2019 has been quite challenging for me and I know many others!
Looking from the Quantified Self point of view
- My sleep deficit over the whole year has massively decreased to 36 mins, My average sleep this year has been 7 hours 20mins (down from 2018). Average deep sleep has been 4.03 hrs now only 48% of my sleep.
- According to Gmail I have had 54,325 conversations, have 33345 emails in my inbox and sent 7241 emails this year
- Have 111,540 photos and 3,971 photos albums in Google photos.
- Tasks wise I have 267 open tasks and completed 2,876 over the year
- Been on 52 trips including Manchester, Edinburgh, London, Bristol, Guernsey, Madrid, Amsterdam, Venice (first time in Italy), Berlin, Helsinki, Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp, Nottingham, The Hague, Bath, Newcastle this year.
- According to Trakt, my most played show is Supergirl and film was John wick 3, Most listened to podcast is the Daily Tech News Show.
- I spent 655 hours watching films (16.2 a month) and 300 hours watching TV series (37.5 a month)
- This year I started a gratitude diary which now has 7,303 words
Regardless of the data he’s the review of my new years resolutions from 2019.
- Head further a field with the scooter
Again I missed this one and its very unlikely this will happen before the UK leaves Europe. Theres still an idea of visiting my friend in Rotterdam then drive around and maybe into Belgium & Germany. But this may change massively if I move to Amsterdam?
- Ride a roller coaster in yet another country
This also didn’t happen this year, although I did go to Madrid again and ride lots of coasters in the scorching 41c sun. Also I decided to give the rollercoaster park in Helsinki a miss this year. Next year I’ll be in looking out for coasters in other countries including South Korea.
- Look after myself better
Didn’t do so badly but theres a lot of room for improvement. I do a lot of walking when away from home but Volleyball isn’t as intense as it use to be due to not being in the team now.
- Spend more time in the UK
This happened I think and my partner agrees.
- Enter the bake off at work
This is a yes, I baked some banana bread with chilli chocolate inside and it was very nice except when I took it to work things didn’t quite turn out as expected. But I did get six peoples vote and there’s photos of the caroline reaper chocolate volcano cake here.
- Explore more about the brain using neuroscience
This needs some work, as I didn’t go to any events this year at all from memory.
- Do more with my Estonian e-residency
I did extended my e-residency another 2 years and I do use it as ID when entering some physical businesses. Its not quite what I was thinking about but it slightly counts. I did also look into using it as another form authentication for some services and finally setup a email address for it.
- Explore the future of decentralised and distributed systems
I spent a weekend at IndieWebCampBerlin and the following days at Republica19. It was quite an amazing and my follow up to R&D with a lunch time lecture with this presentation.
- Make some changes to the flat
I finally started by finally removing the filing cabinet to the local dump, getting a large Billy bookcase in my partners new car (with the roof down in the Manchester rain). I bought a sitting and standing desk which is smaller but yet to put it up due to having the existing one still in place. I didn’t realise my Jerker desk is over 20 years old! I’ll be offering it on ebay in the new year if anyone is keen to have it?
- Host film nights and more dinner parties at mine
This needs to happen in 2020, I had a couple of evening with my new projector, but nowhere what I was hoping for. My partner and friend had not seen Inception so we had fun with that one evening. Another friend suggested she had never seen Kill Bill, so that could be a back to back session with the projector and surround sound system.
When it comes to the dinner parties front, theres been a bit. Likely the best was the chocolate tasting party which was great.
- Work on the dating book
Since Hannah offered her copy editing skills to help make it a real book, I have done what I can. She suggested ghost writing the book and we have agreed thats a way forward. When I last spoke about the book, I saw 11+ chapters of my previously badly written nonsense, rewritten and re-imagined. Its going to be amazing!
- Be a stronger advocate for Team Human
This is summing up so much of 2019 for me. Not only in daily life but in work. Its appeared in presentations, in talks I’ve given and the way I go about things. Ok its not really about team human but new forms of value or rather. Its one of the reasons why I’m considering a secondment.
So over a year ago I had a chat with @cubicgarden and that chat grew to include more ppl and now this! Beyond excited abt stories & tech and brilliance from @flatness & @mladenrakonjac – free tickets here if you can get to @FACT_Liverpool next month! https://t.co/PfKgk2GJyZ
— Caroline Meaby (@carolinemeaby) April 7, 2018
I did about 6 pacemaker mixes while away on holiday but I would say only 3 maybe 4 are worth publishing. So look out for them on Mixcloud.com.
Leaving Madrid, recorded on the plane back to Manchester
- First attempt – Tomcraft
- Energy Flash (Graffiti on mars remix) – Joey Beltram
- Flight 643 (oliver klein remix) – Ferry Corsten
- Fractal – Bednar
- I feel wonderful (cosmic gate’s from AM to PM mix) – Cosmic gate feat Jan Johnston
- She wants him (Blake Jarrells panty dropper mix) – Moussa Clark & Terrafunka
- Opium – Jerome Isma-Ae & Alastor
- Suru (martin roth electrance remix) – super8 & tab
- Anomaly (Eeemus’s Higgs Boson remix) – Gordey Tsukanov
The heights of Lisbon, recorded during on the evening nights in Lisbon.
- Open up – Leftfield
- Loneliness (club mix) – Tomcraft
- Whites of her eyes – Simon Patterson
- Delores – Indecient noise
- From Russia with love (matt darey mix) – Matt Darey pres DSP
- Jump the next train (Vadim Zhukov dub) – Young Parisians feat Ben Lost
- Labyrinth (Paul Keyan remix) – Lee Cassells
- Strange world (M.I.K.E’s rework 2006) – Push
- Souvenir De Chine – Fire & Ice
- Take me away (into the night) (purple haze remix) – 4 Strings
- Sweet little girl (Voolgarizm remix) – Mario Piu
- Tenshi – Gouryella
- Uncommon world – Bryan Kearney
- We are one (instrumental mix) – Dave 202
- Why does my heart feel so bad (Ferry Corsten remix) – Moby
- Anahara (extended mix) – Ferry Corsten pres Gouryella
- Sunset (bird of prey) – Fatboy Slim
- Rheinkraft (extended mix) – Oliver KleinDj Cul
- ture (Joey Beltram mix) – Kevin SaundersR
- evolving doors (club mix) – Ronski Speed
- Wrist block (Joey Beltram remix) – Side Four
- Running up the hill (Jerome isma-ae bootleg mix) – Placebo
- Flat Beat – Mr Ozio
- Shnorkel – Miki Litvak & Ido Ophir
- Valhalla (tonerush remix) – OneBeat
- Higher state of consciousness (dirty south remix) – Josh Wink
- Aumento – Joey Beltram
- EDM Death Machine – Knife Party
- A9 – Ariel
- Brainwashed (Club mix) – Tomcraft
- Gouryella (extended mix) – Gouryella
- Anahera (extended mix) – Ferry Corsten pres Gouryella
I finally took up the Gratitude habit and started publishing them here. Standardnotes has quite nice system to publish notes but also keep parts secret if you choose to. Its like I imagined for mydreamscape ages ago.
I hadn’t really considered that I might be living my life in a conscious way. But the more I look into it, the more I see the difference between my life previous to my brush with death.
So what is a conscious life? A life which is deliberate and thought-out, by listening to yourself and making conscious choices.
There’s no absolute, but rather a number of common elements which point in a certain direction. After some research and thought here’s a small incomplete list.
- Do what makes you happy
- Feel comfortable with saying no
- Accept yourself and stop comparing yourself to others
- Ignore the messages of the mainstream
- Live in the moment
- Be choosy
- Focus on what you have
- Practice a life with gratitude
- Don’t let your ego lead
- Spend your time and resources wisely
- Let go of negativity and judgement
Its easy to see how all of these can seem either obvious, patronising or some hippy spiritual nonsense? I get it, maybe 10 years ago I would be thinking a similar thing. Maybe its just one of those things which you are ready for or not?
So how does this manifest in my life?
Do what makes you happy
I pretty much do what makes me happy and ignore much else. Its not out of ignorance but rather feelings of overload. I guess this is why I can sleep well at night? Don’t get me wrong, there are feelings/tensions about this being selfish but I tend to balance it out in my head by helping people when possible.
Help takes many forms but trying to encourage more people to be a little more conscious is something I quite like. Although I guess in retrospect, it can seem like I’m pushing my ideology on to others? Of course its about balance and also if the person is receptive to the advice.
Going back to doing what makes me happy. My trip to Japan was a great example. I got much advice about where I should go and visit from a great number of people & places. Although I took them on-board, I spent most of my time in Tokyo wondering the streets of different prefectures of the city. I visited every single roller coaster park except the Disney ones. I did what made me happy and still ended up trying new things. So this isn’t about the filter bubble. Its not uncommon for me to end up in the middle of a new city and just go exploring, alone or with others. Usually on a quest for the best cocktail establishment in that city.
This also applies to what I see and experience. This does unfortunately means making some tough decisions about places, things, friendships, etc… Doing what makes me happy also means I tend to go and do things which others wouldn’t do alone. Its not unknown for me to go to the cinema, city, dinner, holiday alone. I’m quite comfortable with my self and don’t need others to reaffirm my happiness.
Feel comfortable with saying no
Following on from the previous one, saying no and personal happiness are connected. Saying no means theres less guilt and less mental pain. Saying no does mean being honest and rejecting people, but in the long run, its a much better place to be. Its great being strong willed too, great for the character. This has also stopped me from ending up in places/doing things I honestly wasn’t happy about.
Accept yourself and stop comparing yourself to others
This is something I learned very early on, maybe back when I was in primary school to be honest. I was taken out of class to go up to a special room, where a teacher/specialist would give me tests for dyslexia. That combined with being one of about 3 black kids in the school, all this made me less focused on comparing myself. I also wasn’t the most photogenic person in school, but it didn’t matter so much to me. This followed through into later life and
I’d argue this also fits well with not letting your ego rule, because what others do with their lives doesn’t concern me much. Its only when it affects others or myself I start to wonder.
Every once in a while people near me, have said they are jealous of one thing or another. I always say,
“don’t be jealous, focus on how your going to get better”
I try and get people to rethink the situation by turning that early stage envy around. Be happy for the other person and use them as a pointer. This does require some re-framing but is important and directly fits with the notion of being conscious not just reactionary.
Live in the moment
I alluded to dyslexia and links to living in the moment, but honestly my personally has expanded quite a bit to seek out more opportunities, now I notice them more. Its one of the big noticeable differences after my brush with death. Lisa Upton talked about it too, so did Derren brown’s in the secret of luck and of course there was what happened at TedxManchester3 with Carrie Green.
From the chapter – The little voice in your head
A guy called Ian Forrester climbed up to the stage, I handed him £20, the audience applauded and he went and sat down. A few weeks later we met up over a cup of tea and he told me how a brush with death a few years earlier made him make the decision that he was never going to let anything stand in his way. He said, “People are paralyzed by their fear of what might happen, and so they won’t reach out and grab what’s in front them. And that’s pretty much what I did.”
I also remember a while ago hearing about smutslam and decided to give it a try. During the course of the evening, I decided to give it a shot. I ended up winning 2nd place. Totally living in the moment, just going with the flow.
Practice a life with gratitude
There are many gratitude apps and platforms, I’m just trying to pick one which contains all the things I respect like being opensource, decentralised, multiplatform, etc. Currently I’m drawn somewhere between using Mastodon and trying Micropub.
What ever I decide, I’ve started writing weekly in Standard Notes, which also has a nice little micro blogging system called listed.
Let go of negativity and judgement
This is a big one. It was a workshop talk from Bobby from the happiest which unfortunately closed not long afterwards. (still like to see a distributed take on happiest); which got me thinking about negativity and how much we hold on to it (or it holds on to us?). He said something like 65 million thoughts we have everyday, 85% are negative. Although maybe not right, it got me thinking quite a lot about the possibility of changing our thought process. Could we learn to accept and let go? Why do we hold on to negative feelings so tightly?
Although still fearful, I do feel much lighter because I was able to let go.
How to Retrain Your Brain was my 3rd Funzing talk I have been to. The 1st I wasn’t that impressed with, while the 2nd one (Neuroscience of Decision Making) was great. With my interest in power of the brain. I’m happy to say retrain your brain was
Just over a year ago, Lisa was faced with a decision that would change her life forever. She had to decide whether to have awake brain surgery to remove a tumour which lay deep inside her brain in the left temporal lobe, close to the area responsible for speech and language. This decision came with extremely high risks – having the operation meant that she could have a stroke, may have to learn to talk, read and write again, or worst-case scenario, not survive the surgery.
Not having the operation meant living a life with four/five epileptic seizures every day and the chance that the ticking time bomb inside her brain could go off at any moment and this could take her life.
Lisa made the brave decision to have surgery.
In the months following her operation Lisa’s life changed beyond measure, she thought about life in a completely different way, she approached things with a different attitude and as a result of this, saw new and amazing opportunities presenting themselves every day.
Its incredible to see the opportunities just presenting themselves. I’ve lived by those opportunities ever since. I always remember Derren Browns show about the secret of luck, facing my fear of injections (Belonephobia), facing the fear of rejection, going on dating shows and much more…
Lisa wanted to understand why this was happening and couldn’t accept that it was just “all part of the recovery”. She spent months researching the brain and its many functions, spending time with neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuro-researchers, neuropsychologists and patients at The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery.
Now thats really cool, if I hadn’t spent so much time in hospital and had the issues I had; I likely would have gone back to Salford Royal to thank the staff again years later. But spending time would have been amazing (too be fair it still would be).
With a heart filled with gratitude, Lisa will share with you the amazing things that she learnt about the brain, and how we are all capable of reprogramming our brains so that we can achieve greatness and euphoria.
I reflect back on a blog I wrote years ago, while trying to explain to others how different life was since. My parents always thought I’d want to forget about the whole thing but I refuse to forget. I didn’t put my cards away for a whole year and still have them stored away even now. It gives me power and brings a new emphasise to life. Some people near me noticed how much I changed and some couldn’t quite comprehend the changes.
Lisa and others have called it living a conscious life. Its something I’ve noticed in myself, but weirdly very fitting with some of the dyslexic advantages, especially living in the moment. It might not come as a surprise the doctors also found an increase in the right brain activity (usually commonly associated with dyslexics, I know this is massively contested!) in Lisas brain. This reminded me of the early months after my brush with death, it was suggested by the professionals that I might have forgotten/unlearned a lot of my coping mechanisms for dyslexia. Almost switched back to my natural state of some kind?
I honestly really enjoyed the talk and it was a joy to hear from someone else as interested in the brain/mind due to similar reasons…
Its kind of crazy that Thinking Digital is 10 years old now. I still remember meeting Herb Kim for the first time at a BBC Innovation labs event. He convinced Adrian to take 5mins and talk about coming back from TED global and wanting to create a conference with similar outlook in Newcastle. Yes! yes, I laughed at him but later did say if he gets it off the ground I will support him in anyway I can. That was over 10 years ago and the first Thinking Digital happened in 2007 and was amazing (such a shame I didn’t write about it).
10 Years later, its still an amazing conference, attracting more and more new people all the way to Gateshead/Newcastle. Every year people ask what am I looking forward to? and every year I pretty much say I haven’t even looked at the schedule, as I just know Herb has created a exciting and diverse line-up. My trust in the conference and Herb is super high and he never lets me down.
I was aware of Simon previously but I found his geeky interest in mathematics pretty exciting and intriguing. I’m much more likely to keep an eye out for those cryptic mathematical equations now more than ever.
Richard is another one of those figures I’ve heard of but never really checked out. He was also a great follow after Adrian Westaway’s magic + design (which only missed out from my favorites because I heard Clara talk in Manchester and spent some time getting to know the amazing Special Projects, still love to work with them on Perceptive Media). Richard broke down magic tricks and focused on our (lack) attention.
Really nicely done and ever so funny too! Certainly someone to watch out for in the future.
Fintech is something i’m less interested in but since using Monzo, started to get more interested in. Mike is the CEO of Atombank and his talk was actually really engaging. The story of how he moved from CEO of First Direct wasn’t fully explained but how he got started again and facing new challenges was fascinating. He described banking as a Rules based industry and talked about how the pace of change is based on who’s got the money; which currently is older people but thats changing which changes the dynamic of banking. Also found his idea of killing customers to see how much they are willing to put up with (think RyanAir) interesting. Such a good talk to kick start the conference too!
What can I say about John, which I haven’t already said?
He finally revealed the full story of what happened with Dragons Den as he did in this blog post. He also revealed quite a bit about TV production generally. To be fair most of it was, “yeah and…?” to me but for most people the shine of TV production is a bubble they haven’t ever seen inside of. As Debra said, John is a highly invest-able guy with plenty of good ideas and I’m expecting some great things in the near future.
Justin works for DARPA and is focused on Human brain interfaces. Something which gets talked about quite a bit especially since the debate around machine learning has matured quite a bit. Justin talked a lot about Direct brain interfaces and the benefits to restore memories and provide benefits beyond imagination.
Hoping DARPA are thinking about the ethics of this stuff at #tdc17
— Ian Forrester (@cubicgarden) May 17, 2017
All I kept thinking was about the ethicals of all this stuff, surely DARPA are somewhere along the line interested in using this as a weapon or defense? Justin did well to positioned DARPA as doing impactful things like kick starting the ARPnet which the internet was built on.
Although I wasn’t totally convinced, its hard to think about tapping into the CNS and PNS without thinking about films like the Matrix, Existenz and the Black Mirror S3ep2 Playtest. While Justin talked people on twitter mentioned Inception, especially when he talked about architecting spaces. Funny because the pasivdevice in inception is military (think Department of Defense? not DARPA?).
That’s why the military developed dream sharing-a training program where soldiers could strangle, stab and shoot each other, then wake up.
Plenty to think about!
There little I can say about this talk except wow!
I knew landing on Mars and exploring it was extremely difficult but Anita explained the whole life-cycle of the work and basically there wasn’t single persons mind which wasn’t blown at the end.
Simply incredible and great to hear the facts behind the headlines…
Very fitting talk as it was recently mental health awareness week. Sophie talked about mental health through the lens of sleeping and pretty much the quantified self, although she never actually said those words. She talked about sleeping apps and CBT – Cognitive behavioral therapy as a service you can access anywhere from your phone via a app. Which brought up the credibility question.
Don’t worry she said, these apps are about to be rated/checked in the same way medicine is. So hopefully removing the crap from the good. She did mention other metrics such as cost and accessibility but never the data ethics worry I have with all these things.
Good talk which raises plenty more questions… Unfortunately I never quite got time to grab Sophie or get her details.
Chris a goofy white guy who raps about anything and everything was amazing. He came out rapping after Imogen and instantly got the audience going. After rapping and talking about the key rules for rapping, he then asked the audience to pull things out their bag and rap about them in one continuous stream. The rules Chris talked about were the same for improvisation really.
Stay in the moment, don’t over think things and don’t worry about it.
It also reminded me of my new years resolution to take a improvisation class. Forge about rapping in the shower, which Chris recommended; I need to make this happen for sure!
Up till the conference I had no idea who Imogen Heap was. I gather she was involved in the music business but her interests in digital technology were pretty deep.
Imogen has a big interest in changing the business of music by taking advantage of decentralised systems like blockchain and the concept of smart contracts. She talked bout how everybody talks about this being a golden age for music listening, but is the true of music creation?
I instantly started thinking there are so many connections with the work I’m doing around decentralisation (blockchain for music use/rent/buying), object based media (huge amounts of metadata which isn’t included in music) and dj hackday (music metadata affecting the world around you/quantifed club style). This was further confirmed when I bought a ticket to her cellia event after the conference.
Although there was lots of technical problems, the points were made and the 42 city tour of the world next year sounds very interesting. Plus her performance was actually musically good. While Adam Stark & Imogen talked about the glove technology, I looked it up hoping it would be a open source project. Although it isn’t, its funded by UWE, Innovate UK and others; putting it in the field of academia. I wouldn’t be surprised if theres a push to open source a part of it alongside selling the actual gloves in the future?
Once again if it wasn’t for Thinking Digital, I likely would never known about Imogen and some of the cross over in thoughts and ideas.
Sarah Raad – The Gratitude Habit workshop
Sometimes you meet someone and the connection around ideas and view on life are perfectly matched. This was Sarah.
— Sarah Raad (@tentspitch) May 16, 2017
The idea is simple (pun-intended). Learn to have a gratitude habit by being grateful for the things you have right now. Ideally you would write these down or share them in some way.
Of course it sounds too simple (pun again) but Sarah pulled up many scientific research leading to the same conclusion that a gratitude habit can really be the building block for a more fore-filling life.
The first exercise was to get to know each other by saying who you were, why you were there and say why you were grateful for the picked topic out of gratitude jar. I picked by random friendship which I had plenty to say. Interestingly as I heard other people talk, it was fascinating to hear how open or closed they were with their thoughts.
Of course I’m quite open with most of my thoughts. Without really thinking about it, I was practicing some of the gratitude habit already. I also remember a thinking digital workshop I went to the year after leaving hospital from Bobby at the now gone Happiest. Of course one of the happiest items for a happy life was Gratitude.
During the workshop, it was clear to me that some of the exercises although very/quite private needed that wider interaction to make them really sink in (in my honest opinion); but its very hard to do this unless its a safe & comfortable environment. Very hard to do during a workshop in a office. This is something me and Sarah discussed after the workshop in a cafe afterwards and during the TDC dinner later. I remember also trying to recite bobby’s quote about negative thoughts.
We have roughly 60,000 thoughts a day and 95% of them are the same as yesterday and 80% of those are negative in nature.
We talked a lot and it was refreshing to have quite deep and I guess some would say intimate conversation about life, politics, happiness and the world. Lots was shared and I feel extremely gratitude to have met Sarah.
Thinking Digital once again is such an incredible conference and I’m very grateful to be there and gained so much out of a conference which I originally scoffed at… Here’s the next 10 years!? Herb?