I’ve been doing some reflective thinking on the importance and difference in celebration lately. I recently graduated from my university studies and due to the pandemic, our graduation ceremony wasn’t what it usually is. I was reluctant to go to the live one, and even more so to the zoom version, so I didn’t.
The class that I graduated with decided to throw an unofficial graduation ceremony and party, and I chose not to participate in that one either. My justification for not participating is that my mom is in the risk group for Covid, and my grandmother recently passed from it. Even so, I could very well have gone.
The thing is, I really didn’t want to. There are multiple reasons, but the main ones are that I don’t really feel like my degree is something worthy of celebration, and the second one is that the way we celebrate things over here doesn’t at all suit me.
And so, I want to write some about those two things. The stance on that I have different standards for celebrating than many others, and the way we pursue celebration.
I decided to make good decisions,
It's the best decision I ever made.
A couple of texts that might be interesting to read on the subject:
There a number of ways of talking about pace, and a number of areas to apply it in. I think it's important for all of us to start thinking about the pace we're keeping, and at what pace we'd like to go.
Plans seldom go according to the actual plan. That can't be the reason we plan - for plans to go accordingly. There must be another reason.
My aim with planning is to be comfortable enough to know that things are going to happen, for me to be able to get rid of the plan entirely. If I plan my week, I know exactly what needs to be done, and when it's due. I can then do my tasks in whatever order I want to.
There's a really important lesson in this episode, on how to handle the fact that your plans aren't predictions.
This week, the riff is on exactly those rules. I explain my six mantras or rules that I consult when I'm feeling like I'm in a rut or a bit confused. Those rules are, for me:
Macro patience, micro speed.
Don’t believe all of your thoughts
Doing has a higher value than not doing
Don’t make 1000 decisions when one will do
You're a human being, before you’re a human doing
Move fast and break things
This week, the riff is on fear. More specifically, fear as an obstacle.
The attitude we have towards anything can either help us or make things harder for us. The attitude is oftentimes a layer with an automatic emotional response to something. So if I have a very positive attitude, I will perceive things in a more positive manner.
When the attitude is negative, our automatic response is often fear. The thing with fear is that it helps us in a bunch of cases, but those cases are more and more rare, and the response itself rarely stand in proportion to the reality of the situation we're responding to.
In this episode, I riff on changing your attitude, especially in relation to fear.
I've been interested in structure for a very long time, almost as long as I can remember. To have a personal structure of my days, keep track of the projects that I'm working on and to keep the information I gather very neat has been a core success factor for me.
With all that being said, when I've read up on personal structure, there has always been a system. Let's take GTD as an example. The system is there, and the user has to conform to it. The thing is, all of the things that GTD suggests aren't applicable to all of us. So instead, I suggest you start with love.
Start with yourself, and then build the systems of structure around you. If you need a To-Do list, it wouldn't make sense to get an app if you rather stay of your phone. And if you, like me, want to be able to sync all of your devices and be able to keep track of your tasks wherever you go, it makes a lot of sense.
That's what this episode is about. To start with yourself and build structure around you.
Tools are incredibly important. That's where I usually start out when entering a new domain. If I would start with photography, I'd start by buying a really good camera. But that might not be the way to go.
In every area or field, there are some core principles. Principles explaining how we can achieve better within that field. And I think we've all encountered those core principles within a field. Realising that a good stamina helps enormously when playing soccer, or that a clean structure for your e-mail eases the use of the inbox.
This episode is on just that. The core principles of things. Inspired by "The book of five rings" by Miyamoto Musashi.
Mindfulness is absolutely, without a doubt, one of the things that myself and my friends have been spending the most time talking about in the past 5 years. It's also something that most people have a relationship to, as do I. That relationship is a bit complex, and not always at its best.
I think mindfulness, if practiced, should be practiced as a proactive activity. I also think it needs to be done because one thinks it's worth doing. Those two components, to me, are at the heart of mindfulness. Rushing to yoga class is counterproductive and it doesn't serve the purpose of mindfulness itself at all.
And that's what this riff is about, the core principle of mindfulness, and how you can practice it without practicing it.
Being able to make sense out of complex matters is one of the most appreciated skills to have in my experience. To help people understand and make something out of an experience or even a couple of experiences is hard at times and at times we need help doing it.
It’s something you can practice. So please do, because your life will be easier.
There seems to be a difference between perception and observation, even though they’re quite similar.
Observing something when you need an output that’s quick and easy isn’t always a good idea. Similarly, perceiving something that needs detailed examination might not always work the best.
I've had a hangup on design for quite some time now, and want to spend some time discussing the ideas that have passed through me during that time.
Design has two parameters that we judge design by: beauty and functionality. Sometimes they interact and combine in the same product or process, sometimes they leverage each other and sometimes you have to choose.
Most importantly from this episode, I'd like you to think about how you design processes for yourself. Sometimes we forget to put ourselves in the centre of the design process when we're designing for ourselves. Whatever you're trying to accomplish, spending some time to understand yourself is always key.
I've been actively working with becoming better at both offering and asking for help for the past 4 years. It's been one of the most prominent things for me, and it all started with one single question:
What do you need help with?
In this episode, I describe a way in which we can all become better at asking people what they need help with. I riff on why there are ways that are worse to offer help in, and why I think it's important to talk about how we offer help to one another.
I think passion can be a choice, rather than something that just happens to you. Of course, there are times at which we might be struck or even stuck with a passion that's impossible to explain. But more often I think it's possible to choose passion as a way of doing things.
Grit and stubbornness are two vastly different things, although they might seem similar.
Being stubborn is, for the most part, not constructive and nobody gains from it. When you’re stubborn, you’re not using all of the information coming to you, like in a rage. Grit, on the other hand, is the ability to push through when needed yet being able to give up when it’s time to do so.
Giving up might be hard, but at times it’s necessary
Soldiers are often trained to do one single thing. They learn to shoot, and shoot really well. Of course, that’s a complex action as it involves a lot of small skills and a precision that’s uncanny. Not to talk of the morality of the whole thing. Still, they’ve learned to master one tool - shooting. Of course, that’s a simplification of what makes up a soldier, but for the case, we’ll stick to this premise.
In the HBO-series Westworld, there’s a scene where soldiers are encountered with a problem. They have a bunch or raging bulls coming at them with short notice. The bulls are coming in with full speed and they’re about 10 metres away when the soldiers first see them. The soldiers are stunned, but then get to use their tool - shooting. They open fire.
The problem for the soldiers is that at that distance, there’s little they can do about the bulls with that tool. The bulls have such speed that the bullets are doing little to stop therefrom running straight in to the soldiers. The soldiers die, as do the bulls.
The soldiers had a real, potentially lethal problem at their hands with the bulls. They decided to solve it with the tool closest at hand, both literally and figuratively, their guns. Hed they stopped for a second to think about it, they’d probably jumped out of the way or started running.
The point is that the soldiers are incredibly specialised in one thing - responding quickly with gunfire. They’ve practiced their reflexes and aim for hours and hours. It’s just not that great of a solution all the time.
The specialist has a real competence in something, in this case, firing a gun. That’s a really great tool in wars. The specialist is really good at doing what they do. But the tool isn’t at all effective in other situations, such as with the bulls.
The challenge for a specialist is to know what situations the tool is applicable in and what to do if their tool isn’t the best in that particular situation. They can, of course, ask for help. But that requires them to know whether or not their tool is applicable, and what tool might be if theirs isn’t.
The generalist, on the other hand, have challenges of their own. A generalist might have a sufficient knowledge of a number of tools, but they’re rarely as good at using them as the specialist. A generalist programmer might do okay in a number of different coding languages, but the specialist will outdo them in their specific language.
The difference is about as prominent as it can be in athletics. In all of the individual competitions, there are great runners, jumpers and shot putters. They’ve trained in one or a few branches of athletics. But in the competition of heptathlon, Usain Bolt wouldn’t stand a chance. There are people that are good enough at all of the things except running that would beat him in that.
The generalist knows what tools and skills are required to solve a number of problems. The specialist is great at using one or a few tools to solve a very specific problem.
Now, ask yourself: Are you more of a generalist or a specialist? And more importantly, which would you like to be?
I think inspiration is highly overrated, mostly because it's become an excuse not to act and do. "I wasn't feeling inspired". I don't ever want to say that.
On the other hand, I think inspiration is inevitable. You can't not have it.
Responsibility can mean so many different things. It can mean "You get the blame if this goes south", or "You're going to have to carry this all by yourself.".
The way I see it, responsibility is a way to get impact. If you have responsibility, you're able to impact. You have the opportunity to make your mark and to do what needs to be done. It also means that you can ask your personal advisory board for help, and grow from their experience.
To have responsibility is to take initiative, and to lead.
Episode 3 is here, with a riff on Creativity and Creative Work.
I have loads of friends who want to write a book. Or record a song. Or learn knitting. Most of those friends also struggle with starting that, and I think most people are struggling with starting.
When you've started, the rest comes a lot easier. Until you need to ship. That's often tricky as well, as you can't really say when you're done.
I think we need to start things often, and ship them more often than that. Move fast and break things, and learn from that.
Decisions is one of those things that most people struggle with. We all have decisions to make, numerous each and every day.
Today, I talk about mindset regarding decision making, about a mental model that I've used not to make decisions more often than I need to, and Gary Vaynerchuk gives us some food for thought on his approach to making decisions.
I've spent a lot of time thinking about problems, and our relation to them. This is a riff on what I think problems are, how I think we can change our perspective on them, and a question to ask yourself when facing a problem.