Birthdays

I just turned 37 a couple days ago. To paraphrase Marilyn Monroe “…makes a guy think….”

Approaching (hitting?) middle age for me means a few things, but the overriding feeling I have is that, obviously, time is fleeting. So what to do with fleeting time?

Here’s an idea. We live in an extraordinary moment when everyone has access to the sum knowledge of humanity. Stanford university is giving its courses FOR FREE online.

Khan Academy is teaching pretty much anything in a really great format and also FOR FREE through its app.

With this in mind, I’m learning maths on Khan and I’m reading up on the links between health, sustainability and interior design/architecture in a new book by Esther Sternberg.

Staying curious. That’s what I want for my 38th year and for any more time I get on this amazing earth. This sounds pithy but it’s true.

Happy Sunday Chimps.

Becoming essential

I have spent my working life so far as a generalist. I know a little about a lot of things, master of none. This is not conducive to a driven and purposeful career.

How do you create something essential when you are not a subject matter expert? How do you become essential to a project if you are not the central producer? I see a couple of options.

You can learn. Become a specialist with dedication. Never in the history of the world have we had so many learning resources at our fingertips. You do need the time to dedicate to learning. This gets harder with things like family and children tugging at your attention. Practice makes perfect though, So plugging away at something will make you better, and therefore more marketable.

You can become a coordinator of experts. Imagine a goal and assign roles for those with the expertise to cooperate and create something bigger than the sum of its parts. This is what I have seen in business. The energy to talk and link people with each other is priceless. Having a role in mind for all the experts and relentlessly networking, calling, meeting, discussing with them the best way to achieve that goal. This leads to success.

Developing a wake up habit

I’m writing this just before getting to bed. My plan is to sleep from 1030pm to 630am. This should be eight hours of sleep which is good. I have been staying up too late and missing out on sleep.

Waking up at 630am gives me an hour extra to play with too.

Let’s see how it goes, night night.

Retail, reviews, Hifi and schools

The other morning there was a big Takealot and Superbalist promotion on the radio. They had sales on their websites based on user ratings, reviews, and wishlists. This was interesting and curious to me.

Then I learned that the concept is not so new. Amazon already has physical “4 star stores” in the USA which are packed with goods rated 4 stars or more.

Hifi of course is a market dominated by reviews. Stars and ratings offer a convenient way to compare one product to another, but are they really what you should be measuring and what you should decide your purchase on? What have you bought lately because of user reviews? What about based on some other measurement such as decibels or resolution? What about subjectively trying the product out before you buy? Personally I have always bought something without even trying it. Maybe that should change with something so subjective as art appreciation (listening to music).

How about another market – choosing a school for your child. Should this be done based on a simple rating/5 star model? To me, the fact that individual personalities are so different means that more care needs to be taken to find a place. But of course socio economic, geographic and other factors come into play. Can you access the school? Can you afford it? Can your child get in with their grades?

I think that the way Amazon and online mass retail has developed means we are perhaps more and more likely to look for the simple star rating, even if this is not a true indicator of what we need.

Getting bored and having energy

Is getting bored a good thing?

In the age of Facebook, Netflix, Spotify and Fortnite it’s easy to let the system take control. If you allow them, these streaming, entertaining, dopamine tripping platforms will keep you glued to your seats all day. They won’t let you get bored.

This thing is, getting bored serves a function. As far as I can tell, the whole purpose and spiritual breakthrough of Yoga is to cope with boredom and through this to reflect on life. No time for that in a video game.

Some other activities where boredom is there to be overcome:

Taking a walk with no phone in hand. Just walk.

Listening to an album from start to finish. Just listen

Running for 30 minutes straight. Just run.

When were you last bored?

Working late

I used to hate working late. However, now a days my life is so manic it’s a bit of a treat once everyone is in bed to just turn on some music and focus for a while.

Streaming tunes fill my head. Streams of words and numbers fill my screen.

All in the peaceful night.

Interior design versus environmental management

  • In the home or office, your environment can impact your health.
  • Cursory reading online will show you how much the design of a space can impact on your own health. It can:
    • Influence your mood.  For example, research studies reveal that rooms with bright light, both natural and artificial, can improve depression and anxiety.
      Impact your behavior and motivation to act. For example, a messy hall with shoes, bags, and other stuff may invite you to drop what you are carrying right there, whereas a clean entry and adequate storage will encourage you to take the time to put the item away.
      Facilitate or discourage interactions in your family and with guests. For example, an inviting space with comfortable chairs can encourage people to sit and chat.
      Create or reduce stress, which impacts not only your emotional, but also physical health, including your longevity!
  • Presumably this is true of larger spaces and larger systems than just the office, the living room or the entry way? Presumably this is true of environmental management systems as a whole?
  • I studied environmental management at university. The course and my subsequent career focused more on the impact of human activity on the earth. Granted that is a huge topic, but I think they missed a trick. Little attention was paid to the impacts of a poorly managed environment on the individual, beyond total planetary annihilation – a concept that is scary but hard to relate to on a day to day basis.
  • I think this is a shame.
  • The promise of healthier bodies and minds as a result of environmental management would be a powerful one. I think we can use the theory and psychology of good interior design to encourage broader best practice environmental management. This might help both the planet and the individual. Not such a sacrifice. A Win-win.
  • I’d love more info or expertise on this topic/link if anyone has any.
  • Happy Monday. 🐵🎧