listening to this episode

00:05:58   and thinking about doing something like this for themselves,

00:06:02   it's a broad idea that is applicable in many ways.

00:06:06   - Yes.

00:06:07   - You don't have to think about

00:06:08   what is your theme for the year.

00:06:11   You know me, Myke, I like seasons.

00:06:14   I think seasonal themes are perfectly appropriate.

00:06:16   - We're gonna get to seasonal themes later on.

00:06:18   Later on, we will talk about seasonal themes.

00:06:21   We're not gonna get into that right now.

00:06:23   But this was something that I really wanted to underscore as well.

00:06:26   We do it now because look, now is the right time if we're going to talk about this.

00:06:31   If we're going to pick a time of the year in which we will tell you what we're doing for a whole year,

00:06:36   January 1st is a pretty good time to do it.

00:06:40   But if you're listening to us now and you like the conversation and you think,

00:06:44   "Oh, this could work for me," don't feel pressured to come up with one now.

00:06:47   Like maybe come up with it in March or in April or in May,

00:06:51   like spend some time on it.

00:06:53   And then if you could let it run until the end of the year,

00:06:55   or you could let it run for a year.

00:06:56   Like I've done it, right?

00:06:57   On this show, I had the year of positivity.

00:07:00   It ran from June to June.

00:07:01   Like you can add more.

00:07:02   - That's a great example of one.

00:07:04   And I think that may be one of my favorite ones on the show.

00:07:08   - It really changed me in a big way.

00:07:10   And I am very happy that I did that a lot.

00:07:12   That was again, just a reminder in case you didn't know,

00:07:15   I felt that all of the conversation

00:07:17   around the technology that I was interested in had just become very frustrating.

00:07:20   And I wanted to try and find more positives, uh, without like, you know,

00:07:25   still criticize where criticism is needed,

00:07:27   but I was trying to look at things more positively and that made a big difference

00:07:31   on my life because I went back to enjoying what I loved rather than just being

00:07:35   annoyed about it.

00:07:36   Yeah.

00:07:36   And it's a perfect example of the way I think about the background process of it

00:07:39   probably caught you while you were talking on your podcast and a little moment of

00:07:43   like, do I need to be really negative in this moment?

00:07:46   And the answer to that can be yes,

00:07:49   like sometimes things deserve criticism,

00:07:51   but it's helpful to just have that like,

00:07:54   but maybe there's something

00:07:55   that you can positively talk about

00:07:57   or think about it in this way.

00:07:59   So yeah, they're very free form.

00:08:01   And I only just wanted to mention that

00:08:03   because I almost feel like our tradition now

00:08:07   of doing it in the year implies more structure

00:08:12   and formality than I think is necessary

00:08:15   for any of the listeners to have,

00:08:18   and that it is just this thing to think about

00:08:21   in your own life, and that is the way that it is useful.

00:08:24   It's useful precisely because it's not a goal

00:08:29   with a particular marker of success or failure

00:08:33   and a time period in which it needs to occur.

00:08:35   It's useful to have something that is much more

00:08:39   freeform in the background that's also big picture.

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00:10:19   So I wanted to recap our 2018 themes so we could kind of look at what we set and how

00:10:25   did it go.

00:10:27   So I had two themes that I set.

00:10:30   One was the year of adulting and one was the year of branching out.

00:10:33   The year of positivity ran through and it came to June and I decided that I wasn't going

00:10:38   to make this a thing anymore. This is just part of who I am. I will just try and be more

00:10:43   positive and continue to be positive where I can be. So that was great. That was a huge

00:10:46   success the year of positivity. It was a fantastic thing. I'm pleased that I did it. The year

00:10:51   of adulting, the biggest thing that that included was my wedding, which when I was listening

00:10:56   back to our 2018 episode, couldn't fathom that that all happened this year. It feels

00:11:04   like a long time ago and not a long time ago, but the reason that I wanted to focus on this

00:11:11   is I knew what would happen, which is what did happen, is up until my wedding in July,

00:11:18   every single thing in my life was going to be affected. It touched every part of my life

00:11:25   And kind of setting that as a thing of like, this is one of my big goals of the year is

00:11:32   just to get married, made it feel a lot better that it was affecting me so much, right? Because

00:11:39   if I would have been like, no, no, I've got to try and just like, do everything as normal

00:11:44   and just let this thing happen when it happens, I would have lost my mind because planning

00:11:48   a wedding is really, really, really, really difficult and time intensive. And it made

00:11:52   a huge impact on the first half of my year.

00:11:55   Yeah, planning a wedding is hugely time intensive. And also being married is a different experience

00:12:02   as well. So yeah, it's good to have that in the background. Like you're saying, when

00:12:10   this wedding and getting married and being married is taking up a lot of space in your

00:12:16   life that it's fine because this is what you have said is one of the themes. This is obviously

00:12:23   it's going to take up a whole bunch of time and so it will and that's the point of it.

00:12:27   It's like it's a big deal. It's a big event and especially in your position like you said

00:12:32   it touches on everything in your life and for myself and let's say everyone else in

00:12:37   the greater orbit of Myke it had ripple effects.

00:12:40   huge effects

00:12:41   It was like hilarious, hilarious ripple effects across everyone else who works with you and

00:12:49   then like second tier effects that Myke doesn't even know about where it's like, oh, other

00:12:53   people had to change things and then like people Myke doesn't even know were affected

00:12:58   because stuff had to move around.

00:12:59   It's like I think many of us at your wedding were discussing the enormity of the ripples

00:13:05   in the pond that this wedding caused in internet land.

00:13:10   It was very funny.

00:13:11   Turns out, most of my closest friends are people that work with me.

00:13:16   And so bringing them to my bachelor party and to my wedding, because most people are

00:13:22   traveling, pretty much everyone's traveling a long distance.

00:13:26   It was a disruption for everyone, which I, you know, I hold it very dear to my heart

00:13:31   that everybody was willing to disrupt their lives that way.

00:13:34   But it was something I had to be aware of for my own, but even for the disruption to

00:13:38   my company, to my business. There were multiple weeks where everyone was traveling and there

00:13:44   was like, we took some weeks off of some shows. It was a huge impact on my first, kind of

00:13:52   like the first eight months of the year, like three quarters of the year, this was a focus

00:13:57   on it. And I continue to be very pleased that I chose this as one of my themes. There were

00:14:03   some other events to occur from this, like potentially learning to drive. Just haven't

00:14:07   even bothered.

00:14:08   I was going to ask about that. Where's your electric car?

00:14:10   I haven't started that process yet. It is something that we will probably do this year,

00:14:15   but Adina has been very much like, "No, thank you for more projects." Because then she started

00:14:21   going through the citizenship stuff, right? So to get British citizenship, and she was like,

00:14:26   "I don't want to do another thing. We're gonna wait." It's like, "Okay, no problem."

00:14:29   Yes, speaking from experience, the citizenship permanent right to stay paperwork

00:14:37   work. That's a big project that could take up a lot of time. So I can completely understand

00:14:45   not wanting to get involved in the world of driving at the same time that is occurring.

00:14:49   So my second theme, which was more tied to kind of like my creative output, was the year

00:14:54   of branching out. And this ended up taking many different forms for me. There were things

00:15:00   that occurred to me this year, which definitely fit within the theme that I wouldn't have

00:15:05   expected, like for example, getting into Twitch streaming. That was not something that I thought

00:15:10   was going to occur to me this year, but when that became an option, I was like, "Okay,

00:15:15   that fits with the year of branching out. That's a different thing. I'm going to go

00:15:18   for it." And it's something I don't know, if I wouldn't have been having this thinking,

00:15:22   would I be like, "Oh, I don't know if I want to commit more time, like I have a structured

00:15:27   time, every week." It's a big commitment if you want to do it right. And I don't know

00:15:33   how easily I would have taken to it if I wasn't in the year of branching out because I was

00:15:37   in that mindset of like, I want to try some new stuff. So that was great. And that has

00:15:42   been great. But there were a couple of things that were specifically set for me as the year

00:15:46   of branching out. One was more live shows and oh boy, did we do more of those.

00:15:51   Yeah, you did a big relay tour. Yep. We did our big tour, big show in WWDC.

00:15:56   We did a tour through a few cities. That was fantastic. Um, it went so well. Uh, my co-founder

00:16:02   to Steven arranged it perfectly and this is big I hope will become bigger and

00:16:07   bigger part of our business moving forward because we enjoy doing it more

00:16:11   than anything else live shows for me they're just one of these things where

00:16:16   it's like this is a fun thing we can do not something we need to do not

00:16:22   necessarily something we should do but I enjoy doing it so let's keep doing it

00:16:27   and I think that's gonna become a thing for our business moving forward where we

00:16:30   try and do more of those.

00:16:32   - Yeah, and as someone who's been able to see those,

00:16:34   like it is obvious that you guys are enjoying yourself

00:16:39   on the stage, and so like, it's interesting to see that,

00:16:44   like a natural, oh, we're on the stage and this is great,

00:16:47   and it's a different environment,

00:16:49   and something that you don't get to experience

00:16:53   most of the time in podcasting is playing to the audience,

00:16:56   or getting like the immediate audience reaction.

00:16:59   - Yeah, it gives you a totally different feedback on that,

00:17:04   and the live shows are fun for that.

00:17:06   And I wanted to try to catch you when you were in New York

00:17:10   and it didn't quite work out,

00:17:11   so I'm looking forward to more Relay Live shows

00:17:13   as a thing that you're gonna do in the future.

00:17:15   Like I'm glad that's really worked out for you.

00:17:17   - Yeah, we're really happy with it.

00:17:18   It is not a money-making endeavor for us right now.

00:17:21   It can be, it can at least be something

00:17:23   we don't lose money on.

00:17:25   But that is a long-term goal to get to that point

00:17:28   where it makes financial sense, but we can,

00:17:31   you know, like there are other parts of our business

00:17:33   that can outweigh it, so we're fine doing it

00:17:35   because we enjoy it, right?

00:17:36   So like, makes perfect sense that way.

00:17:38   - Yeah, or that's the kind of thing where

00:17:41   the more dedicated of the audience members

00:17:44   are the ones who are going to go out of their way

00:17:46   to go to the live shows, and yeah,

00:17:49   like it may not make sense in a purely business sense,

00:17:53   but it makes sense in the way of,

00:17:56   It's a very rewarding thing for a particular section of the audience.

00:18:01   And so, yeah, it's like you can try to make that work.

00:18:05   The other thing that I was talking about at the beginning of 2018

00:18:09   was this project that I was working on,

00:18:11   which is something that I've been speaking about for this whole year.

00:18:14   It has since taken on the name as the fiction project, right?

00:18:16   Like I've mentioned that.

00:18:18   And a few months ago, I just said, like, it's going on the back burner.

00:18:23   because it's just something that I feel like I can't move forward.

00:18:26   I feel like I just want to address what it was now.

00:18:29   - Okay, oh, okay. - Just so people know.

00:18:31   - Alright. - Because it's something that people continue to bring up to me,

00:18:34   and I figure it's...

00:18:36   I know as a person who listens to shows that it can be frustrating

00:18:40   if I just keep obtusively mentioning something for like two years at this point.

00:18:45   So I was working on an idea for an actual play podcast,

00:18:51   which is something like the Adventure Zone, something like Dragon Friends, Total Party

00:18:56   Kill, like Dungeons and Dragons maybe or a different game. I ended up deciding I wanted

00:19:02   to make my own ruleset, which was probably the wrong idea because oh boy did that make

00:19:05   things more complicated.

00:19:06   It's a big project anyway, but let's also you now design a game that this project exists

00:19:12   in.

00:19:13   But the problem was, and the problem is because I've never played Dungeons and Dragons,

00:19:16   right? Like I've never played any of these games, so it's like well I don't actually

00:19:20   know those rules, so I'll just make up my own rules. I have what I think is an interesting

00:19:24   nugget of a story, which could potentially be built into something one day, and now the

00:19:29   only reason I'm talking about it is because I have no idea when this would ever happen,

00:19:34   if ever. It is not something I have put any work into, probably in a year. But I have

00:19:41   notes, I have an overarching story, but I'm only talking about it now so people know.

00:19:48   I could have set myself up for an even worse situation by talking about such a thing that

00:19:54   I have an idea for, but that was it.

00:19:57   I don't know if I'm ever going to do it now, but that was something that I was hoping to

00:20:01   do in my year of branching out, but it ended up not going that way.

00:20:05   But I have something that has occurred, which we're going to talk about in my 2019 themes,

00:20:10   which I think ladders into the year of branching out, but I never got to any level with this

00:20:18   fiction project that I was happy with.

00:20:20   Can I ask why? Like what do you think happened?

00:20:23   It's very hard to do. And I think I started to realise that the amount of time that I

00:20:35   would need to write and edit and produce something like this to the level at which I am happy

00:20:41   with, which would be if you've ever heard any of our member specials that we do for

00:20:46   Cortex every August where we join up with Upgrade and we do a text adventure. That kind

00:20:53   of production is what I would want to make, like from an audio perspective. And those

00:20:58   things are very, very, very time intensive. And so I just don't know if I have that time

00:21:05   in my life right now to dedicate to making something that I would be happy to put out

00:21:14   into the world. And then, you know, there are a couple of other elements to it. And

00:21:23   one thing is, and this is something that I learned from, I think in like 2016, which

00:21:28   I think actually ended up going into the year of less was, I think what I'm ultimately looking

00:21:33   for is something that is different to what I do every day. And this wouldn't be that.

00:21:40   Like at its core, it's still making a podcast.

00:21:43   - The project the way you talked to me about it is,

00:21:48   it would be different for you to create a fictional thing,

00:21:53   but the end result is still very adjacent

00:21:59   to your current projects.

00:22:03   - Yeah, the other 50% of it is the same.

00:22:06   And I don't know,

00:22:08   I just don't know if I want to commit myself to that, you know, like to doing that right

00:22:15   now.

00:22:16   This is, you know, this is likely only ever something that I would look at again if I

00:22:21   had a lot more free time and I don't foresee that in the near future.

00:22:27   It would take a lot of time for me to get this to where I wanted it to be and for me

00:22:31   also to be motivated to want to produce it the way that I want to.

00:22:38   But potentially, no gain.

00:22:41   I have no idea how a project like this would go for me, because it's so

00:22:46   different to everything else that I do.

00:22:48   Right. So like it could end up being a real loss for me.

00:22:52   So there's a lot of risk attached to it, too.

00:22:55   So, yeah, it's just not something that that I want to progress for now.

00:23:00   But it's definitely not something that I think of as dead forever.

00:23:03   Like one day I would love to do this.

00:23:07   but that one day is just not now.

00:23:09   - It sounds to me like it's much less like

00:23:11   it's on the back burner, which implies that it's simmering,

00:23:14   which you're not paying attention to it.

00:23:16   But it is in the freezer.

00:23:18   - Freezer's a better way.

00:23:18   - Yeah, and it may come out.

00:23:20   - Yeah.

00:23:21   - It may come out at some point in the future.

00:23:22   You haven't thrown it in the bin,

00:23:24   but it's in that freezer that we all have of like,

00:23:28   here's a whole universe of projects that I may want to do,

00:23:31   and it's gonna go back in there,

00:23:33   and maybe it will come out, maybe it won't,

00:23:36   but it's not truly active in any sense.

00:23:39   - That is the perfect way of describing it.

00:23:41   - But there are other new things I know that are coming,

00:23:45   which are interesting and exciting.

00:23:47   But I was just curious about that one in particular,

00:23:50   because it's a thing that we've discussed privately

00:23:52   a few times.

00:23:53   - Yeah, I've kind of just got fed up

00:23:54   of being obtuse about it as well.

00:23:56   - Here's my thought on it,

00:23:57   is like we have discussed this as an idea for a project,

00:24:02   and your vision for what it would be

00:24:06   always struck me as a monstrously large project

00:24:11   that also I thought had a very variable possible outcome

00:24:16   in terms of like, does this make sense to spend time on?

00:24:18   - There is like only two parts to this in my mind.

00:24:21   It's either wildly successful or a wild failure.

00:24:25   - Yeah, I agree.

00:24:26   That was my assessment as well.

00:24:28   Either this becomes a big, huge deal

00:24:31   or it's a total failure.

00:24:33   - And an embarrassment.

00:24:35   - Right.

00:24:36   - Well, I mean, putting that, I meant failure

00:24:39   in terms of like a business sense.

00:24:40   - Well, yes, that too.

00:24:41   - Of course, if something is fiction,

00:24:43   it also has the possibility of just being very embarrassing.

00:24:46   Like, you know, when someone shows you

00:24:49   like the novel they've been working on,

00:24:50   and somebody's like, "Wow, that's great."

00:24:53   - Like everyone, you know, actually thinks,

00:24:54   "Oh, his story is bad," right?

00:24:58   And that's like another thing where like,

00:24:59   I don't have this type of stuff usually.

00:25:01   You know, it's like, "Oh, I think I had

00:25:03   "a really great idea here."

00:25:04   but everyone's like, "Ah."

00:25:06   - And from the members episodes that we do with "Upgrade,"

00:25:11   which is the closest thing to what you would want to do,

00:25:14   I mean, I've said it on the show before,

00:25:16   but if someone takes a look at the logic file

00:25:18   for those things, it'll blow your mind away.

00:25:21   It's just like the amount of work

00:25:24   that goes into something like that is incredible.

00:25:27   With "Cortex" and with "Relay,"

00:25:28   there's a clear business trade-off

00:25:31   in that it only has to happen once a year.

00:25:34   it's worth putting a lot of effort into

00:25:36   because it's also like a fun gift

00:25:38   for the people who support the shows.

00:25:40   But that's why the fiction project

00:25:43   would almost have to be wildly successful

00:25:46   in order to justify the tremendous amount of work

00:25:51   that would have gone into it.

00:25:53   So I think, if I can say this, Myke,

00:25:56   I think the reason that you're okay

00:25:59   with being more specific about what it is

00:26:03   is because I think that you're letting go of this project.

00:26:06   I think you're putting it in the freezer,

00:26:08   but I don't expect that it's going to come out,

00:26:11   and I think that's probably the right decision.

00:26:16   - Yeah, it's like it's going away now.

00:26:18   I'm not gonna forget about it,

00:26:20   and if something changes in my life,

00:26:22   which means I could pursue it, then I would.

00:26:25   But yeah, I'm talking about it now

00:26:27   because I'm probably not gonna talk about it again.

00:26:30   - Yeah. - Right?

00:26:31   So that's my guess.

00:26:33   That's what it was.

00:26:34   Your year was the year of order and you went from what you ended up describing as the year of chaos.

00:26:41   I mean, look, Myke, if we have to talk about embarrassments, things that are potentially embarrassing, it's like, oh man, my year of order.

00:26:49   What a failure.

00:26:50   Oh yeah?

00:26:51   Yeah.

00:26:54   Like I really do think that like this has been, we'll get to this when we talk about what the new year themes are.

00:26:59   I've been thinking about this a lot, but it's like, man, Year of Order had such great hopes

00:27:05   and such poor outcomes for Year of Order.

00:27:09   So your main thing that you spoke about of like what was going to develop the Year of

00:27:14   Order was a system and you said, and I like this quote, "The work isn't the work, the

00:27:18   system is the work."

00:27:19   Yes.

00:27:20   And your plan was to systematise a lot of things in your life to allow there to be more

00:27:24   order in it.

00:27:26   And so I'm assuming that that didn't pan out.

00:27:28   - No, it totally didn't pan out.

00:27:30   And I mean, part of the reason why we can get

00:27:32   to this later too, it's like you suggested

00:27:34   that I should listen to the old episode,

00:27:36   the episode where we talked about this.

00:27:38   And I am just, I am a man who has a hard time

00:27:43   looking backwards and it's been the back of my mind

00:27:47   of like, Myke was like, oh, you should go listen

00:27:48   to the old episode where we talked about our things.

00:27:50   Like, I just can't, I can't, I'm constitutionally incapable

00:27:53   of looking back at old videos and old podcasts

00:27:57   all the rest of it, I prefer to think about it in a sort of general way.

00:28:02   But yeah, at that time, my memory of it was exactly that, that I was, I was

00:28:07   frustrated because a bunch of things had sort of changed in my life, which

00:28:11   made things feel more chaotic and that I was really aware of one of the

00:28:20   most important things, I think, when you become self-employed and you

00:28:25   control your own time is that you really have to be

00:28:29   on top of that.

00:28:30   And even though I was doing time tracking,

00:28:34   I didn't feel like I had a regular schedule.

00:28:38   And my idea was, like, I am going to think of

00:28:42   maintaining the schedule of like,

00:28:45   what do I do at this time of the day?

00:28:47   What do I do at that time of the day?

00:28:48   That I was going to think of that as,

00:28:50   this is my theme for the year, this is the job.

00:28:54   The work isn't any particular output.

00:28:56   The work is maintaining this schedule.

00:29:01   And little did I know about the upcoming year

00:29:05   that was ahead of me.

00:29:06   And I could not have picked a worse possible theme

00:29:09   that would have been more impossible

00:29:11   to maintain during that year.

00:29:14   And I know people can sometimes get a little bit frustrated

00:29:18   with the vagueness, but this is just where

00:29:20   my personal life abuts the fact that I have a podcast

00:29:23   where I talk about my life.

00:29:24   But there were, depending on how you want to count them,

00:29:27   three major changes in my life this year

00:29:31   and also five pretty big disasters that occurred.

00:29:36   And the possibility of me maintaining,

00:29:41   coming out from this with,

00:29:44   I'm at the end of the year of order

00:29:45   and I have maintained and worked on a regular schedule

00:29:48   was basically zero.

00:29:50   It just wasn't gonna happen.

00:29:51   So I will freely, freely acknowledge

00:29:56   that the Year of Order was,

00:29:57   in terms of what I was intending at the start,

00:30:01   a total failure.

00:30:02   We have discussed that I think there are cases

00:30:05   where having the year theme was helpful

00:30:08   in that it helped mitigate downsides in a number of cases

00:30:13   and in particular with travel.

00:30:19   Even thinking about the Year of Order

00:30:21   when I was traveling helped me make many more

00:30:26   reasonable decisions about how far am I going to push myself

00:30:30   while traveling and I was very much trying to turn down

00:30:35   the dial on travel decisions if I could.

00:30:39   Like I'm at this place, but just because people are out

00:30:43   and things are happening don't necessarily stay up

00:30:45   until three in the morning because it's gonna totally screw

00:30:47   you the next day because you're just not a person

00:30:50   who can really stay up late at night.

00:30:52   Those kinds of things were helpful,

00:30:54   but I would phrase it that way,

00:30:55   that it was year of order at best limited downside,

00:31:00   but I cannot remotely describe that year

00:31:05   as like what a successful execution of a theme.

00:31:08   (laughs)

00:31:11   - This episode of Cortex is brought to you by FreshBooks.

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00:32:47   In our last episode, I shared with you my toggle report

00:32:53   and I shared it with our listeners for 2017.

00:32:57   Kind of just like overview, how do I spend my time?

00:33:00   So I thought, oh, let me take a look at that again. Right.

00:33:04   So I opened up the image and I took a look at what was going on.

00:33:07   I was like, OK, that's a lot of stuff, right?

00:33:09   There's a lot of stuff in there.

00:33:10   A lot of hours, like there's lots of hours, like

00:33:13   800 hours podcast editing 50% of my time, that kind of thing.

00:33:17   And we had this long conversation about how, you know, like I understand that

00:33:21   it seems like a lot and people want to, and then because I shared this publicly,

00:33:25   people were like offering their editing services to me and stuff.

00:33:28   And we had this long conversation about like, oh, this is like part of my work,

00:33:33   blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

00:33:34   Right.

00:33:34   All that kind of thing.

00:33:35   I, this is an important part.

00:33:36   Turns out there were 600 of those hours that were incorrect.

00:33:42   Okay.

00:33:43   Because what happened was I looked at my 2018 and was like, I had done 500 hours less of

00:33:52   work this year than last year.

00:33:55   And I was like thinking about this.

00:33:56   500 is a big number.

00:33:58   And I was like, it can't be true.

00:34:00   Like I feel like I've been busier this year.

00:34:03   Like I was like racking my brain.

00:34:04   And it's like, this doesn't make any sense.

00:34:06   I started comparing the charts.

00:34:09   And I was like, there's just no way, right?

00:34:11   because I'd done 400 hours of editing this year and it was 800 the year before and I

00:34:18   was like what have I gotten rid of?

00:34:19   Yeah that's like you've lost two or three months of 40 hour work weeks.

00:34:22   Yeah I was like looking at our show because Cortex is my biggest editing project typically

00:34:29   and I was like we didn't do half the amount of episodes so I found there was a 600 hour

00:34:35   editing entry that had been incorrectly left to run at one point. So I fixed that and now

00:34:42   I can actually accurately compare year over year and by and large they are the same. As

00:34:50   of right now I've done about 100 hours of work more this year than last year and 67

00:34:58   of those have been video game streaming. So I can look at it and be like "yeah I know

00:35:03   that was a bigger task that I took on this year. It's a time intensive thing, but it's

00:35:08   not labor intensive. It's playing video games. It's a fun thing, but I do track it because

00:35:13   it's now part of my overall work. It's doing that. And basically, comparing year over year,

00:35:21   the breakdown of editing, recording and prep has been basically exactly the same. So I

00:35:30   I got like 130 hours preparing for shows,

00:35:33   220 hours editing shows, 450 hours recording them.

00:35:38   That breakdown, it makes more sense this year

00:35:41   than it did the year prior,

00:35:43   and kind of fits kind of exactly

00:35:45   with what I would want it to be.

00:35:47   It's also super funny to me to look at my kind of year chart

00:35:51   as it is because July's working hours is kind of ridiculous.

00:35:56   Every month is like 100, 100, 100, 120 of logged hours, right?

00:36:01   July was 24, 'cause that was when I went on my honeymoon.

00:36:04   So I am pleased that I have this data.

00:36:10   Again, we'll just use any time to plug this, right?

00:36:14   Like you should be time tracking.

00:36:16   Because now I can look year over year.

00:36:18   But pay attention to it in case you end up

00:36:20   with a 600 hour erroneous entry like I did.

00:36:23   - Yeah, I do wish Toggl had a feature

00:36:25   where they could identify items that are, say,

00:36:29   10 standard deviations away from the norm and be like,

00:36:32   "Me?" - I think they do.

00:36:34   Like, they can email you if something seems weird,

00:36:36   but I think I shut all that off because--

00:36:38   - Ah, okay, yeah.

00:36:39   - It was driving me crazy at the beginning.

00:36:41   - I wouldn't see those emails.

00:36:42   - Exactly. - Whatever.

00:36:43   But it's, this is just interesting because I,

00:36:48   again, with, like, not looking back,

00:36:50   I'm not really interested that much

00:36:51   comparing my 2017 and 2018 numbers.

00:36:55   I took a quick look just because I saw that you were doing

00:36:57   it for the show and it's like, oh, yeah,

00:37:00   some things are similar.

00:37:01   There's been a big jump in what I record as like

00:37:04   in-person time, which we can sort of get to later,

00:37:07   like how much time am I spending like one-on-one

00:37:09   with another person?

00:37:10   But as a different view for people who are interested

00:37:15   possibly in time tracking, the way I tend to use it

00:37:17   when I find most useful with the reports

00:37:21   is I like to always be looking at

00:37:23   what is the time tracked for the last 10 days rolling

00:37:29   and what is the time tracked for the last rolling six weeks.

00:37:33   So I've made like a little webpage

00:37:36   that I turned into a separate app with Fluid on my Mac

00:37:39   and it just opens up automatically

00:37:40   and it shows me like a running tally of

00:37:44   what have you been up to for the last six weeks

00:37:46   and what have you been up to for the last 10 days?

00:37:48   And that is the way I like to always look at it,

00:37:52   because I find that provides a sort of motivation

00:37:55   on any particular day to like get the numbers right in a way,

00:38:00   or just like have this look the way that I want it to look.

00:38:04   But I'm personally much less interested

00:38:06   in the historical data.

00:38:07   I find it just useful as like,

00:38:09   I want to see the reports rolling by

00:38:12   and feel like any particular day,

00:38:15   I can try to make these reports

00:38:17   asymptotically approach ideal gray,

00:38:20   which is always fundamentally impossible,

00:38:22   but it's like a target that you can aim for.

00:38:23   - What is that word you just used?

00:38:25   - Asymptotically, like-

00:38:27   - What is that?

00:38:27   - In math, it's a function that always approaches a number,

00:38:31   but never quite reaches a number.

00:38:33   - Okay.

00:38:34   - So this is like a, it's a very specific thing,

00:38:36   but it's like a curve and the value on the curve is say,

00:38:39   always getting closer to one.

00:38:41   But even if you go out to like infinity,

00:38:44   you're still always at like 0.9999999, right?

00:38:47   Where I use that just to try to express the idea

00:38:51   that you can never achieve the ideal

00:38:54   of what you want your day to be.

00:38:58   But you can always be trying to approach it.

00:39:01   I just think it's a fool's errand and I see people do it

00:39:03   where they start time tracking stuff

00:39:06   and they're like, "Oh, my day isn't what I want it to be,"

00:39:09   and they're discouraged.

00:39:11   And I feel very strongly like, hey, spoiler alert,

00:39:14   your day is never gonna be what you want it to be.

00:39:17   Even when I'm having like perfect weeks,

00:39:20   it's still not 100% perfect.

00:39:24   You can only just approach this idea of perfection,

00:39:28   but you can never reach it.

00:39:30   And that's fine.

00:39:31   Like that's what life is.

00:39:33   But so, anyway, I just wanted to mention it

00:39:35   'cause that's the way I use it.

00:39:36   I find that very actionable and useful to look at it in that way.

00:39:44   I think what this shows and what it continues to show is it doesn't matter what you want

00:39:49   to do with the data, but I think most people can find something of use to them in it.

00:39:54   And like my biggest one is relating how I feel on a day to how much time I've logged

00:40:00   on a day to make me feel better.

00:40:03   This is the overwork problem for you?

00:40:05   You feel like overworked?

00:40:06   Yeah, when I'm like, "Oh my God, I feel so tired today.

00:40:08   Like, I really feel like I've had a long day."

00:40:10   And then I look at it and then my data confirms to me,

00:40:14   it kind of makes me feel validated in a way where I'm like, "Oh, yeah,

00:40:18   I logged nine hours of work time today."

00:40:21   And it's like, OK, so that is like, again,

00:40:24   while you may think, "Oh, I work twelve hour days,"

00:40:26   this is like nine hours of there's nothing else happening.

00:40:29   This is like nine hours of sitting and doing something,

00:40:32   not like idling around or taking lunch or talking.

00:40:35   Like this is like, this is all the work for the day, right?

00:40:38   And those days, like okay, I feel tired on those days.

00:40:40   And it's like, that makes sense to me now.

00:40:42   Or when I can look at it and be like,

00:40:44   I feel like I had a good day today.

00:40:46   And the look is like, oh, you did three hours work today.

00:40:48   Oh, okay.

00:40:49   You know, like that kind of daily affirmation type stuff

00:40:52   is kind of useful to me,

00:40:54   as well as looking at it from a bigger picture.

00:40:57   And I like to look at year over year

00:40:58   and see the trends that have changed for me.

00:41:01   And there have been some for 2018

00:41:04   and I'm pretty happy with how the breakdown has continued.

00:41:07   So it continues to be a great resource to track your time.

00:41:11   - Everyone should do it.

00:41:13   - They should.

00:41:14   - Especially if you're self-employed.

00:41:15   (laughs)

00:41:17   - Let's talk about our 2019 themes,

00:41:20   our themes for this coming year.

00:41:23   - I'm very excited, Myke.

00:41:23   I wanna know what your theme is.

00:41:25   - I have two.

00:41:26   - Ooh, okay, okay.

00:41:27   - They're kind of interesting when put together

00:41:29   and I feel like that they're different enough

00:41:32   that they need to be split out.

00:41:33   - Okay.

00:41:34   the first theme is something that I've been angling towards for a while. And it is the

00:41:42   year of stabilization.

00:41:44   Oh, that is great. That's a really interesting one. Okay, tell me tell me what this means to

00:41:51   you.

00:41:51   Alright, so some episodes ago, episode 74, I was talking about just some things that I was trying

00:41:56   to change in my life, which included like fitness and diet, and listening to music more. Do you

00:42:02   Do you remember that?

00:42:02   I was talking about that stuff.

00:42:04   So that was part of it, right?

00:42:05   That was part of trying to find a little bit more peace

00:42:10   in my life, I think, and those were ways to do it.

00:42:13   And my fitness, my yoga is something that I have not kept up

00:42:17   to the level of every single day, but I am keeping up.

00:42:21   It's something that I'm still doing.

00:42:23   Unfortunately, I've been struggling with some RSI issues

00:42:25   over the last month, and when it's really bad,

00:42:28   as it has been, the yoga actually can make it worse

00:42:31   for me. Really? Yeah, but it's okay. It's okay. This is just a... As you know, flare

00:42:38   ups occur. I was very stupid playing Pokemon with the switch in my hands for like four

00:42:44   hours and it ruined me for about two months. Yeah, but you gotta catch them all. I do,

00:42:50   but I should have used the controller to catch them all. I made a stupid mistake, but I mean,

00:42:55   you know this, right? If you hurt yourself, everything you do will contribute towards

00:43:00   it. So you kind of just have to wait it out. And I'm in that phase right now, because the

00:43:05   way to fix it would be stop editing. But I can't do that. Right. I can't stop my life.

00:43:11   So I'm in a I'm in a phase right now of like getting back to normal and I'm bringing yoga

00:43:17   back in again. But at the moment, I can't do it every day, which is a shame. But at

00:43:21   the same time, I have not spoken about this anywhere because I really don't want to get

00:43:25   into it in any specific detail, but I'm eating better and losing weight, which is great.

00:43:31   So that's just another thing that I'm doing and that, you know, whilst I feel like I'm

00:43:36   frustrated and I'm not doing the yoga, at least I am getting into a better shape anyway.

00:43:41   So like that's kind of like looking at my fitness and health, stabilising that because

00:43:45   I was not in control of that part of my life and I feel like I'm getting some control over

00:43:51   that.

00:43:52   So that's kind of me as a person and trying to stabilize me as a person and I'm feeling

00:43:55   pretty good going into this year about where I am with that right now.

00:44:00   But there's also the business stuff.

00:44:04   And this year, my company turns five years old.

00:44:10   Oh my god.

00:44:11   Really?

00:44:12   And so, yes, in August.

00:44:14   That is hard to believe.

00:44:15   That is really hard to believe.

00:44:18   So I am in a place right now where I am not indie anymore, right?

00:44:26   Are you the man, Myke?

00:44:29   Well, no, I just feel like we are a company now.

00:44:33   Right?

00:44:34   Like, it's not the same anymore.

00:44:36   We're like an established thing and we've been running profitably for four and a half

00:44:42   years.

00:44:43   So, we're just a business now.

00:44:46   We're a company.

00:44:47   And we do what we do. We are independent in the sense of we don't have investors or anything

00:44:53   like that. But I just don't think of me and my company in the same way. I am now a small

00:44:58   business owner. I'm not like indie self-employed. Like I don't feel like that anymore because

00:45:05   it's not new anymore. Like I feel like this is who I am and we run a company and our company

00:45:11   is becoming more serious over time. Like it's getting more moving parts to it. And so I

00:45:19   want to spend this year making sure that our foundation is in place for the next five years.

00:45:27   So I am not interested this year in growth. That is not something that I want to do. We

00:45:35   We have a lot going on. We have a lot of irons in the fire as it is. And my focus is on making

00:45:42   sure that we are doing the very best that we can to serve our current position. So this

00:45:51   includes financial growth. But we have been on a steady financial growth percentage year

00:45:57   over year for the last four years. And all signs are indicating that we will probably

00:46:04   meet or exceed that growth level again for 2019. So I don't want to focus on trying

00:46:13   to make that explode this year. I don't want 75 or 100% year-over-year growth. I'm

00:46:20   not interested in that because I know how disruptive that can be and that's not where

00:46:26   I am in my life right now.

00:46:30   I want to make sure that we continue to hit the goals that we want to hit as a company,

00:46:37   but focus on making everything better for everyone involved, and that comes with making

00:46:43   sure that we're stable.

00:46:46   That's my goal.

00:46:48   That's very interesting.

00:46:55   - If I could maybe phrase it in a particular way,

00:46:58   it's that you're not,

00:47:00   like obviously you welcome growth,

00:47:04   but you are not optimizing for growth.

00:47:07   - I'm not seeking it.

00:47:08   - You're optimizing for something else,

00:47:11   which is long-term stability.

00:47:14   - In other years, we have actively pursued

00:47:17   growth opportunities and have been successful in that.

00:47:21   But right now,

00:47:24   we're not going to turn any opportunities away if they look good.

00:47:28   But when I am not personally, and then this is me, right?

00:47:31   Like I am not personally interested in hunting it down because I feel like we

00:47:36   could do a lot of good for our company if we spend some time making sure we're all good.

00:47:43   Right.

00:47:44   Yeah.

00:47:45   I'm just thinking that this is the, this is just recognizing that you can be in a

00:47:51   different phase and I mean practically by definition a brand new company if it

00:47:59   is not optimizing for growth is just going to fail like there's a point that

00:48:04   you just have to grow and that has to be the number one thing on your mind is

00:48:09   this thing has to increase yeah and I would say that we have set in place a

00:48:14   a path to grow every year, we did that, and that is continuing.

00:48:20   So I wanna make sure that we've got all of that in place.

00:48:24   We wanna develop some systems this year which will allow us to grow more easily in the future.

00:48:29   And I have ideas for what I might wanna do, or what we might wanna do in 2020/2021, about

00:48:35   how we continue to grow our company.

00:48:37   But that, I believe, requires taking stock beforehand.

00:48:41   beforehand.

00:48:42   Yeah, but I guess what I mean is that, like, I'm thinking of, you know, when people hear

00:48:47   about the startup world and you hear these things that are crazy about how companies

00:48:52   are focused on growth, not profitability, right?

00:48:55   And you think like, but wait, isn't the whole point of a company to make money?

00:49:00   Like how on earth, how on earth can a company be focused on growth and not profitability?

00:49:03   It's like, well, because it's just a different phase.

00:49:08   It's a different phase of it.

00:49:09   And if it doesn't grow fast enough, like it can just fade out or if Relay hadn't grown

00:49:15   to support you and Steven and also pay all the hosts, like that would have been a much

00:49:21   bigger problem.

00:49:22   So I think it's really interesting that you, I mean, again, like I can't quite conceptualize

00:49:28   that Relay is five years old.

00:49:30   It's still, you know, it's one of those funny things where it still feels very new to me,

00:49:35   but I also know that it's been around for a while.

00:49:38   I've started to notice recently, we're not the new kids on the block anymore. And that

00:49:45   kind of change in how I think that we're perceived, which isn't a problem. Like nothing bad has

00:49:52   happened, but it's just, we're not new anymore. So that's kind of what has started to make

00:49:59   me think more about like how we're not this like indie startup anymore. We're established

00:50:05   and if we're established, maybe we should make sure that we're established.

00:50:09   Right. I think that's the perfect way to put it. Like if you are established, you should

00:50:14   actually make sure that your company is really established, that it has processes in place

00:50:20   that can ensure future success and future growth. But there's a big difference in a

00:50:27   company that is established, that has a lot of people working with it, and how does that

00:50:31   thing grow versus how does the thing that you're just stringing together with shoelaces

00:50:38   and duct tape, like how does that grow? Those are two very fundamentally different questions.

00:50:42   Well, that's really interesting. That's really interesting.

00:50:46   But I have a second theme.

00:50:48   How does it tie into the second one?

00:50:51   So stability for me personally includes some slightly different things to stability for

00:50:58   Relay FM. Stability for Relay FM is, as we spoke about, making sure everything's in place.

00:51:05   Stability for me is maybe looking at ways to ensure my long-term stability as somebody

00:51:14   who can continue to be self-employed. So this may include the need to diversify my personal

00:51:22   income a little bit because right now my income is all tied up in podcast advertising. Basically

00:51:30   where it all comes from.

00:51:31   Just terrifying.

00:51:33   I'm not scared about it, but it is a risk area, right? Like all my eggs are in that

00:51:40   basket.

00:51:41   Right.

00:51:42   So I've been thinking a lot about ways to try and take what I'm doing now and find natural

00:51:50   places that I can move to in business, right?

00:51:55   So we got talking about this a while ago,

00:51:59   'cause we kind of started to stumble on an idea

00:52:02   which became cortexmerch.com.

00:52:05   - Cortexmerch.com.

00:52:09   - Okay, thank you.

00:52:10   And I started to talk to you,

00:52:15   and we started to have these conversations about like,

00:52:18   Merchandise is a thing that exists in the world,

00:52:21   and it seems that YouTubers are doing lots of it.

00:52:25   It's a great success.

00:52:26   Like this is a thing that exists of like,

00:52:29   not just here is a T-shirt with our podcast logo on it,

00:52:33   which I do for many shows and it's awesome,

00:52:36   but that's not really a sustainable business.

00:52:39   That is a we are selling merch for this period of time

00:52:42   so you can wear T-shirts at our live shows or whatever.

00:52:46   - Right, it is adjunct to,

00:52:48   It is a subsection of the existing podcaster YouTube audience.

00:52:55   But yeah, we've seen people broaden out from that in interesting ways.

00:53:01   And I was thinking, we're pretty creative and we have some interesting ideas.

00:53:06   I like to think so.

00:53:08   So maybe we should do this.

00:53:10   And there was a test case, which was the subtlety.

00:53:14   Yes, the very successful subtlety.

00:53:17   And that's why we feel pretty confident that this is something we can try and do.

00:53:22   That t-shirt sold better than I thought it was going to.

00:53:26   And the idea behind the subtlety was, here is an item of clothing that is intended to

00:53:32   be a little bit more traditionally stylish, right?

00:53:37   So it uses our logo, but not emblazoned in gold foil across your chest as a funny thing,

00:53:44   right?

00:53:45   here is a t-shirt that looks nice and all of I have been really happy about the feedback

00:53:49   that we got for that shirt because a lot of my friends said to me this is now my favorite

00:53:54   podcast t-shirt because I can wear it whenever I want and I'm like exactly so me and Grey

00:54:02   are starting a company yes yes we are we are and it's called cortex brand that's the name

00:54:12   of our company and we are just beginning with this. We have some ideas for some products

00:54:20   for over the next year but we're working on making sure that they are where we want them

00:54:27   to be and we have some exciting stuff that we're working on.

00:54:30   Yeah, it's been very, I would say this is embryonic at the moment, like it's out in

00:54:35   the world and we have a bunch of stuff that is in development but it is something that

00:54:41   that is new and it is small,

00:54:44   but it's small after this successful test

00:54:47   with the subtlety to see, like,

00:54:49   let's make a shirt where the cortex logo

00:54:53   is a brand in the way that you could see

00:54:56   with other clothing brands.

00:54:58   - Yeah. - That it's not,

00:55:00   it is not obviously,

00:55:02   here is a shirt where you are a fan of the thing.

00:55:05   It's a shirt that has a logo on it like many shirts do.

00:55:10   And so like, yes, embryonic stage is a good way to put it.

00:55:13   And you may think, well, why are we talking about it right now?

00:55:15   Well, because the idea is, wouldn't it be interesting

00:55:18   for us to talk about the business that we're starting

00:55:21   on our show where we talk about side projects?

00:55:23   So that's why we're talking about it now,

00:55:26   because we are just beginning this journey.

00:55:30   So Cortex brand is just beginning.

00:55:33   - Yeah, really just beginning.

00:55:34   Like, I think as of the time of recording,

00:55:38   We signed some paperwork yesterday

00:55:41   to make things super official about what's really occurring.

00:55:45   But yeah, there's actual paperwork,

00:55:47   an actual company as like a separate entity.

00:55:51   - Yep, it's like it's a thing that we own together

00:55:54   and we're gonna go through this process

00:55:57   talking about it on the show,

00:55:58   like what it is gonna be like for us to build this company

00:56:02   and where it's gonna go and the things that we wanna do.

00:56:05   And something that I am really keen to do is to find interesting people who do interesting things to collaborate with to try and make products.

00:56:16   And let me be clear, right, like, we're not just talking about t-shirts here.

00:56:19   We are open to making anything if we think that it fits with the Cortex brand.

00:56:26   Yeah. And we have things in development that are not t-shirts.

00:56:30   Exactly. Many things.

00:56:31   Very excited about.

00:56:33   And so our thinking, kind of like the overall idea of what Cortex brand is, is it's products

00:56:38   for people like us, so nerdy people, who want something that speaks to them without having

00:56:46   to shout to the world that they're nerdy.

00:56:49   I think that's kind of like the main idea that we're trying to put across right now.

00:56:54   So this could be anything.

00:56:58   So we are looking for collaborators, people that make stuff that they think could fit

00:57:05   into this, artists that think that they may have something that could work quite nicely

00:57:10   with a product that we're trying to develop.

00:57:12   This is something we will talk about more in the future as we start to flesh more ideas

00:57:16   out.

00:57:17   But if you are somebody who makes something that you think could be of interest to us,

00:57:21   we want to know and we have an email address.

00:57:24   So just email business@cortexbrand.com.

00:57:29   We do not want you to send specific pictures for things.

00:57:32   We're not asking for you to work for free.

00:57:34   Send in examples of stuff that you do.

00:57:36   If you have any ideas, tell me what they are.

00:57:39   I want to hear from you.

00:57:40   Yeah, like we're not we're not looking for finished products here.

00:57:44   And it was like we're looking for someone like a designer with an interesting portfolio.

00:57:49   That's like that's that's the idea and then someone who who who thinks that they have

00:57:53   something that could could fit in with this.

00:57:55   Yeah, like maybe you sell stuff on Etsy that you think would be of interest to the larger

00:58:01   Cortex audience. And this is the thing is we don't know what that stuff is, which is

00:58:05   why we want to hear from people. Like I want to see and I want to I want ideas and we want

00:58:12   to work with people. So business@cortexbrand.com.

00:58:18   I've got to say, I don't know, it's exciting

00:58:22   and also terrifying to actually talk about it on the show

00:58:26   because we've been discussing it for a while.

00:58:28   Also in this phase where we have an idea,

00:58:33   but it's also looking for people to collaborate.

00:58:38   It's a little bit terrible.

00:58:39   Like I am much more, in my world, Myke,

00:58:42   I prefer for things to be like done

00:58:46   and we know what it is and it has these boundaries

00:58:49   and then the project is announced.

00:58:52   That's the way I like things. - Oh, me too.

00:58:54   Me too, i.e. fiction project, right?

00:58:56   - Yeah, exactly.

00:58:57   And this really feels like, I don't know, not quite,

00:59:02   but way closer to the end of the spectrum of like,

00:59:06   oh, we've had a couple conversations

00:59:07   and we've sketched out a few things on napkins.

00:59:10   It's not there, but it's way closer to that end

00:59:13   of the spectrum of then talking about the idea, then quite frankly, I am comfortable

00:59:19   with.

00:59:20   Me too. I'm like losing my mind right now talking about this, but we have to talk about

00:59:26   it now.

00:59:27   But we do. No, I agree with you. We have to talk about it now because we have been talking

00:59:32   about it for a while. But listeners, I cannot convey how terrifying it is to you for me

00:59:38   to discuss a project which is not complete in any way. It's like, oh, here's this thing

00:59:43   we're going to try.

00:59:44   But this is part of the other reason we want to talk about it, is this is so weird for

00:59:50   us to talk about. But we do believe, and I do really feel that there could be some stuff

00:59:56   that's of great interest to listeners of the show in hearing what it's like for us to start

01:00:00   a company that we hope will work.

01:00:03   Yeah, that's exactly it.

01:00:05   So, Cortex brand, that this is it, it's coming at you. And so once again, if you have any

01:00:10   ideas this could just be like you might not even make something but you think oh

01:00:13   I know what I would like to see business at cortex brand calm but there is one

01:00:18   one last part of the year of diversification mm-hmm I this year will

01:00:24   start the process of getting an out-of-home studio oh to work from

01:00:33   really yeah yeah like a proper your own your own glass cube to work now not a

01:00:38   Glass cube definitely not one of those like I want real brick walls, but oh, okay. I

01:00:43   I

01:00:45   Am just aware of over the next few years. It is potentially likely that I will lose the room in my house

01:00:52   That is the office to somebody else, right? Right. Mm-hmm. So I don't want to be blindsided by this

01:01:02   I want to make sure that I am in my own place

01:01:06   for long before we need to give this room up.

01:01:09   - That's a great idea.

01:01:11   - I don't know how to begin,

01:01:15   but I figure I'm gonna try and find a real estate agent

01:01:17   and move on from there.

01:01:18   And this is just, you know,

01:01:22   I don't know if 2019 will be the year that I find a place,

01:01:26   but 2019 is the year I'm going to begin the process.

01:01:29   Because I'm gonna wait until I find a thing

01:01:31   that's right for me. And that's why I'm doing it now so I don't have to rush.

01:01:34   Yeah, this is the this is the right way to do this is to is to like, let's hear it. Let's say as

01:01:43   someone who has rather hastily moved from glass cube to glass cube, that is a terrible way to do

01:01:49   it right the way the way that you're doing it is much better of start surveying the landscape

01:01:56   before you have pressure to do it.

01:02:00   Especially in your case where when you say

01:02:02   like you're looking for a studio outside the house,

01:02:05   you have many more requirements as someone who is

01:02:09   dealing with audio and recording

01:02:12   than just a regular workspace,

01:02:14   which makes your search task 10 times harder than,

01:02:18   oh, I just need a place to work during the day

01:02:21   and I don't want annoying people around me.

01:02:23   - Yeah, I need very specific things.

01:02:26   Do you have an idea in your head of what ultimately you would want?

01:02:30   Like your goal of what would be an ideal studio?

01:02:33   Like, okay, here's my question.

01:02:35   Would you want a place where people could record in person with you?

01:02:39   Is that the kind of thing you're looking for?

01:02:40   Or are you just looking for something for yourself?

01:02:42   I want an office that's big enough that it can be kind of like compartmentalized.

01:02:49   Okay, what do you mean?

01:02:50   That I would have like a working area and a recording area,

01:02:55   You know, like space if I ever wanted to make YouTube videos

01:02:58   that I could do it, right?

01:02:59   Like I kind of want a place that I would be in

01:03:02   for multiple years and could change with me.

01:03:05   I'm not looking for a small room that I can soundproof,

01:03:08   right, like that's not what I want.

01:03:10   I want a bigger space where I'm able to kind of

01:03:15   stretch out a little bit, you know,

01:03:17   bigger than my current office, right?

01:03:19   Like in my home, you know.

01:03:20   - It's not very big, that office.

01:03:21   - It's not very big.

01:03:22   It's a single bed bedroom effectively.

01:03:25   - A London single bed bedroom.

01:03:28   - Yes, that's a good clarification.

01:03:30   - Listener, whatever you have in your head, trust me,

01:03:32   it is a room that you can fit a bed in.

01:03:35   - Just to help you understand,

01:03:37   I mean, this isn't great for everybody else,

01:03:38   I want something that's probably about three times bigger

01:03:40   than my office currently.

01:03:42   - Okay.

01:03:42   - Which is an office.

01:03:44   - All right, so you are looking for a studio,

01:03:47   a place with space.

01:03:49   How interesting.

01:03:51   I can soundproof anything, right?

01:03:52   Like I've seen your setup, right?

01:03:55   Like I know it's possible to soundproof a space,

01:03:59   but to be honest, I think that with the equipment that I use,

01:04:03   I wouldn't need to go to the lengths necessarily that you did,

01:04:06   'cause plus I would be very careful

01:04:07   about where I'm moving to.

01:04:09   But you know, I can soundproof

01:04:10   whatever needs to be soundproofed,

01:04:11   but I ideally want to have a space

01:04:14   that is mine to expand into,

01:04:18   as opposed to like getting six months down the line

01:04:21   and regretting that it's too small. And I live in the out the near to outer rim as you

01:04:26   call it so like, you know,

01:04:27   You're much closer rim now than you used to be.

01:04:30   Yeah, but I'm still in a part of London where, again, there's not a lot necessarily a lot

01:04:36   of this type of space, but the space that there is, is I think, is more affordable than

01:04:41   what you are. Yeah, so I will struggle to find stuff more. But when I do, I will probably

01:04:47   be able to get more bang for my buck.

01:04:49   Yeah, there's a reason why I'm in a glass cube and it's because being in the very centre

01:04:54   of London, to get a space that's the size of what you're looking for, I simply could

01:05:01   not afford it.

01:05:02   No, no, no, it would be it, right?

01:05:05   Like that would be it, I'd be done.

01:05:07   Nothing more for me.

01:05:08   But yeah, that's kind of the other part of the year of diversification, diversify my

01:05:15   space.

01:05:16   Oh, interesting.

01:05:17   about your hunt for space.

01:05:20   - Oh, I'm sure you will.

01:05:22   - It's very easy, Myke.

01:05:23   It always works out just perfectly the first time.

01:05:26   - This episode of Cortex is brought to you by our friends

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01:07:39   I love Hover. Hey Hover, happy anniversary. You're all the best. We think you're amazing over here.

01:07:44   Thanks for making it so easy for us to register the domains that we're looking for. Thank you

01:07:49   to Hover for their support of this show and Relay FM. Alright so come on then. What is the 2019

01:07:55   theme? I should say like just to underscore this, we do not share these with each other in advance.

01:07:59   Like the first time we are finding out about our Yellie themes is right now. Gray is... I've

01:08:06   I've never mentioned to Grey my themes and I have no idea what his is going to be.

01:08:10   Yeah, and again, I'm always kind of annoyed because I want to talk about these themes

01:08:14   in September.

01:08:15   And you're like, "La la la, we can't talk about them now and don't tell me anything

01:08:19   about it," right?

01:08:20   And it's like, "God damn it."

01:08:21   January 1st is the perfect time.

01:08:24   Ah, September, it just feels so right.

01:08:27   It's summer's past.

01:08:28   Yeah, but now you've had a few months to test it out maybe and work out if it is the right

01:08:32   theme for you.

01:08:33   So great.

01:08:34   Well, God damn it, Myke.

01:08:36   Okay, so I'm sort of annoyed with you

01:08:40   because you have such an orderly,

01:08:45   bullet pointed set of things that you wanna talk about.

01:08:51   And I'm here with a real vague mess for my theme again.

01:09:00   I guess I'll tell you I'll tell you the name first.

01:09:07   For me, this is the year of reorder.

01:09:16   So as I've been dropping hints all the past year, I knew that the year of order was not

01:09:23   going to be a single year, the year of order was going to be a much longer project.

01:09:28   you did say that, I remember that, that was something that kept coming up in our check-ins,

01:09:33   like, "Oh, I think it might last a little longer!"

01:09:38   Well, it's partly because I wanted to set expectations for people that they need to

01:09:41   understand that, I think my exact words are like, "Well, a year, sometimes it's more than

01:09:47   one year," right? Which makes no sense. So there's a part of it which is very straightforward,

01:09:56   which is with the Year of Order having been just a total disaster,

01:10:00   I want to give it a second go.

01:10:04   It's very interesting hearing you talk about your stability,

01:10:11   because there are some ways in which I feel

01:10:14   those same thoughts that you do of stability,

01:10:17   "Oh, that sounds really nice."

01:10:19   I feel like I've had this really chaotic period

01:10:25   for really what has now been almost like two years.

01:10:30   And so the straightforward part of it is year of order,

01:10:35   but again, and hopefully much more successful.

01:10:39   I already dread like future Grey at the end of 2019

01:10:44   and what he's gonna be saying about it.

01:10:47   - No, don't think of it that way, you're gonna do it.

01:10:50   (laughing)

01:10:52   Well, it's only because I had such a disparate experience

01:10:55   between the last year and last year theme.

01:10:58   And it's like, oh, I think back to the halcyon days

01:11:02   of the year of less as like, oh, that was great.

01:11:04   But here's why I'm calling it reorder.

01:11:08   So I think I always have like complicated brackets

01:11:11   around it, but like the re is in brackets around order.

01:11:16   - Okay.

01:11:17   - And so I've been thinking a lot about

01:11:20   Like why is it that I've had this period of chaos?

01:11:25   Or I feel like, oh, things have been just like,

01:11:33   it's hard to maintain a schedule,

01:11:34   or there's always something that's like happening.

01:11:39   I don't like that.

01:11:40   I too want more order in my life.

01:11:45   And let me back up.

01:11:50   There are some things that I think of as

01:11:53   the foundational ideas of being gray.

01:11:58   Of like, what is it,

01:11:59   what at the very core are some of the things

01:12:03   that I think are like the most important

01:12:05   about living a life?

01:12:08   And one of these foundational ideas to me is,

01:12:13   I'll express it in many ways,

01:12:17   but it's fundamentally this idea,

01:12:18   like you don't owe your past self anything.

01:12:23   Like that guy, he was some other guy.

01:12:26   And many times in my life,

01:12:28   I feel like I've gone through a phase

01:12:32   where there's very clearly like a sharp transition

01:12:35   between like, oh, there was an old person

01:12:38   and there's a new person.

01:12:41   And for readers of my blog,

01:12:45   they may remember that a long time ago,

01:12:47   I wrote an article called "I Have Died Many Times" where I tried to express this idea.

01:12:54   Do you remember that article, Myke?

01:12:55   I do remember that.

01:13:00   I won't read it now because I feel like the guy who wrote that is already gone.

01:13:04   I'm not interested in what he had to say.

01:13:07   But it is a place where I tried to sit down and express this idea.

01:13:12   So when I think about the transition times, it's like very clearly high school to college

01:13:19   was one of the most big and important transition times.

01:13:23   And I even remember as a kid really feeling it then where everyone's going around and

01:13:28   signing each other's yearbooks and like, "Oh, we'll stay in touch forever.

01:13:33   We're such great friends."

01:13:35   And 18-year-old Gray is like, "In the optimal case, I will never see almost all of you ever

01:13:41   again. Like goodbye, and like a whole new person is going to be born in the next phase. And

01:13:49   there's good things about being that way and there's bad things about being that way,

01:13:55   but I have found it useful and I have found it useful to cultivate this idea that

01:14:01   you can be a new and different person.

01:14:08   But most of these changes have come with a very obvious change in location.

01:14:17   So like high school to college, college to London.

01:14:22   Like this is another big change or like a change in career of unemployed person to teacher.

01:14:31   And then later in that time, teacher to person desperately trying to become anything other than a teacher.

01:14:37   And then, right? Like, new YouTuber.

01:14:42   Podcaster.

01:14:43   Podcaster.

01:14:44   But I mention all of this because I've been thinking about it a lot.

01:14:48   And this summer, this past summer in particular, I feel like I finally realized something that in retrospect seems obvious,

01:14:59   but has taken me a long time to really figure out.

01:15:02   And it's that I am going through another one of these little changes in life again,

01:15:10   where it's like, oh, there's where the previous me, I have no interest in his concerns or his goals or his targets.

01:15:20   And there and it's it's like waking up again as a new person in the same way that transitioning from high school to college was a very intentional,

01:15:29   I'm like, I'm gonna drive up to college,

01:15:32   I'm gonna go to bed and I'm gonna wake up

01:15:34   and that guy has nothing to do with the guy who came before.

01:15:38   And I can peg it very exactly,

01:15:42   which was the summer of gray, part one and three,

01:15:47   and part two soon, any day now soon, I'm sure.

01:15:51   Like that summer a year and a half ago

01:15:54   that a couple things happened.

01:15:57   Like I started a new venture with some other people,

01:16:01   and I also at that point

01:16:03   really started to recognize the value of spending time with

01:16:10   and talking to other interesting people in my field.

01:16:16   And just, I started to just I think

01:16:20   be a very different sort of person

01:16:25   without recognizing that I was really going through

01:16:28   a kind of transition at that point in time.

01:16:33   And I think it's become very clear to me

01:16:37   that that is partly why I have had this chaotic

01:16:41   and somewhat very frustrating and unsatisfying time

01:16:45   since that summer, like 18 months ago and now.

01:16:50   And it's why I was originally like,

01:16:51   I'm gonna have a year of order.

01:16:53   I'm going to get things all set and straight, was feeling this discord.

01:16:58   And I call it the year of reorder because I do want to do year of order again, but

01:17:06   I'm very consciously trying to figure out, okay, who is the person that I am now?

01:17:15   Like I don't...

01:17:19   Like pre-2017, I feel like I identified very strongly

01:17:23   with the guy who had been a teacher

01:17:26   and who was struggling very hard to become not a teacher,

01:17:31   and then the person who was trying very hard

01:17:34   to double down and triple down on the thing that had worked

01:17:38   and grow his online presence and all the rest of that.

01:17:40   And now when I think back to that person,

01:17:44   it feels very much like the way when I think back

01:17:47   to who I was when I first moved to London.

01:17:50   Like a guy I knew,

01:17:52   but I don't personally identify with that.

01:17:54   And I just think because between 2017 and now,

01:18:00   there wasn't any obvious physical transition.

01:18:04   There wasn't really like a big moment

01:18:06   that made this very clear.

01:18:08   I just didn't realize that I was going through

01:18:10   like another one of these phases again.

01:18:15   And so, reorder also means to me like I am trying

01:18:20   to re-figure out what are my actual priorities and goals

01:18:25   and what are the things that I want to do

01:18:32   now that I am this person that a past version of me

01:18:36   set out to become.

01:18:38   That now that I have like woken up as a person

01:18:40   who is self-employed, has several successful projects,

01:18:45   and has a lot of control over his time

01:18:49   and what he can spend his time doing.

01:18:52   And so I feel like I'm leaving myself

01:18:55   very open to thinking about that.

01:19:00   And I'm also a little worried

01:19:02   because I've been talking for a while

01:19:04   and I'm very concerned that I sound like a crazy person.

01:19:08   So can I take like a dipstick now with mic and see like, how do I sound?

01:19:13   Do I sound like a lunatic in this moment?

01:19:15   It doesn't sound too far away from what I'm doing.

01:19:18   Okay.

01:19:19   It feels pretty close to like my stabilization idea, right?

01:19:23   Well, I was thinking that when you were talking, yeah.

01:19:25   Yeah.

01:19:25   You're taking some time now to take stock of what you have and

01:19:31   focus on the things you care about.

01:19:32   Like it's not, it's not too far away, honestly, from what,

01:19:36   from what I'm doing as well.

01:19:37   But yours is, it has a little bit more to it,

01:19:42   which is pretty interesting to me.

01:19:44   The idea of seeing yourself as a new person,

01:19:48   which I don't necessarily think of as me, right?

01:19:52   I just feel like I've kind of steadily transitioned

01:19:56   and advanced into the different phases

01:19:58   that would naturally occur

01:19:59   through somebody running a business.

01:20:00   But you are in a very different position,

01:20:02   very, very different position now

01:20:05   to when you started in YouTube.

01:20:07   because now creating YouTube videos

01:20:11   is not the most, most very, very important thing to do

01:20:15   to continue living.

01:20:16   Like your life has changed.

01:20:18   And so you have your fingers in many pies now,

01:20:21   which are all pretty successful.

01:20:23   So it's diversified what you're all about.

01:20:28   And I totally get it.

01:20:29   Like I get the idea that you did not get

01:20:32   to do what you wanted last year.

01:20:34   so you're giving it another go to create the order,

01:20:37   but also the idea of reordering your life

01:20:40   to fit the priorities that you have,

01:20:42   I think is a good one.

01:20:45   It's hippy dippy, right?

01:20:47   In the idea of-- - I hate that so much,

01:20:49   but yeah. - Of you being this butterfly

01:20:53   who's broken out of the shell of the previous man,

01:20:55   but the metaphor's good, so I think it could stand.

01:21:00   - Yeah, I mean, I tend to think of it much more

01:21:03   like burning down the past and not caring about it.

01:21:08   And I have an example of,

01:21:12   I don't know if I've ever really discussed this on the show,

01:21:13   but I think a thing that I do that I just like, okay,

01:21:16   well, I'm just gonna set a torch to this and start over.

01:21:18   But I've kept for a long time a document on my computer

01:21:22   that I just call like the gray guide,

01:21:25   which sort of like the year themes

01:21:27   are intended to be unstructured.

01:21:30   They're useful in their unstructuredness.

01:21:32   The Gray Guide was just a pages document

01:21:37   where I sort of just wrote out some of the general things,

01:21:42   like what do I think are good ideas

01:21:43   for how I want to be or act?

01:21:46   Or if I came across a quote that made me think

01:21:49   about something in an interesting way

01:21:50   that I thought was useful, like, oh, I'll put that in there.

01:21:53   Or I would just write down some things I felt like,

01:21:56   oh, here's a little lesson I learned from this interaction.

01:22:01   It's not, it's very unstructured, which was the whole point of it.

01:22:04   It makes me so happy to think of the idea that you have a manual.

01:22:09   I never really thought about it that way, but yeah, I guess you're totally right.

01:22:13   Like it is, it is the manual.

01:22:15   It's like, oh, this, this gray is acting up.

01:22:17   Let me just check the manual.

01:22:19   Ah, that's why.

01:22:20   I'll get it now.

01:22:22   But it's a document that I've been maintaining for, I mean, since I was a

01:22:29   teacher probably, like it started.

01:22:32   And I would review it maybe like once a month on average,

01:22:35   just kind of go through it and look at all of this stuff

01:22:38   and think about if anything needed to be changed.

01:22:41   And this summer when I kept having this feeling of like,

01:22:46   oh, I'm waking up again.

01:22:49   At some point I took a look at the gray guide

01:22:51   and I was like, well, select all, delete.

01:22:55   Like all of this is just gone.

01:22:57   - Doesn't apply anymore.

01:22:58   Yeah, like I'm not interested in reinforcing these old ideas.

01:23:02   Well, I've seen you change, you know?

01:23:04   Like, over the time I've known you, you've changed a lot.

01:23:07   You know, like your kind of approach to social interactions

01:23:11   and how much time you're willing to spend on them

01:23:13   has definitely changed.

01:23:15   So like, I'm not surprised that a document

01:23:19   which has a lot in it about how you interact

01:23:21   in social situations will not apply anymore.

01:23:26   Yeah, or even just like things that I thought were useful to know.

01:23:31   It's like, oh, I've either internalized that or I just don't want to reinforce this.

01:23:37   Yeah.

01:23:37   I can imagine you look at something like that and be like, yeah, well, of course.

01:23:40   Right.

01:23:41   Because by that point you have made it part of your thinking permanently.

01:23:46   Yeah, exactly.

01:23:47   And so that's just an example of a place where I feel like, Oh, I want to just get

01:23:52   rid of all of this stuff from past me.

01:23:57   Like I'm just not interested anymore

01:23:58   in what he had to think about these things.

01:24:01   So I was like, goodbye and start over afresh.

01:24:05   And now I have a document that has basically nothing in it,

01:24:07   but I'll keep doing the same thing

01:24:09   going forward in the future.

01:24:10   But that's like an example of,

01:24:13   I'm trying very hard to hold on to this feeling

01:24:21   because I think one of the reasons why I wanted

01:24:22   to make it a year theme is

01:24:25   in an alternate universe where I was just a person

01:24:32   on my own in the world, this is the time when I would move.

01:24:36   Like I would move to a different city

01:24:38   and just totally burn down everything.

01:24:41   Like everything about my life up until this point,

01:24:44   goodbye and just start over.

01:24:46   But because now like I'm an adult in the world

01:24:50   And as you grew up, like you have more connections to things,

01:24:52   like that's just not practically possible for me to do.

01:24:55   And so that's part of why, like,

01:24:57   I wanna have it as the theme,

01:25:00   because since I can't just be in a new environment,

01:25:04   I wanna have this as a thing

01:25:06   that's running in the back of my mind,

01:25:08   that it is this sort of start over.

01:25:13   And while I'm interested,

01:25:16   and I want to have more order and more regularity

01:25:21   and a regular schedule in my life,

01:25:22   because I think that that is a good thing to have,

01:25:25   I'm doing it with the idea of what is the schedule

01:25:30   that the current me wants to set up,

01:25:33   and what is the schedule that the current me

01:25:35   will find most valuable?

01:25:37   And I think that's part of also my frustration last year

01:25:40   in the Year of Order, was a number of times

01:25:43   I kind of had this feeling that I think I can recognize now

01:25:46   as I'm trying to impose the goals and the targets

01:25:51   of the earlier version of me,

01:25:57   like the guy who was trying to establish this

01:25:59   much more clearly.

01:26:01   And I think that's also partly didn't help

01:26:03   in trying to achieve that target.

01:26:05   So I don't know, I really do,

01:26:08   like I hate so much how hippy dippy this sounds,

01:26:13   but it's a conversation I've been having with people

01:26:17   during the summer and until now,

01:26:20   and I feel like some people get it very strongly.

01:26:24   They resonate very clearly with this feeling of

01:26:28   waking up anew sometimes and just feeling like,

01:26:32   "Oh, I've just appeared in this scenario.

01:26:35   What is the best way to act from here on out?

01:26:38   And my previous concerns don't matter."

01:26:40   So I hope that this resonates with some of the audience,

01:26:45   but I'm aware, again, from personal conversations

01:26:48   that some people go like,

01:26:49   "I don't understand at all what you're talking about."

01:26:52   And it sounds crazy to feel disassociated from your past

01:26:57   so sharply and so strongly.

01:27:00   But I can really put that mark at like,

01:27:03   Summer of Grey was the start of a thing

01:27:05   and it just took me a little while to recognize

01:27:08   like I'm going through one of these things again. So that's part of my year theme here.

01:27:15   Maybe I'm in on this in the way that you mentioned, but I really don't think that this sounds

01:27:21   as crazy as you think it does. Like you've just entered a new stage of your life. Like

01:27:27   that's what's happened and this happens to everyone.

01:27:29   Yeah.

01:27:29   I feel like, you know, like there are certain times in your life where you're like, okay,

01:27:34   So like, oh, you know, for a lot of people,

01:27:38   like, oh, I just got my own home, it's a big change.

01:27:41   I'm married now, it's a big change.

01:27:42   Or I've met the person that I want to spend

01:27:44   the rest of my life with, like that's a big change.

01:27:46   Right, or like you're starting a family,

01:27:48   it's a big change.

01:27:49   Like all of these things,

01:27:50   like they will make huge impacts on someone.

01:27:52   One of the others is, started a new business,

01:27:55   it's a big change.

01:27:56   I'm involved in new ventures, big change, right?

01:27:59   Like, oh, I've stumbled across something

01:28:02   that was fun for me, but it's turned out

01:28:04   that it's a big part of my income, right?

01:28:06   Like big change.

01:28:07   You are in, like in that business realm,

01:28:11   you're in like a few of those parts right now.

01:28:13   Like it is not surprising to me that you've been like, okay,

01:28:17   CGP Graves not this person anymore.

01:28:21   Like part of me is that guy,

01:28:24   but his priorities are different to mine now, right?

01:28:29   'Cause you're doing more stuff,

01:28:31   which is not just the stuff that people see.

01:28:34   Like you are doing things,

01:28:36   you are doing different businesses,

01:28:38   like you are working on more projects now

01:28:41   than you probably ever have,

01:28:43   especially more public projects than you've ever had before.

01:28:46   So I'm not surprised that like you are changing

01:28:49   along with that.

01:28:50   - Yeah, I mean, for sure it's like the number

01:28:54   of concurrent things is large,

01:28:57   which is partly why in the last episode I was talking

01:28:58   about like the just logistical difficulty

01:29:00   of managing multiple threads.

01:29:02   Like there's a lot going on at any particular point.

01:29:05   But again, I would describe it as like this feeling of,

01:29:08   oh, I've appeared in the world as a person

01:29:10   who has a big YouTube channel, right?

01:29:13   And it's like, okay.

01:29:14   And then who has podcasts with a big audience

01:29:17   and who has these other ventures.

01:29:19   And just to think of them in a very detached

01:29:24   and abstract way of like, okay,

01:29:25   how do I wanna work with these various things?

01:29:28   and possibly to calm down fans of the YouTube channel.

01:29:33   This ties into, I mentioned on a previous show

01:29:39   how my separation from the internet was like a bridge project

01:29:44   between the two yearly themes.

01:29:47   It's the same thing of, I wanna be detached from,

01:29:52   okay, this is so hard to talk about,

01:29:57   But there's this phenomenon where, like, when you are a person who makes things in public, people want to tell you what you are.

01:30:07   And part of my wanting to step back from the internet was lining up with this idea of the year of reorder of, I want to be detached from the audience telling me what I am.

01:30:26   And I made two videos while I was away,

01:30:31   and I was doing those two videos,

01:30:37   again, almost in a very different way

01:30:42   of approaching them as though I hadn't made videos before.

01:30:46   And it's like, oh, I know that there are ways

01:30:48   that I have made videos in the past,

01:30:50   but let me try something different here.

01:30:52   And I think very attentive listeners could hear,

01:30:55   like I was going to the library and like looking at old books and this is a very different

01:30:59   kind of thing but I was intentionally approaching it that way.

01:31:02   And I made these two videos and it's like, man, I just loved the process of making these

01:31:09   two videos.

01:31:11   And I put them out in the world and I was like, I'm really happy to have uploaded these

01:31:16   videos.

01:31:17   I'm really pleased with the way those two came out.

01:31:19   I'm so happy with them.

01:31:22   But I'm also very happy to not have seen how the world reacts to them because I'm trying

01:31:30   to focus on this idea of how do I feel about it?

01:31:35   The answer is I feel great.

01:31:37   I'm sure, you know, like anytime you release one of these things to a very large audience,

01:31:42   like there's lots of people who hate it for whatever reason, but it's just like, oh, okay,

01:31:46   I feel really good about this.

01:31:47   And it's like, okay, that's a thing that I want more in life.

01:31:51   And not hearing back from the audience is a key part of that.

01:31:59   Like, I don't want their thoughts to push me in a particular way

01:32:04   while I feel like I'm in this little bit of a transition.

01:32:08   Like, oh, I tried something new, and oh, people really don't like it this way,

01:32:12   and now it makes me feel worse about a thing that I judged as good for me.

01:32:16   For me, I'm just trying to avoid that whole feedback.

01:32:20   And it's been the same thing with the podcast of like,

01:32:23   we put out a podcast, I really hope people like it,

01:32:27   but the only thing that I'm left with

01:32:29   is my own judgment of the thing.

01:32:31   And then, if we're talking about a show,

01:32:34   like what you think about it as well.

01:32:37   I mentioned another example of a thing

01:32:39   that I did very deliberately differently,

01:32:43   which is I'm working on another video.

01:32:46   and I actually took a trip that involved going to places

01:32:51   that the video is about as part of just the background

01:32:57   process of making the video.

01:33:00   - Like immersing yourself in the idea, right?

01:33:03   - Yeah, yeah, that's a good way to put it.

01:33:05   Like I'm being immersed in the idea.

01:33:07   Was that necessary for the video that I'm going to make?

01:33:11   Almost certainly not.

01:33:12   (laughing)

01:33:14   - It wasn't, it was not.

01:33:15   Yeah, listeners, Myke does know what this is about, and I think he thinks it's kind

01:33:20   of hilarious, but…

01:33:22   I encouraged it, but still thought it was ridiculous.

01:33:25   You encouraged it with a twinkle in your eye, right, which is like, "Hehehe," is the

01:33:30   way I would describe it.

01:33:31   Yeah, but little did I know how much disruption on my life that trip would incur.

01:33:35   Yeah, yeah, it's again, ripples in the pond, but that's a… but it's just another

01:33:41   Another example of past gray would never in a thousand years have said, oh, it makes any

01:33:49   sense to spend 10 days driving around between a bunch of different locations that are related

01:33:57   to a thing that you're doing with no clear goal or target for what you're trying to achieve.

01:34:04   Looking at stuff you could have found in books.

01:34:06   Yeah, like this entire project could have been done through books.

01:34:11   This is not necessary in any way.

01:34:13   And specifically because of that, I felt like I want to try to do this in this different way.

01:34:19   And it's like, in some sense, it's totally a disaster because it has dramatically delayed and expanded the scope of the project, right?

01:34:28   But it doesn't, I feel fine with that because I wanted to try something that was just different.

01:34:34   and then I'm going to assess how do I feel about that in the end.

01:34:38   And so I don't know, I really I have some vague ideas about how I think this will work,

01:34:50   but I don't want to specifically say anything now because that really defeats the whole purpose of

01:34:59   the project. It's like, here's how I think I want to be different in the future, right? Like, well,

01:35:04   Well, no, I'm still figuring that out in the moment, but it is also the reason why,

01:35:15   come September, when I was ready to talk about themes, I also brought down the iron curtain

01:35:21   of isolation from the internet.

01:35:23   It's like, okay, this is the start of this thing, and I'm going away.

01:35:27   Yeah, it makes sense now, doesn't it, Myke?

01:35:30   Now I get it.

01:35:31   Yep, I get it now.

01:35:33   We weren't allowed to talk about themes, so I wasn't allowed to tell you, but yeah, that's

01:35:39   why it happened right then.

01:35:40   I'll try and put this on me.

01:35:42   Look, I didn't want there to be spoilers.

01:35:46   The thing with the internet is also just, it's so related to this to me because of this

01:35:52   phenomenon of you're not just doing things, you're doing things and then there's this

01:35:58   audience reaction. And I felt that I've needed a period of time where I don't have this audience

01:36:06   reaction, where I don't have the thing where people tell you what they want you to be,

01:36:13   right? Or for everything that you release, they're like, this is how it should have been,

01:36:16   it should have been this way or that way. Like, I just wanted a period of time where

01:36:22   I didn't have that. That's also partly why this isolation from the internet is a is like

01:36:27   a transitional project between the total failed year of order into the year of reorder.

01:36:35   Is the internet project over?

01:36:38   I mean, do you really want to get into it, Myke?

01:36:42   I mean, honestly, it feels like something we should delve into

01:36:48   a little more, but like high level, are you loosening it? Are you staying the same?

01:36:57   High level, I'm not ready to come back.

01:37:03   All right.

01:37:04   That's my feeling is I've actually been dreading the approach of January,

01:37:12   which is like the end of the project.

01:37:15   I think this is wrapped up in a lot of stuff though because like of course you're going to

01:37:20   of course I'm going to what?

01:37:21   dread it like of course like it's terrifying because when you do if you do

01:37:30   to people that follow you it's gonna be an event and making that kind of like reappearance is like

01:37:41   like it's like a thing that you will have to go through. So like it's gonna be a tough

01:37:50   transition to go back to that eventually.

01:37:54   Yeah, it's not going to be a great transition back under any circumstances. But I've been

01:38:00   I've been dreading it. Because and that's why like, we're talking about our January

01:38:06   year themes for the year, right?

01:38:10   I don't feel remotely like I'm done here.

01:38:13   And I think that I'm still in a phase

01:38:15   where this isolation is good.

01:38:19   And I don't know, I also,

01:38:22   I feel like I particularly left at a good time where,

01:38:28   I don't know, there just seemed like there was a lot more,

01:38:33   particularly on like Reddit,

01:38:35   like speculation about my private life

01:38:37   and personal life and things.

01:38:38   And I was like, this is a great time to go away.

01:38:40   I don't wanna deal with any of this.

01:38:42   And I don't want people giving me feedback

01:38:43   about my work for a little while.

01:38:45   And I just wanna disappear

01:38:46   and do this whole like reorder thing.

01:38:50   And I just, I'm really not ready yet to actually come back.

01:38:55   I do have, we don't need to go into details now

01:39:00   because it doesn't really matter.

01:39:01   but like low level, I am mulling over ways to,

01:39:06   instead of having like, oh, I'm back,

01:39:09   I'm back from my HATIS,

01:39:11   to do a much more gradual transition.

01:39:15   Like that's something that's on my mind.

01:39:16   - Yeah, I would assume that you will begin

01:39:19   by bringing back some stuff that was just your consumption.

01:39:24   Right? - Yeah.

01:39:25   - It's like as a way to like start stepping into it,

01:39:27   like, you know, maybe you just go to places

01:39:31   you've not been to in a while, you know, and instead of it being like "send tweet,

01:39:36   graze back" right like as your first thing, it's maybe a bit much.

01:39:41   Yeah, that would be a bad idea. Yeah, I don't know. I don't know, but it's, I think part

01:39:50   of it is also, I had anticipated that by this point I would have had a couple more videos

01:39:59   out by the time January was going to roll around. And partly because of my idiotic idea

01:40:07   to go traveling around, right? It's like, well, that's a worse idea. The plan was there

01:40:12   should have been two more videos by now, but that just didn't happen. And that also is

01:40:17   partly why I feel like I'm not quite ready. Because I did want to do a few more productions

01:40:24   where it's the same thing.

01:40:25   those videos have to come out before you would even start to think about it.

01:40:30   Because this is part of the idea, right?

01:40:33   It's like seeing, does this actually...

01:40:34   Because, you know, you enjoyed the process of those two videos, it was great,

01:40:38   but was that just because it was the first ones?

01:40:40   Like, maybe you need to do some more, right? I get it.

01:40:42   That is exactly right. That's exactly what it is.

01:40:45   It's like, well, the production of those two, and as I discussed at the time,

01:40:50   maybe it was a fluke for various reasons?

01:40:52   Yes.

01:40:53   and it's why I want to do a bit more.

01:40:56   I actively encourage that thinking.

01:40:58   I think that you are taking the best course of action for yourself right now.

01:41:01   I think that, genuinely, I think that if you had a plan and you've not saw it through yet,

01:41:08   I think you really need to do that before you can move forward.

01:41:12   I think that this is probably the best course of action.

01:41:14   That's very interesting, Myke, because I know that when we have discussed this in person,

01:41:19   you have mostly been like, "You've got to come back to the internet."

01:41:22   You do have to come back. I believe you really do need to come back at some point.

01:41:28   But you haven't expressed to me this idea about the videos and how that ties into it.

01:41:34   So I think that you shouldn't do it until you're at a point where you have at least

01:41:39   achieved what you originally set out to do, which was to make some productions

01:41:42   under this veil. And if you've not, considering you've only really done one, I mean, it's two

01:41:49   videos but they were like pretty pretty tightly linked. They were a project yeah. I think you need to have

01:41:53   more done beforehand. I do 100% think that you need to come back to the internet in some form.

01:42:00   Right. I mean genuinely I believe that you at least need to have more promotion methods than

01:42:07   you do currently right like I think that it's important for you in the future. I also do believe

01:42:15   that like, while I completely support your idea of why you would maybe want to step away

01:42:22   from some internet communities, that ultimately some way of getting feedback where you want

01:42:29   it in a way that fits you would be ultimately beneficial, but I think it might be a new

01:42:36   method maybe.

01:42:37   Yeah, I agree with all of that. Like I do. I'm going to come back at some point. But

01:42:42   feels like it's too soon. I will say, personally, this has flown by. This whole thing has gone

01:42:49   by pretty quickly. I didn't even realize that now should have been the time until you mentioned

01:42:55   it. Yeah, it has gone by far too fast. And again, I do feel like being separated from

01:43:05   audience reactions. And what I think of as like the Hank Green indicator of like when

01:43:13   the audience is talking about you once you reach a certain size as opposed to the audience

01:43:19   is talking to you.

01:43:20   That is a really weird phase to go through.

01:43:23   Yeah and it's like I never like I never with the Reddit in particular like I never really

01:43:29   wanted that phase to happen. But in September, like it was approaching like 100,000 subscribers

01:43:38   on the subreddit. And I think I've tried really, really hard to keep it a place where people

01:43:46   feel like they're talking to me, they're not talking about me. But at some scale, it just

01:43:51   becomes, it becomes so hard to manage.

01:43:54   It's weird to hear you say that because honestly, I love the subreddit because it can be very useful

01:44:01   but I have always felt that way since we started this show. The way that conversation occurs there

01:44:09   is so different to other platforms that I'm a part of where there is conversation that is happening

01:44:15   about you and the work as opposed to in every other feedback mechanism that I have, it's direct.

01:44:23   So like people are talking to me.

01:44:25   I mean, I noticed this with YouTube comments as well, right?

01:44:27   Like we were talking about this,

01:44:29   that like it eventually becomes that people stop saying

01:44:32   like, "Hey, I like this thing that you did,"

01:44:35   to be like, "What is this thing he's doing?"

01:44:38   - Yeah, exactly.

01:44:39   - That there becomes a, "We're talking to each other,"

01:44:42   as opposed to, "We're talking to the creator."

01:44:45   And Reddit has always had that feeling for me,

01:44:47   because I guess for you, it grew slowly,

01:44:51   where for me, I kind of just like stepped in

01:44:53   and it was already a thing.

01:44:55   - You have been at the more of the brunt of it

01:44:57   because I feel like for most of the time,

01:45:00   commenters are talking to me.

01:45:02   And then when we start Cortex,

01:45:03   it's like this mic guy showed up.

01:45:04   Let's talk about this mic guy.

01:45:06   Yeah, exactly.

01:45:08   But so, you know, and that's also partly why

01:45:12   I wanted to step away because it's the same thing of,

01:45:15   oh, people are having conversations about you,

01:45:19   but it's really about their idea of you.

01:45:22   And I did just want to step away from that

01:45:26   while I'm feeling like I don't even really know

01:45:28   who I am at this moment.

01:45:30   And so I really don't want to read comments

01:45:33   where people are talking about the me

01:45:36   that exists in their head.

01:45:38   Like I just don't even want to see it.

01:45:39   I don't want to be influenced by it in any way

01:45:41   because the year of reorder is about being open

01:45:47   the possibility of difference. And just like deleting the grey guide and starting over

01:45:54   so that I'm getting rid of those re-influencing patterns, stepping away from feedback on the

01:46:02   internet in any way was a similar thing. Like I want to step away from people influencing

01:46:09   me to continue to be the grey that's in their head as opposed to being the grey that

01:46:15   I want to be. So anyway, year of reorder, Myke. That's what it is.

01:46:22   We've got some interesting ones going on. I'm excited about this next year. Like,

01:46:28   I like that we've got a bunch of interesting things happening, but I also like that there

01:46:32   is more accidental overlap in our themes than there has been before, I think.

01:46:37   Good. I'm glad you feel that way so that I can feel like less of a crazy person.

01:46:42   Yeah, honestly, I think that they are coming from very different places, but they are closer

01:46:48   than I think we would have expected them to be.

01:46:50   Yeah, I agree.

01:46:52   It'll be an interesting year.

01:46:55   So Gray, I asked for some Ask Cortex for people to send in their themes so we could share

01:47:01   them with maybe a bit of inspiration for our listeners when they're thinking about setting

01:47:05   their own.

01:47:06   But we also got a handful of questions as well that I wanted to go through.

01:47:10   we have kind of answered as the show's gone on, but there was a few more that I wanted

01:47:14   to kind of add in to add a little bit more clarity. So the first comes from Jenny. Jenny

01:47:19   says, "The show has had me thinking more along the lines of themes and not resolutions."

01:47:23   Good. Excellent. Good work, Jenny.

01:47:25   improvement. Yep. Good, good.

01:47:27   "My 2019 theme is the year of me, but it's the same as my 2018 theme. How do you feel

01:47:33   about this theme? Do you think it's lazy and unfocused? Or if it's unfinished, do you think

01:47:38   it's sensible and when should theme planning start? So there's a bunch of questions in

01:47:43   here I want to try and break them down a little bit. So I think ultimately, right, you should

01:47:48   be focusing on yourself for your theme. Like that is the point, I think. Like there should

01:47:54   be at least a level of like me in this. But I think that maybe the year of me is potentially

01:48:01   a little broad. Like you should have some sub themes, I think, or, you know, just pick

01:48:07   a specific element to focus on?

01:48:09   What do you think?

01:48:10   - Yeah, with the themes, it really depends

01:48:15   on what does it mean to you.

01:48:17   - Yeah.

01:48:18   - And it's like when I say, oh, my year theme

01:48:20   is the year of reorder.

01:48:22   Well, that doesn't mean anything to anyone.

01:48:24   - It's super broad and means nothing.

01:48:25   - Yeah, yeah, it means nothing at all,

01:48:27   but it does mean something to me.

01:48:29   So year of me can be that, but I agree with you, Myke.

01:48:35   Again, in terms of foundational ideas, for me,

01:48:38   one of the foundational ideas is you should always

01:48:40   be working towards building a life that you want to live.

01:48:43   And so I agree that all of the themes ultimately are

01:48:48   like the year of me in some way.

01:48:52   Even if you had a year theme that was something like,

01:48:55   I want to get better at socializing with people

01:48:58   or being better with my family or my husband or whatever,

01:49:01   like that kind of thing, it's still really about you

01:49:05   becoming a better person, even if it's externally focused.

01:49:09   So it does sound a little broad.

01:49:13   Obviously I have no problems with repeating a theme,

01:49:16   but now this may not be Jennie at all,

01:49:21   but I do wanna say that the one red flag for me here,

01:49:26   and the one thing that is why I really hate

01:49:28   the hippy dippy stuff, and I think you should stay

01:49:30   far away from it, is this sounds very close

01:49:35   to the concept of working on yourself.

01:49:38   And working on yourself is a hippie language for going to retreats and

01:49:49   thinking about your childhood and how that affects you now.

01:49:53   And I just, I know people who get caught up in this weird vortex of like,

01:49:59   they're always working on themselves, but you know what changes about their life?

01:50:05   Nothing. Nothing ever changes.

01:50:07   And they're working on themselves for 20 years and go nowhere.

01:50:14   So I just think like, just be careful about getting sucked into that kind of world or that kind of mentality.

01:50:25   That's my only little bit of concern is like the language is just getting a little close to this kind of thing.

01:50:32   So I want to come back to one of Jenny's questions, but I want to jump ahead to one because I

01:50:39   think that it could help.

01:50:40   So Jay asks, "Do you write up your themes and how do you write them up?"

01:50:44   So I kind of write a heading and then write a bunch of bullet points that relate to the

01:50:49   heading to help flesh it out for me a little more.

01:50:52   I kind of write it as just as I write most things honestly, which is almost like an outline.

01:50:57   It's just everything's bulleted.

01:50:58   I write everything in bullets.

01:51:00   I don't know why, it's just how I think.

01:51:02   I say this and then I go on to this,

01:51:05   this is like indented points which relate to the one above

01:51:08   and then will outdent to continue writing something different,

01:51:13   which maybe relates to a point before it.

01:51:15   That's kind of how I write. You see it all the time,

01:51:17   because it's how I write our show notes.

01:51:19   I write in a pseudo outline style.

01:51:22   So this is how I write up my themes as well.

01:51:25   I'll write down, so for example,

01:51:28   example, like I have written down here, right, like the year of diversification.

01:51:34   So then I've got another point.

01:51:35   Looking at ways to ensure long term stability by diversifying my income.

01:51:40   Indent, Cortex brand, Indent.

01:51:42   This ties in with stabilizing. Indent, looking for collaborators, right?

01:51:45   Like this is how it's actually written out in my notes document that I keep,

01:51:50   which I'm adding to as my kind of my thoughts start to crystallize about

01:51:54   what my theme is going to look like.

01:51:56   So I wanted to mention this because I will refer back

01:51:58   to Jenny and say, you should try and do something like this.

01:52:02   Write out what the year of mean means to you

01:52:05   a little bit more, and you might be able to hone in

01:52:08   on something specific to just be focusing on

01:52:12   that ladders up to making you better.

01:52:14   - Yeah, I'd agree with that.

01:52:18   And for me, the year theme exists mainly in the gray guide,

01:52:23   and it's just at the top, so it's just a thing that I see.

01:52:27   And again, that is a very unstructured document.

01:52:32   I don't, not even as structured as your bullet points

01:52:36   and indentations and things,

01:52:37   but it is a thing that I review and add to,

01:52:41   and will be reviewing and adding to

01:52:43   like over the course of the next year.

01:52:45   And I think what's important about that

01:52:48   is it's a living document that changes,

01:52:51   And it may be helpful in something like a year of me

01:52:56   to have that as well,

01:52:58   like a place where you're going back to the thing

01:53:01   and you don't get stuck in the same loop

01:53:05   because when you write a note to yourself

01:53:08   about like being better about X

01:53:11   and you look at it every month and you think like,

01:53:13   wow, I'm exactly the same as I was with that.

01:53:15   I haven't gotten better at all.

01:53:17   It's a motivating factor to be like,

01:53:19   well, whatever I'm doing isn't working

01:53:20   and I should change something else.

01:53:22   So I do think it helps to write it down somewhere

01:53:26   and to see it and to think about it in a structured way,

01:53:31   even if like in my version, it's very unstructured,

01:53:34   but coming back to it and seeing it

01:53:36   and keeping it in your mind is what's important.

01:53:38   - I don't think you're gonna like this,

01:53:39   but the gray guide sounds like a mood board to me in a way.

01:53:43   It's like, here is a bunch of mixed media, which relates--

01:53:47   - I don't know what a mood board is.

01:53:48   - Good, which kind of relates to a specific idea.

01:53:52   So you're gonna put quotes and maybe images

01:53:55   and links and stuff into one document

01:53:57   and they're not necessarily tied to each other

01:54:00   but they all line up to the overall thinking

01:54:04   behind the document.

01:54:05   - Yeah, I mean, if we're going with what you said before,

01:54:09   I don't know what a mood board is,

01:54:11   but it's more like a user guide for yourself.

01:54:15   That's what the great guide is.

01:54:16   - You made a mood board, but it's cool, man.

01:54:18   go for it. Okay. Arian asks, have you considered quarterly themes, i.e. every three months?

01:54:23   I mean, Myke, you know that I love seasons. Yep. Seasons at the best. Yes, the answer

01:54:28   is yes. But I thought about it, but I'm not personally sold on how I would implement it.

01:54:38   Maybe I would want like, rolling themes, you know, but I don't know. Right now for me,

01:54:45   I think a yearly theme is really good. Quarterly themes could be kind of interesting. Gray

01:54:50   thinks about this more than I do. I want to see how this year starts to unfold and then

01:54:56   maybe yes, we could kind of break it down a little bit more. Maybe if you have your

01:55:02   entire year theme, there might be things that you want to focus on for three months at a

01:55:06   time which all add up to it. Like yes, if that is a thing that makes more sense to you

01:55:10   as a person, go for it, you know? But I haven't got there yet.

01:55:16   Yeah, I mean, for me, this feeling of like, oh, waking up and thinking about what do I

01:55:23   want my current situation to be, that strikes me as very likely to be maybe something that's

01:55:30   closer to like a two-seasonal part of the year of reorder. I don't know, but that's

01:55:37   I'm very flexible about the start times and the end times don't really matter.

01:55:42   I will also just say though that I am in love with the idea of seasonal themes and I also

01:55:48   think that they would make a perfect beginner mode because it gives you an opportunity to

01:55:53   review it more.

01:55:55   So if you're just starting out with the idea of themes, making a theme for the winter and

01:56:01   then you review it when the season changes and thinks do you want to extend it, do you

01:56:04   want to change it. I think that's a good way to get started. If you've been doing

01:56:11   it for a while, a year theme does make possibly more sense, but seasonal themes could totally

01:56:16   be a good beginner's mode for theming your life.

01:56:21   And Lou asks, "Is the yearly theme simply a way to categorize activities you would have

01:56:26   undertaken regardless of the theme, or do you actually do new planning or find the theme

01:56:31   driving new activities you wouldn't have done otherwise.

01:56:34   It's what I said before that I find it's a way to nudge my thinking in particular

01:56:39   directions over the course of the year. It's things I could have stumbled upon

01:56:44   but by having the names, having the words, having the idea of this theme, it helps push me in the

01:56:55   right, well I think is the right direction for me. Like I don't know how long it would take me to

01:57:00   find this stuff otherwise.

01:57:01   - Yeah, and that can definitely lead to new things.

01:57:08   Like I think, you know, my recent research trip, right?

01:57:14   That's a thing that happened because of this,

01:57:20   but really why did it happen is because I was sitting down

01:57:25   and I was working on a video and this idea flitted

01:57:28   across my brain of, "Hey, you could go to this place."

01:57:32   And because I already had the idea of reorder

01:57:38   and trying new things in place,

01:57:40   I didn't immediately dismiss it.

01:57:43   Like I played with it for a moment and I thought,

01:57:45   "Is this a good idea?

01:57:46   I don't know."

01:57:47   And then it spiraled up into becoming actually a thing.

01:57:50   Whether it was a good idea or not is still debatable,

01:57:53   but it was a new action that resulted from

01:57:57   in the moment, not immediately dismissing something,

01:58:01   giving it just a second or two to settle

01:58:04   and to think about.

01:58:08   So yeah, I think that's why I like them as opposed to goals.

01:58:13   It's a very different kind of thing.

01:58:15   - So we also had some listeners that sent in their themes

01:58:20   and I wanted to touch on a few of them

01:58:22   because I hope that it might help inspire people

01:58:26   little bit, that if they hear more ideas of themes that people have, it might help them

01:58:32   kind of solidify theirs, especially because mine and yours are pretty similar this time.

01:58:37   I want to hear people's themes. I really want to hear it. Tell me.

01:58:41   So Mark is working on the year of production for 2019. 2018, Mark spent a lot of time getting

01:58:47   his life in order and now wants to do something with it. So he's going to actually... So last

01:58:52   year was getting stuff together, next year, this year is actually making stuff.

01:58:58   That's great. I like it.

01:59:00   Bridger says this year's theme was the year of the bright to focusing on mental health

01:59:06   and financial stability. 2019 is the year of advancement focusing on moving my projects

01:59:11   into full production and release. Love it, right? Spend time getting your house in order,

01:59:17   then go out and do something.

01:59:19   I really like that as a name,

01:59:21   as the Year of the Bright. - Yeah, isn't it nice?

01:59:22   Yeah.

01:59:23   - It's, but I think it's a good example of,

01:59:25   I've always said before,

01:59:27   it needs to be a thing that means something to you.

01:59:30   Like just in the abstract,

01:59:31   the Year of the Bright would mean nothing

01:59:32   without a little bit of an explanation,

01:59:34   but I can see how that really resonates

01:59:37   with the person who's focusing on it.

01:59:39   So I like that a lot.

01:59:40   - Joshua's yearly theme has been, for 2018,

01:59:44   the Year of Sustainability.

01:59:45   Joshua graduated this year,

01:59:48   has been focusing on the transition from crazy college life into something more sustainable.

01:59:53   The real world, I'll call it. Joshua is in. The year of the real world.

01:59:57   Mary's yearly theme is stability. In the past four years, Mary's graduated college as well,

02:00:04   started three new jobs, got married and bought a house. In 2019, Mary is planning on stability.

02:00:11   "Mary, we are kindred spirits, you and I."

02:00:15   (laughing)

02:00:17   So we actually have pretty much the same theme.

02:00:20   Stability, stabilization, it's the same thing.

02:00:22   So Mary, I hope this episode has been of some help to you.

02:00:25   (laughing)

02:00:27   - That's great. - That's a lot of stuff.

02:00:29   - That is a lot going on.

02:00:30   - Ravenous Badges says, "I think I need something

02:00:34   "like the year of rebuilding.

02:00:36   "I was laid off last January

02:00:37   "and have been stumbling accidentally

02:00:39   through an almost functional freelance business, but I need to build something that will actually

02:00:43   last not just a few things here and there that somehow mostly work.

02:00:49   Mmm that's good. Good name and good target.

02:00:52   Blind Blonde PhD says "I'm continuing my theme from last year, the year of finishing.

02:00:58   I have so many half-finished projects that I just need to get done and move on. I did

02:01:03   make some progress this year by finishing off some older stuff, but I still managed

02:01:07   to add even more things on my plate.

02:01:09   Part of that is the nature of my job

02:01:11   as an academic publishing papers,

02:01:13   and I have worked with colleagues

02:01:15   to start a writing group to help with this theme.

02:01:17   So progress has been made,

02:01:19   but I need to make more before switching to a new theme.

02:01:22   - What a perfect theme to do for two years,

02:01:25   the year of finishing, right?

02:01:26   - Yeah, I did. - It's like, I'm not done.

02:01:28   I started it, and I'd be fooling myself

02:01:31   if I started a new theme,

02:01:32   so it's going to be another one of these until we're done.

02:01:35   That's perfect.

02:01:36   What a thematic theme.

02:01:40   And finally, The Chaletco has said, "The idea of yearly themes has been so helpful

02:01:46   for me.

02:01:47   This past year was the year of independence, and though I didn't accomplish everything

02:01:50   I wanted, I was still proud of my progress.

02:01:53   Because I'm excited, here's a high-level summary of my victories this year.

02:01:56   I traveled solo for the first time, graduated university, started my first business, got

02:02:01   my first paying clients, got a full-time job, and learned to drive."

02:02:05   I think we can take full responsibility for the Sheleko's progress this year, right?

02:02:12   Because the yearly theme, so pat on the back for us, like yes, look at everything we help

02:02:16   them do.

02:02:17   I think the Sheleko takes all the responsibility for the things that he has done.

02:02:22   But we can claim to have inspired.

02:02:25   That's the claim that we can take.

02:02:28   We can do that.

02:02:29   But I think that's awesome.

02:02:30   That is a great list of stuff.

02:02:31   That's a busy year.

02:02:32   This is why I like themes and year of independence,

02:02:35   like all of those things that line up along that idea.

02:02:38   You've gotten stuff done.

02:02:39   It's nice to see that sort of thing.

02:02:41   And I really hope that people who've listened

02:02:45   to this episode, it's a thing that you take away

02:02:49   and you think of, and at some point articulate

02:02:53   in your mind, like what is the theme

02:02:56   that you are going to have for the next period of time?