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.

Too many options

There is a special kind of angst which comes from having too many options.

Two schools with great facilities for your children are down the road. Which one to choose?

Two companies want to partner with you for selling their products. Both products are great, which one do you decide to sell?

I’m not sure I have an answer, but I know that long and committed conversation helps to make an important decision.

Eckhart Tolle says there is no past or future except as memory or anticipation in your mind. Options are sometimes seductive because they are new and shiny, like a new iPhone. However, maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to change something if it is already working.

Not all good options are better than what we already have.

Happy Tuesday.

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.

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?

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. 🐵🎧