Time is running out

So what shall we do with our 24 hours?

Today I played golf under the African sun. I then watched the sun go down with my two baby girls. It’s also my wedding anniversary so I bought my wife a present. We have a good marriage. 6 years now.

A day well spent. But the sun still reminds me of passing time.

Tomorrow needs exercise, communication, and creativity. It needs love.

Another one like today will do just fine. A good day.

Focus snuck up on me

Today was a good day in a good week. But I’m only realizing now after supper. Strikes me that it often goes that way.

When you are busy, focused and enjoying yourself, almost by definition you stop noticing time pass and stop analyzing what you are doing.

Only looking back now am I surprised at a good patch.

Here’s hoping for more blind, ignorant, closed off, unthinking good patches 😉

They don’t teach you calendars at school

Or maybe it was just that I wasn’t listening – either way, I think this should change.

Who doesn’t know how to keep a calendar? This sounds ridiculous, but it has taken me about 10 years to understand how to use and trust my computer’s calendar. At school, timetables were dished out at the beginning of term, pinned up on walls and referred to by everyone else around me. I could always ask my parents, teachers, friends what was coming up and what was due. I could remember a lot (well, enough) of what was important without needing a reference. The net result is that I never developed the skills to keep my own time. I have never trusted my computer calendars until very recently.

When you start using a calendar though, they build upon themselves. The more you use them, the more dependent you are on them, and then the more you will trust and use them again. You are invested, and that makes the whole system work. In this way calendars are a great example for projects in general. If you want to get a project started, then just start. The mental buy-in is what matters. The same thing seems to apply to relationships, exercise, blogging, working a job, keeping healthy.

That is what no school ever taught me – the importance of mentally buying into a concept, and that you can train yourself to do it in order to get something done.

Seems to me, this mental trick in and of itself is one of the most useful things in the world.

Behavior vs. logic

Behavior trumps logic. If you want to pay off debt quickly, the maths says that it is best to attack the highest interest amount first, then work your way down to the next highest.

However, it turns out that debt payments are not a maths problem, they are a behavior problem. Therefore the opposite (attacking the smallest interest amount first, and then using the payments from that amount to pay off the next smallest etc) is the best way to change behavior and cancel debt.

Small manageable victories are always more sustainable than large sacrifices, even if they are not scientifically going to get you to your goal most efficiently.

Work life balance = ?

Work-Life balance is important – we all agree on that. But what does it mean practically?

My next guest offers some insights. Balance needs to be planned a little and thought about with your family.

He literally built a space (a cabin….a bothy) for balancing his life, getting to nature, being mindful, planning meaningful conversations and experiences away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

It’s inspiring and I hope you tune in on Friday at chimpwithcans.com to hear his story and our chat.

Where is the art coming from?

Art as a consumable product. When we experience a piece of art, it is tempting to think that there could only ever be one version in the world. The song you’re listening to could surely only have sounded like this, could only ever have this tempo, could only be sung in this key. The picture you are looking at must have arrived fully formed – divine intervention flowed through the painter’s brush to the canvas in a single instant of inspiration. There was no practice involved and no research.

Art as a process. Of course the opposite is most often true – artists above all are experts at curiosity and playing with ideas. The curiosity and the playing results in countless versions of an idea until one day a version feels right (or is chosen by a company executive) to represent the artist’s vision.

Examples are everywhere – look at Bob Dylan’s countless versions of his most famous songs. Director’s cuts often differ wildly from the original film release. Look at Picasso’s obsessive research into the minotaur leading up to Guernica.

Curiosity and playfulness are where the real magic is. I think that this is important to remember, both as customers and as artists. These processes are not instantly gratifying, and can often be frustrating. But they are processes that we have to go through and we have to acknowledge to get the most from any piece of art.

Otherwise, there is a danger of art becoming a pre-packaged commodity. No back story. Nothing more to see.