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.

The Weekend Jungle

Weekends turn our house into a jungle. For some reason as a family we fall into chaos – dishes build up in the sink, toys scatter around the house. The garden is no better.

This weekend was particularly bad. At one stage the house and garden resembled the Amazon, and there were two doors that wouldn’t lock, leaving our house vulnerable to…..well to anyone who may have wanted to walk in.

The jungle also compounds. As things get more chaotic, the effort required to bring it back feels greater and greater, and so you just put it off which leads to more jungle creeping in.

But slowly, once the children were asleep, we managed to clean up. I managed to lock up the doors and we escaped the jungle just before bed time. It was a close call though.

Happy Monday chimps.

Smelling in stereo

Although we often think of the word “stereo” relating to music, what it actually means is “relating to a three dimensional effect”. We smell in stereo.

From my great new book:

“Though humans’ nostrils are only about two centimeters apart, this is sufficient for people to detect slight differences in the concentration of a scent cloud, and thus provides information about the scent’s location and source.”

Humans can be trained to track scents like dogs, and when they do, they zig zag across the trail, just like dogs, chasing the higher chemical concentrations to the smell’s source.

It makes me think that Perfume and deodorant are to scent what headphones are to music – giving our brains close proximity to the pleasant sensations….and all of it in stereo.

It blows my mind how much we take our senses for granted. Smell, sound, touch – all of them have a huge impact on our enjoyment, health and peace of mind.

So says my new book, and who am I to argue with that? 😉

Happy Friday chimps.

Writing habits

Do you remember the first time you fell in love? Of course you do. Kind of like discovering chocolate for the first time, you just wanted more and more.

My first proper relationship was notable in that it was mostly long distance. Soon after we met I went overseas to study and decided to pour my heart and soul into keeping the relationship going. And a writing habit was born.

We were prolific. The amount of words written in letters, emails and text messages was at an almost Shakespearean quantity. Every single day, for months on end. Quality was highly questionable, but quantity was admirable.

This laid the groundwork for blogging and writing regularly for the rest of my life to date. I’m thankful. Thankful for the habit, thankful for this blog, and thankful my current relationship is in person.

What are the origins of your habits?

Happy Monday chimps.

Oops.

After some valuable consultation with my friends and family, i have realised something: I don’t know much about humans. 

Sad, but true. Let me explain, dear reader.

I have been pretty excited lately about my new ‘pivot’ towards highlighting and fixing a problem which I know exists: The Jungle Of Life. All of my posts on chimpwithcans.com are inspired by the jungle of life around me. As I wrote yesterday:

Clearly, not many of us live in a real jungle or rainforest anymore. However, the metaphor of everyday life becoming a tangled jungle works in my head. The writing, podcasts and projects I become involved in will be focused on disciplines that can untangle our personal jungles. Disciplines like Creativity, Design, Psychology, and Negotiation. Also, the image of the “Chimpwithcans” clear of the tangled jungle and free to listen to music resonates with me

I love the above paragraph. It excites me and fills my head with ideas for future projects.

Where I went wrong was to think that this only applies to husbands and fathers. Besides cutting my potential readership and market roughly in half, I was completely missing the point by focusing so tightly on my own experience of “The Jungle”.  The encroaching jungle of life is a human problem. We can all, each and every one of us, benefit from the disciplines I mention above.

Maybe this should have been very obvious. But like I said, I don’t know much about humans.

Also, my wise owl of a friend advised me not to add a PROJECTS button if there are no projects to show. So I’ve removed it until the projects take place.

Happy Friday, 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.

Minimalism

I saw a a documentary on minimalism the other day.

It lasted over an hour but was nicely distilled in the end by a sentence which went something like this: “love people, use stuff. Because, doing it the other way around is just not a good plan”

We don’t need much stuff. We need people.

And we need work to do which makes us proud.

And a nice space to live in.

And wine.

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.

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?