the two things project

On April 30, 2011, I finished the MBA program at the Sauder School of Business at UBC.

The 28-month trek was gruelling.  Working full-time and going to school at the same time took a lot out of me, and it took a lot out of my family.  At the same time I learned alot, both academically and about myself.

The problem is that since finishing school one question has been nagging at me: Am I happy to be done?

Not really.

Sure, I am proud of  the accomplishment, but I am not really happy it is over. I  enjoyed just about every minute and I now recognize the nagging feeling: I want to keep on learning.

I want to seek out new things everyday, and spend more energy examining what I have observed/done/read and how it impacts me. As well, I  want something both academic and fun. I need a project that marries the two.

And now I have one: two things i learned today

The concept is simple. I want to further ingrain the idea of learning into my daily routine.  To accomplish this goal I plan to learn two things a day, every day, until I make a habit out of it.

Googling the topic suggests it should take about 21 days to form a habit, but I can’t find any credible source to back that number up, and frankly that seems quite quick if your habit is anything more difficult than brushing your teeth. Instead I will let research be my guide. The best source I can find, Lally et al. (2009), suggests on average a habit forms in about 66 days. Admittedly the range varies wildly based on the person and the complexity – there is a superb explanation of habit forming and the research here.

In the end a clean and memorable number works for me so I will go with it. I intend to blog my way through the habit-forming process with a simple daily post of what I have learned for the first 66 straight days.  After 66 days, to reinforce my new behaviour I will use an an online note system (Evernote) to record them all, and when I come across something that I think is either moderately insightful or humorously self-effacing I will blog that too.

Why two things?

Three seemed like the natural number but somebody already owned that domain.  Frankly I am hoping it is not really about the number. It is more about a state of mind and an approach to life. It is an exercise in forced introspection. That and two will be easier.

What will I learn?

Hopefully not just facts. There will inevitably be some sprinkled in, but in general I suspect a bunch of facts will make for a pretty dry blog. I hope to learn lots of new facts along the way, but I am probably not going to blog about too many of them.

My goal is to keep it broad and to keep it light. I am not going to write a book everyday. Some days I will research something new. Some days I will learn from my kids. Other days…who knows?

I am not setting out with a target subject in mind, but I wonder if I will find one along the way.  Will I focus on Business? Tech stuff? Sports? Wine? Coffee? Kids?  I hope this project will give me the opportunity to be introspective, creative and honest with myself about what I like and where I want to spend my time learning and living.

What will you learn?

Over a series of posts I hope you’ll get to know me, and what makes me tick.  And hopefully that will be interesting enough to bring you back to the site every once in awhile.

How often will you blog?

My original plan was to keep this up for a year. Within a few practice posts in the fall of 2011 I came to a sobering observation: This may be interesting for me, but it could get exceptionally boring for others. Worse, I  learned my first two things:

  1. I was wasting time each day trying to beef up my observations and make them funnier for the reader.
  2. My priorities weren’t straight. I was avoiding important things I needed to do, opting to instead pretty up posts for public consumption.

This forced me to spend some time thinking about what I am trying to get from the project. I decided it needs to be about me learning about me. I am confident I am disciplined enough to keep this up everyday, so after the first 66 days I will commit to posting my two things whenever I think they may be interesting to others.

What’s your timeline?

66 days from January 1, 2012 – March 6, 2012 and periodically after that.


One thought on “the two things project

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