One year of happiness

This last week marked my first year anniversary as a Happiness Engineer with Automattic. Starting this role was a big shift for me professionally and required me to go back to being a beginner again. It’s been a scary and challenging experience in the best way possible, and to say I’m glad I did it is a huge understatement. I can’t imagine not doing it now.

To celebrate, it feels like a list of reflections is due. Here are some thoughts after reflecting for a couple of days on the past year.

Misc Work

Learning like a mad scientist

David Perell recently wrote a tweetstorm/article about the recent US Open golf champion Bryson DeChambeau and how:

He just won his first major championship and is changing how golf is played at the highest levels. People call him “The Mad Scientist of Golf.”

I casually follow golf (and sports in general) and hadn’t even heard about this guy but this caught my attention. I’ve been thinking about it all week and going back to the article again and again for some inspiration as I think about how to be better in my chosen craft. Here are some themes that I am trying to apply in my own ways.


Go with what will teach you the most

There is some great advice from Ryan Holiday in the 33 Things I Stole From People Smarter Than Me. I encourage a read through all of it. Here are a couple of pieces that pair well together and that resonate with me:

18.I forget who this was from, but it has stuck with me: Go to what will teach you the most, not what will pay the most. It’s about choosing opportunities that you’ll learn the most from. That’s the rubric. That’s how you get better. People sometimes try to sweeten speaking offers by mentioning how glamorous the location is or how much fun it will be. I’d be more impressed if they told me I was going to have a conversation that was going to blow my mind.

Art Work

Using a side-project to practice

In the lead up to starting work as a Happiness Engineer with Automattic (we’re hiring by the way), I started to create a couple of “side-project” sites as as a way to both practice with the toolset of WordPress as a publishing platform, as well as feed my own artisitic practice.

One of these sites is, which I used to amass a collection of daily “reps” of drawing figures: people, hands, feet, faces and mostly a wooden mannequin that I had lying around my office. I’m ressurecting it again today to start work on another month of figure drawing, with some new props and ideas, but mostly to just stick to a 5-10 minute a day practice.

Parenting Work

Shifting (rituals) with the season

Daylight is in abundance now in the far northern reaches of Scotland. It’s light out really early now, and although I love the mornings regardless, it’s more pleasant than usual to wake up early. As a result I’ve started another seasonal shift in my morning routine, and even more that than that, a bigger thematic shift in the expectations I set for what I do when during my days.

“You make doing what matters most a priority when your willpower is its highest. In other words, you give it the time of day it deserves.” (Gary Keller, Jay Papasan, The ONE Thing)

I’m now running first thing in the morning rather than later (mostly), and am trying to pay more attention to letting my energy guide my routine rather than my willpower.