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Forty-Eight Things I Learnt in 2020


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Jim Rohn, in most of his books, talks about the value of journaling. He is not the only one, but he was the first person who encouraged the idea for me. He wrote about taking time every week to reflect on the week just gone, again every month and at the end of the year to go back of diary’s, journals, and other notes.  Review the past year and look at what information can be identified as useful for the next year. To examine goals accomplished and those who we didn’t quite complete. To contemplate – to spend time alone exploring all areas of our lives and seeing what improvements are possible and what joys are can be celebrated.

Below are 48 things that I learnt this year. Some were reinforcements of what I already knew or suspected and others to take into the next year and beyond. They are in no order of importance.

  1. People are irrational and will often look for the most uncomplicated and most comfortable solutions or ideas, rather than being prepared to live in the unknown or a situation with no apparent answers. And yes, this can happen to a lot of so-called smart people.
  2. In times of crisis, some people make a “bomb” of money. Whilst others are left dashed on the disaster’s rocks. This can just be down to luck and misfortune.
  3. Most western cultures do not value the arts – the heart of the nation – to any large degree.
  4. When there is a disaster, most things that are fun are disregarded. That is how you work out what business in a lockdown, will stay open and which will not.
  5. A Crisis will expose the fault lines in any person, culture, or countries values and systems of business and government
  6. We should never waste a good crisis to make what every changes it brings to the fore. There will be a cultural momentum for change; we should take advantage of it.
  7. Watching endless hours of Netflix or any streaming service only ends in discouragement and a thicker waistline.
  8. Alcohol consumption goes up in crises.
  9. People drink even more when they come out of Lockdown.
  10. A lot of people like to put their head in the sand, hoping something will go away.
  11. You spend less money when you stay at home. – unless you eat a lot of Uber eats. Then you spend a lot of money in the new year trying to lose weight.
  12. We can spend a lot of time complaining about things we cannot change and have either no or limited impact on the outcome.
  13. Watching endless hours of news does not make you feel good.
  14. Glad I learnt to turn the TV off years ago.
  15. There is always an agenda.
  16. In cold weather, you can get used to wearing a mask.  It is a bummer when the weather gets hotter.
  17. Learnt that viruses have numbers. And often sound like beer.
  18. We all can use a whole lot of big words and new terminologies, that we do not understand that make us sound intelligent, but we really have no idea.
  19. Fear is the most powerful motivator and driver of our actions, even when we are wrong.
  20. When people chose a course of action, we would instead double down and continue that course than to admit we are wrong.
  21. The emperor does have new clothes, but no one wants to tell him.
  22. Even in lockdown, there are 24 hours in the day to do something useful, meaningful that can move our life forward.
  23. I’m not too fond of shopping centres.
  24. You can make a lot of food from what is in the cupboard.
  25. Toilet paper, canned tomatoes, pasta, and rice are profitable industries to be in when there is a crisis. Oh yes and anything to do with home maintenance.
  26. Practicing yoga outside, barefoot on the grass is a very peaceful thing to do in the early evening.
  27. Everyone else needs to obey the new laws, but I am an exception, at least that what we all think.
  28. Some people appoint themselves as law enforcers.
  29. I can go to a funeral with only ten people and still give my friend a good send-off.
  30. Governments like printing money. And some of us are half glad.
  31. Politicians/Media will only be nice to each other for the first week of a crisis, and then it is back to normal.
  32. I can forget how to drive when I do not do it for months at a time.
  33. I have a lot of neighbours who now go for walks.
  34. I am going to do something about changing the work I do.
  35. I enjoy being on my own.
  36. Being on their own can bring a lot of stuff that people have been suppressing to the surface.
  37. You can do a lot of things online, but they are not as much fun.
  38. There are some nice people around.
  39. I can sip a cup of coffee for a long time when I go for a walk so that I do not have the wear a mask when walking with a friend.
  40. Found a lot of lovely walks in my neighbourhood.
  41. Some religious groups think the end of the world is always around the corner. This year was no exception.
  42. Zoom was lucky there is a Pandemic. They had dug there well early, and it paid off big time.
  43. Social Media Companies are businesses and work with values which are not always consistent with the public good.
  44. It is valuable to dig the well before you thirsty, because if it does not rain you have supplies. AKA developing good habits serve us well in difficult times. It is best to start them when we do not need them. See – My Daily Ten.
  45. There will be hidden benefits and advantages in the current situation if we take the time to look.
  46. Some events have long tails.
  47. More people than you think are less than 90 days away from financial disaster.
  48. There is often a The Storm Before the Storm… pay attention to small events.

Here’s to 2021 – May it be the best year yet.


The Seasons of Life – E. James Rohn.

The Obstacle is the Way – Ryan Holiday.

The Laws of Human Nature – Robert Greene.


Written By Owen Thomas


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