10 Things I’ve Learned

My friend/colleague/client Huw, has posted 10 things he’s learned recently and challenged me to do the same. So here goes. 10 things I’ve learned recently.

1. All children really are different

You hear this a lot as a parent. And as we’ve had the recent addition of a second baby to our existing family of three, I can confirm that, despite having the same genes to work with, we’ve turned out two VERY different little Wintles. People say ‘ah but you’re a different parent the second time – you know what you’re doing’. And there is truth in that. The first bit at least. But our two kids are definitely polar opposite characters.

2. That you can sometimes give yourself a job title

I came across a guy recently who gave himself a job title that he had invented. I’ve actually already done this – my self-assigned job title at my own company Oikos is ‘Creator – Engineer -Advisor‘. But as I’ve become more and more interested in the field of user experience and usability I’m working out at what point I’m allowed to call myself a UX’er of some sort. And then Rich Holman turns up and he has a VERY similar journey to my own, and he’s called himself a UX developer, and I wonder if, actually, that’s what I’m going to become and call myself one day.

3. Halo orbits and that piece of Apollo kit that’s flying around the solar system

Random space facts. The other day I came across this animation of an object that came between the earth and the moon several times back in 2002 called J002E3:

This object was originally thought to be an asteroid, but they now think it’s actually part of one of the rockets that launched the Apollo space missions. Bonkers.

Anyway, at about the same time I came across the brilliant Chart of Cosmic Exploration on Pop Chart Lab which I hope you can still see. This contains reference to something called ISEE-3 which seems to be in orbit around the sun on the diagram – at least for some of its life. Anyway, I looked that up and it’s a thing that was put into what’s called a “halo orbit“, which is where an object can orbit a thing called a Lagrange point, which is a point in space affected by the gravity of two other bodies. Anyway, you can be in orbit around nothing it would seem. And that’s cool.

4. I am a highly sensitive person…

…and there’s a 20-ish% chance that you might be too!

I’ll keep harping on about the “high sensitivity” character trait because it’s been a revelation to my family and I suspect I know people who are highly sensitive (or people know people who are highly sensitive) who could really benefit from hearing about it.  Stop hanging around here and READ THIS.


…and there’s a 100% chance that you are too.

I learned this a while ago but it was another revelatory lesson for me. I’d always associated creativity with arts and crafts. But the realisation that creativity is much broader was a turning point for me. If you make anything – code, art, food, writing, furniture, electronics, lego, sermons, birthday cards, cakes, plants – anything, then you are creative. Everyone has made something in their life. Everyone is creative. Everyone has a craft.

The first book of the bible, Genesis, talks about God as creator (I don’t believe it literally – it’s a poem, a metaphor). And it says that God made man in his image – which I take to mean that we all have, in our being, some likeness to God. And I put that all together and understand it to mean that we are all creators. We all make stuff.

And God said: “Let there be…”. And God saw that it was good.

Go make things. Making things is good!

6. Anxiety is REALLY common and very real for very many people.

The more I have exchanges with people about anxiety, the more I feel like anxiety is in all of us. It might be full-blown, debilitating panic attacks. Or it might be way more subtle. But it’s everywhere and it’s real and it affects people in their everyday lives greatly.

I won’t share my main anxiety. But I know what it is. I know where it comes from. And I’m trying to deal with it.

So the next time someone wants to travel by themselves. Or needs a break from a situation. Or doesn’t call you on the phone. Or doesn’t want to drive a long distance. Or wants to stand by the exit of a busy room. Or wants to do something odd and seems stressed about it. Give them a break. This might be REALLY hard for them.

7. Anger is OK

Blimey – this is turning into a full-blown therapy session.

I was a pretty placid person until a certain set of things in my life happened which caused me to discover that I could actually get quite angry under the right circumstances. I’ve REALLY struggled with this. I struggled because getting angry felt wrong, and bad. But I’ve come to accept it. And to accept it I had to acknowledge that anger is actually a part of normal human existence. We shouldn’t feel bad that we get angry. It’s just something that happens. It’s a physiological response to external stimuli that’s often out of our control.

How one deals with anger is a whole other story – and one that I won’t go into here. But anger in itself is OK. That was a HARD lesson to learn.

8: Our conscious reality is about 0.5 seconds behind actual reality.

Seriously. Our brains process different senses at different speeds, so we get sound quicker than vision. So why isn’t the world all out of sync? Well, our brains cleverly assemble our “reality” and re-sync everything so that we perceive in-sync. But this means that we’re constantly living in the past.

So how do you do something like hit a baseball travelling at 90mph? Or clap in time with a group of other people.

This…THIS…is one of the most fascinating pieces of radio that I’ve ever listened to.

Two more…?

It’s late…I made it to eight. I think I’m done.

What have YOU learned recently?