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Fab Fridays 81: 2021 in Review
The highs, lows, and learnings from 2021
Happy Friday and Happy New Year!
Writing to you all has been a highlight for me every week. I love having a weekly space where I can process and document my thoughts on alternative education. Thank you for engaging in the conversation and for challenging my ideas. I still have a lot to learn, but I’ll do my best to continue sharing useful content with you.
Thanks to you, I’ve had amazing opportunities to speak and write this year. Last night we hit 10K email subscribers (and 100K followers on Twitter!) It’s wild to see our community grow to this size, and I can’t thank you enough for being part of it.
Here are some highs, lows, and learnings from 2021.
This year, I wrote thirty-one new essays, posted thirty-five new Twitter threads, sent thirty-eight editions of my newsletter, created an instagram account, and published over twenty new YouTube videos on my channel and the Synthesis channel.
I am proud of the work we are doing to transform the way kids learn. And while there’s still lots of work ahead, I’m excited to see the conversation evolve in the right direction.
I spread myself too thin throughout 2021. We worked hard on a Mental Models video series we decided to drop after a few episodes. (You can watch them here! I think we were onto something, but we just weren't able to prioritize them.)
I also tried making some TikTok videos, which went…ok?
It wasn’t until the end of the year that I realized I should double down on my writing and speaking, which are what I do best.
This year had lots of mountain-peak moments…and a few valleys. Most of all, it was an amazing twelve months of growth and learning. Here are 5 lessons I learned while sharing my journey publicly:
1. Be willing to look silly
Your ideas are always under construction, and you need to be willing to be wrong a lot before you can experience what it’s like to be right.
So put yourself out there.
“The upside is limitless; the downside is just a sprinkle of embarrassment” — David Perell
2. The internet rewards people who are genuine and authentic
Find what you are irrationally passionate about and focus on that.
If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t stick with it.
3. Put in the reps
The greatest rewards are delayed.
Show up everyday, put in the work, and allow the effects of compounding to take over.
4. Find your tribe
Surround yourself with people who will point out your sloppy thinking, encourage you when things get tough, and push you to do better and aim higher.
5. Build in public
Sharing your work produces immediate feedback that pushes you to be a better thinker.
Want to take it a step further? Tie your identity to your own name.
My friend Polina Marinova said it best.
In 2022, my top priority is writing my first book! I can’t wait to share it with you. In the meantime, I’ll make sure to keep you all updated on its progress through this newsletter and Twitter. However, expect to see fewer essays and videos from me online over the next few months. Thanks for bearing with me as I embark on this new project!
I wish you all Happy Holidays and lots of blessings in the New Year!