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.

Buildings through different lenses

One way to view a building is through the lens of a developer. Using this lens, a building is a foundation, a frame, and finishes (interior and exterior — windows, doors, penetrations) plus the surface finishes (floors, walls, ceilings, interior doors, rest rooms, mop closets, central plant) and the HVAC, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, controls, elevator systems.

Buildings can also be linked to health and emotion. A house can be a safe space and a home full of joy, or it can be full of anger, the scene of a divorce. Creative spaces can give you a sense of freedom and purpose. Pressurized space characterized by disjunction and poor design can give you a feeling of unease – it may even make you sick.

Depending on what you want to achieve, it helps to have the right lens. For example right now I need to sort out several functional things in our old house such as the garden lawn and the crumbling driveway. Developers lens helps here. I also have to manage a big family’s needs and expectations with my own. Seeing our home as a space for emotional fulfillment, health, and personal development is perhaps the lens to use here.

Play Games

Playing games is important to me. In my life, Games come up all over the place.

If I find something difficult then it helps me to think of it as a game. This approach makes things less stressful and lowers my anxiety. Elon Musk says we might all just be living in a simulation. Sometimes it helps to think of life in that way. A few examples of play as it manifests in my life:

  • Playing with the kids at whatever game they have going
  • Treating menial parenting tasks as a game
  • Comedy and conversation with friends
  • Computer games
  • Sport and exercise including data on health
  • Social media accounts
  • Music – listening and playing music is a beautiful game
  • Work
  • Podcasts
  • Blogging 😉
  • More and more I see life as one big bunch of games to play.
  • Some people are not good at playing. Doodling, Riffing, Games, Jokes, Humor are seen as a waste of time. I can’t understand this approach to life.
  • Happy Wednesday, chimps.
  • 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. 🐵🎧
  • Complicated or Complex?

    The two words are often used interchangeably, which is wrong.

    If a system is complex, it means it has many components in the system. The complexity makes it hard to apply any hard and fast rules for problem solving. Think of a large company or organisation.

    If a system is complicated it can be hard to solve, but they are addressable with rules and recipes. Think of a machine.

    My next guest on the podcast, Dan Rogatschnig, did a masters degree specialising in this stuff and he laid it out for us during our chat.

    Come and have a listen on Friday.

    Systems thinking

    The next guest on my podcast has not one but two masters degrees.

    I worked with Dan for a couple of years in a corporate, and since then I have always been curious about his LinkedIn bio which reads as follows: “Thinking in curved lines of interdependence rather than straight lines of causality”

    I pinned Dan down recently to explain himself. We had a nice long chat which I will release on Friday as the fourth episode in my podcast series.