Can you remember what was on your mind last year? Or the year before? Or ten years ago? Can you see the value of knowing what was on your mind in the past?
I do. I love and live the value of the review. I go back in time as often as it helps me.
I’ve become a huge fan of reviewing my day as a way of managing the meaning I have. I hate the idea that I’m sailing through my life without introspection or considering what I used to find important and have no awareness of now.
Reviewing the previous day is how I stay on track day by day. You can see what that’s like in my TEDx Talk here.
But I accidentally stumbled into what I was thinking about and focusing on 10 years ago. I seldom look back that far but it was an enlightening bit of accidental time travel. Far different than flipping through my journal. It was raw real and not that many of my words of lots of what I was thinking about. It was a fun game of interpretation and deduction.
It was a collection of dots to connect.
I spent about an hour on the plane yesterday doing housekeeping in Evernote. I use Evernote for everything from Christmas lists (you know a family member says, “I’d love one of these…”) to notes on people I find interesting. I drop all that stuff in Evernote. I put notes on restaurants. I take notes in church and save them there. I clip and save articles (digital and print). It’s a my big ole digital filing cabinet.
In sorting and cleaning out notes from 2008 through 2011 I took myself on a tour of what I was thinking about, focusing on and interested in.
Here’s what I learned:
- I was thinking about a lot fear, growing a business, getting traction for my ideas.
- I had lots of “ideas” that I was going to work on. Most of them just sat there in Evernote. And that’s probably best, many were dumb.
- QR Codes were a thing, then they weren’t and then. . .
- Black turtle necks!
- Probably connected to that there were many clips and articles about Steve Jobs
- Occupy Wall Street (huh, wondered what happened to that?)
- In 2011 I was fascinated by the idea of training the brain.
- I wrote my some self cryptic notes that make no sense right now (hopefully unrelated to the point above).
- On 11/11/11 I clipped an article that caused me to wonder how long I would live.
- I saw the day I first noticed Tom Waits and listened to Last Leaf on the Tree.
- I can follow an argument with myself about narrow niches verses broad audience (ultimately narrow niches won almost by default).
- Just based on photos I clipped, those were the days of eating whatever I wanted.
- I saved “expert” articles pronouncing the death of email, blogs, social media and the post office to name a few.
- I can tell I was thinking hard about how to keep our growing company growing.
- A bunch of “experts” were on my radar that I ignore now. On my mind then and now are real experts like Roy, Hugh, Seth, Tim, Jim.
- I loved reading my travel and Christmas lists from those years.
What about you? What were you like 10 years ago? What was your focus?
Here’s a little of what I learned from that quick clean up:
- Fear is a constant in my life (sadly). I do better than I did in those days. But fear’s still there.
- I eat better than I did in those days.
- I had some really dumb ideas I’m glad I didn’t pursue.
- I had some great ideas that I’m going to revisit.
- I know I was right about narrow niches and what experts I should follow.
- I should clean up Evernote more often.
Figure out how to get to know your younger self again. You probably have something to teach yourself.
I always love hearing from you. You can email me at sthomas [at] wizardofads [dot] com
Photo Credit: darkday