My 2022: Character Development

December 31, 2022

In December 2021, I wrote a blog post reflecting on my year: I began disciplining myself; working on executing tasks, not just talking about it; and trying to push myself in every area of my life.

There’s a lot I’ve done this year that I wouldn’t have imagined doing this time last year, but I also had a few bumps in the road and learned many important lessons about myself. I thought I’d share these with you.

Achievements this year

(but before that, briefly, here are some things I’ve done this year! 😂)

  • Started campaigning in person, door knocked and helped win an election campaign for a transformative Council candidate
  • Started going back into a real gym, not home gymming
  • I earned quite a lot of passive income from skills I gained for fun
  • I landed a placement at Sheffield City Council as a Digital Media Assistant (and learnt about the quirks of corporate life)
  • I went into more naturally uncomfortable situations, holding talks with young people and coordinating meetings.
  • UCAS prediction: AAB 😁

Quality over Quantity

Story with lots of priorities

This was a story on my close friends. One of my friends congratulated me for having so much to worry about, but honestly, this story was not boasting, it was a cry for help. 😂

Over the summer, I got involved with quite a lot. I said “Yes” to every opportunity I could find, believing that the more I did, the more I’d progress and the more fulfilled I would be.

But I realised that doing everything doesn’t always mean progression, and it became impossible to balance everything.

I started to feel overwhelmed under the pressure of morning meetings, WhatsApp messages and unticked boxes in my to-do list app. The quality of my work decreased, and eventually, so did the amount of work I could deliver.

Initially, I dealt with this by having more breaks; creating a Sunday rest day was one thing I tried to do. I ended up using that day to work on other things I forgot to do in the week. As September came along, reality kicked in. I realised I needed to drop the ego and reduce the root cause of my problem, which was the amount of work I had signed up for.

In volunteer projects where I lead, I’ve started delegating smaller tasks to others so I won’t need to worry about them and can focus on the bigger picture. In other areas, I’ve started asking for smaller workloads to guarantee a quality product.

I’m not a robot and cannot work like a robot. I have limits, and I need to work around them.

Not all at once

Clark's desk with

I’ve set many expectations and standards for myself socially, academically and mentally. While it’s great to have high standards, I’ve noticed I put too many on myself to the point that it’s unsustainable, and I start feeling bad about not delivering, making me less likely to deliver.

I focused so much on social constructs, being “clever”, statistics on my to-do list app and how other people were progressing compared to where I was. When I didn’t deliver, disappointments would then build up, and I would be incredibly drained by the end of the day.

There’s no way I can always be perfect. I don’t need to be everything all at once, and flaws and ignorance is simply a sign I need to learn more; it’s not something I need to punish myself for.

I need to take a chill pill

Multi-millionaires on Twitter who own 33 supercars and get roasted by teenagers like to talk about hustle culture. Hustle is cool and all, but I also need balance.

When I became overwhelmed, I started losing enjoyment and focus, and I felt less optimistic about myself and the future. But really, all I needed was a moment to breathe, take my mind off things and do something I enjoy that wasn’t considered productive, and not doomscrolling through Twitter or skipping through songs in a Spotify playlist.

What I want 2023 to be about

Sunrise in St Ives

I set the theme of 2022 as moving “Forward.”

I’ve learnt that there will be times on this journey when I don’t know whether or not I’m going forward or back. Unlike the bits in computers, Life is not Binary 1s and 0s.

Maturity is realising that everyone is figuring it out, and nobody is the leader of the cavalry, not even those who write books about mastering life and get placed in the ‘Smart Thinking’ section of Waterstones.

So in 2023, I want to simply find fulfillment and contentment in who I am and what I do and use that as a platform for progress. It’s about little wins, not a revolution.

Happy New Year everyone 🥳

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