I recently subscribed to School Of Life series on Youtube. It’s narrated by Alain De Botton, who you should definitely google. This is one of my recent favourites. Did you know back in ancient days, it wasn’t abnormal to have a philosopher on your payroll?
“There are different species of laziness: Eastern and Western. The Eastern style is like the one practiced in India. It consists of hanging out all day in the sun, doing nothing, avoiding any kind of work or useful activity, drinking cups of tea, listening to Hindi film music blaring on the radio, and gossiping with friends. Western laziness is quite different. It consists of cramming our lives with compulsive activity, so there is no time at all to confront the real issues. This form of laziness lies in our failure to choose worthwhile applications for our energy.”
I’m no productivity guru, but this is something worth hanging on your door to read every morning. Another way of saying this its better to spend 2 hours per day on the hugely important stuff that you’re avoiding then 8 to 10 hours on unimportant things. This would result in one very happy client, boss.
This doesn’t always happen of course. I am guilty of this, are you?
I’ve come across an awesome John Lennon interview done back in 1969 with a 14-year-old kid in Toronto. Must have been very intimidating just to talk to him at that age, if any age. Remarkably the kid asks such poignant questions almost as if he knew Lennon liked giving vague, yet witty answers.
Now I really enjoyed the artistry behind this video. Lennon’s philosophy for the next 11 years is all told here in powerful, amazing visual form. I mean must have taken a lot of dedication and time to make this. Rather than detracting from his words, the abstract images here are so well executed they enhance it.
And his message is relevant today as it was said 40 years ago. PS: Remember to pause it at 4:19.
Before I got into the habit of reading loads of books for fun (yeah I am a big nerd) I had this huge appetite for music. The one band that got me into music properly was Oasis.
To me, the Gallagher brothers are the most comically entertaining musicians in the world. Not only did they make the most melodic music to my ears, their antics made them seem like they were from a different planet. It was also the classic rag-riches story, from nothing – growing up in working class Manchester to icons of the 90’s – that made them so fascinating. I always find the environment successful people come from to be telling. Noel Gallagher, is actually left-handed. He just learned to play a right handed due to them being poor, and that was the only guitar in the house, which was owned by his children abusing father. Below is one of the most candid interviews I have ever seen of Noel, asked how this upbringing affected him. Note the 6 min 30 sec mark especially.
Now Noel to me is a hero, unlike Kurt Cobain who sang about how terrible life is. He wrote life affirming tunes that shook the music industry off its depression and made something out of the very little he had. This kind of attitude appealed to me when growing up. Not gangtsa rap music, not the my life is so hard – grunge/emo music scene. It was about living forever, feeling supersonic, a champagne supernova in the sky.
The constraints of being poor, nothing to lose mentality, hard focus on music, resulted in the classic Definitely Maybe. The second album was also recorded with constraints – in 15 days, one song every 24 hours. Wonderwall and Don’t Look Back In Anger came from this album! Oasis were then given keys to the Bank of England, after the huge international success, and what happened? They came out with the bloated 70 minute diabolical Be Here Now. The creativity was reduced when they were given too much. You don’t have to work as hard, when you can throw money at a problem. To be fair as well, it was all fitting in accordance to what the public had built them up to be. They were a monstrously-hyped band at that point and they responded with a monstrous defying songs to capture all of the essence and hype which had been created around them. Noel bragged at the time of having 30 guitars overdubbed onto the song My Big Mouth! Now as much as I still love that tune, the excess made the music not as appealing as those first two killer albums. Too much fat, not enough muscle.
Same lessons can be applied to business as well. You don’t need as much as you think. These limitations force you to focus on the essentials, instead of using that extra time to get distracted by the latest email. It just makes you more creative. This also all leads to why I can’t wait to pick up the debut book released today by the founders of 37 Signals, Rework, that talks about, amongst other counter intuitive topics, the advantage of having constraints.