Category Archives: Life In General

Because somethings that matter in life, matter in business.

Content, Form, Fantasy

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Picture credit: John Holcroft Art

There is no content without form.

Neither is there form without content.

Neither one is greater than the other. As both have their unique roles. And as creators, we must take care to ensure that they play their parts to create the world that we’re aiming to create.

As creators, our job is in fact to conduct two equally capable musicians coming together to create a single piece of music coherent to the ear.

We must take care to not present content with no form whatsoever. For form helps content by making it more easy, interesting and appeasing to absorb. Most philosophy is guilty of a lack of form. So is most theoretical physics.

But bring together a fair balance of form and content, and you have the opportunity to bring to the world things that are normally difficult to digest.

Alain de Botton does this with Philosophy. Or Jason Silva.

Carl Sagan did this with Physics. So does Stephen Hawking.

On the other end, we must take care not to glorify form at the cost of content. For we can build several empty things on form, but they shall be just that: empty. Fads are guilty of a lack of true content. So is most pop music.

This is when any creation enters the realm of fantasy. It is when you see that metaphor is greater than meaning itself. Or showmanship, greater than the show.

In a culture that encourages and propagates this, real content is either non-existent or completely forgotten.

And any culture with empty form, is just that. Empty.

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What Questions Does This Raise?

 

I am not going to make this another post about how bad 2016 has been. We’ve seen those already. And frankly, one less reminder is better.

But I will only ask: What questions does this raise for the forthcoming years?

I have always believed, that the state of a group reflects the state of the individual. Groups; be it teams, companies, nations – also act like individuals. They have the same fears, the same irrationalities, the same ambitions.

A character that is rooted in fear, seeks freedom. A person rooted in insecurity, thrives in arrogance.

As does a nation. As does a species.

And I fear that our species as a whole; at this point, rests in fear. We are climbing back into our own shells, going back toward our own; in unhealthy ways, seeking affirmations and reminders for our invincibility as we see those around us either crumble, or survive mediocrity.

So while we build technologies to make us an interplanetary species, I fear, this is a temporary solution. History repeats itself, and we will certainly be a destructive species wherever we go. 

Perhaps this is a plea to fall on deaf ears, but I cannot ask world leaders to help us become more human again. But I can ask you, and I can ask my self.

Let’s be a little more human, again. Let’s aim to abandon fear from our selves. And while we’d love to clean up the world or crib about how somebody should, let’s start with our little corners.

Faith

I have often wondered; in my travels, how humans have had the capacity to build such larger than life monuments as the Taj Mahal, the Sagrada Familia, the Great Pyramids of Egypt, the Sistine Chapel.

I’ve also been amazed at how religion was the muse for so many creations of great art and architecture: and therein, lay my answer.

Humans have the capacity to create something larger than life: something that goes beyond their own lifetime – as they are driven by a faith in something larger than their selves.

I choose the word faith, not religion.

Faith is multifold. It could be a faith in God (religion) A faith in love. Faith in progress. Or simply faith in the act of, and desire for creation. The desire to create something magnificent because why not?

But the answer is the same: faith.

And it perhaps isn’t without reason that the word faith is often suffixed with the adjective ‘blind’. For it rests; not in something we see, but in something we choose to believe in despite the lack of any signs of it’s presence.

This; I fear, is what we miss today.

For we would rather be driven by insignificant things that are apparent. Than significant things; that though invisible to the naked eye, we can create everyday.

Why I ask people “Are you happy?”

The other day at a party I met an acquaintance after a long time. Since our last meeting, she had started in a new job and about it, I asked her “So, are you happy?”.

It was pointed out to me as being a rather unusual question, and I realised that it was something I asked most people when we spoke about their jobs. Or lives in general. (I also found it interesting that perhaps the most important question has been deemed unusual)

Nonetheless, I asked myself why I do it, and I realised that very often we tend to make small problems worse than they are. We always start with a “Yeah it’s great ..” and we trail off toward the ominous “but …”

“.. the hours are really bad”, “.. the pay could be better”, “.. I am not sure how much longer I would stick around”

Asking what appears to be the most overarching question, simplifies it. A question that is perhaps, too simplified, that forces anyone to distill their thoughts down to the essence. Not only that, it also makes people think about what they actually like about their reality. It reframes the question from “What’s not working?”, to “So, what’s working?”

And what I have discovered, interestingly enough is that most people will say “Yes, I am happy”. Perhaps it is because when we are asked to think about our own happiness, from the larger perspective, we conclude that the smaller problems aren’t so bad after all.

The problems are more discomforts, than challenges. Or they rank lower in the priorities as to actually disturb happiness.

Furthermore, the few people who say “No”, aren’t bogged down by the little discomforts, rather by real personal challenges: their health, careers (not ‘jobs’) their relationships, or their spiritual and mental well-being.

Perhaps then, we should spend our time focusing on those important things.

Courage Trumps Content

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We do not remember the greatest people in the world simply because of what they said, or what they stood for. We remember them for having the courage to stand for it.

For having the courage to have a view that was different. And having the courage to say it out loud. Having the courage to be branded by it.

If MLK Jr. had written about his dream in his personal journal, he would have touched nobody’s life.

If Muhammad Ali was more concerned with sounding smart than true, his poetry would remain unheard.

If Nike was worried about offending sensibilities, it would not become the landmark that it is today. Neither would the legendary Superbowl ad from Apple become what it is today, if they thought they might hurt a certain group of people.

So, do us all a favour please, if you have something good to say – then say it like you mean it. We might love you for it. You might change our world for the better. And you might be remembered for it.

But if you’re not going to go all guns blazing with what you believe. Or if you fear what you will be remembered for. Or fear that you shall be typecast. Or narrowed down. Or you would rather be loved just a little bit by everyone, rather than loved to bits by a few – then please, don’t say it at all.

Just  go home.

The Only Thing To Fear, Is Fear Itself

Picture Credity: Svetlana Belyaeva Photography

Picture Credity: Svetlana Belyaeva Photography

Yesterday, I was lucky to be part of something very interesting.

After moderating an exhaustive brand exploration exercise with the founders of a new startup, a moment of silence settled in the room. A good silence. “This is scary”, said one of the founders. “We’ve been so busy with getting things done, with facing so many little challenges, that we forgot about this.”

Starting any new activity: a company, a new habit, a book, a blog, a job search is a lot of work. And it is easy to get lost in the long list of tasks that need to be done in order to make it happen. When we start we always have a big idea, but it is easy to forget the great big idea when you have to handle daily tasks to make it happen. And that’s ok.

But it is good to be reminded of the great big idea too. Not only to remind others why you are here. But to remind yourself.

And if that great big idea doesn’t scare you, then it won’t inspire you. If you are comfortable with a small vision, then nobody will notice it. Don’t ever start small, because there’s no place for small dreams and vision in the world. Start big, and take little steps everyday to make it happen.

Godspeed.