“An unexamined life is not worth living” – Socrates
2020 has been one of those years that was filled with challenges and uncertainties. Apart from the COVID-19 pandemic, the year was kind of tough. Just like every other year, it was a roller coaster of a year, ups and downs, smiles and frowns, peaks and valleys. All in all, the year was kind of depressing with the turmoil in the world, but in the end, we stay grinding and moving forward.
My year in a Nutshell
Work from Home
The COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown meant I had to work from home starting from March 2020 till now. It was not easy adjusting to that way of working, but it is the new normal now. It meant setting up a new routine, setting up an office space at home (I did not set up the office desk and table until October).
100 Books Reading Challenge 2020
At the beginning of 2020, I set a goal of reading 100 books and listening to 50 audiobooks by the end of the year. It was not easy getting in the grove to read most days, but with discipline, commitment, and a daily routine was able to do the following:
- Read 89 Books as part of the 100 Books Reading Challenge 2020.
- Listen to 38 Audiobooks as part of the 50 Audiobooks listening Challenge 2020
IT Security Certification Exams
One of my major highlights of 2020 was writing multiple Cyber Security/Cloud Computing Certification exams in which I passed some and failed some.
Passed – 6
- AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner – 24 February 2020.
- AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate – 24 June 2020.
- Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) – 24 July 2020
- AWS Certified Security – Specialty – 29 July 2020.
- CompTIA Cloud+ ce Certification – 19 August 2020.
- Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals – 16 November 2020.
- AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate – Feb 08, 2020
- AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate – Mar 17, 2020
- CCSP – Certified Cloud Security Professional – Aug 31st 2020
- CISSP – Certified Information Systems Security Professional – October 20,2020
- CISSP – Certified Information Systems Security Professional – December 29, 2020
Failing these exams have been extremely tough, with the sleepless nights and study time dedicated for preparing for the exam, not to talk of the financial commitment of writing these exams as they are not cheap exams. What has kept me going is my WHY for writing these exams, the big picture, my daily routine, and the opportunity to become more self-aware because of the experience.
Sometimes you WIN, sometimes you LEARN, do not let success get into your head, and do not let failure get into your heart. The key is to keep pushing, learning, and unlearning, trusting the process and become a better version of what you can become. I would be attempting to pass the exams; I did not pass in 2020 again in 2021.
‘Never let success get to your head and never let failure get to your heart.’
Commitment to Life Long Learning
One of the great things that happened during the pandemic is the ability to have more personal development time. I tried to explore self-education more during this period and was on the lookout for platforms that would enhance my self-education. I stumbled on the following platforms, and I have been obsessed with them:
- MasterClass is a streaming platform that makes it possible for anyone to learn from the very best. MasterClass is an online membership – accessible on your phone, web, Apple TV, Roku devices, and Amazon Fire TV – that offers classes on a wide variety of topics taught by 90+ world-class masters at the top of their fields.
Great Courses Plus
- The Great Courses is the global leader in lifelong learning and our video-on-demand service The Great Courses Plus gives you unlimited, uninterrupted access to a world of learning anytime and anywhere you want it. With courses on thousands of topics, you are sure to find something that will ignite your curiosity and invigorate your passion for learning.
Learn life-changing skills with audio courses led by 200+ of the world’s leading experts. Invest in yourself anytime, anywhere.
I was able to commit to a daily routine, and it made all the difference. After reading Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear, earlier in the year, I committed to setting micro habits such as having my bath twice a day, Calm Morning Wake Up (8 Minutes stretch), Using the five-minute Journal, daily long handwriting routine with a yellow pad. These micro daily routines made all the difference during the turmoil in 2020.
I took a 2-hour walk every late afternoon after work in the summer, and I listened to Audiobooks during those walks. One of my favorite apps for 2020 is the Calm App that helps with Meditation, Sleep, and morning stretch.
Getting Laid Off
In late October, I got laid off from the financial institution I was working with. The CEO had earlier announced that the bank was going to reduce its workforce by 5%, and I got affected by the downsizing. The COVID-19 pandemic also made the lay off faster with automation, digital transformation, and business requirements changes as the new watchword for most organizations.
It was a shock hearing about the lay-off from my manager, but after going through the roller coaster of emotions, the grief, and the adjustment – I am in a better place now. It has not been easy dealing with the lay-off challenge, but I am getting better every day, sticking with my routine, and becoming more dedicated to my personal development.
Daily Writing Routine
One of the habits that made the challenges of 2020 not too harrowing was the habit of longhand writing every morning and my commitment to have a blog post on LanreDahunsi.com. I have posted at least one article on this blog since April 2020, and it has been very therapeutic for me, as the daily discipline and the routine is a great cross-training for the vicissitudes of life.
The Road Ahead
2021 is going to be a great year and I have set the following goals for the year:
- Project Python 2021: Learn the Python Programming Language in 2021
- 100 Books Reading Challenge: Read 100 Books in 2021
- 50 Audiobooks Challenge: Listen to 50 Audiobooks in 2021
- Pass 6 Cybersecurity/Cloud Computing Certifications in 2021
- Daily Writing Routine: Write in longhand form on a yellow pad.
All the best in your quest to get better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.