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20 Questions Worth Answering Honestly – my answers

Man Should Be Brave

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog post with 20 questions that are worth answering honestly. I feel a little uncomfortable about doing this, but here are my answers to those questions…
  1. Do you earn enough money?
    YES. And I am fortunate that my ‘job’ is also my hobby (by and large) so I don’t think I need to spend fewer hours doing it. My concerns about earning more money are usually to do with feelings of self-worth and affirmation of success rather than having no food in my fridge.
  2. Do you enjoy your job?
    YES. I love it! And I am regularly very grateful for that.
  3. Do you prefer Saturday or Monday?
    MONDAY. 9am on Monday morning is my favourite time of the week.
  4. What would you like to be doing one year from now?
    HEADING to the South Pole. We have had been working towards this for so long that it requires a leap of faith, some real passion, and a bit of stubborn blind faith to keep persevering.
    I’d like to be involved in a big, juicy fulfilling project, whether that be an expedition, a writing project or a TV series.
  5. What would you like to be doing five years’ from now?
    IN five years I hope that I will be building up a decent portfolio of books. I have written five books so far and hope, in half a decade, to have written at least four more. I want to get to a position where I can live from the income from my books.
  6. What would you do with your life if you were a billionaire?
    I would go on more trips, to more remote places. I would ride my bike more, run more, read more, write more. I would do no administration, paperwork or housework. I would eat deli food a lot. I would buy more bicycles, canoes and a paramotor. And I’d buy a camper van.
  7. How much could you cut your outgoings by?
    I don’t worry much about this. I spend very little money, except on things I really want or really need. This comes from good Yorkshire upbringing combined with quite a few years of living off very little! I suppose I drink a bit too much and buy too many books.
  8. Do you have enough spare time to do the things you really enjoy?
    NO. I don’t have enough spare time to do what I love. This is because I am AWFUL at saying No to things! I travel hundreds of miles for un-lucrative talks just because I can’t bear to say no to the Inverness lost cat hospice. I try to write too many books, plan too many trips, learn too many things, all at the same time. I need to learn to say No, and to attempt less.
  9. What takes up a lot of your time but is neither unavoidable, rewarding nor enjoyable?
    SEE #8 above. I do too many talks for too little money that are too far away. I also spend too long answering endless emails that don’t particularly benefit me or my life.
  10. What mildly pleasant, but pretty pointless things do you fritter too much time doing?
    TWITTER! Email! RSS feeds. Reading the sports pages of the newspapers.
  11. What would you like to do more of?
    CYCLING, running, climbing hills, swimming in rivers, reading books, photography, sitting in pubs with friends, hatching new projects, going on trips, sleeping, watching live sport.
  12. What motivates you to do something well?
    PERSONAL pride and peer pressure, prestige.
  13. Who do you envy, and why?
    I won’t name names. But I envy people who get more speaking engagements than me and who earn higher fees. I envy adventurers who have got their stories on TV or have really good book deals or seem to attract more “prestige” (whatever the hell that means!!). These are not healthy things to be envying. And I envy people who are not at all ambitious and are content to pootle around having a pleasant, happy, gentle life.
  14. If you were 100 and looking back on your life, would you be happy with a life well-lived?
    SORT OF. Ars longa, vita brevis. I am proud with what I have done. But I am more frustrated by all that I have not done.
  15. What makes you proud, satisfied, and content?
    ACHIEVING difficult things. Making good and beautiful things. Starting new projects. Being in the wild.
  16. What makes you frustrated, bored, and unfulfilled?
    Time wasting, mediocrity.
  17. What would you do if you had more talent?
    Write more books. Play more sport. Music and art.
  18. What would you do if you had more guts?
    Write more books. Ask people to turn their music down on buses.
  19. What would you do with your life if nobody was watching, judging or commenting?
    Hopefully it would not be very different. I would probably write more slightly unusual books (like There Are Other Rivers) where you risk failing and looking like an idiot.
  20. What are you going to do about all this?
    Watch this space!

So, do you dare answer these questions in public? Copy the questions from here then paste the questions and answers in the comments below…

Read Comments

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Comments

  1. 1) Do you earn enough money? (If you answer “no”, ask yourself why you need more money. eg Security? To buy more stuff? To impress others? For self-esteem? If you answer “yes”, ask yourself why you don’t work fewer hours. eg Peer pressure work ethic? You enjoy your work? To keep your mum happy? It’s what everyone else does? You enjoy having plenty of money?)

    No.

    2) Do you enjoy your job? (If you answer “no”, ask yourself why you are doing it.)

    Yes. (Cabinet maker).

    3) Do you prefer Saturday or Monday? (If you answer “Saturday”, ask yourself how you can improve the other 71% of your life.)

    Monday.

    4) What would you like to be doing one year from now? Can you make that happen?

    Writing interesting articles/books. Giving talks. Inspiring people. YES!

    5) What would you like to be doing five years from now? Will you make that happen?

    Helping the World to radically heal itself. YES I WILL!

    6) What would you do with your life if you were a billionaire?

    Dedicate myself to answer 5.

    7) How much could you cut your outgoings by? How much time at work does that equate to?

    Quite a bit. Stop drinking so much coffee in cafes.

    8) Do you have enough spare time to do the things you really enjoy? If not, why not?

    No, ‘cos I still don’t earn enough money to take time off. Although a lot of my free time I waste whilst I could be doing the work I want to really do.

    9) What takes up a lot of your time but is neither unavoidable, rewarding nor enjoyable? Why don’t you cut that/them out immediately, or pay somebody to do it for you?

    I waste a lot of my time. I need to get focused on 1, 4, 5 and 7 above.

    10) What mildly pleasant, but pretty pointless things do you fritter too much time doing? How many times a day do you check your email/Twitter/Facebook? How much TV do you watch?

    Drinking too much coffee. Spending too much time in coffee shops, although I do write a lot while in coffee shops, so it’s not all a waste of time. But 10 coffees a day in 10 different coffee shops is a waste of money/time. I also spend a lot of time just walking around. Time to write about that ‘walking around’!

    11) What would you like to do more of?

    Positive Human Rights work. Help us live in a ‘just’ World.

    12) What motivates you to do something well?

    Knowing you are making a positive difference to people’s lives.

    13) Who do you envy, and why?

    Successful journalists/authors/film makers/singers-anyone that makes a success of what they do. Why? Because I want to make a success of my life too!

    14) If you were 100 and looking back on your life, would you be happy with a life well-lived?

    No! I’ve made an effort, but I want to make a real real real real effort.

    15) What makes you proud, satisfied, and content?

    Making beautiful/useful things. Writing well. Doing any job well.

    16) What makes you frustrated, bored, and unfulfilled?

    Frustrated-the state of our World. Bored-people who say, ‘it’s not possible’. Unfulfilled-not completing a job.

    17) What would you do if you had more talent?

    Write my first best seller. Be a great documentary presenter/human rights journalist. Be a singer.

    18) What would you do if you had more guts?

    The above, 17.

    19) What would you do with your life if nobody was watching, judging or commenting?

    Be the lead singer of a band!

    20) What are you going to do about all this?

    Yikes! Quite possibly (and somehow) set off on a walk, build myself a tree house and dedicate the rest of my life to the betterment of the World we live in.

    Thanks for the questions Alistair, perhaps you can catch up with all your answerees in a years time! Cheers.

    Reply
  2. Very pertinent questions. Thanks for prompting some answers. (Plus, with a few weeks to go until I launch a DVD and book and a to-do list as long as all my limbs combined, this seems the perfect opportunity to procrastinate…)

    Do you earn enough money?
    No. I currently don’t earn enough to keep a roof over my head and pursue my (inexpensive) interests.

    Do you enjoy your job?
    Yes. But it’s not yet generating any income. I think of now as the ‘time investment’ period.

    Do you prefer Saturday or Monday?
    Honestly, I can barely distinguish between the two…

    What would you like to be doing one year from now? Can you make that happen?
    Processing the aftermath of my next big expedition project. And yes.

    What would you like to be doing five years from now? Will you make that happen?
    Raising a family (gulp) with the time and impetus it deserves. And yes. But planning five years into the future requires a big leap of faith.

    What would you do with your life if you were a billionaire? Is it possible to live a modified version of that life anyway?
    I’d employ other people to take over the admin and the stuff I currently botch together myself out of necessity. And I’d be less reluctant to part with cash for rent/food/bills. Otherwise I wouldn’t change anything major.

    How much could you cut your outgoings by? How much time at work does that equate to?
    I barely spend anything beyond the (really) bare essentials. Reducing it further would mean dumpster-diving, hitching and cycling everywhere, and squatting, which wouldn’t leave time for much else!

    Do you have enough spare time to do the things you really enjoy? If not, why not?
    I do, but often find myself answering emails, working through to-do lists – “putting out fires” – instead of doing them.

    What takes up a lot of your time but is neither unavoidable, rewarding nor enjoyable? Why don’t you cut that/them out immediately, or pay somebody to do it for you?
    Perfecting things that don’t need to be perfected. Working on it.

    What mildly pleasant, but pretty pointless things do you fritter too much time doing? How many times a day do you check your email/Twitter/Facebook? How much TV do you watch?
    After email, Google Reader is my biggest time sink. The problem with email is that dealing with it (i.e. replying to it) engenders yet more in return. Twitter/Facebook is minimal, thankfully. And I’ve never owned a TV.

    What would you like to do more of?
    Seeing friends. Unfortunately, most of them are too busy…

    What motivates you to do something well?
    Personal satisfaction, and the opportunity to learn new crafts and skills and perspectives through the process of making and doing.

    Who do you envy, and why?
    People who can take photographs like this. People in the field of adventure who earn a comfortable income through it. And…

    I envy people who are not at all ambitious and are content to pootle around having a pleasant, happy, gentle life.

    Can’t do much better than that!

    If you were 100 and looking back on your life, would you be happy with a life well-lived?
    I think I’d be happy with my 20s, for sure. Difficult to go further than that since I’m not yet 30!

    What makes you proud, satisfied, and content?
    Seeing my wife happy. Seeing my projects positively affect someone without them knowing I’m watching. Knowing that I’ve overcome a tangible personal barrier.

    What makes you frustrated, bored, and unfulfilled?
    Reaching the evening with no sense of progress, despite not having left my desk all day.

    What would you do if you had more talent?
    Improvise on the piano.

    What would you do if you had more guts?
    Stand up and tell a story to a crowd.

    What would you do with your life if nobody was watching, judging or commenting?
    Write a diary instead of a blog. Travel selfishly instead of wondering how my trips might be communicated.

    What are you going to do about all this?
    Been working on that since my private New Year’s Resolution to earn a living through my adventures by the end of 2012. I won’t know whether or not this has been successful until the end of the year. But I’m happy with the progress made thus far.

    Reply
  3. Honest answers. I will be following up on your adventures and anxiously waiting for your books 🙂

    Reply
  4. “And I envy people who are not at all ambitious and are content to pootle around having a pleasant, happy, gentle life”

    Does this mean you think that all people with a pleasant, happy, gentle life have zero ambition?

    Reply
  5. This is interesting. A professional footballer (who wishes to remain nameless) emailed me with his 20 answers. He was happy for me to share them here:

    Do you earn enough money?
    Yes. The best article I ever read was a report on people’s desired income. No matter what bracket they were in (eg: £20k-£25k or £50k-£60k), virtually everybody always wanted just a little bit more (10%) to be comfortable. There’s always something else to buy. Being content is key.
    Do you enjoy your job?
    Professional Footballer – how can I not? It isn’t as glamorous as the general public thinks, and it can be a tricky environment, but I get paid to kick and head a ball around, look after my body and have banter daily with 20 other lads. It’s also not very time consuming, giving me the opportunity to explore running two small businesses, a charity and hobbies like photography. It has to be one of the only sports where you can be bang average at it and earn a good income!
    Do you prefer Saturday or Monday?
    Matchdays. Then Sundays (adventure day)
    What would you like to be doing one year from now?
    Celebrating at Wembley. Married and on my next travel adventure honeymoon.
    What would you like to be doing five years from now?
    Well and truly into my next stage of life – earning a living from doing something I love, again.
    What would you do with your life if you were a billionaire?
    I wish to set up a social enterprise involving sport, education and kids here in Britain and abroad. Money could speed up the start up, but I’d almost prefer to do it from scratch. Could buy a football club and run it like a proper community/education/sporting hub business – what football clubs should be. There are too many crooked football club owners out there. Travel more.
    How much could you cut your outgoings by?
    I have a perfectly good coffee machine at home, I don’t need to get them on the move. We also don’t watch enough tele to warrant the TV licence.
    Do you have enough spare time to do the things you really enjoy?
    Yes. Time > Money
    What takes up a lot of your time but is neither unavoidable, rewarding nor enjoyable?
    Commuting. But I’ve recently tried turning this into a bike/train combo.
    What mildly pleasant, but pretty pointless things do you fritter too much time doing?
    Reading interesting random shenanigans from around the globe
    What would you like to do more of?
    Travel and do other sports. See far flung mates and chat rubbish. Listen to music and go watch more bands. Get the lens out daily…
    What motivates you to do something well?
    I don’t like being average at things. I want to know I’ve tried everything and lived my life as if I was always travelling – experiencing, learning, having fun, seeing/trying new things. Not letting people down. Proving others wrong
    Who do you envy, and why?
    People who are amongst the best in the world at what they do. People loving what they do. People who are ignorant to the things that rile me.
    If you were 100 and looking back on your life, would you be happy with a life well-lived?
    Hell yes. Nearly a third of the way through and most dreams I jot down get done. I am sure the rest of the list will get done by 100
    What makes you proud, satisfied, and content?
    Playing any sport. Achieving. Winning. Helping. Bantering the lads. Supping a latte in the camper with the Mrs, anywhere along the south coast. Making fires. Eating.
    What makes you frustrated, bored, and unfulfilled?
    Procrastination
    What would you do if you had more talent?
    Be playing at a higher standard!!
    What would you do if you had more guts?
    Publicise things more. Be more pro active on social media – not worry about people’s opinions
    What would you do with your life if nobody was watching, judging or commenting?
    Not sure. It’s those three things that help drive the things I do. Probably see new places
    What are you going to do about all this?
    Plan and prepare hard for the next stage

    Reply
  6. Do you earn enough money?
    No. I need to vastly increase my income to get it to a level I consider acceptable.

    Do you enjoy your job?
    Yes. My company Bawdy Zebra is in the opening stages and it’s very exciting. I like working on projects where I have a product at the end – something completed and finished.

    Do you prefer Saturday or Monday?
    Monday. Saturday is a pain in the ass. I work when I feel like it, that could be any time of any day. The weekends annoy me because most sane people aren’t working, which means they don’t respond to phone calls and emails!

    What would you like to be doing one year from now?
    Working with a vastly more successful Bawdy Zebra. Producing more products and making more money!

    What would you like to be doing five years from now?
    Working with an even more successful Bawdy Zebra. Outsourcing a significant portion of the drudge work. Travelling. Somewhere warm or somewhere stupid! Preferably both.

    What would you do with your life if you were a billionaire?
    Travel more, outsource everything. Enjoy everyday.

    How much could you cut your outgoings by?
    Very little. I suppose eating at home more and getting more public transport (though bus fare is about the same as petrol and parking so that’d only save cents).

    Do you have enough spare time to do the things you really enjoy?
    Yes-ish. I train twice a day most days, enjoy my work and have the freedom to just take a day off and do what I want. However, while I have the time, I don’t have the financial freedom to spend weeks or months doing what I enjoy.

    What takes up a lot of your time but is neither unavoidable, rewarding nor enjoyable?
    House work, driving – though audiobooks mitigate both somewhat. Dealing with other peoples rules and goals, not mine.

    What mildly pleasant, but pretty pointless things do you fritter too much time doing?
    Same as everyone. Facebook, twitter and RSS feeds. Watching TV shows that stopped being good 4 seasons ago. Reading crap books.

    What would you like to do more of?
    Sleeping, earning money, travelling, training, relaxing, reading crap books, taking photos, stupid things.

    What motivates you to do something well?
    Passion and interest. If something engages me I will do it til I drop, sleep four hours, roll over and pick off where I left off. If something doesn’t engage me I’ll spend hours and all I’ll have accomplished is “liking” another random page on Facebook.

    Who do you envy, and why?

    If you were 100 and looking back on your life, would you be happy with a life well-lived?
    Would I be happy with what I’ve accomplished so far? No. I’m very young yet (22) but I’ve frittered away too much time on people and things not worthy of my attention. But the last two years? I’d be happy with them, more of that for the next 78 years and I’m golden!

    What makes you proud, satisfied, and content?
    Finishing. Training harder than the session before. A photo well taken.

    What makes you frustrated, bored, and unfulfilled?
    Procrastinating. Training worse than the session before. Mediocrity in me and others.

    What would you do if you had more talent?
    Do things better than I do them now, lift more, hit harder, write more eloquently and take better pictures.

    What would you do if you had more guts?
    Jump out of a plane. Travel more.

    What would you do with your life if nobody was watching, judging or commenting?
    Waste it on the internet!

    What are you going to do about all this?
    Work hard, then harder again.

    Reply
  7. Tom L Smith Posted

    This is very interesting – I have felt compelled to contribute.

    1. Do you earn enough money?
    Yes, I don’t have very expensive tastes, my job is reasonably well paid, and I am a tightwad. Obviously if someone offered me more cash to do a similar/better job I wouldn’t say no.

    2. Do you enjoy your job?
    (I manage investment for a medium sized public sector organisation). Yes and No. After doing a week of 10-12 hours days it’s very difficult to find any enjoyment in what I do for a living, but equally I get a kick out of doing a big deal or producing a good piece of work. The question is slightly flawed because it’s difficult to be objective on “enjoyment” before you’ve finished doing something. I would definitely answered a solid “no” if asked if I was enjoying certain climbs, runs, bike rides etc while I was on them, whereas looking back at them they were, of course, hugely enjoyable.

    3. Do you prefer Saturday or Monday?
    Saturday, but then that doesn’t necessarily mean that I dislike Mondays. Mondays are hard because a week of hard toil lies ahead. But running a marathon is hard, climbing a mountain is hard. If it’s not hard it’s not worth doing – that’s the whole point isn’t it?

    3a (If you answer “Saturday”, ask yourself how you can improve the other 71% of your life.)
    Not applicable (I would argue)

    4. What would you like to be doing one year from now?
    Be injury free and healthy, be a father, continue to be able to pay my mortgage and support my wife (and family). Moving towards running my own business, running 10k in under 45 mins, Red-point 6c sport grade (climbing), do a good forearm balance (yoga). Lots more besides.

    4a. Can you make that happen?
    Some and some (the first half, generally speaking yes, the second half are on the cusp)

    5. What would you like to be doing five years from now?
    Moved out of London (house and job) to a house which my family and I will be able to live in for the next 30 years. Either started my own business, or have moved up the organisational ladder another two rungs.

    5a. Will you make that happen?
    Yes, I reckon I will.

    6. What would you do with your life if you were a billionaire?
    Work less hard, but not give up work altogether. After ensuring the security of my family and buying a few toys, sink the cash into a socially and environmentally responsible business making widgets.

    6a. Is it possible to live a modified version of that life anyway?
    Yes it is. I would hope that I’m moving towards that

    7. How much could you cut your outgoings by?
    I could cut my outgoings by not eating out, not paying my subs at the climbing wall, not going to yoga classes, not buying my wife jewellery etc, but it doesn’t really work like that. The question assumes that the trade off between working hard and spending the reward associated with that work isn’t worth it, which, more frequently than not, it is.

    7a How much time at work does that equate to?
    Again it doesn’t really work like that – most people don’t have that much choice over their working hours. It’s a binary choice not a free one. Either you choose to do the job you have, or you choose to go and do something else.
    8. Do you have enough spare time to do the things you really enjoy?
    No

    8a: If not, why not?
    Because I have made the choice to do a job which demands long working hours.

    9. What takes up a lot of your time but is neither unavoidable, rewarding nor enjoyable?
    Re-reading my sent emails because I am paranoid about spelling/grammatical errors (I cant help myself). Travel, when I can’t commute by bike. Dead time at work.

    9a. Why don’t you cut that/them out immediately, or pay somebody to do it for you?
    Good question ‘ perhaps I should buy another bike to ensure that I always have one which is on the road.

    10. What mildly pleasant, but pretty pointless things do you fritter too much time doing?
    The Guardian and BBC websites. Betfair (no matter how hard I look at it, I’m not making a profit, unsurprisingly)

    11. How many times a day do you check your email/Twitter/Facebook? How much TV do you watch?
    I don’t subscribe to the TV apologists school of thought. I love watching TV – I wish I had time to watch more of it.

    12. What would you like to do more of?
    Spend time with my wife, Yoga, Climbing, Cycle touring, Running. Doing another qualification. Watching TV

    13. What motivates you to do something well?
    Competition with work colleagues, pride, frustration associated with turning out something shit.

    14. Who do you envy, and why?
    People who have a great sense of fulfillment from what they do for a living, and enjoy a good lifestyle as a result of it. These people include my yoga teacher, a mountain guide friend and a friend who runs a successful joinery business.

    15. If you were 100 and looking back on your life, would you be happy with a life well-lived?
    Not yet – but hopefully by the time I get there (if I get there) I will.

    16. What makes you proud, satisfied, and content?
    A happy wife, a successful negotiation, mastering a new skill, fixing something, achieving a long worked towards project, producing a good piece of work.

    17. What makes you frustrated, bored, and unfulfilled?
    The boring parts of my job (boredom), the fact that I am now priced out of further education (frustrated), wondering what might have been if I had taken a different career path (unfulfilled).

    18. What would you do if you had more talent?
    Hopefully, capitalise on it

    19. What would you do if you had more guts?
    Chuck my hat into the ring and start a consultancy business.

    20. What would you do with your life if nobody was watching, judging or commenting?
    I think, a lot less

    21. What are you going to do about all this?
    Hopefully, keep trucking

    Reply
  8. This was alot harder than I thought it would be, but still a very interesting exercise. Here are my answers

    1. Do you earn enough money?
    Yes, if it’s food on the table and my personal needs taken care of. No, because I now work for myself and feel insecure because I don’t have pay cheques at the end of the month and I’ve got a family to help support. I’m happy doing what I do however and hope the insecurity will diminish over time.
    2. Do you enjoy your job?
    Yes, I do now, I’ve taken positive steps in this direction. I now create personalised baby clothing and take photographs to pay the bills so I’m much happier than I was working as a teacher.
    3. Do you prefer Saturday or Monday?
    This past Sunday evening, I really couldn’t wait for Monday morning to get going again. I feel alive now that I feel in charge of my own destiny.
    4. What would you like to be doing one year from now?
    I’d like to have made a success of my two businesses and worked on new ideas and be striving to reach new goals. I’ll be looking back at these questions and know that I’ve achieved what I set out to do.
    5. What would you like to be doing five years from now?
    I’ll still be self employed, continuing to grow and develop with the same zest for life that I have now. I’ll have created room in my life to spend lots of time with my family, whilst still chasing my own dreams.
    6. What would you do with your life if you were a billionaire?
    I’d spend my time essentially being a full-time athlete, travelling and taking on various physical challenges in different parts of the world. I can do a modified version of that now. I’d also do my weekly shop at Marks & Spencer instead of Morrisons.
    7. How much could you cut your outgoings by?
    I believe I live quite modestly now, which has helped make the decision to quit a job I didn’t like easier. I’m not very materialistic.
    8. Do you have enough spare time to do the things you really enjoy?
    I guess so, it’s up to me to make the most of it. More would be nice but I have a family and that’s a compromise I’m happy to make.
    9. What takes up a lot of your time but is neither unavoidable, rewarding nor enjoyable?
    Housework and gardening. I’ll get someone to do them when I’m a billionaire.
    10. What mildly pleasant, but pretty pointless things do you fritter too much time doing?
    I watch very little TV and am pretty good with checking e-mail, twitter & Facebook. I think they are very useful tools if used properly.
    11. What would you like to do more of?
    Travel , read, run, hang out with friends, tennis, football, paint, draw.
    12. What motivates you to do something well?
    A sense of pride in doing a job properly & not wanting to regret not doing my best at a later stage.
    13. Who do you envy, and why?
    Alistair Humphrey’s ? I envy anyone who has a sense of fulfilment and who knows they have made the most of the talents they have. So far, I don’t feel I have.
    14. If you were 100 and looking back on your life, would you be happy with a life well-lived?
    Yes, I think so, I had lots of great experiences and times in my life. I’m very lucky. I think that I can sqeeze a bit more out of it, but prefer to focus on the positive things that I’ve done.
    15. What makes you proud, satisfied, and content?
    Doing something well, especially if I’ve had to go out of my comfort zone and dig deep to get it.
    16. What makes you frustrated, bored, and unfulfilled?
    Wasting time and money. Doing a days work where you are watching the clock because you can’t wait to leave and let your real life begin.
    17. What would you do if you had more talent?
    Be a professional athlete.
    18. What would you do if you had more guts?
    Travel to more exotic and exciting countries.
    19. What would you do with your life if nobody was watching, judging or commenting?
    If I didn’t have a family I’d be travelling the world more, meeting interesting people, seeking adventures and challenging myself. I’m happy though and can do modified versions of them in the life I have.
    20. What are you going to do about all this?
    Continue to take action. You get out of life what you put into it, so the buck stops with me.

    Reply
  9. Mick Bailey Posted

    1. Do you earn enough money?
    Yes, if a month lasted 14 days that is. I live quite frugally but I never have any spare.
    2. Do you enjoy your job?
    I quite enjoy it. It is challenging but I sometimes despair at the lack of courage around me.
    3. Do you prefer Saturday or Monday?
    Saturday, any day of the week. This might give a more honest answer than no 2!
    4. What would you like to be doing one year from now?
    Cycle touring, seeing lots of new things. Persuaded my wife to join me more often.
    5. What would you like to be doing five years from now?
    Living by the sea in Scotland, earning a living working for myself.
    6. What would you do with your life if you were a billionaire?
    I’d give nearly all of it away and maybe keep a couple of million for myself (just to tide me over). I’d support community projects. I’d experiment with community owned social housing. I’d also travel the world and cycle all over the place.
    7. How much could you cut your outgoings by?
    Not a lot. We live frugally and working full time I think the odd meal or day out is well in order.
    8. Do you have enough spare time to do the things you really enjoy?
    No, I refer you to no 6, that’s how much time I’d need to fit everything in.
    9. What takes up a lot of your time but is neither unavoidable, rewarding nor enjoyable?
    surfing the net I think. Too much time spent on social media instead of writing.
    10. What mildly pleasant, but pretty pointless things do you fritter too much time doing?
    sorting my workshop tools out again and again and again. Too much time looking on social media too
    11. What would you like to do more of?
    Writing, cycling, travelling, woodworking
    12. What motivates you to do something well?
    Same as Alastair, brought up in Yorkshire. Work hard, simple as that. Bill Shankly once said that if he’d had to clean toilets he’d make sure his toilets were cleaner than yours and that if everyone had this attitude, you couldn’t fail. He was right.
    13. Who do you envy, and why?
    I don’t envy anyone really but I wish I’d known at my children’s age what I know now. I could have saved time for other stuff.
    14. If you were 100 and looking back on your life, would you be happy with a life well-lived?
    Yes I would. I have always tried new things and tried to experience as much as possible. As I now reach middle age I am aware that I might have to squeeze some stuff in.
    15. What makes you proud, satisfied, and content?
    Making people happy. My children, my wife. Creating something unique. Helping friends.
    16. What makes you frustrated, bored, and unfulfilled?
    I have to say that some people make me feel this. Negative, ignorant, aggressive people.
    17. What would you do if you had more talent?
    Play in a folk band. I play the Bodhran (Irish drum) very badly, mainly because I don’t practice. But I’d love to be good at it.
    18. What would you do if you had more guts?
    Work for myself.
    19. What would you do with your life if nobody was watching, judging or commenting?
    Nothing really. I don’t worry about anybody watching or judging and people are free to comment. This comes with age and experience but is very liberating. There are advantages to getting older.
    20. What are you going to do about all this?
    I am going to ponder it all and await a sign…

    Reply
  10. Morgan Gibson Posted

    1. Do you earn enough money? No – as a self-funded PhD student I am purely doing my ‘job’ for the love of it, and eating away at my savings in the process. Although not a problem now it isn’t sustainable in the long run, but I am not bothered about earning millions, just enough to live in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way, which also lets me explore places.
    2. Do you enjoy your job? Yes – most of the time. Sitting in front of a desk can be tedious, but then I book a trip to Nepal or NZ for work and I feel damn lucky!
    3. Do you prefer Saturday or Monday? Saturday – mainly because I can be away from my computer and emails, and not worry how I’m not doing enough fun things because I am actually doing them!
    4. What would you like to be doing one year from now? Finishing my PhD with a number of articles in the pipeline, doing lots of lecturing, and living with my boyfriend with lots of holidays planned and exciting future plans.
    5. What would you like to be doing five years from now? Living somewhere beautiful running wild swimming and yoga holidays. Doing a job which gets me outside.
    6. What would you do with your life if you were a billionaire? Travel – cycle around the world, walk the Great Himalaya Trail, and give my friends money so they could join me on my adventures.
    7. How much could you cut your outgoings by? I could buy less stuff (training gear is my downfall) and stop entering stupid endurance events (like and Ironman).
    8. Do you have enough spare time to do the things you really enjoy? No – I am stuck in front of a computer more than I would like. I also know you have to accept you can’t spend all your time doing things you completely enjoy, but as long as you enjoy them mostly, or enjoy working towards an end goal, that’s OK.
    9. What takes up a lot of your time but is neither unavoidable, rewarding nor enjoyable? Emailing people, getting my head around how to do things on my computer – my brain is just not wired to deal with the latter efficiently.
    10. What mildly pleasant, but pretty pointless things do you fritter too much time doing? Facebook, although only when I’m bored. Everything else I do isn’t pointless – it is either to develop my career, get me a PhD, or makes me happy (or is all three).
    11. What would you like to do more of? Thinking – to have time when I am not rushing about but just enjoying the moment – sitting outside. To spend time with all my friends who I don’t see enough of, and to chat with them.
    12. What motivates you to do something well? My obsession with doing the best I can at everything, whether I really care about it or not.
    13. Who do you envy, and why? No one. I would like to be better at computery stuff and to have a bit more of an idea when I will be able to stay in one place a bit longer with the person I love with me, but generally, day to day, I am very content with my life and who I am.
    14. If you were 100 and looking back on your life, would you be happy with a life well-lived? Yes – although in my teenage/ early 20-s I relied on others a bit too much to make me happy, I now see that as life experience, and what I have learnt is to only do things if generally they make you happy, and to be honest with people but take time to find the rights words to say – silence is better than reacting too fast and ruining things. I think if I was 100 and had lived by those rules I would be pleased.
    15. What makes you proud, satisfied, and content? The things I have achieved, my determination, making sure I have a positive impact on people and that my friends and family are happy.
    16. What makes you frustrated, bored, and unfulfilled? Sitting at a desk too much not getting anywhere, being heavier than I would like to be (although I am slowly realising this is not the end of the world), not being able to run very fast, spending my time talking about boring day to day stuff rather than science, nature and exploring.
    17. What would you do if you had more talent? Write computer scripts to do my work more efficiently. Run faster!
    18. What would you do if you had more guts? Start my wild swimming business now.
    19. What would you do with your life if nobody was watching, judging or commenting? Get married, then move to somewhere because it was beautiful rather than to follow a job, spend my time swimming, walking, cycling, surfing, diving and travelling the world, and getting other people into doing these things for work. On a smaller scale, take more days off to do things and actually do them.
    20. What are you going to do about all this? Stop procrastinating quite so much and get this PhD done. Make sure I focus on now rather than the future. Make time for my friends and family, however busy I am. Look into getting my wild swimming business off the ground so I can start on a life influenced by the outdoors, interspersed with productive, efficient time at my desk, rather than the other way around. Do the next endurance events I have planned and then stop entering them – start exercising for the fun of it, rather than an end goal.

    Reply
  11. Fiona Posted

    1. Do you earn enough money?
    Yes, functionally. I’ve supported myself and 2 kids on under £25k/year for 20+ years. Things get tight on under £20k. I’d like more income for more travel, but don’t want to spend more time earning it!
    2. Do you enjoy your job?
    Yes.
    3. Do you prefer Saturday or Monday?
    Both, for different reasons. I look forward to the start of my working week because I enjoy my job, and I look forward to my non-earning time because I enjoy other things I do too, including creating art, swimming, cooking, and spending time with family and friends. Incidentally, this question reveals an expectation of a conventional Mon-Fri working week, and I work fewer hours than that, differently spread.
    4. What would you like to be doing one year from now?
    What I’m doing now, but with better health.
    5. What would you like to be doing five years’ from now?
    Something different, somewhere sunnier.
    6. What would you do with your life if you were a billionaire?
    Worry, and hope I’d have the sense to give most of it away.
    I’d do most of the work I do without charging people for it, and walk away when people didn’t want what I offer. I’d buy a house on an coast in the sun, and travel more, and treat my family and friends.
    7. How much could you cut your outgoings by?
    I don’t need to, currently.
    8. Do you have enough spare time to do the things you really enjoy?
    Yes, mostly. The things I don’t have time for are a function of geography: I’d swim in the sea more if I lived nearer to it, and lakes and rivers more if I lived somewhere sunnier.
    9. What takes up a lot of your time but is neither unavoidable, rewarding nor enjoyable?
    Nothing.
    10. What mildly pleasant, but pretty pointless things do you fritter too much time doing?
    Facebook, sometimes.
    11. What would you like to do more of?
    See 8. The other things I’d like to do more of are limited by my health/physical abilities and life circumstances, not time: walk, dance, make love.
    12. What motivates you to do something well?
    When it needs doing. When I find it interesting. When I know I can make a difference. When someone asks me nicely.
    13. Who do you envy, and why?
    People who have found the right love for their life.
    14. If you were 100 and looking back on your life, would you be happy with a life well-lived?
    I hope so.
    15. What makes you proud, satisfied, and content?
    Being useful; being successful; being appreciated; having advice to give and having it taken; my children’s achievements, and the achievements of others I have supported; meeting of minds; making lovely things; physical and mental exertion; being ‘in the flow’, especially with thinking, writing, crafting, singing, swimming, making love; variety in life; sunshine.
    16. What makes you frustrated, bored, and unfulfilled?
    Absence of the things above. Dealing with other people’s problems.
    17. What would you do if you had more talent?
    Sing the blues.
    18. What would you do if you had more guts?
    Sing the blues. Ask people out when I find them attractive.
    19. What would you do with your life if no one was watching, judging or commenting?
    I don’t think they are, much. Probably nothing very different.
    20. What are you going to do about all this?
    I’m doing it.

    P.S. I’m sorry your work has eclipsed your other pleasures in life, Alastair. I hope you can re-jig the balance. 🙂

    Reply

 
 

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