Education, Reflection, Soften the Fck Up, Technology

The Year That Was 2012

photo (6)I used to write these reflective posts every end of the year and it was a great way for me to reflect on how much I’ve learned, unlearned and relearned since the previous years. Then I stopped 2 years ago, because I just got lazy, so here’s an attempt to do them again.

2012 kicked arse. It’s madness, I tell you.

When I think about 2012, I can talk about all the great achievements & accomplishments – relaunching Soften the Fck Up and creating the impact that we did, being named a Digital Influencer, Google hang out with the Prime Minister, making it into Zeitgeist 2012: Year in Review video, traveling to more countries than I’ve ever been in a year, working with the dream team at both Spur Projects & Hub Melbourne, expanding Hub to 3 times its size, doubling our membership, seeing our members raise capital, create jobs and drive impact, and the list is endless.

It also is a year I asked myself: What the hell are you doing, Ehon Chan?

I thought I knew myself pretty well, but when you get stuck in a cycle of doing, you lose track of yourself.

2012 is a year I struggled – in many ways, both personally and professionally.

I felt like my limits on my patience, compassion and empathy were seriously tested and personally, I don’t think I was the best that I could have been. There were moments when I’ve lost my temper, I’ve not finished what I started, I’ve focused too much on others’ judgments, I’ve forgotten to stop, meditate and reflect, and at times, I’ve forgotten to look after myself and those around me. I’ve been ill more times than I’ve ever been in my life, and I’ve called my families less.

Professionally, I feel like I’m spread too thin that although I am doing well, I know I am not the best that I could be. My strengths were definitely not utilised to its max capacity, instead my energy was very much focused on things that I wasn’t good at to start with – so being a compulsive overachiever, you do what you can to make up for it.

This past week or two has certainly been a reflective time. I am glad I went off the grid for a weekend, camping up the coast. I guess the first step to fixing a problem is recognising that there is one in the first place, so this year’s New Year’s unResolution is to seek to climb up and step into 2013 filled with excitement, joy and a refreshed, open mind. I know the best is yet to come, so this year I am taking a slow climb, and I am going to go at it at a good pace. I am going to doubt myself less, and do more (even if it means fail more).

2012 has also been a magical year in the advancement of technology and new media, but 2012 has also brought a lot of pain and sorrow to many – the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, the horrific death of Jill Meagher, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and the gruesome death of the Indian woman who was raped by 6 men on a bus. We watched these news with sadness, frustration, anger and a whole lot of grief.

However, humanity, doing what it does best, brings people closer together in times of pain and sorrow. Whenever things like these happen, we see real leaders stepping up and rally the community together, and we ask ourselves, “so, what can we do about it?”

Out of these disasters and awful events we find humanity – Occupy Sandy, 10,000 people march the street in honour of Jill Meagher and in support of kindness and positivity, dozens of campaigns & petitions mobilising millions to pressure the US government to end gun violence & millions around the world protest to pressure the Government to prevent rape in Delhi.

So, what does this mean for 2013?

I think the many accelerated advancement in all areas particularly in digital media and technology that we’ve seen in 2012 will mean that we’ll see more of our lives changed with smart technologies like augmented reality, smart phone accessories (or cross-platform designs), smaller, smarter and faster everything, and we’ll see more micro-platforms or -networks.

On the flip side of that, as we become more hyperconnected, experience more natural disasters, tragedies & lose trust in the large corporations and government, we’ll see more people searching for meanings – personally and professionally. We’ll go out in full force to find our tribes, change things, challenge status quo, discover ourselves and connect with those who share common interest and passion – all in the quest to build better futures and meaningful values. So, any digital media, technologies or businesses that can create rational & emotional meaning will thrive in 2013.

As for me, 2013 is going to be a year I dedicate my full attention to spreading Hub – through my role at Hub Australia & an Associate at Hub Global – and also kicking off Spur Projects.

As I read news like Jill Meagher’s, the gang rape in New Delhi & news like these, I am often confronted with that same question, “So, what am I going to do about it?”

Solving these issues are extremely complex, because it’s not enough to just tell our women – our mum, sisters, cousins and friends – to cover up, don’t go out too late or alone. We as men has a lot to do as we ask ourselves, “What does it mean to be a man?” because this will change our conversation – our conversation with our peers, family and friends. It will change our education, especially how we teach our young men and boys. It will change our relationships, with ourselves, with our family and with the world. It will change the suicide statistics. It will change the way we treat others, and the way we are treated in whatever environment we are in. Ultimately, it will change our communities.

And I leave this post and step in 2013, full of hope.

Hope that with these anger, frustration, sadness and grief that we feel, comes the motivation and empathy to do something; to find meaning in our lives and through others’ lives. We become more interdependent than independent, and through that we are able to love more and feel loved.

So, 2013, bring it on.