My 2021 Integrity Report

Today I am publishing my 2021 Integrity Report.

This is an exercise I (intend to) do each year because these reports provide a reason for me to revisit my core values and consider if I have been living in a sincere way. Basically, my Integrity Reports help me answer the question, “Am I actually living like the type of person I claim to be?”

There are 3 main questions that I will answer in this Integrity Report.

  1. What are the core values that drive my life and work?
  2. How am I living and working with integrity right now?
  3. How can I set a higher standard in the future?

You are welcome to use this format to conduct your own Integrity Report (if you are into that kind of thing --- thx James Clear).

1. What are the core values that drive my life and work?

Below are my core values and some questions that I use to think more deeply about each area. Since this is my first Integrity Report, I’ll use it as a reference to define what I would consider my baseline values. James Clear’s list of over 50 core values helped me find the ones that suit me.

My core values might change throughout my life as a form of self-discovery, or they might not. We’ll see.

I. Adventure

II. Democracy

III. Beauty

IV. Darkness

V. Fortress

You might like to use the above questions to think through your life, but you are welcome to develop your own list of core values. If you want to create your own Integrity Report, feel free to browse this list of common core values.

2. How am I living and working with integrity right now?

If the above are my core values to adhere to integrity, how am I applying them in real life? Do I live and work with (more) integrity?

Adventure:

I didn’t go on my annual one-month research trip, but I used every little opportunity to walk and integrate daily, super small-scale adventures in my daily “lockdown life.”

I started one-month research trips in 2017 (Cuba) I liked it so much that I did it again in 2018 (Madagascar). In 2019, I didn’t do it because my startup-related business travels (4 months and €12k expenses for the failed startup studioslist.org) were too expensive that I had no more money left in September. Plus, I stopped working with that client who generated the majority of my income. In 2020, I had a business trip to Orlando for a conference in March, but then... well everyone knows about the pandemic. In 2021, it also didn’t happen because I didn’t have the money, agency work didn’t allow me to take 1 month off, and Covid was still there.

I helped a now-friend from Egypt to get a job. We had 44 sessions in German because her job would require knowledge of the German language. We started in March and stopped our formal language exchange in September. That’s half a year of effort, which was worth it, because now she has a new job, and we’ve become friends as well – we’re calling each other brother and sister. Greetings to Cairo, inshallah! I also helped another friend from India get a day job by providing email-based accountability. He probably still hates me for that (for being rigorous and taking my role as the accountability seriously). Similarly, when being the “fitness coach” for my mum, I keep telling her, “I’m your personified bad consciousness.”

“Until proven wrong” is still my go-to mantra when it comes to challenging my beliefs, convictions, biases, and ideas about things. It helps me keep an open mind. One example was, I asked a couple of friends, “What is love for you?” They replied in their unique way, and it challenged the way I see love, because right now, my “love bucket“ is rather depressively empty. When I say “love” I mean relationship love, I don’t mean love for humanity, human connection, and the connection to nature and wildlife. This type of love is still intact.

With the people I care about I did keep the connection intact through Zoom catch-ups in 6-week intervals, sometimes more than six weeks, but that’s ok. It’s been working well with most friends and acquaintances.

Democracy:

The power of the people (demos kratos) starts with the individual, and to experience empowerment you want to have self-respect. If you respect yourself, you value yourself. If you value yourself, you know what you stand for. If you know what you stand for, you can use all you got for preserving what you stand for. That’s my view of self-respect in the context of democracy. The only act of self-empowerment I can think of in 2021 was my absence from the federal elections. I stopped voting 7 years or so ago. I prefer to put power into my hands and not rely on politicians’ promises.

I’m particularly proud that I did what I promised to do for one friend of mine from Japan, when I delivered 54 social-media-ready video clips from her 2-hour-long YouTube livestreams. It was a lot of work and painful, but I sent it to her. On top of that, I also finished my brother’s wedding film – with a 3-year delay, but done is done.

I think of the people in Afghanistan when I think of equality and fair treatment. The new Taliban regime doesn’t look promising, especially when it comes to the rights of girls and women. People keep fleeing the country. Of course, it’s been happening in other places as well. But Afghanistan is the one that’s most present in my mind, though I can’t really do much about it. At least, in my circles, people are being treated as human persons, and they’re doing well.

I’ve lost my cool this year several times. It was mostly a creative disturbance that led me to places where I was dissolved and lacking focus and direction. I’m not sure how to keep it under control, but I guess it comes down to discipline and creating a regular space for “pointless exploration,” so that I can give the creative monster inside of me the room it claims and wants.

Beauty:

“supertramp serenity ÷ pan tropilactica” is very much alive. By the execution of susēpatrolā, my story production company, I’m applying the mantra that is about being adventurous, bold, and serene, while keeping the love for Tibet intact as well as my deep fascination for all things tropical and galactic. By executing susēpatrolā as well as naii and iian (my three creative capsules) I’m allowing to show my true self. Dancing in public (YouTube) is one example of me being truly me.

My voiceover studio is where I can be impulsive, wild, and vocally loud, which is a different place than my home office. Through the recent rearrangement there, it’s now become truly my studio. It took about 2 years to really make the studio mine. I started renting it in December 2019, and it’s my most important place and a dream come true. I want to keep the studio at all costs! It’s my sacred place.

The 40-minute walks to my studio also allow me to switch gears and move from naii to iian, so that, when I arrive at my studio, I can be the inner child that explores and is curious. One outcome of this switch to curiosity and my wild thoughts is the show idea called “1D1Q1A” (1 Day 1 Question 1 Answer), in which I give an answer to an interesting question on a weekly while featuring my voiceover skills and my ad-writing skills, because embedded in the answer will be an ad of a fake product, for fun.

My contribution level has risen, because I’ve been increasingly productive. My production level might be higher than my consumption level. I want to say, a ratio of 55:45 regarding production:consumption. Occasions like helping people learn German were contributions to the world. The 2-minute film edits I’ve been doing in 2021 were another contribution. Maybe negligible, maybe not, but these were my types of contributions.

Darkness:

The most uncomfortable part of my five core values is darkness.

An example of this darkness shall be the prosaic-lyrical description of a dark place I’ve seen through my inner eyes on February 3, 2017, at 23.44 pm. It’s called SFBX, and it was dedicated to a community I’ve been part of (I redacted the parts that don’t make sense in this context and generalized them). It’s from 2017, but still valid, so here we go:

If a community does one thing well, it is that it makes you dream again and uncover long kept secrets. Secrets you did not know of (anymore), hidden treasures and tears you locked into a “safe” place. It is no safe place. You fooled yourself thinking it was safe because when child-like curiosity trumps you (facilitated by the conversations in the community) you will break into tears. You can cry without tears. The pain is the same. Your childhood phantasies (of what you wanted to become when you are a grown-up) will show. You will uncover your own values and question your way of being. You gain access into your vulnerable soul, a shady spot.

You will enter a dark place. A dungeon. You have to walk along narrow lanes, pass through vague corners and freeze in the wet underground — in the sterile reign of cold-wet stones. Hairy skin is what protects you when you stand with no move, better transit the dark place you have no time to goof.

Warm places you find on the journey but pay attention so close, because you are shivering energy that you will need the most. When you unlock the door but you still can’t push through, you’ll regret not having gone faster because now the blame is on you.

Even if you enter the warm place you will soon see the birthplace of the heat, it’s no one less than a dragon to beat. Your peel limbered up, you can feel it again, still you’re naked like a poor man with no sword only stainless skin.

That’s when the community members come into place. You still need to fight the dragon yourself. Nobody other than you can do it. But preserve your energy because there will be more beasts to defeat.

The moment you entered your soul place, you released what was dumped inside you. A Pandora’s box you opened, now deal with it, please. The reward is your illumination shining through all pores, but you need to stick to your mission, focus, execute, of course.

This was a short story in the realm of „SFBX“ — a personal mantra I came up with today that stands for:

I hope this dungeon-dragon story scared you. If you’re still shivering (only thinking about it), and you felt what I felt and saw what I saw when I wrote it, remember it the next time you are too lazy, and too comfortable to take action.

You are always naked. Always fresh-born. Always in the duty of honing your curiosity, and always do you need to open that goddamn door to only find out that the last fight is never fought even when you defeated the dragon. There is always going to be a new dragon. The journey never ends. Are you ready for the dungeon? Or do you take the blue pill?

As you can see, darkness is, in this case, a place that leads to moving your complacent ass and get things done.

Other aspects of darkness are places where suicide seems like an option, though it’s a lazy and easy quick fix.

By reading Ryan Holiday’s “The Daily Stoic” every night since 2017/2018 – in German and English – I’m facing death right before I fall asleep and remembering that death is always a close companion kicking my beautiful ass.

Fortress:

Reading Ryan Holiday’s “The Daily Stoic” every night since 2017/2018 is how I’m creating a resilient mind without becoming an emotional stone, a cliché typically associated with Stoic people. Through the same activity, I’m preparing for unexpected challenges as well, including death.

I’m not as physically strong as I want to be. I do too little workouts, and get complacent with occasional workouts every here and then. When teenage and twenty-something anger inside of and trying to make an impression on women used to be my fuel for working out (and looking good), I did work out more often. But now with my ascetic, monk-like lifestyle without sex I still haven’t found a trigger to work out regularly. The best motivator for me is play and joy, but that only lasts for a moment.

There are still challenges in my life that I’m avoiding to face. One of them being, “Should I get laser eye surgery done for both of my eyes?” I’m short-sighted (myopic), and I believe living without glasses would give my life a... wait for it... new perspective or point of view. Another challenge is, “Should I scuba-dive or do apnea-diving?” These are the two I can think of it at the moment.

3. How can I set a higher standard in the future?

Now for the hard part. Where am I currently struggling, and what can I do to improve over the next 12 months?

Show up every day for 8 hours. The point of working 8 hours per day (56h/week) is to have a number of hours that I can sustainably perform, while still enjoying my life and not burning out, but also working towards realizing my goals. Working eight hours is a sweet spot where I don’t feel (too) drained thinking about working that amount, and eight hours are still challenging enough that I feel motivated to pursue it.. I’ve been applying 8h workdays since November, and yes, I do have days of slacking off, but the ideal stays intact nevertheless.

Publish a new YouTube episode every Wednesday. A new episode of “1D1Q1A” (1 Day 1 Question 1 Answer), in German and English. This is a new thing, so I won’t talk more about it. But suffice to say, I’m excited to do it, because it shall help get attention for my voice-acting client service.

Publish a new 2-minute film edit every month. I published 3 film edits in 2021, but I wanted to publish 12. In 2022, I want to reach 12 two-minute shorts.

Keep sending the {Sunday Truth} email on Sunday. There were a handful of occasions when I hadn’t sent the email on Sunday. I want to eliminate these occasions and always deliver on Sunday.

Keep doing great client copywriting work for the agency I’m working with, so that their conclusion at the end of every work week is, “You’ve consistently delivered high quality work, on time, and we love working with you.”

Solidify writing and voice-acting. Solidify that written words and spoken words are my profession by writing consistently and voice-acting on a consistent basis.

The Bottom Line

My hope is that my annual Integrity Reports help me hold myself to a higher standard and build a business that makes life a little bit better for others. I have made so many mistakes in the past, and I am sure I will make many more in the future, but I still find it remarkable how often I can screw up and still make progress as long as I am willing to take steps to improve.

As always, thank you for being part of this worldwide community. I’ll do my best to continue delivering ideas and stories that make your life better.

Integrity Report Archives

This is a complete list of annual Integrity Reports I have written. Enjoy!

What to do now

Thanks for reading. You can get more actionable ideas in my popular email newsletter. Each week, on Sunday, I share how I’m building my dream storytelling company while giving away valuable insights for creators, entrepreneurs, and creative business people. Enter your name and email now, and join us.

    You get to see the latest high-quality story productions, the progress I made with susēpatrolā (my storytelling company), and my blunt journey as a creator and small business owner.


    you just met naii.io - I invent, act, build susēpatrolā, travel, and write.

    naii.io is your calm spot at the intersection of productive art and human creativity.

    Adventures for Bold Storytellers.

    It’s only you and me, you’re 👩‍🍼safe.