“People tend to accumulate large mental holdings of fixed conclusions and attitudes that are not often reexamined or changed, even though there is plenty of good evidence that they are wrong.” (Charlie Munger)
One year ago, I announced I was closing Friday Read, my personal newsletter. And then I learned new things about myself and, in time, reached the conclusion that I want to undo my decision. So this is me announcing that Friday Read is back.
I always used to talk about how people are resilient to dislodging old beliefs, patterns and thoughts, even when faced with new contradictory information.
Over the past few months I revisited some of my old decision, both personal and professional. Only this time, I postponed acting on whatever conclusions and solutions I reached. I wanted to make sure first there are no more impulsive decisions anymore, as I now know I’m guilty of those.
Announcing that I’m closing this newsletter a year ago was one of my impulsive decisions.
I noticed a problem (the fact that I was spread too thin) and went straight into action mode: I closed my personal newsletter and announced that from that moment on I’ll focus solely on The CEO Library, the project I co-founded in August 2017, and where I’ve been sending a similar weekly newsletter. Another impulsive decision was half a year before that, when I switched from writing in Romanian, my native language, to English.
This was the narrative going on through my mind at that time:
a) Switching to English was some form of moat building in case I ever decided to move out of the country. This seemed like the smart thing to do at the time, given the unstable social-political context and how so many folks were moving elsewhere (context for those outside Romania: we have the second emigration growth rate in the world, after Syria – and Syria’s war-torn).
b) I’ve always juggled with multiple projects at the same time, from various fields and different implication levels. Deciding to focus on only one project was a way of signaling (to my own brain, but also to the world) that I’m going all in and forcing myself to take 100% ownership of whatever happens with The CEO Library.
These decisions made sense at that moment, they seemed like the smart/grownup thing to do, but in time I noticed they left me with several unfulfilled needs.
In the process, I learned new things about who I am, what I value and what I want (or at least what I thought I wanted).
Perhaps I’m wrong (again), but this is the story I’m telling myself at the moment I’m writing this:
1. I need to hold on to my roots and help first and foremost those in my proximity: I’m talking about other Romanians, those who still are living here and share common worries, thoughts and values. This is a selfish thing, come to think of it, as I’m actually helping myself and my legacy in the process. I can’t “fix” this country alone, we all need to get involved and be part of a future change. I can’t just bury my head into sand and ignore what’s going on around me, cause I won’t be able to stand myself when I look in the mirror (and how will my kids and loved ones respect me?). And I know I can help those in my proximity, and, in the process, help the country, help myself, my future kids. See? It’s selfish. But I need to do this before I can focus on helping others in the world. It’s some form of security, perhaps.
2. Nothing can replace quality human interaction, IRL, and seeing with my own eyes how I’m helping others, how they improve their life and become maybe 1% happier thanks, partly, to my contribution. Yes, it’s a form of feeling significant, of knowing that I matter. And, in my case, this comes mostly through one-on-one social interactions. Quality, not quantity, ok? Knowing I positively contribute to those I see on a daily basis gives me more energy than anything else that comes under digital form.
3. Writing in a language that isn’t my native one, even if I’m forcing myself to write just as personal as I would in Romanian, dilutes the message in the process. It lacks nuances, therefore it loses power, connection and ability to relate. (Nicolas Colin has an amazing article on this subject, you can read it here: The Power of the Tongue)
So, what’s next?
In the (slow) search of ways to fulfill my needs mentioned above, I decided to bring my personal newsletter back to life, and to reverse it to its March 2018 version: in Romanian, that is. (sorry to my non-Romanian subscribers) You can subscribe here.
One of the main changes will be that I won’t be sending it every Friday. Expect it to arrive in your inboxes every other Friday instead – it’s just a way of making sure I deliver more value for you.
Another major difference will be that I’ll prioritize IRL interactions and I’ll try to constantly come with new pretexts to meet and interact physically. This also means that there’s a chance I might not reply to all emails anymore, as it’s an inefficient way of doing things. I will continue to read everything you reply and I’ll use your challenges, dilemmas and questions as fuel for future content or even events I’ll organize.
And, as you’ve probably already noticed, I also (silently) made a few changes to this blog as well, and started writing in Romanian again.
That being said, cheers to a new chapter!
Have the courage to change your mind and live your truth.