116: The Big Reset

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The three questions from @mikeschmitz really resonated with me. The questions are helpful in forming a plan for goals, habits or whatever you desire to call them! Thank you!

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@macsparky: When you were talking about adding altruism as a role you said, “I feel like the whole world is suffering and here I am making Field Guides and making podcasts and I’m not doing enough.” I certainly don’t want to discourage you from being altruistic, but don’t discount the positive impact you’re having by making Field Guides and podcasts. It may not feel like it “counts” if you make money from it, but you’re fortunate enough to have a job where you can make an impact on a lot of people. I know the stuff you’re making has definitely had a positive effect on my life (especially Focused).


On the episode @MacSparky talked about how his lack of margin is a longstanding issue: “I’ve been doing this my whole life. It hasn’t hit me yet, but I’m sure at some point it will.”

My thought was that while it may not have hit you in a dramatic and catastrophic way I’m guessing this lack of margin has been having more subtle effects. The kind of things that may only become obvious in retrospect after you gain some margin.


Thanks @ChrisUpchurch. Working on it. :slight_smile:

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Despite being a long-time Cortex listener, I’ve never done a yearly theme before. I’ve been pondering doing one this year ever since I listened to Myke and Grey’s 2021 Yearly Themes episode a couple of weeks ago. However, it was this episode of Focused that really helped crystalize it. 2021 is going to be “The Year of (Re)building.”

As with many people, my life was pretty thoroughly upended in 2020. My big project for 2021 will be to rebuild it. The parenthesis around the “Re” are an acknowledgement that this is not just a recreation of what I had before. Life will, of necessity, be different. It will include a new job, probably moving to a new city, new habits, new systems, new skills, and brand new relationships. There’s no going back to January 2020.


I LOVE that theme @ChrisUpchurch! So good.

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I just finished listening to this episode. I really enjoyed it.

I agree with @ChrisUpchurch @MacSparky has been doing altruistic work with his Field Guides. I know that I’ve learned a lot to help me get my most important things done by incorporating some things I learned from the Field Guides. So it’s altruistic but in a different way. You are empowering people to become their best which is a lot better IMO than just donating time or $ although those are good things to do too.

I have had a word of the year since 2013 when I picked one out as part of a Scrapbook class. I never did finish the scrapbook for that year as I discovered that I didn’t like the “make a scrapbook page using this technique about your word” as a way to explore my word but I did do a lot with it. Other years my word has helped me focus on the key things I wanted to do in each quarter. I’ve typically kept he same one for the whole year but 2020 was different. My 2020 Word, decided on in December 2019, was going to be Declutter. In March I decided to change it to Resilience. That helped me focus on the things that I could do that would make it easier to handle the stresses of the year. It was notabout getting rid of stuff but about being flexible in the face of the adversity of 2020.

For 2021 my word or theme is Curate. I have realized that simply decluttering and reducing the things and outmoded thoughts and ideas is not enough. I need to actively curate, document and tell the stories, of the things and beliefs I keep. While I am right now focused on physical things I see Curate as also applicable to habits, goals, thoughts and deeds. So I am evaluating every project, every physical item, every habit and mode of working to see whether it fits with who I believe I am or should become. I am curating those to the essential set and documenitng the meaning or the reasons for keeping them or in the case of physical items, the stories about why something that seems irrelevant has meaning to me.

I also use a version of the 3 questions each quarterly review except I have 4 of them. What should I stop? What should I start? What should I keep doing? What should I modify or change? For me often it’s not a stopping or starting of something but a change in how I do it or how much of it I do that is important.


I missed the first question. Would you mind restating it?

  1. What should I stop doing?
  2. What should I start doing?
  3. What should I keep doing?
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Curate is a great word/theme for this year - love it!

Perhaps what’s missing isn’t more doing but rather missing ways of being like expressions of ‘being’ courageous or ‘being’ generous. Doing more may not adequately compensate that which calls us to be.

Doing is our default go to as we’ve so mastered doing while we’re always beginners in the domain of being. Even the notion of a power user is about empowering greater doing.

All the adding up will never amount to being. Putting off being until we ‘do’ well enough won’t get there.