Gathering Momentum

In life, there are times when you feel the Momentum.

On Friday, on a long drive back with my prospective business partner, on the return leg of what was a very good meeting, we talked a little about life, and luck.

We are both firm believers that you make your own luck in life. I remember when I was young, I used to believe in fate, and destiny and co-incidences being too co-incidental. It was only when I completely abandoned my religious side I started to question this bizarre fatalism I had.

I’m not a go-getter by any means. I like to work hard. I like to set myself realistic goals. And I have good self-discipline. But I’m not frantic about it. Not really. It’s like with my current business. I have worked hard at it but grown it organically. I haven’t gone down the route of hard-sell, and making myself feel uncomfortable in the process. I am eager to succeed, but not that eager.

But sometimes in life, things go well, and then more things go well from that, and more things go well from that, and so on. To the disinterested observer, viewing things maybe half way through, they might think that that person was lucky, and not realise just how much hard work went into the whole process to achieve the success along the way.

I like to think that I have started this year well. I am working hard, but not too hard. I am eager for the next step, which I am working on nearly every day with various different bits of the huge jigsaw coming together.

This makes me feel good, and in turn I am looking at events more positively than normal, which in turn makes me keen to do them, and produces better results. It’s a little bit “not me” – but I am making more of an effort this year. It wasn’t anything particularly conscious… it just feels like this is the right time. As I wrote in my opening post of the year, I am excited about what this year might bring, and that in turn has made me optimistic.

It feels like I’m on a roll.

And all this, in a post where I haven’t even considered my own house situation.

My housemate has moved out, having done so last week. This has been a huge weight off my shoulders. I think I can attribute this also to my good mood of late.

Maybe I’ll write more about that next time…

2011

As is tradition around these parts, on December 31 we look back, and on January 1 we forward. So this is the complementary post to yesterday, which did the reflection. Now, it’s time for the projection.

Like I said yesterday, I was so depressed at the start of last year that I made hardly any predictions, or wish lists, at all. But then again, my life is so different now that, with no formal structure to it, there almost seems to be no point in making dreams. It was different when I was in school, college and university, because I was wrapped within that system, and knew exactly what was coming this year.

No more. The year is a mystery to me. But less so than last year. Last year I genuinely didn’t have a clue which way it was going to go.

Now I know. It went quite decisively for my business interests. And so, the hope for 2011 is that it continues. I don’t mind too much at this point, just as long as at least the current levels are sustained, that is, being busy over 50% of the time. It provides something to look forward to, something to fall back on, and a reassurance that I’m heading in the right direction.

It will need to continue. It probably will as long as I keep working hard, and my luck holds out. But I know I’ve developed a loyal customer base, who will keep coming back to me. That does indeed provide some security.

But I still will long for more. I know 2011 will frustrate me too. I know I’ll want to make deeper and wider progress. I know I’ll want to do something else.

And I know I will keep searching for that “something else”. Because the point of all this has not always be in order to run a computer business. I want to run a business. It doesn’t have to be in computer repair. I have some thoughts about what I’d like to do, but how to do it is rather difficult to establish. But now I have a bit more cash, I feel more willing to take some risks.

So maybe 2011 will include at least a modicum of risk-taking. Some attempt to try and make a big leap in either what I’m doing now or something else. Some way in which I can increase the development of profitability. And future potential. And just the idea that continuing to be self-employed is not only sustainable, but going to make me feel like I’m using my talents as much I can.

Big hopes, really.

The only thing that will ruin everything is if my housemate buggers off without me working out a suitable alternative strategy. I could feasibly try and operate without his assistance, but it will make things twenty times more difficult. It could also limit my earning potential. But that is definitely coming down the track, perhaps in the next few months. I’ll have to keep thinking up a plan to deal with it.

On other levels, I want to try and get involved in some community work this year. Perhaps being a school governor is not right. It seems a bit too dry. Perhaps I should play to my strengths. Something in the field of computing. Politics would also be a strength, and perhaps some sort of political campaign would be good. I just find the whole thing so depressing right now.

No other personal predictions are worthwhile. What happens will happen and I’ll just have to accept it. I just hope my family all do well this year. They deserve it. Though I wish my parents in particular would learn to be less dismissive of my business achievements.

Oh, I don’t know. Either way, this year should reveal a lot about where the hell I’m going with life.

A Political Week

Rather than continuing the job hunt, I have spent most of this week reading political articles, digesting endless blog comments and watching many speeches from politicos across the USA. I might as well make good use of the endless free time I’ve got right now, after all.

And the timing has been perfect, because, naturally, this has been the week of the Democratic National Convention. As a political junkie, something like this is unmissable. This time four years ago I spent an equal amount of time watching the speeches from that (courtesy of the awesome C-SPAN) – and one in particular impressed me.

Yeah yeah, we all know about Barack Obama’s stunning oratical masterpiece four years ago. I watched it at the time and thought – and this is the honest truth – that this man ought to be the next Democratic presidential candidate after Kerry. It was moving and powerful. I have never heard anything so good since, and I doubt I ever will. I feel pretty smart that I jumped on the bandwagon four years ago, a long time before others. And certainly a long time before almost everyone in the UK.

But with that speech four years ago in mind, Obama was never likely to reach those heights. And so, wisely, he picked a different tack, to give the speech more content and more red meat. It worked. And the final third delivered the rhetorical soar that all good speeches ought to finish with.

On balance I would give it an 8.5/10 when compared with all his speeches I’ve seen (and I’ve seen a lot). 10/10 goes to the DNC 2004 speech; and 10/10 to his “A More Perfect Union” intelligent brilliance of a few months back. But in terms of whether it was the right speech, at the right moment, it truly nailed it. In the context of the election, and using an American analogy, he hit the ball right out of the park.

Why do I share all this on a personal blog? Well, largely because an enormous part of me is dictated by the way I feel politically. It would be foolish to deny that my politics has no impact on my outlook of life. In many respects, it is to my shame that it has the impact it does, mainly because British politics has left me so cynical and jaded at the tender age of 23.

But somehow, just this once, I’ve allowed myself to get carried away with the optimism. When American politics is at its finest, optimism and positivity is the thing it does the best in the world. Maybe it will turn out in the future that we’ve all pinned our enormous expectations to Obama, something which he will never be able to live up to. And so we’re all setting ourselves up for a very big fall when reality crashes in.

Just this time, however, I’m willing to believe. But the message of Obama is far more than just what he can achieve. In fact, I would argue that, if Obama is successful, it will not be because he personally made certain actions that delivered certain positive results.

It will be because he convinces people that they must be the agent of their own change, not the government, not politicians or anyone else. That politics is not about top-down. It’s about the community, it’s about high aspiration, it’s about hard work and passion for your cause.

This is why I have a lot of time for the Obama message. It is one of personal empowerment, and that is extremely liberating.

So in many respects it appeals to me personally. It is a message that I could easily apply to myself. That I must stop wallowing in self-pity, wondering where did it all go wrong, but instead to embrace the situation and turn it towards my own hopes and dreams. To put in more effort and to aspire to achieve something bigger than what I was originally aiming for.

While it’s been a fun week politically, it’s been a challenging one personally. What should my next step be? I can but dream…