Lessons Learned in 2012

published on December 27th, 2012 · more from the blog →

If anything for me, 2012 was a year of clarity. A year of realisation that life is short, and that decisions should be conscious.

I've come to some conclusions on matters that have troubled me for a long time, maybe longer. Everyone struggles with the "where is my life going" question from time to time. It's not easy to know what you are doing with your life, but I have come to believe that my life may as well be an enjoyable one, and in order to enjoy it I need this thing called fulfilment (and set out a path to get there).

This year I openly agreed with friends and critics who said I think about things too much, but I still maintain that sometimes in life, things need to be thought about.
In 2012 I realised that too many important decisions in my life were made by chance, I hadn't consciously made those decisions and maybe they weren't the best thing for me. I realised that the path of my life can be determined by me, and if I don't like something I can change it.

Here are a few selected moments, realisations and quotes that have really struck a chord with me in 2012. They may be a little out of context here, but each one holds a special feeling and insight for me. I hope they don't make sense or leave a coherent picture, they are disparate in my mind too. I hope they mean something different to you than they do for me.

Achieving things

Life gives you what you settle for.

If you don't know what you want, you will never get it.
"All the evidence shows that people who know what they want are more likely to get what they want."
"If you have the destination in sight you'll be more likely to arrive at it."
"If you want something you've never had before, you'll need to do something you've never done before in order to get it."

The only way to discover whether you can have what you want is to pursue it. You can't discover this through imagination or thinking about it. You have to act.

You can learn to do anything if it is framed in the right way, drawing, writing, music, there are simple formulas and building blocks for each.

Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around.

Whatever you do, you'll be.

There is no certainty, only opportunity.


Feeling appreciated is an amazing feeling.

Helping people achieve something they wanted to made me feel proud.

You get from life what you put in to life.

We strive for glory and recognition, but that is only a distraction, if you have a talent, it is your duty to the world to share it and help people.

Thoughts follow action - act happy and you will be happy, act confident and you will be confident. Fake it until you become it.

Career, Calling, Life Goals

We need something to work towards, a personal mission statement, a compass, something we can ask of ourselves "is this helping my long term goals?"

Do the absolute best you can for people, no lies, no trickery. It will pay dividends much greater in the long term.
"Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable." - Franz Kafka
"In business as in life, all that matters is that you do something positive." - Richard Branson.

Be the best at what you do, and if you can't be the best at it, get more niche, go deeper into the subject until you get to a point nowhere else has been, then you will be creating work of value.

Gaming the system is never the goal, the goal is the goal.


Happiness isn't a destination, it's the journey.
"Skiing - The goal isn't to get to the bottom of the hill, it's to have a load of good runs before the sun goes down." - Seth Godin

Do not allow your happiness to be dictated by things out of your control

The little things, there's nothing bigger.

If you always try to get better and strive for progress rather than perfection, you stand a much better chance at being happy and satisfied with your life.

Noteworthy points from 2012

Tweetprose - Twitter (almost) wrote a novel

Langtons Ants in Javascript

Cosmic Clocks & Some Interplanetary Holiday Advice

ipHack - Attended Ipswich's first hack day.

Road trip across California.

Danced like a complete tool in front of people I respect.

Slit Scan Camera in HTML5

365 Project hit 3 million photos (currently 3.6)

Developed and tested 4 successful automated Forex trading systems.

Received a thank you card for helping someone, felt special.

Chose a different path.

Visited Google HQ in California for the annual Analytics Partner Summit.

Helped 6 people pass their GAIQ exams - felt proud.

November "Employee Of The Month" at HP Group, people said nice things about me. Felt special.

Wrote 2 (very) short stories, unpublished.