Christening day in the Christmas jungle

I’m not a religious man, but my wife is. I see the value she gleans from the ritual, the discipline and the reassurance. She uses religion to escape the jungle of life.

Today is my smallest daughter’s christening. Even though I’m not a believer in the traditional sense, its a big day for us and luckily enough we will have a lot of family around to celebrate and bear witness.

It’s the culmination of the Christmas season of celebrations and family. I feel like I need to escape the Christmas jungle, but I’m also looking forward to one more session with the family.

Design impacts Art & Design impacts Health. Therefore Health = Art.

Odd title, let me explain.

In reading about the impact of design and space on our wellbeing, I have come more and more to believe in well designed homes as a source of wellbeing. Conversely poorly designed homes are bad for our long term health. Certain spaces will create stress or isolation, and others will create relaxation and communion. Healthy spaces should account for all stimuli entering the brain through all the senses.

So far so good. I imagine, dear reader, that you are with me on this…or at least you are willing to entertain the notion that a room full of comfy couches, mellow music, warm lighting and sweet lavender smells is better for our health than a damp, dark basement with odours of rat poo.

But this is where my mind makes a weird connection, so as Samuel L Jackson famously said about the dinosaurs: “hold on to your butts”.

I recently came across this quartz article which looks at the impact of headphones on media and pop music: link I found myself nodding to the words throughout the article. Media has become a certain way (mainly bass heavy music or intimate chats in the form of podcasts) because of its main mode of consumption – headphones which have tiny speakers and offer a private signal direct to your brain. The design of the headphones affects the media in exactly the same way the design of your house affects your wellbeing.

Think of wellbeing as a piece of amorphous art you need to try and shape with whatever you have at your disposal. Just like the music that is shaped by the arenas, churches or headphones in which it is played. Life is a song. Life is art. I’m sure those are old, cheesy sayings but they suddenly make a lot of sense to me.

Christmas is upon us like a tidal wave now. I have started to crank some soulful Christmas carols and hang some sweet smelling decorations for my family’s wellbeing and communion if nothing else.

Happy Friday chimps.

Research tips and tricks

In this age of Google and unlimited information at our fingertips, there is still great value (perhaps greater than ever) in aggregating, curating and gleaning insight out of information. The internet is a firehose and we need some way of focusing in on something useful. Research reports of interest. Look at the archive of http://www.ben-evans.com as an example of what I love.

With that in mind, and with my brief career as a research analyst as a background, I am searching for hacks, tips and tricks to bend information to my will! I have always appreciated great research but I feel under-skilled to come up with a good piece of research myself. Perhaps it is a matter of brain power and IQ not being up to scratch, But I think it is just as likely a matter of methodology and understanding the process.

So, if any of you have any expert tips on using google to your advantage, or on how to compile a research report then please let me know. I am open to all learning on this topic, even if it seems obvious and basic. I need to know how to approach data, how to approach sources and how to make interesting links of interest. It is something that I wasn’t taught at school….or maybe I just didn’t listen.

Thats what is running through my head.

Happy Monday Chimps.

 

Friday musings

It’s coming on Christmas and Summer is here in the South. Fake fir trees with stockings and presents underneath are a Northern cultural remnant. Families head to the beach rather than play in the snow, but Christmas still works its magic with the carols, the food, the shopping and the holidays.

The generations of my family are gathered in this town and seem to stretch before me one way and the next. My old man is crippled with his leg in a cast. My mother looks after him with care and patience. She will scatter her mother’s ashes among the roses today. My own children are running back and forth trying on lipstick before eating it. What more could you want?

Happy Friday chimps.

Report cards

Yesterday my two year old got her first report card from pre-school. A glowing description of her progress made me so happy. She has done so well.

The report makes me think about how we measure progress after school. An obvious metric is money made, but that doesn’t seem enough. My daughter’s report paid attention to aspects such as social cohesion, personality and communication skills development and other “softer” measurement than her grades or her salary. Her earning power is pitiful 😉

If my own schooling was any indication, after kindergarten (which measures very interesting markers for progress) we are pushed down a narrow path towards industry and conformance. We probably need to do better.

Some ideas for metrics other than salary and position to measure progress as humans after school:

  • How do we measure our contribution to the culture?
  • How aware are we of our own true nature and personal development?
  • How much do we know about where we come from?
  • How strong is our network?

Happy Thursday chimps.

Research and writing

If you want to write a good book, you need to know something about the subject matter. This sounds silly and obvious, but it’s not. The question to ask is when do I know ENOUGH about the subject?

Enough to teach a 4 year old? Enough to give a speech? Enough to pass the exam?

The search for enough is the most fruitless search and it never ends. Research never ends. We need to be able to handle that truth if we want to be an expert at anything.

Rather focus on the process itself. The contribution to the culture. You need to enjoy the research and creation process, rather than obsess over the result being enough of anything.

Easy to say, hard to do.

Happy Wednesday chimps.