Roofing

The roof has been torn off my home office. It’s pretty fascinating to see what goes on between the ceiling boards and the roof itself. Fascinating and disgusting.

Among the ancient insulation layers I found all sorts of wires, dead rats, and lots of excrement. A colony was living up there, listening to us perform our day jobs. After rats are poisoned and start to decompose, they turn yellow….who knew?

It’s a good feeling to completely replace a roof. It feels like a fresh start.

Here’s to fewer rats and more insulation.

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.

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?

One for you, 19 for me.

Some lines from songs stick with us. They are memorable and well structured. But, most lines are not. Most lines from most songs fall by the wayside of our memories and attentions.

This is true of all work and creations of course. 99% of our efforts are ‘works in progress’ or sub-standard. There are only a few instances (if we are consistent and hard working) when we strike lightening, gold and rainbows with our work.

It makes sense then to live for those moments, and to hope for them. But also to come to terms with the hard work it takes to get there.