Say your wishes out loud.

In Spain, we call New Year’s Eve night – ‘noche vieja’, and as the night ebbs away, leaving seconds left of the year that was – you are meant to ‘quickly’ eat a grape for every second of the last 12 seconds of the year – making a wish for the new year with each grape. These 12 seconds are generally guided by a chime usually from any TV channel that is on.

Photo by Jerry Wang on Unsplash

You are reminded to keep your wish to yourself. Well – that’s the tradition.

This year – like most things in 2020, it didn’t quite go to plan.

I screwed up and ate all my grapes on the chimes that prepare for the actual chimes. (massive UX fail by the way – Canal Sur!!), so I didn’t actually get to make my wishes.

Lets each have 3 wishes…

So this morning, as my sons came for a morning cuddle, I announced we would get 3 wishes each and in turn say them out loud.

They had to be specific – because we wanted to give the Universe as much detail as possible. Also wishes for other people counted as double strength.

‘But aren’t we supposed to wish to ourselves?’, asked my son.

‘Yes’, I said – ‘but the Universe hears you better when you say it out loud’.

So we took turns saying out loud what we each wished for in this brand new year of 2021.

Why out loud?

Although this was all rather flippantly put together and spontaneous – it did get me thinking. Why have we been programmed to keep our wishes to ourselves?

From shooting stars to blowing out birthday cake – ‘don’t say it out loud or it won’t come true’.

Bollocks.

I believe in the power of human connections – networks of people who care about us personally and professionally. Networks that help its members get what they want – their wishes (within reason anyway).

By keeping our wishes quiet, we never activate the network and it becomes much less likely that those wishes ever happen. Serendipity never stood a chance!

Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

Not all wishes can come true. That is just the nature of wishes.
But most can.

So try this – say what you are wishing for and let the Universe of human connection help you.

And FYI…our wishes were, in no particular order…

  • a year of no conflict, no one having to flee their homeland
  • a year of good health and wellbeing for all our loved ones and for our older loved ones to not feel isolated and keep happy
  • make a whole bunch of money to buy a house and help the people we care about.
  • no disruption from covid

So there – it is now on the internuts and serendipity can get to work – the Universe reads blogs too 🙂

Happy to hear your wishes and I will do what I can to help.

There is no ‘We the people’

There is a time between waking and rising. I find that time to be particularly full of insights and reflections.

Today – I have been pondering this ‘we, the people’ concept that is often used to justify election outcomes.

Democracy has become a popularity contest. I say ‘has become’ because I assume it wasn’t meant to be like this. Whether they are contests of ideas or personality or both, matters little – popularity contests are terrible way to pick leadership because they mostly attract those able to get the most claps.

But I digress.

After any election or referendum – there is a period when the news and the politicians use words to the effect of ‘the people have chosen’. In some cases, the ‘people’ also harp on about it is ‘the will of the people, ‘we voted and picked’.

In reality, there is no ‘we, the people’.
It implies some sort of deliberate collaboration towards common goals, but I can understand how the recipients of votes – the politicians – can see the electorate as a collaborating audience. Hence the difference in perspective.

When I go to a polling booth to cast a vote – I don’t do it as part of a carefully considered and coordinated effort with other voters. We haven’t weighed the arguments and made peace with our differences. There is no ‘We’. There is just me, acting on my current understanding – biases and blind spots and driven by my own sense of what is good for me and mine.

20 million people doing exactly the same thing in their own bubble is not an ‘us’. The country doesn’t get better by 20 million people each seeking their own selfish interest.

The ‘people’, the ‘electorate’, the ‘citizens’, ‘Britons’, ‘Americans’ are all collective terms that are generally meaningless to the individuals in they cover and mostly meaningful to the systems that need those collectives in their functioning. Those collective terms are used to justify decisions – give authority, even as though decisions hold terrible consequences for many of the individuals covered by the term.

What might happen if there was a ‘we’ – that ‘the people’ knew each other, debated and agreed on things that mattered to them and acted on their decisions in a coordinated way?

How might government with a ‘people’ that actually held them to account collectively, function?

I’m interested in building and using tech to enable true ‘we’ society and to close the gap between what is fantasy but dressed as reality and reality.

If you are too – then let’s chat.

Mike’s theory of arcs and angles

One goal, which path would you take?

Imagine you had a goal – perhaps to lose weight or to learn a skill, or even to build some capacity/capability as a person, team, company or country.

Lets call that goal ‘B’ and your starting point – now – is ‘A’.

The sharp angle path

Now imagine you did very little towards getting to ‘B’ until one day when ‘B’ stops being a nice-to-have and , instead, becomes a must-have. I call that day or the event triggering that realisation ‘a sharp turn event’.

So now you’re scrambling, stressing and enduring a massive disruption to everything so you can start heading towards ‘B’ and you needed to be there yesterday.

An example of a sharp turn event is cancer, a heart attack i.e it happens and to reduce the chances of it happening again or as severely – you start to eat better, exercise, cut out smoking and excessive drinking.

Other examples might be being mocked for being overweight or a global pandemic.

The arc path

Now imagine you are in exactly the same starting point and the goal remains unchanged. But instead of doing very little about getting to ‘B’, every day you did something tangible towards the goal and you kept the goal alive by checking if those things you did got you closer and adjusted as you went.

Sharp turn events are not entirely eradicated on this path, but their negative effects can be significantly reduced. You are already some way to the goal, you are on the path.

An example might losing your livelihood whilst pursuing a goal of saving for a home and choosing to live frugally whilst you were saving – being lean. Of course, it seems calamitous that you have lost your job – but given how you are living as you pursued the goal, you are in a better position to weather the disruption vs someone who lived extravagantly (even if they had the same goal as you!).

Arcs are softer but build habit and resilience.

Some thoughts on arcs and sharp angles…

  • Arcs require diligence and deliberate action to the goal – not huge steps, but small ones, consistently taken.
  • Sharp angle paths are easy – you don’t have to do anything but wish and occasionally lie to yourself and others that you are doing something.
  • The longer you leave a goal without working towards it, the sharper and more disruptive the turn. Sometimes, you can leave it too late you pass a point beyond which that exact goal is unattainable and you have to pick another that is within you then-current abilities. E.g. I want to buy a home in 2 years time. I need to save €50,000 for a deposit. The sooner I start the more likely I will be able to do it. If I leave it until, say, a month before I wanted to buy the home – I would have to find €50k in 1 month – an almost impossible task for most people not robbing banks. So maybe you now have to set a goal to buy a house in 5 years vs 2 or not buy at all.
  • Arcs require regular reflection and calibration that what you are doing is still valid towards the goal. You might even question if the goal is still valid.
  • Critically reviewing your goals can shine a light on what potential sharp turn events might happen. e.g. if my goal was to save €50k in 2 years, an obvious sharp turn event is that I could lose my job. That might lead me down the path of developing side gigs that build resilience to my finances.

In closing, I am no expert in this and I’m not selling any ‘improve your life’ crap. I am simply introspecting into events and paths in my life and things I see around me.

The coronavirus pandemic has shown us that many – if not all – countries have been fixated on either the wrong goals or have not acted in an arc way towards the right goals and we find ourselves in a sharp turn event where the world is mostly unprepared for massive unemployment coupled with a lack of digital tech for everything from government to education.

What are your thoughts on this theory? Please disagree with it and lets explore it further.