PB #02/22 - Review, Celebrating Wins & Fear
Joining Substack in the past year has been exciting.
June 15th my first post went live. So began the adventure of meeting new writers, making friends and writing about ideas that I’d never have explored otherwise.
I started this newsletter as a way to discover my thoughts on learning, education, creativity and what being an effective teacher looks like.
Here’s a peek:
Playful Learning was a theme that featured strongly. I found it revealing that the 2-part series on play was inspired by a casual reference to it’s importance on my first Substack post.
Making me wonder about the nature of our creativity: it’s well known that what we consume shapes and directs our output. But, it also seems to me, our output can inspire and inform future creative expressions.
That said, a listing of my 3 favorite posts ( the ones I enjoyed writing) in no preferential order:
And Your Top 3, based on the views and feedback
I try not to read the acknowledgment section of a book.
While it’s littered with tens of names of people unfamiliar to the reader, a well written one touches at the soul of the work: the people who are important to its production.
A good one affords the author a chance at reflection. It’s the stop before the go.
January is acknowledgement season. It’s time to appreciate 365 days that are now personal history. But I’ve never been a fan of appreciating my progress because it has always seemed too self-absorbed, too self-focused. This perspective goes well with a belief I had grown up in: “you will not be selfish” is the message that was preached countless time over.
To me this meant “focusing on the results of your efforts is wrong. It is inconsiderate. Insensitive even.”
Rarely have I stopped to look back and truly savor the wins, graces or even failures of my adult life. You never want to stop and look when it feels like a waste: a slowing down of precious productive hours.
Being seen as lazy because you’re taking time to think about past moves is not what anyone would want to be associated with. Not in these uncertain times. Not when the world needs saving, not when there are exciting ideas waiting to be discovered, new initiatives to be launched, new collaborations to jump into, super-insightful books waiting to be read or dope tweets to be analyzed.
To me, stopping was sin; stopping to think, blasphemy.
But I was afraid. Still am.
Fear is clumsy. But it always acts smart.
If you’d asked me what kept me going, I’d tell you why I had this strong sense of purpose pushing me towards my goals. I had to keep at it because, I had to. Without this urging and pushing, I felt like I wasn’t living up to my perceived potential. Constant motion was the only way, I knew, to make progress.
But keeping strong was the farce that kept me from looking at the disappointing gully of emptiness and grief haunting my soul. Stopping meant looking. But looking at the pile up in the rearview when there are promising vistas to chase after in the disappearing horizon isn’t such an attractive proposal.
Fear became my fuel.
The fear of failure, the shame-filled label of being the one in your class who didn’t make it, became the motivating force for my dreams. Living in a communal culture, the fear of being the one older folk pointed out as an example-not-to-copy, doesn’t help either.
But our bodies happen to know better. Our consciousness keeps track of every overdraw. And when we mortgage our souls to the hilt, there’s only one way it goes: a crash, burn, and then a forced stop.
The thing I was afraid of the most happened: I stopped. I burned out. I ran out of gas, my wheels were tattered and my engine was smoking.
I stopped and the good news is I didn’t die. Here I am writing this and here you are reading it.
I didn’t get what I wanted. I found too many ideas to explore than I could keep up with, I collected a pile of cool tweet-threads that I won’t seem to be getting back to any day soon, and my to-read list is now 2 meters high.
I blasphemed the gods of productivity but somehow I survived to write about it.
The fear came from a place of insecurity. A place that always reminded me that I am not enough. It is not exciting to discover that I was doing just to feel useful, loved, treasured and valued: acknowledged.
»Books & Reading
Currently Reading: Personality Isn’t Permanent by Benjamin Hardy.
While it does fall under self-help, the book is backed up with lots of evidence on the misplaced myths and faux-science of Personality.
It’s an easy read but soaking in the content and making time for the reflection questions that accompany every sub-heading takes some work.
Recommended for anyone who’s stuck and needs to gain clarity into their own limiting mindset.
I began Chapter 2 this week as I work through the content slowly.
»On Self-Worth & Accomplishment
When you’ve always received conditional love you may find that you struggle to detach your sense of worth from your wins.
Here’s a compassionate take on the kind of behaviors that alienate us from ourselves, from our world and from the people who truly matter to us.
»Photo of The Week
How I Commute to Work:
Nairobi’s morning traffic is the stuff of tales. But I like using boda boda.
A trip that would gobble an hour takes 15 minutes: huge time-savings especially on my morning commute.
I took this photo last September when the weather was friendlier.
It’s a fast way to get to work when the weather’s favorable. But not so cute when it rains.
Have a Safe Week!
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