Vision || Barriers || Next Step

Image: Dall-E 2

In 2015 I started to think about iterative processes; I had been studying project management at the BI business school spare-time for a while, and I was finishing my bachelor’s thesis. My paper, written with a fellow student, was called “Uncertainty Management in Outsourcing Projects”.

Around then I also thought about all kinds of projects. I had been doing projects in different contexts since 1998. First as a project member, then a project manager / leader. And in 2015 I came up with this new triplet of questions:

  1. What is your vision?
  2. What is really stopping you?
  3. What is your next step?

The first question is long-term or idealistic, or it is something quite concrete and perhaps something you are working on Right Now. So, when my vision is formulated (and remember it has to be smart as well; I guess my version of vision is more concrete, oh well).

The second question is mostly about asking “why” over and over. “Why can I not reach my vision?” “Why is xx stopping me?” “Why is yy stopping me?” “Why is zz stopping me?” And at the end, I come up with a root cause. The root cause may be very different to the excuses I give myself in my primary conscious way of thinking.

The third question is really easy: What is the next step? Not 10 steps ahead, no project plan with 30 milestones. Just: What is the next step?

I very often ask myself these three questions, like a mantra. And I may do them over and over. Last winter, during the deepest part of my depression, I asked myself this a lot (“Vision = Be filled with energy and happy”), and every time I ended up giving myself a ton of slack, and saying to myself: “A time of more energy will come, sooner or later”. So in that case, every time, the “next step” was simply “be kind to yourself”

Right now, I may say that my “Vision” is to find a girl-friend. What is stopping me is that no girls seem to have a romantic interest me. But then I ask why some more, and some more, and some more, and it turns out that I am really not That interested in finding a new girl-friend / romantic partner. So that is really what my issue is. My next step then is to evaluate the idea of having a romantic partner some more, and perhaps seeing that in a more positive light.

Or, I may say that my “Vision” is to do something extraordinary at work. Or that my “Vision” is to have a new job for 2024 which is really giving me a lot of new challenges. My “barrier” for those visions may be different, and I may also have variations of answers, depending on where I am on my own energy cycle. My next step is often just to do x or y the next moment, or the next morning at the office, or something else.

But, here is my Current Core Questions triplet (I need to give it a specific name…); one that I have had for a few weeks now. It is not about finding a gf or a new job or even in my current job doing extraordinary work (I know already that I am good at my job).

Since April, when my energy level started to rise, I started to get curious about what I should fill my spare time with. Games, reading, staying with my son and blogging just doesn’t cut it. So I ended up being curious about “EWB” – engineers without borders. And I may find a way to get involved in that organization here in Norway. I like working internationally, and I like NGOs. I am kind of “done” with politics as such, and I am not interested in doing the same stuff as before; a new cycle would bore me too fast. But EWB is interesting. If I was a doctor, doctors without borders would be my thing. Well, I am not Really an Engineer, but I am enough of one to be able to be useful in such an organization. We will see.

I am scanning the organization now, and looking at the ways I might fit in. I guess I will have news before the end of May.

These questions are often with me. And now, I want to read some more in my current book, to move closer to my vision of reading 50 books also in 2023 (I am waaaaay behind on that target; I have only read 9 books so far this year)

[Video of process; 13m31s / 82MB]

Core Questions (CQ)

Over the course of my conscious development, questions were my drivers. Not the answers, not the conclusions, but the ever evolving questions.

I started writing a journal/diary when I was 9. For my 9th birthday, my grandmother had given me a brown notebook. A hardcover. I think it had about 120 pages or so. And she told me to write in it. “Write what in it?”

She said something like:

“Write about your day. And think about your day. And wonder about the future.”

Like a good little pupil I sat down on her kitchen table and started writing my first entry. I did my best handwriting. I wrote about my day at school. I wrote about where she lived – she lived in Åsgårdstrand then, a charming little village south-west of Oslo. I wrote about different small things.

Then, the next day, when it was time in the evening, after dinner, to write my second entry, she sat down opposite me, looked me in the eyes and said “Now, I want you to think about questions. What questions you have. And then to write them down.”

In predictable manner, I responded “But aren’t the questions more important than questions?”. She shaked her head softly, then said “No. The questions are always more important than their answers.”

That made my head spin for sure! I was 9.

But I kept her words in mind, and I wrote about my questions. Questions to my future self, and questions to my past self. I wrote questions to imaginary friends, or questions to historical figures from the past. I worked really hard to make my grandmother proud. And she commended me for my texts.

Later in my life, as I turned older; 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 etc; I kept evolving my diary and I kept thinking about my questions. Questions to my future self. If I had a thick diary book, almost fresh, with almost no pages filled out – I would make a habit to skip forward 50-80 pages and then write things like “Hello, this is xxxx date asking you: How did it go with your goal to get great grades in that math test?”.

As time went by, I found different ways to explore the tools, the mechanisms – – – the ones that worked for ME.

Then, in 1994, when I discovered the internet, I became obsessed with that. And when hotmail was fresh out of the oven, fresh on the market, I signed up for a hotmail account. Some jerk had already taken, so I came up with “” (which is still active today, many years later).

Questions. In 1996 I was 18, and I wanted to be an author so so so badly. I wrote a lot. In 1997 I turned 19. And I still had questions. And I still had questions to my future self, and I imagined my former self answering my questions from the present. “Who was I 3 months ago?” I would then imagine it, and imagine what I had learned in these 3 months, and try to project myself into my past.

In 1998 my life changed quite a lot. From a position of passivity, mostly, I turned to a position of activity. I made a conscious decision in January 1998 when I was new at the University of Bergen and new in Bergen, in this Bergen cycle, to get more involved. And yes, I did.

In 2000, I discovered blogging, and started a LiveJournal blog. I later deleted it, and wrote under new pseudonyms. Deleted those, and started new. While this happened, I tried to live up to my Ehich nickname that I had back then. And in 2002; in my process of morphing into a DLTQ version of me / my persona; I started writing down Core Questions in a new way. Because… I knew that I was not getting any younger. I was 24 back in 2002. I felt ooold. (I am 45 now in 2023, and I feel ooold.) I did not want to forget my questions. My questions to myself, or my questions to society.

Over the next years, I wrote different questions, in different ways, in different formats. From 2004-09 I did a lot of the exploration through videoblogging, but that was not my only area. I had my trusty diary; the books lined up. In July 2009, I made my decision to change my life. To stabilize, to become more “normal”. Get married, have a kid, stay at the same job for 4+ years. I got married, I had a kid, I stayed at the same job for 12 years (2009-2021). I got divorced in 2020 (well, separated -> divorce, but you get the point). And I asked new questions about my past, and other people asked me questions about my past, present, future.

Last weekend, I hosted my second “CouchSurfing” guest, and we talked a lot about core questions, and those discussions reminded me of my own core questions, and how I had lost so many of them. Yes. Despite the daily reminder of “Don’t Lose the Question”, I had lost so many. Trivial questions, or core questions. I had stopped caring about so much; I just wanted to do my job (I work as a project manager in a large organization here in Norway), and deal with my kid (he is 12 and stays with me all weekdays, while he is with his mother in the weekends; I live closest to his school), and have peace in my life. I just wanted peace.

I still want peace, but I am ready to explore my questions again. Core questions. Some of them I will share here on, while others of course will just be in my Day One app diary (where I have 5K+ entries since 2013), or in my physical diary. Yes, I still keep the physical, tactile medium as well as the others.

So, My CQ’s will be shown, over time. Some will come in headlines, while others will be in a small sentence, in the middle of a wall of text.

This is one of my reasons for deleting the Mastodon server that was linked to from November 2022 to this morning, May 10th 2023, when I deleted that whole server and my hundreds and hundreds of updates, as well as my connections made in that world (oh well).

I need to be able to have longform. And to write my questions out, in detail, if needed. Or my answers, or anything inbetween.

I will also explore with other things. I guess video too. I also will do a lot of jumping into the river of past days, moments, periods. I will have memory lanes, and I will have lanes of thinking about the future. Imagining it.

May 10th 2023 19:46. I add a link to a video recording of my process of creating this blog entry, and other blog entries (not all; I guess) because I can. I want at least. Perhaps the thought police or DMCA police will come and handcuff me for not taking the sound track of the spotify music out of the background. Oh well. Girdle.

19:48. I am obsessed with timestamp. I don’t know why. I know why. It is linked to many core questions. Oh well. Girdle. *fnis*

[Video of process; 30m21s / 169MB]