Have you ever found yourself stretched too thin, overwhelmed by too many options or actions, simply saying “yes” to please someone? Has your day ever been hijacked by the priorities of somebody else?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, Congratulations you belong to the majority.
The thoughts and lessons from this bullet will be thought provoking and interesting in delivering a perspective of a simpler and more meaningful existence.
I want to start of this week with a story I read written by one of my favourite thinkers and writers: Seth Godin
The words are simple but impactful, I urge you to read this again and then once more...
It’s easy for us to choose to worry. The world is upside down, the slog continues, a tragedy unevenly but widely distributed.
Worry takes a lot of effort. And worry, unlike focus, learning or action, accomplishes nothing of value.
And, at the same time, due to the time-horizon of the pandemic, it’s also tempting for us to simply wait. To wait for things to get back to normal. But all the time we’re spending waiting (for a normal that is unlikely to be just like it was) is time we’re not spending learning, leading and connecting. Waiting is, sort of by definition, a waste of time. But time is scarce, so wasting it is a shameful act.
If we decided to simply reduce our waiting and worrying allocation by 50%, just imagine how much we could discover, how many skills we could learn, how dramatically attitudes could shift. We can still wait (even though time will pass either way). And we can still worry (even though it doesn’t do any good). But perhaps we can figure out how to do it less.
We can avoid mistakes in life and work, not by being more right, but rather, by being less wrong.
“Trying to be right has a tendency to devolve into protecting [our] beliefs, Trying to be less wrong has a tendency to prompt more questions and intellectual humility.”
— James Clear
The concept is best described through a sports analogy, like playing tennis. If you are rallying back and forth with your opponent and one makes a simple mistake. The point is said to be won as a result of an unforced error, as opposed to a winning shot.
There is a difference between losing and being beaten.
Losing, means that you lost focus on what was essential. In other words, you beat yourself. It is all based on a simple but powerful idea: to operate at your highest level of contribution requires that you deliberately tune in to what is important in the here and now.
Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from being overwhelmed. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture.
What is Minimalism? - click here
“I have one bag of clothes, one backpack with a computer, iPad, and phone. I have zero other possessions”. The ideal virtues of the minimalist, he does not suffer decision making inertia or waste time in deciding what to wear, what to use and what to do next.
Today I have no address. At this exact moment I am sitting in a restaurant and there’s no place for me to go to lie down.
By tonight I will find a place to lie down. Will that be my address? Probably not.
James Altucher (featured in the last bullet) has adopted a minimalist way of life as his choice and explains the benefits. He is recognised as an extremely counter intuitive thinker with extreme lifestyle choices and many controversial beliefs.
At one point, this hugely successful entrepreneur threw out all of his belongings and lived in various AirBNB’s out of choice.
“Does minimalism mean not having a lot of possessions?”
No, not at all. I think minimalism means having as little as you require. That means different things to everyone.
Minimalism does not only apply to stuff, more importantly, it refers to mindfulness.
How minimalism brought me freedom and joy - click here
“The result is that by investing in fewer things we have the satisfying experience of making significant progress in the things that matter the most”
— Essentialism - The disciplined pursuit of less by Greg McKeown.
Mentioned in one of my previous blogs - click here
Choice is the central theme of essentialism. Whereby every move you make is carefully articulated and nothing happens by default. Unfortunately the paradox of success does not play out like this…
What actually happens.
We want more, but we are poorly prepared to accept it when we get it. So we work harder, run faster, sleep less, and complain more. Our “pursuit of success can be the catalyst for failure.”
Any process of elimination begins with seeking clarity. Knowing exactly what needs to be accomplished and having a very disciplined execution methodology, void of distraction. One essential step to achieve flawless success is the power of saying “NO”
Wage war against complexity. Think about how much we’re pushed to get more and more complicated solutions: $500 baby strollers, incredibly complex diets, and 300 apps on our phone. Yet if we’re honest, how many of those actually changed our lives or made us happier? It’s not enough to say “I like simplicity.” You have to actively fight for it. Make a list of things you won’t worry about. Restructure your spending and calendar to go to things that matter. In the modern world, complexity is the default. Fight for simplicity.
Wisdom/ What I'm Reading...
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami
The runners high
The latest theory about the runner’s high makes a bold claim: Our ability to experience it is linked to our earliest ancestors’ lives as hunters, scavengers and foragers
It has been researched that endocannabinoids (CB1 receptors play a major role in the motivation to exercise) are released when jogging for a length of time, not walking or sprinting. It is thought that this is because it emulates the exertion level our ancestors endured whilst hunting.
As a runner, I can only concur with this hypothesis, endurance running elevated exercise-induced highs, including the disappearance of worries or stress, a reduction in pain, the slowing of time and a heightening of the senses.
An intimate look at writing, running, and the incredible way they intersect, this book is an illuminating glimpse into the solitary passions of one of our greatest artists. While training for the New York City Marathon, Haruki Murakami decided to keep a journal of his progress.
It’s a “memoir of sorts.” It is an account of the doubts and insecurities that plagued him when he started out as a novelist, attributing his subsequent success as a writer to his passion for running.
He has run 25 marathons. An ultra marathon and written 11 novels.
I have immense respect for Murakami both as a literate and a runner.
Non runners should not be put off by the title, this book will teach you a lot about developing a talent, maintaining focus, endurance and accomplishment - traits that we can all do with in life’s journey.
The near-insanity of the running mind (determination) is captured in his first marathon, which he ran from Athens to Marathon with only a photographer for company
“I'm the kind of person who likes to be by himself."
— Haruki Murakami
To put a finer point on it, I’m the type of person who doesn’t find it painful to be alone. I find spending an hour or two every day running alone, not speaking to anyone, as well as four or five hours alone at my desk, to be neither difficult nor boring.
The most enlightening take away from this book is how running developed a mindset of endurance which resulted in high levels of focus and concentration when writing.
Running here is used as a metaphor, to describe ones ability in developing deep focus and endurance, and the innate need of these qualities to accomplish anything meaningful.
Parc de la Distance
A new design for a public park by Austrian architecture firm Studio Precht, enables city dwellers to exercise and enjoy nature as COVID-19 lockdowns ease while still maintaining physical distance.
We are going to see many such innovative designs that reflect our new social distancing living.
Widget of the Week...
Known for thinking outside the box, Jasper Morrison is one of the most successful industrial designers of the past few decades. He defined the term 'super normal', which in his opinion answers the question of what 'good design' should really be. In his work, he strives to create good examples of understated, useful and responsible design. He can be best described as a philosopher of the adequate.
He speaks, just enough words, at just enough volume, about just enough design.
His designs are represented in New York's Museum of Modern Art and other prominent museum collections around the world.
"Super normal" is the term Morrison likes to use. Aside from being the name of a book and exhibition that he curated with his Japanese fellow product designer Naoto Fukasawa, it is a condition that he aspires to in his design.
Jasper Morrison's designer style and philosophy aims to "produce everyday objects for everyone's use, make things lighter not heavier, softer not harder, inclusive rather than exclusive, and generate energy, light, and space." Charles Arthur Boyer
Check out some of his creativity here:
His collection on Instagram