Mourning the death of a newsletter

Actually, there is no mourning – the newsletter didn’t last long enough for me to become attached in any way, shape or form. 3 episodes was more than enough.

So what has happened? Well, in my quest to build a meaningful website I have realised that I do not need to have a newsletter, and that worse still – I do not really have meaningful news to share!

Instead, I ought to work on what I get excited about. I love making podcasts, and I love the idea of ‘escaping the jungle’. This idea was a feature of my newsletters but I have instead brought it into the website under its own page. It’s likely to feature a broad range of things I find helpful. A record of life hacks and interests which help.

As painful as this might be to follow, I am slowly figuring out what I want. It is all in realtime as I develop this blog of mine. “Escaping the jungle” could just as well be called ‘coping with life’. Life is hard, so let’s figure out how to cope with it best. Let’s keep record of what helps.

It’s a little narcissistic to keep on rearranging something to suit you and your readers. It’s also a trait of mine – for example I will often feel a compulsion to rearrange my house. Things could always be better, but there’s a limit. I am going to leave the site like it is for a while, drop the newsletter, and see where it takes me.

Happy Thursday chimps.

Teaching

It is often said that teachers are important, noble, and essential (disclosure – I come from a family full of teachers). But why do people say this exactly?

I think it is because of the long term. Teachers (if they’re doing their job) are trying to prepare young people for long term success. This is not the case with so many jobs.

Wall Street traders trying to profit as much as possible in the shortest time frame. Or the fast food store selling the cheapest rubbish to as many people as possible. This sort of short term-ism or race to the bottom is not really useful with proper teaching. Instead it requires patience, creativity and a long term approach.

What stops many teachers making the impact they ought to make or gaining the recognition they deserve? I think it is likely the system in which they have been employed for so long. The industrial model of education which we still mostly use, treats children like factory employees, squeezing them into predefined boxes and encouraging cramming for tests. This is not necessarily preparing them for the real world problems in this Information Age. But I digress.

Teachers, like doctors and nurses, are heroes.

Happy Wednesday chimps.

Split

It helps a lot if you are confident about the desired outcome. If you know what you want. I’m not sure what the stats are, but I bet that the odds of something happening go way up if you have the end goal clearly emblazoned is your mind.

All of the most important things related to a project – values, culture, status, leadership – they depend on the parameters that are set.

Maybe an example will help me express myself. If you write a novel, and it starts as a tragedy, then slips into a sci-fi, then to a slapstick comedy, and finally reaches a crescendo as a religious historical piece – well that sounds like a confused mess.

Genre and its audience is perhaps where you want to start. It helps to define the values, the culture and the modus operandi.

With that in mind, I have realized my writing on this blog tends to split into different interests. I might write about creativity, African trade, productivity, music, or sci-fi all in the space of a week.

This needs to become a little clearer, and step one in the splitting out of interests is to redesign the site a little. I think this new template is clearer and the menu at the top will help to clarify things.

It’s a work in progress.

For anyone who has reached this far in the post, happy Monday chimps. 😀

Remote drumming

Today was a first. I laid down a drum track using the iPad, and sent it overseas to my dad in Kenya for him to overlay guitar and vocals.

I know musicians have been doing this for ages, but Covid19 is forcing us to use the tools at our disposal and pushing us out of our comfort zones. For me that means sticking to a blogging commitment and producing music with family overseas.

I just love the internet.

Happy Sunday chimps.

Company

If we wanted to do something worthwhile – and it almost doesn’t matter what it is – we would likely find it easier to do with someone else as a guide, a teacher, or just as company.

There’s always an opportunity for creating a welcoming venue for birds of a feather to come together and practice, discuss, create, define what they want to get good at.

The best websites do this. Podcasts too.

The best restaurants, clubs, churches, offices, parks, homes and companies do this too.

Every 10 seconds

Google randomly displays the masters of fine art on my screen, switching every ten seconds or so. A Monet just flashed by, now its someone named Joseph Léon Righini.

All of this is staggeringly good art. None of it is given much attention by me during the day. But it is there for me to see whenever I want it. A mountain peak – an Everest – of fine art to aim for every 10 seconds. This would have been unthinkable a couple of decades ago. I remember growing up we had a massive Encyclopaedia Brittanica in our house for reference.

Why does this matter? I think it matters because it means that the problem of our time – the problem of this revolution we are experiencing – is not one of scarcity or of access to information, or to inspiration. The internet has given us access to more information than we could possibly want – be it art, science, history or cat videos.

Instead the problem is one of contribution. The nagging question in our heads should be “When am I going to show up?”

I don’t mean show up in Google’s algorithm, I mean show up to the party and contribute. Care enough to try, to fail and to show your work.

Playtime

Movies are given to us in (usually) 2 – 3 hour chunks. Designed to set aside a whole evening for your entertainment. Conversely, Entrepreneurs and influencers on Tiktok or on Instagram have mastered the quick fire clips and video messages.

Even though there are neuro-chemical tricks going on with Instagram, it is interesting to me that social media often feels like the only form of entertainment that fits into my life right now. To read a book I need to wake up at 5am when the house is quiet. The same with movies or albums. These things need concerted effort from me whereas the Instagram account goes with me wherever I go.

I know this is not revelatory in any way. Mobile phones are convenient…..so what? However when I look at these facts I realize two things. Firstly, I need to manage what’s appearing on my Social media feeds so that the messages I am receiving are of value and not just a trick to keep my brain’s attention. Secondly, I need to make time for books, albums and movies that I still want to have in my life while my kids are young and life is so busy.

That will go some way towards escaping the media jungle of life.

Nearly New Years! Happy Monday chimps.

Headspace

About a year ago I tried to meditate using the headspace app for a while…it didn’t really stick. I struggled to find the right time of day to use it, even though when I did manage to do it, I really liked it.

Last night I was struggling to fall asleep. My brain was over drive so I downloaded the Headspace app again and logged in to try one of their sleep meditations.

The soft voice of the narrator guided me down a river with trees on the banks and fish in the water. Within minutes I drifted off.

It seemed to make me focus on just one thing (the fish story) and that was enough to send me to sleep with headphones on my ears.

it made me want to keep my subscription and try the meditation stuff again.