One Idea. One Challenge. Once a Week.
“Life can only be understood backward.”
― Søren Kierkegaard
Self-assessments are essential to success.
That’s one of our foundational pillars at the Ewing School. A big part of our coaching is helping our clients build a habit of giving themselves useful feedback. To make progress in life we need an accurate perception of ourselves: where we currently are, what we’re doing well, how we’re struggling, and a specific path forward.
This article is my self-assessment for 2022. I grade myself on the year, highlighting successes as well as struggles and regrets. I include things I changed my mind about and new gadgets I love. And I’ll end with a look at some amazing successes from around the world.
Grading Myself on 2022
For each of my key targets, I give myself a score of 1-5. 1 is awful and 5 is excellent. I posted the detailed grading breakdown here.
Maryrose and I got married! Our Montana wedding was amazing – as was our honeymoon in Mexico.
I officiated my fourth wedding and helped a client officiate his first. I learned how to ski black diamonds and how to sleep well once I get myself into bed. I ran my fastest race in years and Maryrose won the SPN 5k.
Our parents and my brother Scott visited us in Durango. Several friends came to town for a ski adventure and are making it an annual event. We’re integrating into our new community through volunteering and making friends. I started a Durango Masterminds Group.
We added Laura Kramer to the Ewing School team. She’s our Executive Assistant and does a fantastic job. We also hired a quality business coach and crushed our company rebrand and website redesign.
Maryrose took on new coaching clients. She delivered an outstanding TED-style talk to a packed room, developed and led a full-day leadership workshop in Alaska, and was elected Vice President of our local Toastmasters.
Once again the newsletter went out on time every week all year. We grew our base and had four guest columnists.
We helped clients succeed in a variety of settings, from sitting down with the Prime Minister of a foreign country to arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Struggles & Regrets
Our biggest struggle this year was dealing with the death of our dear friend David. He was a model on how to live well. Tragically, he’s still missing.
I didn’t take any writing or coaching courses. I stayed up late many nights to get the newsletter out and failed to establish a healthy sleep rhythm. I found myself often distracted and lacking focus.
My biggest personal struggle is time management. I still waste too much time.
Foundational regrets: I regret not mastering sleep, not taking my chess to the next level, and not ending the year substantially more fit than I entered it.
Boldness regrets: I regret not displaying more courage during my climbs this year with Maryrose and with her brother.
Moral regrets: I regret not complimenting David the last time I saw him. He was training so hard and I didn’t acknowledge it. I regret that I didn’t volunteer more time in Durango.
Connection regrets: I regret how long I’ve taken to reply to my cousin who’s in jail. I regret my delayed responses to emails and voicemails. I regret that I didn’t put more effort into building relationships in Durango.
Things I Changed My Mind About
We should change our minds often. This is the foundation of progress and scientific advancement. By contrast, the hallmark of dogma and conformity is to mock and attack people for changing their minds. I favor strong convictions, loosely held.
Aliens. As a kid, I read all the books I could find on aliens. I was a believer. As an adult, I slowly became a skeptic. The answer to Fermi’s Paradox, I’ve thought, is the cold realization that we are alone. After reading this, I’m a believer again.
Human Nature. Pinker convinced me that Hobbes was right. Bregman opened the door for Rosseau. The Dawn of Everything shows that early humans displayed far more cultural, social, and governmental variety than either Hobbes or Rousseau imagined.
Book Publishing. I thought it was high status to get a publisher. After reading Write Useful Books, I believe that a quality self-published book is the high-status play: have full control over your message – and your profits.
Effective Altruism. Utilitarian philosophy makes sense: consequences matter. We are likely at the beginning of history and shouldn’t heavily discount future human lives. But after reading this I’m much more skeptical of EA. I agree with Tyler: the correct path is closer to ⅔ utilitarian, ⅓ common sense.
Labor Organizing. I’ve never been in a union and most talk about them is quite politicized. (Though John Stewart once critiqued his side in a brilliant piece.) I heard Michael Farren give a talk in DC offering a unique pro-union vision: encourage more unions and have them compete. He convinced me this is a good idea.
Our House. We bought our house last year and we love it. But we don’t get enough sun as we’re blocked by mountains and trees. And we’re too far from town. We’ll likely move into Durango in 2023.
Making Time for Social Media. I was convinced by Cal Newport that social media is a waste of time. I banned myself from it. Now I think strategic social media use is huge for learning, networking, and brand building.
Sam Bankman-Fried: I thought SBF was a quirky badass. I love the support he gave to innovative companies and nonprofits. His fraud and meltdown were a shock to me. And a reminder to avoid the cult of personality.
Bigfoot. I still don’t believe he’s real. But I changed my mind about how scary he is. Max Brooks freaked me out – he made me scared to get up and go pee at night.
New Gadgets I love
Here are a few I learned about this year and love to use. (I wrote a separate piece on my favorite books.)
Sleep: Maryrose and I both like wearing a cooling gel cap/eye mask. I love earplugs and these are the best. I use Plackers to prevent grinding and simple athletic tape to tape my mouth shut. These are all inexpensive and using them together is a game changer. The Oura ring is an ideal deep dive into your personal sleep data.
Running: The Garmin Forerunner 245 is super helpful for everything from track workouts to trail runs and races. The Ultimate Direction Fastpack 20 and Marmot GORE-TEX jacket, both in bright yellow, are a huge step up for me in safety and utility. The Altra Lone Peak is my new favorite trail shoe. And the carbon-plated Saucony Endorphin feels like it’s electric-powered – an ideal race-day super shoe.
A Year of Amazing Successes
Scientists in California announced a successful fusion reaction that created more energy than used to start it. Fusion offers hope of limitless, carbon-free energy. In Iceland, the world’s largest carbon removal factory opened.
The most common cause of blindness has been eliminated from Malawi, Saudi Arabia, Togo, and Vanuatu, saving tens of millions of people. Guinea Worm is about to become the third ever disease to be fully eradicated. Only nine cases were recorded in 2022, down from 3.5 million just a few decades ago.
Numerous vaccines were introduced this year that prevent deadly diseases including malaria, dengue, GBS, RSV, and cervical cancer for Indians. Scientists also created life without using sperm or eggs and built a sun five times hotter than the actual sun.
AI passed the Turing Test.
Poland welcomed more than two million Ukrainian refugees. Ukraine continues to defend itself and make ground against the Russian invasion. Massive protests against authoritarian governments are succeeding in China and Iran.
This year, more than ever before, the world searched for: how to be more positive, how to be a better friend, how to start again, and how to be fearless.
Finally, NASA proved we can deflect asteroids away from Earth.
This was a wonderful year for Maryrose and me. Thank you for the role you played.
What were your highs and lows from 2022? Take a moment to pull together your Year in Review. And please share it with me!