Three words for 2020

I’m kickstarting a new tradition to commence this new year (2020) that’s borrowed from my master’s thesis at Carnegie Mellon — nearly 20 years ago! Instead of trying to trying to massively survey anything and everything on a topic, simply select three words as the cornerstone of analysis, the intersections of which form the basis of a theme. So instead of “resolutions” per se, which we know often fail for reasons, I’ve decided to focus on three interrelated concepts or words that pertain in various ways to my life — at home and at the office — to give me a focus for exploration and deepen understanding, or utility of them. This year I’ve selected ambiguity, synthesis, and resilience. Let me explain…

  • Ambiguity: there’s a great deal of “not knowing” or “not understanding” in the ever-changing rhythms of work and life, and thus learning how to roll with the inevitable punches (or flow with the turbulent tides) becomes vital. And in some instances, ambiguity can become a moment for creativity and resourcefulness… 
  • Synthesis: Steve Jobs famously said that creativity is simply “connecting things” — correlating moments of inspiration, data points, lessons, conversations, tools, etc. to arrive at a better understanding or informed intuition. How for can synthesis go, what are the limits, how can this become a way of navigating ambiguity perhaps?
  • Resilience: Setbacks, mistakes, failures, and just plain awkward “oops” moments are inevitable when pursuing something new or difficult (or dealing with a new thing thrown at you!) …and must be respected as such. Being able and willing to bounce back stronger and more confident. Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is a big aspect, too. What does resilience look like, and how it can be manifest in micro and macro forms?

As events happen and situations/conditions evolve throughout the year, I’ll be applying these three words accordingly and post accordingly as to the progress of this approach. Stay tuned!

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