Friday, January 7, 2011

Reflecting on Reverb10

I just went over my Reverb10 posts again, as suggested by the day 31 prompt.

One thing I've noticed is that I've started to allow myself to write about different topics. Initially I started this blog to share what I've learned so far while doing my PhD, and quite soon I started writing about how I experience the process of doing a PhD, and how this effects my life. For that reason, I needed to turn to a more personal style of writing and open up some more of my personal life into this blog.

Another thing I've noticed, is that I seemed to be writing shorter posts towards the end of the challenge. This might be because I wanted to finish up the challenge because I took a few weeks off. However, I think the most important reason is that I made the most important discoveries about the past year while writing out the first prompts. I spent a fair amount of time reflecting and thinking about the first prompts before I started writing about these, and by the time I reached the later prompts, I felt like I was mostly repeating myself.

In general I can conclude with the following observations which I made while rereading these posts:

1. I've gathered the necessary tools.

I've attended all possible trainings and workshops over the past year, and I worked myself through a massive amount of self-development and life-hacking blog posts. I've learned a lot through all of this, and I've been brewing my own success potion out of it (as for now, recipe is subject to change ;) ). With all these tools within my reach, I feel that I am now much more able to tack the difficult tasks ahead.

2. I've gained an active attitude.

2010 clearly was the year in which I started to take matters into my own hands and push my project forward. I might have been pushing with all my energy but in a random direction, but at least I've found myself bustling with energy. In the first few months of my PhD I was not sure of what was actually expected from me, and I was too passive. Now that I see my project as entirely my responsibility, with the highly appreciated input of my supervisors, I feel much more in charge and much more motivated.

3. Creativity is part of myself...

... and I need to make time for it. I have no idea about how my brain actually works, but I want to try out to see what happens if I allow more time for creativity in my life. I expect that creativity will grow on me again like a certain habit, and that I will find it easier to come up with creative ideas in my research.

4. I should trust myself.

Even though I have started to learn to right skills and know how to improve, I sometimes doubt and find myself overthinking situations and fearing all possible failures. I should just trust in what I've learned, and that I really know what I am doing since I am the expert of my very own topic. This is a point for improvement and I will work on this in 2011.

5. New year's resolutions

-> Focus and concentrate:
I need to get up from my office and go out for a walk, I should train my focus by meditation and mindfulness and I should try not to be so easily distracted anymore.

-> Communicate more clearly:
I need to learn how to convey my message in a clear and direct way, avoiding all the strange constructions I typically use in order to sound polite, while actually obscuring my key point. I also want to let go of the fear to go and ask for something. Getting a "no" is really not the end of the world.

-> Cultivate the creativity habit
By taking more time to play music and write, I want to train my mind to think out of the box more often and come up with original ideas.

Overall, I can conclude by writing that I am very grateful of participating in the Reverb1 project. Usually I never reflect on my past year, don't make resolutions and just let everything the way it was. I hope this challenge and reflection will help me work on achieving my goals.

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