The year-end review for 2020 was postponed, and the 2021 year-end review has been documented in my personal OKRs. Since my OKR completion rate was not high, I can’t afford to delay this time 😭. The overall review is conducted based on the “Wheel of Life” framework.
I encountered the concept of the “Wheel of Life” only in the second half of 2021. I didn’t strictly follow its classification in practice, as it seemed too detailed. However, the overall direction seemed to align with my aspirations.
Reflection is a highly personalized act. Any methodology or standard can only serve as a reference and cannot be replicated entirely. I am still learning how to reflect since “seeing is superficial, understanding requires practice.”
The biggest realization this year is that time is insufficient, and I have a deeper understanding of long-term and short-term planning. Previous knowledge of long-term and short-term plans and concepts seemed too idealistic. Although I knew many principles and concepts such as compounding thinking, SMART goals, prioritizing important tasks, and beginning with the end in mind, the implementation was poor. It’s a classic case of “knowing a lot but still not living a good life.”
Realizing the challenge of “implementation,” I felt anxious for a while, struggling with a form of perfectionism. I wanted to find the correct and efficient path, avoiding deviations and worrying about wasting time and energy. Later, I realized that this was a form of “procrastination.” Fortunately, after adjusting my mindset, I found my rhythm and routine 🏃.
Why didn’t I realize it earlier? Time! Or rather, the pressure that comes with age. Suddenly, I felt that I couldn’t use youth as an excuse anymore, and I couldn’t drift through life in a daze. This realization is somewhat emotional, and there was a lot of accumulation during this period, ultimately leading to a sudden awakening at some point. Some things require time and experience to settle, just like brewing wine, a combination of early material preparation and later time action. Any experience is only your reference material.
Secondly, the importance of reflection became apparent. Most of my summaries and gains come from reflection, helping me avoid the trap of endlessly working on projects, stuck in the loop of gaining one year of experience over ten years. Currently, my reflections are not very regular, sometimes just a few sentences, sometimes a whole article. I haven’t found a good reflection template yet, leading to divergent thoughts during each reflection. I hope to improve reflection efficiency in 2022 and share a practical reflection article 🔮.
Lastly, tool preferences: In my cognitive system, there is a hierarchy: Dao (principles) > Shu (methods) > Qi (tools). Tools are accelerators in the process of achieving goals and should mainly aim to improve efficiency.
Regarding tools, it’s easy to fall into a cognitive fallacy: when you use a tool, you may think you have mastered a certain ability. This is particularly evident in some productivity tools like GTD. I fell into this trap once, spending a lot of time learning popular tools, equipped with various magical tools, thinking I could conquer everything. However, reality is harsh.
This year, I actually subtracted from tools. The sense of disconnection between various tools made me realize the importance of an ecosystem 😨. Now, reviews and inspirations are in Notes, to-dos in Reminders, calendar events and contacts in Apple’s native apps, emails in Gmail, notes stored in Obsidian on iCloud (so I can directly search and view them on my phone without additional downloads).
Yes, I joined the Apple ecosystem. My cross-platform needs are minimal, and the user experience and efficiency have reached a balance I expected. It allows me to focus more on things outside of tools.
In summary, you need to have goals. Dao (principles), Shu (methods), and Qi (tools) are your means of implementation. Everything revolves around your goals. If we lose our goals, we will become confused, work passively, and gradually lose competitiveness. This is not about creating anxiety but about making choices that suit ourselves better. Who says lying down is not a choice?
Towards the end of 2021, there were some changes in my job direction due to business adjustments in the company.
The not-so-good part is that past work did not achieve the expected success in business results, which somewhat affects subsequent assessments 😣. This is actually normal in a career, and a friend gave me a wake-up call during a casual chat:
Useless efforts are normal.
Even delaying returns after hard work is already good.
Being lucky enough to see returns after hard work is fortunate.
Don’t try to eliminate useless efforts.
How to showcase your abilities among useless efforts is important.
On the positive side, the scope of responsibilities has expanded. In 2022, more time, energy, and focus will be invested in team building. This provides a better perspective to consider the overall situation and an opportunity to learn and practice some knowledge and concepts. I hope to build my positive feedback loop in a new field.
In terms of technical depth, I am continuously organizing the underlying workings of middleware such as Go source code, MySQL, Redis, and Kafka.
On the breadth of technology, I am organizing design patterns for microservices, architecture design solutions, cloud-native concepts, and stability management.
From my cognitive system, I categorize the professional knowledge I have learned into two types: new things and just new terms. Once again, I realize that understanding new things requires seeing through their essence; they are often descriptions of something existing in another system, fundamentally unchanged.
This year, I have improved my knowledge of financial management, albeit paying some tuition 📉.
I redefined four types of money: active money, stable money (3 years), long money (5 years), and insurance. The main sources of learning were “Qieman,” “You Zhi You Xing,” “ETF Saves the World,” and “Meng Yan.”
I reorganized the proportion of family asset allocation. Due to a significant expense planned within 3 years, stable money has a higher proportion. Currently, active money: stable money: long money = 2:6:2.
Due to a high allocation to Chinese stocks and the market decline before the Spring Festival, the overall performance in 2021 is floating in losses. Before June, I was impulsive, but I quickly realized and did a stress test during the adjustment of Chinese stocks. Although it kept falling in the second half of the year, I was more cautious. I followed the stress test rhythm, and overall, the stress is still manageable. However, most of the purchases were made in the first half of the year, so the overall cost is still not low. Of course, it’s not a loss if you don’t sell 🍜!
I maintained the habit of accounting throughout the year using Money Pro. It is convenient for asset overviews and detailed queries. This year’s main expenses were on fixed expenses, and the income structure is single. I aim to break through the income structure in 2022.
This year, I also learned about insurance-related knowledge: critical illness insurance, medical insurance, accident insurance, and life insurance. Before the new insurance regulations on February 1, 2021, I configured critical illness insurance for my family, which has excellent cost-effectiveness due to its preferential claims. However, I failed to purchase it due to health problems 💉. In 2022, I will complete the remaining insurance coverage. For me, the role of insurance is mainly to resist risks, so I choose purely consumer-oriented insurance. Insurance products with functions like returns/dividends are not within my consideration.
During the learning process, I gradually discovered that the sales methods in the insurance industry are gradually shifting towards the Internet. Compared to traditional offline channels, online customer acquisition has lower costs. More insurance agencies and individuals are turning to online sales. Over time, with the growth of the Internet, the proportion of people who come into contact with insurance through the network will increase. Online sales will undoubtedly become more significant. Whether it’s offline or online, whether the agent is a company or an individual, your insurance contract is signed with the insurance company, under the supervision of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) 🏢.
Cognition in this area is still quite emotional. Sometimes I am nervous, sometimes very relaxed, and it is challenging to control the middle ground. Due to nervousness or reluctance to express myself, there are still communication barriers, and there have been quite a few moments of regret afterward.
This year, overall communication became more “Buddhist.” I don’t like arguing with people, especially with people or things that have nothing to do with me: you say 1+1=5, it’s your opinion.
Another aspect is that Mandarin needs continuous improvement. Currently, I can distinguish between flat and retroflex sounds with great effort, but nasal sounds are still not well controlled. I need to practice. Fortunately, in Chinese, the context can often infer the meaning even if the pronunciation is not perfect. It doesn’t affect the expression of ideas, but when encountering “奶奶拿牛奶，” I still freeze 😰.
In general, there is too little summary in this area. I am an introverted person but with delicate thoughts. I can practice empathy and non-violent communication, but my expression falls short of my expectations. I hope to continue improving in 2022.
This year, I solved the most significant pain point—lower back pain. I often had obvious soreness in the middle of my lower back. After simple learning and understanding of muscle force principles, I found some relief solutions. After half a year of massage conditioning and regular stretching, I haven’t experienced soreness since the National Day, and I’ve even experienced a few chiropractic sessions. Comfortable!
During the communication with the masseur, I also learned that “incorrect posture leads to uneven muscle force, affecting the shape of the spine (most typically bending). This, in turn, causes continuous asymmetrical muscle force, creating a vicious circle due to the curved spine.”
Another posture affecting lower back pain is “anterior pelvic tilt.” I didn’t think that lower back pain would be related to the muscles on the front side of the thigh until I watched this video.
I also gained knowledge from information sources like Ding Xiang Doctor and Shu Gui in health popularization, correcting many of my knowledge misconceptions. I even quit crossing my legs.
These behaviors are all about restoring the body to its original normal state. I didn’t do any aerobic exercises like running or swimming this year, and definitely no anaerobic exercises. Fortunately, diet control was good, and there was no change in weight, but my face is thinner than last year. I plan to seriously undergo a complete fitness training in 2022, exercise some muscles 💪, and strive for at least twice a month of swimming 🏊.
During the Spring Festival of 2022, I went to learn snowboarding. I fell a lot on my first attempt at snowboarding, and I hope to enter the intermediate level by the Spring Festival of 2023 without injuries 🏂.