The Minimalism Project

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Two good friends recently tasked me with finding them a new home to buy. I love finding friends homes. The consequences are high, because you don’t want to let your friends down, but I love the challenge. Besides, hanging out with friends and looking at homes is far more fun than it is actual work.

There’s a common logic amongst most of us that we look for the house that stretches us to the absolute maximum of what we are able to afford. The best home our money can buy. We started looking at options, and along the way, the objective became clear that they were looking to downsize, in order to live bond free. This was quite a refreshing challenge.

Their mission reminded me of a documentary I watched a while back, called Minimalism which I promised to put her onto. I went home and found it on Netflix (you can watch it in multiple places, just click here to see your options ) and before I knew it was engrossed for the second time. But this time it really hit home.

Some highlights/profound moments were as follows:

  • to find a way to live well, within an easy to earn income
  • work less, experience more
  • to only have things that you actually use or you get value from
  • to minimize the stuff that fills up our lives

Another great source of inspiration if you like where I’m going here is “How to live Morgage free with Sarah Beeny” also on Netflix, great ideas and innovative ways to avoid choking to death on huge monthly bond costs.

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A serious self-audit was coming.

I decided to scrutinize the following areas of my life, financial,  material and space.

Space is what I currently need to live and how I use it. It’s a verified statistic that the majority of people only use 40% of their home. With the dining room being the most wasted space in the majority of homes. What are my wasted spaces and how can I make positive changes?

Material is the stuff that fills my space, what am I actually using? what is adding value and what is just pure hoarding? This is going to be a big one!

Financial. Something that has completely stunned me in recent years is how expensive my life is. Yet every time I look at my budget, I cannot find a way to cut back! I am going to take a good look at my expenses and I’ll be honest about the results!

So that is my 3 part project I’m working on. I’ll post each individually and show you the before and after results. I’m writing this so that I can’t chicken out and not do it.

Peace, love and less nonsense.

S.

 

 

Change Your Game

Sometimes things happen that push you in a direction, even if you’re not heading there.

I haven’t posted anything in a long time (despite having 5 drafts sitting on my WordPress account that I’m just not ready to share yet) but in the past couple months a common topic popped up in multiple conversations, so I decided to put something down in writing. It’s easy to write when you feel strongly about the topic.

In February, my bruv Pete popped in for a long overdue visit (he lives in Mauritius and I hadn’t seen him in 3 years) he is busy planning his new future and we had some deep discussions around planning a career, making tough decisions when the way isn’t clear. He has multiple options on the table and no clear feeling which way to go. Then shortly after his visit another mate called me and told me he had pulled the plug on his job of 4 years to go in a completely different direction. Then another mate. same story. Then my favourite blogger Tim Urban, of WaitbutWhy ,who hasn’t blogged in literally 1 entire year, releases his latest post “choosing a career”  which was kind of a strange topic for him, because he usually writes about space, the future, and artificial intelligence…. but he has also dealt with these changing times and it was a common problem in his circle of friends.

And then just this week, another mate called me asking for advice on how he should change up his career.  Okay, maybe I need to write this out.

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Pete and I discussing the big issues in life. Beer always helps.

So this discussion has been a frequent one, and I had a secret weapon I had used in my recent career change, was this the time to share it? I was a little embarrassed at the thought of including it in this post, then I thought well nobody is probably going to read it, so what do you have to lose!

I guess my last 2 years have been a vindication of my decision to change my career and re-balance my lifestyle. it has been bladdy hard, and there have been some serious moments of self-doubt, even still when cash flow gets tight, and I’m struggling to pay bills I lie in bed and wonder if I’m being stupid. but then I revisit my “WHY”. why am I doing this, what is the alternative, everything becomes clear, and I know what I have to do, just press on.

So my ‘Why’ is obviously brought about by the experience of losing my wife to cancer and the perspective of time that came with that experience, time suddenly had a new value and became my most valued commodity. How could I spend my time in a way that I would never regret?

First, you need a value system, a hierarchy of what is most important to you. Everyone is different, and only you can answer the question, which usually requires some pretty deep reflection and/or a life-changing experience to make it clear. If you don’t have that clarity yet, Tim Urban’s post is a fantastic place to start! He systematically breaks down how we reach a place in our lives where we are suddenly at ends with what we planned, and following a few of his pretty cool, fun exercises, he helps you find your core motivating values.  If you need this help, set aside the morning, read this post and follow the instructions.

Now look, I’m a little strange, I LOVE spreadsheets. They are like little fortune tellers. You put in info, create a formula and a Blam! The answer is there! It can tell you how much money you will have in 20 years time! It can tell you where you are making mistakes and it can even help you pick a career. I built one to help me remove the emotional elements of job choices and find a career that best suited my value system while leveraging my skillset.

It’s pretty simple:

  • rank your values
  • list your job opportunity or potential career paths
  • answer 9 questions
  • Check your answers!

This exercise does something I thought was really interesting, by focussing on very specific micro questions about certain elements to a job position, and scoring those questions according to a weighting for your values, the answer you get at the end is somewhat surprising.

In my case, my skill set of marketing, leveraged with having a big network of friends and my highest priority value being flexibility to spend time with Kimmy and my kids, the answer was so far ahead of the others, I literally couldn’t believe my eyes!

A real estate agent? Again? I had some really negative emotions with regards to being a salesperson, and there were other cooler jobs I imagined myself doing. I really couldn’t picture myself putting up show boards on a Sunday in formal clothing. but none of the other options scores close to it:

  • Relationship manager at a tech/online gaming company in SA (decent flexibility) 43 points
  • A senior position in the surf industry (years of experience, knowledge) 40 points
  • Marketing department for a cutting-edge tech company (with a great salary) 39 points

All of these scored less than half of a position I had been offered at RE/ MAX, with zero salary ! hahaha, my value system was definitely a strange one. 83 Points! But it ticked most important boxes:

Flexibility, I needed a job where I could come and go on my own terms. I need to fetch kids, watch their extra murals, buy groceries, and once in a while sneak a surf.

Big Earning Potential , its definitely not for the faint-hearted, but real estate can pay out big if you are good at what you do.

Leveraging my network, I like people, I like talking to people, I think I have a decent reputation and I’m honest and genuinely care about what people think of me.

Time to build a side hustle, not many jobs allow you as much freedom and personal time management as property. I was going to make the most of it.

The downside was the lack of a salary , but because the weighting made that not a priority (yeah i know, not the smartest call)  The other scores made the answer clear. RE/MAX it was!

Ladies and gentlemen I present to you…….. the Magical Decision Maker  (click here and you can download it and give it a try) 

IMPORTANT INSTRUCTIONS ! See bottom of the article!

Numbers don’t lie! I had to trust the spreadsheet. It was simple math. So I took the job. I decided to make it for me, rather than become a typical Sunday arvo agent, I would be me, and also sell property. I love working with people, I love catching up with old friends, I pride myself on my ethics and honesty, and I figured this would all be a pretty good base. I would learn to be an expert in the market but these other elements would be a natural starting point. Besides, I figured most homes sell themselves, you’re either feeling it when you walk in the door or you’re not, I just had to listen well enough to make sure I was showing my friends the right properties.

The first-year was hard!!!!!!! My cash flow was non-existent, and I went heavily into debt to cover my monthly expenses. But I was committed. I trusted that spreadsheet! I stayed committed to my plan of building quality relationships vs. selling the most property anyone has ever sold. I just wanted to be recognised for doing a great job, and being trustworthy on the few deals I did.

Fast forward to 2018 and I’m happy to report success and happiness! I won Rookie of the Year in 2017 (highest total commission for a new agent). It was double the earnings I had ever made in a calendar year, and I was still far off the potential (i think I was like 20th in my office!) But the best part of all of it, I had lived a balanced life. I had fetched my kids from school every day, I had time for myself (small amounts, but they were on my terms, and made me feel like I was in control and not just a cog in some wheel of life).

Another big goal of mine was to build an app in my spare time, I love tech, and I have about 3,000 ideas floating around in my head at any given time, I just wanted to bring one of them to life. Starting at RE/MAX you are put into a series of fantastic training seminars that help you build yourself up to a highly motivated and successful individual.

During one of these courses I stumbled upon an idea that I thought was relevant and turned into a conversation with a friend, which turned into a couple sketched out ideas, which turned into a spreadsheet (did tell you? i heart spreadsheets!) which turned into a meeting with a developer which turned into a year of development, and TA DA!

www.supapro.com is born. ( It’s a task management app designed specifically for salespeople with big client databases, and it syncs with your calendar which makes you really efficient at not dropping the ball)

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I have some other projects, most of them I’ve been terrible at starting, but overall I really feel like my time and energy has been focussed on the right things over the last 2 years. You can’t do everything you want to do, there has to be a sacrifice. To give more energy to one thing means taking energy away from something else. The spreadsheet is designed to help you understand where you want to spend that energy and choose a career that supports that.

My cash flow is still very strained, and I’m far from what I would call comfortable, but I feel like I’m getting there, and enjoying the journey too, which after all is the most important thing.

I hope the Magical Decision Maker finds at least 1 person and helps them make a hard choice clearer! Please let me know if it does, I’ll be delighted to hear your story!

 

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Mondays don’t have to be the worst day of the week! Kimmy enjoying flexible work hours.



INSTRUCTIONS FOR USING THE SPREADSHEET.

 

TAB 1 – ONLY fill in the corresponding number in the GREEN block

TAB 2 – LIST YOUR POTENTIAL JOB OPPORTUNITIES IN THE GREEN BLOCKS

TAB 3 – ANSWER the 9 questions relating to each job. ONLY FILL IN THE corresponding number. Different jobs can get the same score eg. Question how is the starting salary?

Astronaut – 5 , Lawyer – 5 , Street sweeper – 1

GO BACK TO TAB 2 FOR THE RESULTS. HIGHEST SCORE WINS.

Message me if it doesn’t make sense!

 

Vision

After 10 years of global recession we all have the sense “somethings gotta give”. I’m not sure if it is just us getting older and more pessimistic, or the world being more aware of the shit that’s happening all around us, either way, there seems to be a lot of crap to deal with these days.

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a ridiculous optimist.

I love the endless possibilities that the future holds. I’m obsessed with technology , and its ability to make life easier/better. My childhood idol Kelly Slater has been replaced with Elon Musk (although Slater’s wave pool near saw him take back that top slot). I wait eagerly for the latest releases, whether it be Tesla cars, iPhone software/hardware, or simply my favourite futurist blogger’s tech posts.

It always amazes me how humans , when faced with adversity, how they adapt and find solutions for what would have seemed impossible just years before. Taking the negative, and turning the result into something better than before.

I’m starting to see a change in the world that I think is going to transform our lives quite drastically in the near future. Good people have big power now, young idealists amassing huge fortunes, not hardened by decades of toil, are leading the way. In most of these bright new minds, money is not the goal, making the world a better place is. Zuckerburg has pledged 99% to good causes by the end of his life. He just declared war on all disease which he hopes to cure by the end of the century, a stark contrast to the old guard.

The power is being put into our hands, like never before. We all know the barrier to entry for starting a business is lower than it has every been, but companies like Facebook, Amazon, Airbnb, are creating platforms that make success even easier, because of the intelligent systems they provide for free.

I think the changes are going to transform our lives quite drastically in the near future, because it already has started affecting my life.

In the last few months, Airbnb has paid my bills and for only a 3% commission. It has taken my home and turned it into a money-making machine. It has been my single source of income, besides the odd article being published here and there, since my transition to selling property. It has taken my kids on holiday and scored me the best waves I have had in years this July. You wanna to do the same with your place? You can see how here .

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My child, who is 7, is selling t-shirts online, to people all over the world, without ever having lifted a roll of fabric, or seen an ink printing machine. He draws, someone else takes the order and makes it, he gets paid. He was in pre-school last year. You can check his stuff out here at Joel’s T-Shirt Store and you can follow his antics here on Instagram here

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Elon Musk just announced his plan to create a rental pool for his autonomous cars, once you are dropped off at work, they will enter the rental pool and earn you money, driving other people around, returning to you on summons… your car, an asset. Imagine that first monthly instalment, being less than the profit you made from it being rented out. The cars will hit SA by the end of 2017, the software will likely be available sooner.

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Your home’s roof (another new Musk mission) is now capable of creating more energy than your home needs, through super efficient, beautifully designed solar roofs, and massively improved battery storage systems, you can feed excess energy back into the grid, earning you money.

When the things you own, earn you money back, you suddenly start turning everyday items into assets, and passive income. And where you don’t own?…well,  there are multiple cheap options to outsource. Imagine the cost of transport and how it will drop when the energy is coming from the sun, and every car is capable of being rented out as a taxi. The cost of electricity, when every home makes you more than it costs.

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I think the true power and potential of the internet is yet to be realised, we are are only scratching the surface. The ability to create these platforms that connect everyone may be of far greater importance than social media further down the line, it may be the future of true democracy. Where voting happens in real-time and honesty and accountability are inescapable, removing us from the ancient shackles of government and industry.

I still eagerly await the ability to upload my consciousness or an eternal solution to my ageing cells, but in the meantime, I’m pretty happy about self-driving cars and Kelly’s wave pool.

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Eternal Life

When my wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2013, her biggest fear was not being able to see our kids grow up. There are two parts to this fear, firstly the personal fear of missing out on the experience, having Joel and Anna was easily our greatest life achievement, witnessing their journey to adulthood is one of life’s most rewarding experiences. The second part of that fear was the consequences of her death, and how that would affect them, how would they turn out without their Mom. Losing your Mom at the tender age of 2 and 5 would undoubtedly have consequences, pretty much a new mother’s worst nightmare.

After coming to terms with the fact that her death was an actual possibility, my thoughts turned to possible ways to preserve her values, memories and character so in the worst case scenario, she might still be able to have an influence on them in their growing years. She might not get to experience them growing up, but they could still have her influence through their formative years through video messages, and a small library of her thoughts.

The hard part was going to be getting her to agree. She was fighting cancer, and the possibility of losing that battle was not even a consideration for her, she was an extremely strong woman, this would basically be considering the possibility of defeat.

So I bought a video camera, and secretly started documenting quiet moments with the kids. Watching them back now with the kids, it’s pretty funny how to transparent I was, every time I pick the camera up she glares at me, and says, switch that thing off!

Over a few awkward and gingerly attempts I tried to get her to talk to me on camera. She wasn’t having any of it. Eventually, we had the conversation and she explained that she couldn’t do it. She was in a life and death fight for her survival and her entire focus had to be on defeating it. I agreed and dropped the subject.

Unfortunately, by the time we knew the end was close, she had long lost her ability to speak, or communicate. This was one of the few regrets I was left with after her passing. Should I have pushed harder? What else could I have done to preserve her memory?

It stayed with me, I thought about it often, I thought of writing a children’s book for them, with a storyline that described our love and our journey but I wanted something that would stay with them until adulthood. I kept her cell phone with the idea that they could somehow learn about their Mom through the things she followed, the pics she took, the texts we sent each other? It all felt very spaced out and disconnected.

Part of me was frustrated, convinced that had she been consciously aware that the end was  near, she would have left us something. Optimistically I searched her phone, her computer, her emails. I found nothing.

In late 2015 we had to move house, two days after the madness, I was sitting on the floor in the new garage, going through boxes and deciding what was going to come in the house and what was being stored. I noticed a book that I didn’t recognise. A diary. I opened the first page and the first words took my breath right out of my chest…

“My book of just in case…..To my darling husband…”

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What followed over the next 15 pages is hard to describe without tears. The bravest, most intimate messages to the kids and I, written in case that she didn’t make it. It was nothing short of talking to her from the afterlife, two years after her death. It was exactly what I had been looking for. It was something, even if it was just a few pages,  of HER, talking to the kids, in her words, in the future, from the past.

Since her death I had been thinking of ways to make a hard copy of myself, should the unimaginable happen and they lost me too. This very blog has always been a part of that plan, a record of my thinking, our journey. I sketched up a loose concept and emailed it to my friend Tank who takes ideas and turns them into real websites. The idea was a sort of an online family tree, where generations from now you could travel way back on your family lineage and meet your great great great great grandfather, learn what he stood for, and understand your heritage with an accurate first-hand account. He wasn’t convinced, saying it sounded a lot like Facebook and I kind of agreed. It lacked the hook, who cares what happens in 100 years.

Then I stumbled across this…

An app for talking to the dead? Woman brings best friend back to life as AI chatbot

What…!  No, they didn’t!

Oh yes, they did. When this woman lost her best friend, she was devastated and in an attempt to find closure (she happens to work with Artificial Intelligence Apps) , she fed thousands of his text messages, images and personal data into a chatbot with the ability to learn his style of writing, and personality, to create appropriate responses to real-time questions. The result…. hauntingly real life conversations with her long since dead friend. Creepy ? Little bit! Comforting? According to her , absolutely. It’s helped her cope with his death. And friends say that the chatbot has nailed his sense of humor, often making funny light quips about his tragic death.

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This was created after his death using what little they had left of his digital history. Which got her (and me) thinking, what if you built the virtual personality before death, what if you could give the A.I everything it needed to be a real as possible. From beliefs, values, actual voice recordings, facial expressions the neural network learns who you are and they way you react… you essentially are backing yourself up to a hard drive. Sure, when you die, you’re dead… but that doesn’t mean the people left behind need to lose you! I did some more digging… and found this…

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It’s exactly what I was thinking about! With a much better grasp on what is, and will be possible, they have got an incredible plan.

Using the latest in artificial intelligence, facial recognition, data analysis, these guys aim to build your immortal digital profile. But word is people have been waiting since 2014 for something to actually happen. I hope it’s not too far off.

So would you back yourself up? We all want to leave a legacy, don’t we? Nobody wants to be forgotten. Is there anybody you would like to have a chat with, that has left this place? Imagine you could simply text or FaceTime with your lost loved ones, hear their voice, listen to their opinions on your daily problems. Imagine my daughter, reaching adolescence and being able to text her Mom about her boy problems, and getting real advice back, in her Mom’s words… kinda like that scene from Man of Steel (Superman), when his dad appears as a digital avatar in the spaceship… God I sound like a nerd.

I know one thing, its a lot easier to build your digital backup before you are given a terminal diagnosis, besides most people don’t get time to ponder their departure like Jess did. I also know how much those few pages she wrote meant to me, and will mean to my kids one day. So I know I’m in. It’s hugely comforting to think my kids could have a conversation with my avatar long after my death, and its answers will be based on my logic and belief systems.

So I’ve signed up.

The full story about Roman Mazurenko’s chatbot and how they built it, read it here

 

 

 

Joel drew this!

So how cool is this… Joel has his own tee shirt line!

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I’m not sure when Joel first started drawing… since I can remember he has been carrying a pen and paper around, and the pictures and doodles I find all around our house make my jaw drop. He has such an imagination. Well of course I would think so, I’m his Dad!

I recently stumbled across this cool site that allows you to upload designs and sell the tees to anyone who is interested, they manufacture and ship them direct to the buyer! Anywhere in the world. How rad?

So this weekend we scanned a few of his old drawings, vectorized them for printing and asked him to write up a name…so he wrote … Joel Drew this…. with the ‘s’ backwards, hahaha. In the spirit of it being truly his, I kept it exactly as he wrote it.

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So we have uploaded a few options, kids tees and adult ones for his “big fans”… The selection process was tough. He chose the colorways and was very critical of his drawings but we managed to agree on a few.

Come have a look at the stuff, its pretty classic… I think his mom would be very proud.

You can see his stuff here https://teespring.com/stores/joeldrewthis 

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So come check it out and follow his journey! who know maybe these first tees will be worth some serious cash one day! haha.

 

DJ DA part 2

2015-06-16 21.47.30Hospital visits are fun…

Like the time when you (Joel) had eaten so much popcorn you got a stomach ache, the pain was so excruciating (as soon as it was time for bed, you literally couldn’t walk….
tears streamed, howls were made at the moon. It was quite traumatic for Kimmy especially who had never witnessed such a thing. My hardened parental instincts told me better, we weren’t buying this act! You were asleep in minutes and I was convinced I had won the war…. 20 mins later you were at it again… screaming about this pain that was sure to be the end of your life on earth, I was now in uncharted territory, too afraid to call your bluff, surely this was real.

It was time for the hospital.

We exit the house in a spectacular fashion, as if a tidal wave is descending upon our location, there is screaming and running, and although I realise I do not have my wallet, I know that I cannot turn back…your death is imminent!

As I tear around the corners, you writhe in pain on the passenger seat, it’s the longest 5 km I’ve ever driven. We arrive at the hospital, as if you have been shot. The panic is very evident on my face and I’m ushered through to the casualty with haste, you in my arms, suddenly quiet at the change of scenery.

The doc prods and feels, you remain quiet, he suggest an X-ray, I agree, whatever it takes…we go…through the corridors, you suddenly asking lots of questions and are much less critical, you might actually live.

Once you are inside the X-ray room, the gravity of the situation hits you. And me. I don’t like these places, I have spent too much time in them already. You look at me with big eyes.

A loud noise erupts from your butt. Relief washes over your face.

You look at me with pride and say, “we can go home now dad, it was just a fart”.

We return home…

Me …R1500 poorer, 10 years older

You… chatty, and quite hungry actually.

The Future is Now!

How cool is this!

Every Sunday night we try figure out a good family movie to sit down and watch with the kids, sounds super old fashioned but it’s not really, it’s just a way of getting Joel to stop watching YouTube tutorials on how to make spiderman suits, or that irritating nerd from gaming beaver, narrating his way through hours of video games.

So the last few Sundays have been the following: Honey I Shrunk the Kids (actually pretty damn scary and brilliantly done for being last century), Holes , Matilda and this past weekend, Back to the Future! We ended up watching both 1 and 2, during number 2 they actually go into the future for the first time, and when they did, this is when they went…

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Thats right,  21 October 2015….they go to this very month! Like 2 weeks from now!

Haha i’m laughing like such a movie nerd right now but i was so blown away by the coincidence and it got me thinking alot about where we are now, nearly thirty years after its release. 

So here are a few cool little things i noticed about our vision of the future all those years ago:

Firstly flying cars, thats the opening shock scene of what the future had instore for us, amazing how little progress there has been on the automobile front, although with the invention of commercially viable electric vehicles, a big game changer is upon us and commercial self driving cars look only a couple years away.

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Secondly when Doc pulls out a little rectangular device and looks  through it, picking up the facial recognition of people in the street, not very far off smart phones and existing facial recognition technology that is common even on your Facebook images. Bear in mind this movie was made long before the first commercial cell phone.

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The glasses that let him see all kinds of information… google glass… spot on!

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Marty gets fired by fax after he accepts a dodgy deal via his tv which skype, facetime or many other apps can do for you right now, its not even novel anymore. (oh and thats Flea from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers by the way)

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Then there is the iconic hoverboard, which very recently has made a bit of a buzz, people are trying to make one, but everything i have seen so far is pretty shit, nowhere near the movie version, but people are trying.

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There are many other “not-so-novel-now” items, ordering food off a robot menu , intelligent fabric clothing, self lacing Nikes (wait thats cool, why hasnt that happened?)

But perhaps the most exciting thing, is the one thing that isn’t in there, Something that connects every human on earth, allows freedom of speech, freedom of knowledge, that removes barriers of communication, and allows collaboration on a global scale.

Its the internet.

Why is that the most exciting, because the biggest technological advancement of the past 30 years was not something we could have put into words then, yet we managed to create it anyway.

That to me is exciting, because at the rate we are going, with Artificial intelligence, nano technology, internet communication and collaboration, global awareness of important issues, who actually knows what the next 30 years has in-store? The chances are its something we cant even imagine right now. Sure there is a chance these things might be used for the wrong reasons, and there is always the chance we are going to self destruct over religion or power mongering, but i believe most of us want to live in a peaceful world, we want equality, we want health and longevity, we want to live, and the more we are able to drown out the media, connect to a common understanding, and leave the trouble makers behind. 

Lack of education, media manipulation and propaganda stand in the way of a truly democratic world. The internet can solve both of those. The historical times of power limited to a few is coming to an end, when two guys think up an idea like Google, and within a few years are solving the worlds biggest problems, or a guy like Elon Musk who single handedly has taken on saving the planet’s need for fossil fuel and immigration to space, at the same time….you know we live in exciting times.

We have problems to solve. We are not born equal, and we are not the same, but nobody deserves to be treated differently, everyone deserves a fair shot at life, and I think that is where we are headed. Its easier than ever to start a business, become an artist of any kind, to learn things or understand why. The barriers to entry are lower than ever before. People from all across the planet unite on common interests, strangers will help you raise capital for almost nothing in return, my late wife’s experimental treatment (refused by medical aid despite being the only possible cure) was paid for with crowd funding. Before the internet she would have had no choice in how she left this world, it would have been in pain and left us with huge regret. The Internet is allowing people to side step traditional control and achieve things that we could never have done before.

Conversely its harder than ever before for governments to get away with murder, they still do, but its getting harder every day. A simple cellphone video has the ability to go viral in minutes. Whistle blowers like Edward Snowden are hero’s to some even if his own goverment doesnt think so. there are always two sides to the truth, at least you get to see both now, and decide which is the lessor of two evils. you have the power, whether you realise it or not. the world might look like a shit storm right now, but bear in mind stuff like this has been happening for centuries, we are just more aware of it now, on a global scale. we are waking up. looking around, and for the first time, hearing each others voices from across the planet. That has never happened before. You are living in a time that will define the future like never before. in this radically changing landscape of information, and technology.

We need a new moral code that unites us as people of earth, not separates them for their differences. We need tolerance, understanding and respect for each others beliefs, understanding that we have far more in common than what separates us. We must stop fighting over what happens after we die, and focus on living well while we are here. We need a platform that takes the power back from corrupted governments, banks and corporations and has the strength to lead capitalism in a direction that benefits the whole world, not just a few. We need to be informed and act as one species. We need transparency.

Bring on the future. I want age reversing, i want an end to poverty and world hunger. i want wave pools that look like Pipeline but have soft foamy bottoms, i want to upload my conciousness to artificial body so i can clone myself and be in 15 places in one time. i want space exploration. above all i want peace. i want to be a species (not a race, or a nationality) that is intelligent and worthy of colonizing space, that cares for all of it’s planet. not the mixed up, racially divided, proud, greedy, individuals we are now. We have to fix that.

So bring on the future. 

P.S Check out my curation page , Its A Rad World , it’s the best of the Internet and stuff that gets me super excited about the future. No negative crap. http://www.scoop.it/t/its-a-man-s-world 

About Time … and Money.

Hi. Howzit!

Been thinking really hard lately on the whole issue of time, not only spending it in as valuable a way as possible, or finding that balance, but how to get more of it!

I have this thing, where I monitor myself, my life from an external perspective, I talk a lot about perspective, I think cause as someone who has strong beliefs or views on things, it’s fascinating to me that there is more than a single truth to a simple fact. The reason I keep looking at my life from alternate perspective is probably Jess. I always want to make sure my decisions would be in-line with how she wanted our kids to be raised. So that’s how I keep myself in check. And I know when I can do a better job, I feel it, I see it through her eyes. Then I make an effort to correct myself and do a better job.

Last year was a lot of me, figuring out who I was and what I wanted life to be, this year has been much more about the others in my life. I find the thing that makes me feel the best is a weekend well spent with the kids and Kimmy. Needless to say all my projects and selfish goals have taken a bit of a back seat!  Combine that with the worst winter of surf in KZN history, surfing has all but gone out the window! Lately I’ve resorted to forcing myself to surf when I get a chance regardless of the conditions, hell even a swim in the sea has done the trick, it still amazes me what a big part the ocean plays in keeping me on an even keel. It’s some kind of magic.

But that whole time thing, the value of it, it’s a big deal for me, and I have been looking at the ways I can really make it mine. I’m not a very structured person, I’m not sure a daily planner with all my desires scheduled in to an allocated time slot would work, I need to feel like the time is right and then get stuck in (partly why writing has been hard lately). But it my realization is this: It comes down to money. They say money can’t buy happiness, in many cases I believe that, but money can buy you time, and with freedom of time, it’s far easier to find happiness. Time is our most valuable commodity, you can never get back that minute that just passed, nor can you put a price on an open calendar, with the money to do what you want.

Surplus cash and an empty calendar. Now that’s a very far-fetched dream for most people in their 30’s , 40’s or even 50’s. But that’s something I’m trying to hack into, I’m studying the best ways to build a passive income, whether its building a business to make millions and retire, or re-evaluate your needs to suit a more modest living, supported with some form of passive income.

There is no doubt some of the luxuries of the modern world make life easier and more enjoyable to live, but at the cost of what? Whats your balance, what are you prepared to sacrifice to reclaim time?  What if you don’t have to sacrifice? That’s what I’m interested in, I want both, I want the cash freedom combined with time freedom. I’m not talking extreme stuff like living in a hut on a deserted island (that would be great for the first week) I’m talking about ways of building an income to compliment my salary, take the pressure off, give myself a little independence to know everything I do is a choice, not for pure survival. There is a big difference in morale across those two mindsets, even if the job is the same.

So over the next few months I’m going to post some stuff about this whole journey, some of the clever little life hacks there are to get control of your ship, without radically sacrificing anything. I’m going to stick to the stuff I have actually tried and tested. Maybe I find something that actually works. I’ll be the guinea pig. Feel free to share anything you are interested in or anything that’s worked for you.


  
I think humans got it wrong somewhere along the line, when profit became more important than life, individual success put ahead of collaboration and the betterment of life for everyone, the world we live in now is broken on so many levels but I think there is a growing consciousness of this. I’ve always been an optimist, and in honour of that I have revived an old favorite of mine, basically a curated selection of the coolest stuff happening around the world, stuff that gives me hope in the future. It’s better than watching Carte Blanche, or reading the newspaper, I promise. You can check it out here.

Speaking of hope, Jess’s mom Debbie has been busy over the last year helping a local charity in Shakas Rock (Ballito)

Jess was very passionate about serving the under privileged and in that honour, Debbie is doing some great stuff with Ithemba Labasha Community Centre. The English translation of Ithemba Labasha is “Hope For Our Children”

They get very little support from the community and no government funding at all, that’s part of the reason Debbie decided to get involved.

The community Centre runs a full day care for 45 toddlers who get fed breakfast and lunch daily. In the afternoons after school, a further 100 children come to the Centre for a hot cooked meal daily, Monday to Friday. In total 145 children are fed daily!

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They need funding. Supplying good nutritious food is high on the priority list! There are also basic costs to be covered like electricity, water, gas, security, maintenance etc. With an monthly donation target of R20,000.00 they will be able to massively improve the quality of these kids lives. Funds are strictly controlled.

They have developed a supporting committee to the existing NPO committee, consisting of an auditor, some business people and people just passionate about making a difference. There are some great plans in the works to create and sustain some real change in these kids lives, all the way through to being released into the adult life.

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Ithemba Labasha has an NPO number and they are in the process of applying for Section 18A status (Section 18A status, donors can get Tax relief for their donations).

Besides cash, all other donations such as old clothing (children and adults) shoes, blankets, curtains, household goods, kitchenware, toys etc are all very welcome. You can contact Debbie at debbiej2@telkomsa.net

If you are feeling the love, Ithemba Labasha’s bank details are…

Ithemba Labasha Centre.

Ned Bank Acc No: 1098605667

Code No:131026

So that’s all I got for this peaceful Saturday morning. My kids are behaving like little adult humans today which is so cool. They’re sitting here around me playing with puzzles and Spiderman, we’re clicking today. Whilst setting myself up to write this morning I discovered an old album on iTunes this morning, Live: Throwing Copper. Think its been 14 or 15 years since I saw them play in Durban. That was a fat jol. Time flies.

I’ll leave you with a quote I saw on instagram last night that I thought was pretty cool:

“Your future self is watching you right now through memories…”

What do you want those memories to? Better get to it…

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Dear Anna, Dear Joel. Part 1

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Hi you rubbishes!

Well this is an experiment and I hope I can keep it going. I’ll keep adding to this as much as i can, every time you do something worth remembering, or just gathering material for black mail in the future…at the very least there will be some good stories for your 21st birthdays. Here’s a snapshot of the nonsense you two have been up too this year so far :

Sleep: you guys go down every night with minimal drama, slap on a playlist and 2 songs in each of your beds does the trick, i actually feel bad, it is kinda hypnotic, you don’t stand a chance, most times you are both twitching by the end of the first spiderman song…

But during the night…

The war continues! Anna sleeps all night, anywhere, anyhow! Joel not so much, you actually advised me last week that if I were to leave the wooden spoon next to your bed, you would definitely spend the whole night in bed. When I asked why the wooden spoon you answered “because mom used to use it and it’s much harder than a smack” thank you, point taken, I’ll be sure to use that in that future.

Eating: we negotiate dinner every night, the roles have flipped and Joel you kinda eat like a horse, Anna requires motivation and threats, perhaps wooden spoon can work its magic here too

Bathing: Both your favorite lately is family bath, when the three of us try to squeeze in, Anna combs my hair with the foot scrubber (charming) and Joel you hold your breath and squirt water from your mouth despite having just watched Anna “wee like a boy” into our little swamp of heaven.

Holidays have been a blast for you guys, the week we spent in Seal point gave you all kinds of confidence and independence which terrified the daylights out of me, but you are better off for it no doubt, you bonded with your cousin Mila for the first time, PoPo took you running in the sand dunes every day and your granny faraway looked after you for entire week doing arts and crafts so i could catch my breath. Your granny (Bal)Lito has been a star at keeping you entertained since you both got home, play dates, cousins, movies you name it! Truth be told I never had relationships with either of my grandparents like the ones you have with both sets. Very lucky kids. You better repay all the love when they’re old and rotten, visit them lots and spoil them.

Anna, you insist on your tea bottle every morning at 5 am whilst snuggling into my chest and watching Frozen for the millionth time. I love it too. Even if my eyes are burning and I’m in a foul mood from lack of sleep.

Joel you are part human part Dinosaur, perhaps more dinosaur with hints of human, you run around our house making that god awful noise , with your little arms tucked up like a T-Rex or Spineosaurus or Indominosaurus… I don’t know, you change your favourite meat eater every week… If Indy the cat bites you, and he does so regularly, it’s because he is so confused and terrified of what we bought home 6 years ago and what it has transformed into.

Your interest in the opposite sex is alarming… how would Yoda say… The force is strong with this one…. Kimmy has endless patience with your attempts to “by mistake” bust into the bathroom and see her naked. Nevertheless she endures and you continue to sneak. Definitely an appreciation of the female breasts in your future.

Both your favorite things are dancing in the lounge with the music full blast, tickles and rough play on the bed, which you try and lure me into every morning and every night. Joel … Endless hours of youtube videos dinosaurs, dinosaurs, dinosaurs… Anna you are not obsessed with anything specific, you dabble with a bit of Barbie, a bit of dress up, although you loving helping, no matter what it is, packing the dishwasher, cooking, juicing the veg. You guys have such good mates in our complex and not a day goes by where the gang is not up to something. Cian, Nathan, Troy, Noah Shaun, Noah, Riley, Rider, Ripp, Willow.

You guys drive me nuts and I still can’t be away from you for more than a few minutes without having a physical pain in my chest. Honored and excited that it’s my job to raise you for the next 20 years. Here are some pics and videos as evidence.

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Where Does The Time Go?

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So I’ve been really useless at keeping the blog flowing. It’s been six months since my last post.

I’ve been busy! I swear!

I’ve been writing a bit I guess, but nothing here which is supposed to be a legacy of thoughts for my kids one day, so this is me telling myself to shine up, and promising to be more regular.

I may have been quiet but I have not been idle! I penned two stories for our local surf mag Zigzag, one about Casey Grant which i also posted here, and I just wrote another one about that insane swell we had, the one that turned St Francis bay into a Mexican point break. The mag only comes out in a few weeks, so I’ll put it up after.

So much going on besides work and raising two toddlers, here is a quick debrief…I’ll try do it in one breath:

Deep inhale…Ace Ventura style:

In December I had an awesome holiday in Seals, the waves cooked and I surfed a bunch then it stopped so I had to sit still and which was very hard cause the last time I was there was with Jess so I had to deal with some stuff, had some tears, and had one very large night with my little brother Josh which I cannot remember the end of, but when I woke up I was best friends with Derrick Watts from Carte Blanche, which was cool but I was missing a beautiful girl called Kim who I was falling head over heels for so I flew home for New Years and we partied with her family and friends and a rhino and drank till the sun came up, it was the best new years I have had in years and I smiled a lot then I went back to work and surfed when I could which wasn’t much but then found a gap to go to Mozambique for a weekend which was amazing and the waves were amazing which my new girlfriend who had never dated a surfer didn’t think was so amazing but we had a jol and drank beer and watched the sun go down over a beautiful lake with some friends, and laughed, and then I surfed again the next day, which inspired me to enter the RVCA Jbay Open trials, which was a long shot, but all you rad people voted me in so I got chance to go up against the top guys in the country and I lost early and my legs were too tired to walk up the beach but had such a blast and then went back down to Cape St Francis to see meet my niece Mila and my brothers and sister and cousins and parents and it was very cool…..

Dramatic exhale.

All in all good stuff! Fun stuff!! Kids are doing great and we have been busy! My hair grew long and i got a fuzzy beard. My friends hate it and say i look like a Neanderthal, or blonde Jesus, then I tie it up in a bun and they get really mad, but that’s okay cause I’ve always wanted to grow my hair long and look like a hippy. I am amazed at the energy and passion I have for learning and hunting down new projects. I thought much of it was a knee jerk reaction to losing Jess, a sort of a way of distracting myself, but it seems to be a new way of life for me and I’m very grateful for that. I’ve got some big ideas floating around in my head and I’m hoping I can turn them into reality.

So as I keep mentioning (probably because I’m embarrassed to think people actually read this) this blog is a place where my kids can come back and read everything that was going through my head in their early years, and as they grew up, it might help them understand the decisions I made that might seem crazy years later (hey guys, pack your bags we are movin to indo!!) but it struck me recently whilst watching some incredibly old footage I found in my garage, that it’s a great place to tell them about themselves too. Where else am I going to keep all these funny as hell little movie clips, stories they tell, and other awesome little things they get up too. So I’m setting a reminder (part of my new weeks resolutions), every 3 months, I’m going to write them both a post, documenting the nonsense they have been getting up too, sometimes it might be stories, sometimes just pics or videos. It may seem trivial or stupid at the time, but looking back in twenty years its going to fill me with kinds of fuzzy warm stuff… after watching the stuff I found, I realized how fast it all goes. if I’m lucky enough to live that far, I may as well be smart enough to make it count.

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Speaking of making it count, I recently won a battle I have been waging unconsciously for 16 years! The DSTV disease!

The single biggest waste of time in my life since I moved into my first apartment, watching reruns over and over and over and unable to pull myself away. I finally disconnected DSTV for good, partly cause I can’t afford it, but mostly because it’s a load of repeating crap! I almost never saw anything new and constantly got sucked into movies I knew exactly how they were going to end.

Useless.

Anyhow, I upgraded my internet to an uncapped line (half the price of DSTV) and created a YouTube account, now I follow a bunch of my favourite channels YouTube accounts and every day I have fresh content that is relevant to me. I watch through my Apple TV and its crisp HD. Discovery, Nat Geo, Science channels, Vice TV (so good) WSL (surf stuff) all my favorite companies, brands magazines have YouTube channels with cool content, TED talks, come on!!! the smartest people in the world talking about their passion, craft, science whatever, in 20 min digestible chunks, for free! Every day! I cant get enough of it!

I find myself watching much more interesting and relevant subjects, less nonsense that I could actually careless about. If movies and series are you thing, streaming sites like PopcornTime (naughty but free) and Netflix will take care of your needs. Time is valuable, if I’m going to watch something it better be fresh!

All this free time on my hands and suddenly my brain starts working again! I started searching for stuff that really makes me tick, and stumbled onto this little gem.

Wait but Why.

You are bound to have come across this blog already, the guy is practically famous now….  its hard, there is so much content in your face every day, what is actually worth the time it takes to click… regardless, this is another opportunity to get involved… if you want to have some very relevant and complex issues explained in a way that makes you feel that you actually understand… this is for you.

My poor friends and family, I have bent their little ears off with all of this, the only person who has shown equal amount of interest, is my little boet, Josh, which is awesome when we finally get time to talk, then we can bend the shit out of each others ears. W.B.W is my current school for thought, it’s the site that has given my brain the best work out its had in years, hell, maybe ever! I have simply not come across anybody who can break down extremely complex and important subjects in a manner that makes them so easy and fun to digest.

Here are some of my favourite posts…

Elon Musk. This guy…. wow, ever want to feel insignificant in your achievements, just check out this chap… current projects… changing auto industry from petrol to electric, re-invent energy consumption on a global scale and remove humans need for fossil fuel, oh and colonize Mars…. all of which he is progressing fairly nicely with… and he is from South Africa too. You can read it here

A.I ….did you know that there is some crazy stuff happening in this world right now, really really smart people are building really smart things. It’s all very exciting if you ask me, and nobody sums the very complex subject up quite like Tim Urban. If you not interested to read any further , consider for the following for a second … there is a reasonable to fair chance that in that the next 20 years they will develop technology so advance that you will become immortal… it’s quite likely actually. Blow your mind here

His one post is about life weeks, and he offers you a new perspective by visually breaking down your life into weeks on a graph…. this is what it looks like….

weeks of my life

0 years to 90 years, each square is a week

Not THAT many weeks are there… are there….

You can read the post here, but the summary of what he is getting at is the value of every week, if you are lucky enough to live a full life… look at those squares… there not that many of them! So he suggests adopting a new weeks resolution, instead of a new years resolution… I’m sold!

If you are not sold and you think what a load of crap, I’m just going to wing it… maybe you want to have a good laugh instead… read this one, on procrastination. I cried, I really did, so funny, that monkey runs my life.

I’m still really into this whole teaching my kids valuable life lessons around their school hours and stuff, and welcome any links, ideas, info you might be keeping to yourself so your kid becomes clever and mine doesn’t… I always love the few weeks after I post a new blog and the people who reach out with info, suggesting things I might like and stuff to check out, its my favourite part of all of this. Please send any forward thinking progressive online teaching stuff you may have come across!

So that’s all the good happy stuff, not much room allowed for the rest. I’m sure those of you who have followed our story are wondering how I’m seeing somebody already, and how I’m starting a new relationship whilst still dealing with the loss of Jess. I’ll be honest, because really what else is there to be, this is me, there is no point in softening things up for anyone.

The truth is I don’t know, they are completely different paths yet inexplicably intertwined, the one has nothing to do with the other , yet they couldn’t exist without each other. Losing Jess was an experience that has changed me as a person, the world has a harder edge than what I would have believed before,  less romantic than it all looked a few years ago for sure. I’m still an idealist, even though I carry a wound that reminds at times to be a realist, the idealist still wins. It’s a choice.

There is a song that goes, “it’s better to feel pain than nothing at all, the opposite of love is indifference“.

I embrace my pain for Jess because to understand the great heights of true love, you must experience the pain of loss, you’ll never know you’re at the top until you’ve touched the bottom, that old chestnut. That pain only cements the value of what we had. I feel the same today as I did the day she died, it will never change. I will never get over it. That’s not how it works. But I will never live in the middle , indifferent to love because I am afraid of losing someone again.

I have so much love still to give, and lucky me I found an incredible person to give it too. Not even she will ever understand the role she has played in getting the three of us back on our feet. Nothing is forever so grab it while you can and hold on tight until it is ripped away.

So here’s to love! and making the most of life! and cancelling DSTV!

Peace and love from your hippie friend Simon.

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