Personal statement (September 2006)

I’m pretty organised about backing up my computer, which means as the years build up there are a good number of old documents hanging around in the archives from previous years. I plan a series of posts this week publishing a few of them. These can be windows on previous eras of life.

One of the books that had an influence on me was ‘7 Habits of Highly-Effective People’, which as all good books, was discovered through serendipity. During a research trip to East Africa for my masters dissertation I was staying a Kenyan friend’s flat, and this being pre-Kindle days, I’d run out of reading material. As I remember it, he only had a handful of books to his name, but this was one of them. One of the activities that the book recommends is writing a Personal Statement. From 2001, I’d found writing down goals and such-like a useful exercise, and so I went ahead and wrote a statement. I reopened that statement a few months back for the first time in years.

Looking back, I didn’t follow it to the letter, but it holds up fairly well looking back at the last decade. Here it is…

My aim is to pursue excellence in a broad range of human endeavours intellectual, spiritual, athletic and relational in a way that best advertises Christ and seeks best to live out his Kingdom’s values. With integrity and honesty as to my failings, and through disciplined and organised hard-work, I hope to develop the talents God has given me within the vocation of journalism, international analysis, politics, economics and development. I hope to push boundaries in my field by keeping at the forefront of technological developments, exploiting fully the internet, cheap and lightweight recorders and new developments in the way we access and create information. Alongside this, cultivating a broad range of skills that breach traditional boundaries; specifically by developing myself as academic, photographer, writer, journalist and linguist. I hope this will enable me to link the academy to politics to elite-end journalism, and be so involved in these centres of knowledge that my vocation is done in an atmosphere of osmosis-learning. This devotion to development should not come at the expense of spending time with others and being a good friend.

I hope to continue a regular devotion to God’s Word and engagement in the building of his Church, while at the same time being an approachable and understanding communicator to those on the outside. My hope is that all this can be accomplished in a spirit of kindness and generosity, in which money and wealth are means and not ends, although they can provide a bearing on the value others place on my activities. My lifestyle should bear a radical edge that is a powerful statement to the world by rejecting materialism, unhelpful boundaries between people and unnecessary norms of behaviour, I hope to embody a freedom. Athletically, I hope to maintain a level of fitness which sustains other activities as well as learning from and enjoying the leisure and challenges sport provides. Looking to the long-term, my dearest desire after serving Christ is, God willing, to be a caring father and husband, in no way treating others as less than humans made in the image of God.

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