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I’ve been trying not to write a book again. Uh oh, I know what that means!

As I said in my Training ABC post it might be the intro to a book. Yeah, well more keeps spilling out. It’s finding its way into many a social media post of mine these days.

Here’s one example:

The working title is Ground Floor Learning. And I can’t help but keep writing it right now. Even though I don’t know who would by it and I’ve not yet pitched it to any publishers. Like Just Do The Thing: A Guide I’m failing at holding this back. It wants to be written, apparently. I’m always the last to know why.

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This is my Now page and here’s what’s up for me these days (as posted on 05/06/21)

Well, I’m breathing a bit easier since my second jab. Still got another week before it’s “set in” as they say. Though soon, I look forward to slowly returning to the world. Still not quite sure what that is going to look like yet.

One of the more productive bits of panic to come from the last year of isolation was putting up a greenhouse. In addition to providing a bit of food security, it’s just nice to be around all the plants bursting with life inside. I don’t know what I’m doing yet, and still it’s doing great. We’ve been able to have a few full meals from things we grew from tiny seeds now. And it’s all delicious! Nothing like picking something and eating it minutes later, farm to table in about 30-feet.

This goes nicely with my Hundred Days of Health drive, which is also progressing well. I’ve already lost weight even while gaining muscle. Unlike having this as a goal every month (as I have for months!), I’m finally actually doing the work consistently. It really helps me to have a dedicated container, and I am taking better care of myself and feeling better in general. I’ll probably have some more detailed progress reports to share around day 25, 50, & 75. I’m only about two-weeks in right now.

Work is still the main thing taking my attention. Last week I got through a major push that was pretty critical, and while it’s not exactly smooth sailing yet, the extra effort I put in really did help. I hope to be able to hire some more folks in soon that should take this pressure off of me.

And lastly, one of the milestones that I hit this month is being totally debt-free again. Last year (before I go the job with ConvaTec), I had to take out a loan against my 401K to cover living expenses. This week, I pay back the last of it! This after paying off all credit cards in March (not that there was a lot on them, but there was some from the holidays still). I plan never to be in debt like that again. And by plan, I mean save up a one full year of financial runway this time. Because as the pandemic showed me, the six months that I had just wasn’t enough. So I’ll do better for next time.

So that’s me for now! How about YOU? Hit me up or leave me a comment below. Hope all is well with you :)

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You probably know how this story goes, if you’ve not experienced it yet yourself, you’ve heard it from other friends & family members.
  • Wednesday = Received second dose of one of the mRNA vaccines
  • Thursday = Fine…until about 18hrs after the shot, then not fine at all. Had trouble keeping my insides in.
  • Friday = Called in sick to work, slept through most of the day, could barely eat, everything hurt
  • Saturday = Fever & nausea went away but still felt like crap, headache & body aches, no energy
  • Sunday = Finally feeling better. Still a slight headache, but nowhere near what it was for the previous few days

Just like with COVID itself, some people get off easy. Were it not for a positive test result, they wouldn’t even notice that they have it. Other people get laid up for a week or two of symptoms like I had with the vaccine. Others have to go to the hospital it gets so bad. Some of them never come out.

I know a 92 year old man who was one of the “oh really? I have it? If you say so” variety.
I also lost my 92 year old grandmother to COVID a year ago in April.
I also know someone in her 30s who was one of the first official cases in the US (in NYC) and got very, very sick, but then got better.

There’s no telling how you’re going to react to either the vaccine or the virus itself. You may think you know, but you don’t know. No one knows. It’s the luck of the draw.

This is one of the reasons I got the vaccine the first chance I could, and I encourage others to as well. Because no one knows how we’ll react upon first encounter. But we DO know how we’ll react after the vaccine. If you’ve been inoculated and get infected after that, it’s possible you might still get a little sick — but it’s extremely unlikely that you’d have to go to the hospital, and almost certain that you won’t die.

I live in a place where a lot of people won’t get the vaccine. Yes, there are things we don’t know about them, and the science on the mRNA ones like I got is totally new and experimental. If this is a concert for you, get the Johnson & Johnson one. That is a vaccine much like others you’ve had before, nothing to worry about.

No long term studies have been done yet, that’s true. But would you really rather be in the control group on this one? The ones who can be killed or severely compromised by just breathing someone else’s air? Really?

For anyone who can’t put up with what I just went through, you’d better hope and pray that you never get the real thing. Or that you never get it again.

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The standard rule of thumb is that the value of your dollars are cut in half every 20 years. That’s due to inflation, and if you calculate it at a reasonable 3.5% annually, it becomes 98.98% over two decades.

Here’s what it’s been in my lifetime. It’s expected to be at least that much.

You can see it for yourself and play with the numbers at plenty of free websites, here’s the one I’m using:
https://smartasset.com/investing/inflation-calculator

Juggle those numbers and note that at 5.65%, it gets cut by 2/3rds with a cumulative 200% inflation rate. Meaning that what it takes $100 USD to buy today, it would take $300 to buy in 2041. Or at 7.18%, it gets cut by 3/4ths with a cumulative 300% inflation rate. Meaning that same hundred bucks today would get you a quarter of what you’d think 20-years into the future.

Most people in the US looking back only 20 years would laugh at rates like that, because it hasn’t happened in that time. But it did before, here are the 20 years from 1971-1991. Maybe, like me, you remember most of those. That period had an average inflation rate of 6.30% and cumulative inflation of 236.34%.

And it could actually get much worse than that as currencies inflate themselves out of existence. It happens all the time throughout time, and in fact it eventually happens to every currency. It just hasn’t happened to our precious USDs yet is all.

This comes to mind as I’m trying to figure out some kind of personal savings equations. How do I save enough to compensate for the value halving between now and when I’d traditionally be eligible for retirement?

The answer is clear. I don’t, and most likely neither do you. Hmm.

I’m a “don’t wager more than you can afford to lose” kinda guy. So while I’m fine to wager on speculations, there’s a certain baseline that I ain’t gonna mess with. For that minimum amount, I don’t hold it to grow it, I hold it to keep it secure. At this point with all that’s going on in the world, and the fact that nearly every asset is priced at record highs, nothing looks like a good wager to me. So my baseline can’t stay in dollars. More on that coming soon.

How do you interpret all this stuff? Do you just put your head down and try not to worry about it or what?

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Back in 2015, before I’d started to form any presence in the Learning & Development industry (though I’d been quietly doing the work at for 15 years), I remember deciding between doubling down within L&D or going off to work in what was still a fledgling field of Behavior Design instead.

Now, looking back at the last six years, it often feels like I made the wrong call.

At the time, I’d been attempting to create several communities and innovate new projects that the world didn’t know it needed yet. Most would work for a little while with me putting in a ton of effort, but then fail when I wasn’t doing that anymore. I wanted to build from within a preexisting community or industry or field, and I thought L&D would be the best bet. At least there’s a market for that, not a huge one, but something.

Then I went off to contribute to the community and meet a lot of the people active in it. There I met some amazing people that have become lifelong friends. And…I met a lot of people who like to hide, want things to be easy, and don’t really want to work very hard. I’m happy to play with anybody and tend to get along with everybody, though I don’t particularly enjoy people who are firmly rooted in a stance of “they should” without any willingness to say “I will” or “Hey let’s”.

Maybe that’s not about L&D so much as people in general, but from my perspective it seems to be particularly pronounced in this field. I ventured forth to speak and teach and write and livestream and podcast and host and do whatever I could to connect and resonate with the “Hey let’s” folks. But I didn’t get anywhere with it. Not really.

I wanted to get good as speaking, and I think I did. Not that I’m the world’s best speaker or anything, but I’ve now done it enough that I hit all of the personal improvement targets that I had set. I spoke & taught at dozens of L&D conferences, and worked hard to deliver good and memorable information and experiences. But rarely would anyone actually pay me. I realized that it kinda doesn’t matter how good you get within that world, the only people who tend to get paid are from outside it who are invited in for their fame, not their skill.

I don’t know that the field of Behavior Design is very different, but the grass looks greener over there right now. In truth, my heart has always been more in Behavior Design than Learning & Development. There are just too many flaws in the logic of how we do learning at scale, and too few principles or models. There’s an incredibly blind fanatic focus on making things that address the conscious experience, as if learning can only happen when you are consciously aware that you’re learning?!? Even a quick reflection upon one’s own personal history shows that this actually isn’t the case at all.

I’ve got a scientific bent, and WAY too much of what we “know” about learning flies in the face of science and even just basic testing or reflection like that.

I’m not going to change streams at this point. But as there are opportunities to work in the overlap between the two, I’m there. I have some much better data & analytics skills now, which wasn’t the case back in 2015. Which was a factor in me moving to L&D rather than helping forge the world of B&D (yeah, nobody calls it that, sorry).

I don’t know where my life would be if I had gone straight from working at YouTube to learning from BJ Fogg and getting involved with followers of his who have gone on to create their own books and craft their own path. I was in the right place at the right time with the right connections already. I nearly did exactly that.

Perhaps I’d be better off. Perhaps not. Another Shoulda Woulda Coulda.

What I learned from this is that making a decision based on what I believe currently exists and what I think is likely is maybe not as impactful as making a decision based on what I’m most excited about and intrigued by.

Do you have a pivotal professional crossroads like this in your life? If so, please share in the comments. I’d love to hear about it too.

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