All posts tagged: change

Primary relationships impact personal network structures

In my post “Change over time“, I hypothesised that coupling up and separating with someone would have a significant impact on the structure of an individual’s personal network. After my divorce many years ago, my network structure shifted from one that was compartmentalised to that of a ‘sampler’. Little did I know that I would soon have the opportunity to actually test this theory. Between 2015 and 2016, I tracked how my London social network grew from a small group of pre-existing connections to a reasonably strong support system. In the resulting graph, I emphasised the role that non-local contacts had in helping me expand my community. Now I’ve taken 2016 data and compared it to the present in a new visual: The most dramatic differences between the 2016 and 2017 visualisations are the new node sitting at the centre of the graph and the cluster of new nodes on the far right. That central node is my new partner and the cluster to the right is the portion of his London network that he has introduced to …

Change over time

If you’ve met me, you’ve probably heard me say “change is the only constant” more than a few times. It’s been incredible to reflect on how much my personal network has evolved since university. After 12 months of The Reliants Project focused on my new London network, I decided to shift focus to 3 areas inspired by that exploratory research: Building a more complex visual of my entire personal network in the hopes that it will give me a more accurate representation of change in my network over time Visualising how new connections transition between the categories of stranger, acquaintance, friend and reliant (and even loosing touch) over time Identifying how significant life events (e.g. moving, marriage, parenthood, divorce, career shifts) impact connections’ positions within the network While I gathered data over the last 15 years, it was hard to reach back beyond 2004 (introduction of Gmail) with much accuracy. Nonetheless, this data captures 2 international moves (Massachusetts to Hong Kong in 2008, Hong Kong to London in 2015), my divorce (2010), and 4 career shifts. The first time series visual I created based on that data is below (click to enlarge).  If …

A new year, a new tool

It seemed fitting to spend New Years in the home of an accomplished clockmaker and ironic that not a single handcrafted-clock accurately announced the arrival of 2016. What the home lacked in terms of punctuality it made up for in English country charm and wood-burning warmth. It was the perfect place to quietly reflect on an eventful 2015 and prepare for the year ahead. In the company of a very reflective friend with a well-developed set of personal development tools, I attempted to glean some wisdom and adapt his methods to fit my goals. Until now, I had only two simple processes that I employed to reflect on my year and set future priorities. For the last 6 years I’ve kept track of my happiest moments and tried to identify any patterns, trends or shifts among them. I also regularly set personal themes to guide my actions over a set period of time, which typically lasted 3 months to a year. My friend introduced me to the idea of using radar charts to rate aspects of life on …

What remains

Visualisations can be extremely powerful. I vividly remember reading this Wait But Why post, appreciating how it cut through the noise and compelled me to evaluate priorities. When they revisited the topic a few weeks back it struck a cord, generating a lot of discussion among my network. As a result I decided to make my own version of the visual, focusing only on the time I might have left (acknowledging that each of the moments is a gift and certainly in no way guaranteed). The resulting graphic is above and highlighted stars are explained below. 2028: The year I’ll be 48, the same age my father was when he passed away 2038: The year my mother turns 90 2040: Providing I reach my 90th year, I will still have 1/3 of my life to look forward to 2058, 2061, 2066: My age will be the same as the average life expectancy of a US, UK and HK female (respectively) 2070: My 90th year Seeing the quantity of years laid out in this manner can be startling. There are an infinite number of estimates you …

One year of deliberate self exploration

Hard to believe that it has been 12 months since these 3 ideas shifted my mindset and sent me down a path of deliberate self exploration: Your relationship with yourself is the most important of your life. Why are you using other’s level of self-awareness as a barometer? Don’t you wish you knew what you’re truly passionate about? You would operate at an entirely different level if you identified that passion. Learning can be accelerated. You don’t have to learn about yourself or your passions at the rate of your own experience. It’s amazing to reflect back on all of the change (both obvious and invisible to the naked eye) that has occurred as a result of this ongoing process. New career direction, new city, new habits, new level of self acceptance and new learning tools just to name a few. While I’ve mentioned aspects of these changes in various posts (city, habits, learning tools), I haven’t clearly drawn a line between the process and these decisions. One of the most obvious shifts is what I’m paid to do. …

Starting from scratch

It’s not every day that you have the chance to begin with a clean slate and choose every aspect and detail of your daily life anew. Of course, the opportunity rarely comes without it’s own set of constraints (perhaps geographic, financial or otherwise), but constraints are exactly what designers thrive on. As you may have guessed, that is exactly the situation I have found myself in, hence the recent radio silence. Luckily it has provided ample opportunities for applying design to life, which I hope to share over a series of posts. Location location location. For me, the most important decision is where to live. Few decisions have more impact on daily life and require a clearer set of priorities. For me it boils down to the following criteria: convenience (access to public transport, green space, shops, ≤ 30 min commute), neighbourhood (safe, diverse and vibrant street-level culture), space (“good bones” and efficient layout, outdoor space a plus), community (close to groups with whom I want to be active, such as friends, fitness programmes, makers, startups) and cost (≤30% of salary is a common reference). There were a …

Falling off the wagon

These days, “falling of the wagon” means something different to each individual. For me, it represents a departure from the eating, exercise, meditation, and sleep foundation habits that I’ve worked hard to build into my life. Usually, it’s instigated by a change in routine that is either planned or unplanned. Routine changes can be as simple as a business trip or vacation, which send me off course in part because I use triggers and habit stacking to stay on track. A new environment or schedule sometimes doesn’t provide the prompts I’ve come to rely on to reinforce those healthy habits. Most of the time I can pick them back up upon my return, buy not always. Unanticipated life events can also disrupt the routine, particularly when they are emotionally charged. Both good and bad news have a tendency to throw a wrench in my plans because they encourage me to deviate from my regular schedule and set off a roller coaster of emotions. The impact of a single significant event is easier to identify, but often it’s the sum of several smaller events within a …

Vipassana meditation and seeds for innovation

First, here’s a high level summary of the technique and goal of Vipassana meditation as a primer. Basically, you use your own body sensations to internalize the belief of impermanence and stop the negative feedback loop of craving and aversion. You do this by first sharpening your mind to feel those sensations (using a separate meditation called Anapana Sati). You then use Vipassana to experience these sensations, both positive and negative, without reacting to them and maintaining equanimity. The long term goal is obviously enlightenment, but the byproduct is an extremely sharp mind that is able to feel any sensation throughout the body and free of the emotional turmoil that cravings and aversions generate. The reason you look inward is because while concentrating on an object or word does help quiet a busy mind, it doesn’t allow you to sharpen it. Also, wisdom gained through first hand experience is the most tangible and visceral. Vipassana meditation experience As part of my self exploration process, I decided to attend a 10 day silent meditation retreat in Kandy, …