The rebels had surrounded the perimeter.
The civilians were watching from afar, all holding their breath. Some shocks, some gasps but more than anything, curiosity.
The rebels were holding strong artillery and trying their best to find gaps in the building.
But the building, titled S-Quo HQ, had known many coup attempts. It was now indestructible. They had the best defence mechanisms and recruited only the finest talent.
The rebels had no chance. I’d come to the scene late. I couldn’t tell who the public were voting for; it seemed mixed. The crowd was filled by two groups. On one side stood plenty of suits, who were smiling every time another rebel was gunned down. On the other, we had the misfits who were hoping S-Quo HQ would finally be breached.
After an hour of rebellion, victory was announced. The building was untouched. Everyone inside was safe. The rebels were dispatched with ease. Their supporters in the crowd looked in horror.
I couldn’t understand why the misfits were permitted in the crowd if they supported the rebels. Or why the suits had a smirk every time a rebel life was lost.
It all became clear when a megaphone appeared at the top of S-Quo HQ. A tall, built man with a full head of white hair blurted out:
“The rebels are dead. Please remember the three commandments of the land:
“Let us resume normality again.”
One of the misfits screamed, “What if we don’t want to?”
The suits sneered. The misfits roared together. I looked at both groups as they began to disperse and realised that some day, S-Quo HQ needed to fall. The rebels needed to get to the remarkable talent before the S-Quo HQ, and they needed more strength in numbers.
In a matter of minutes, everything disappeared, and it was as if nothing happened. The S-Quo HQ stood tall and proud over the city again, glistening in its extraordinary power.
The gong strikes. It’s midnight. The lady in the caged cubicle by the gates shouts out the next number on her list:
“Ticket number 2405”.
It was time to meet the gatekeeper. Admission was individual; everyone in line had been scored.
One thought dominated: “Have I lived up to the mark?”
It’d been a long voyage to the gate. A car ride, two planes, and a long, 62 mile vertical elevator.
I had to get to the other side.
The gatekeeper pulled out a paper scroll. It was stained and ancient, with a paleness that made it see-through.
I read it reverse:
“2405 is not ready yet, he has more to do before he is admitted to our land”.
My heart sank because I knew what was coming.
“You must go back. Turn around and take the blue and green elevator. You have done a lot, but you have missed some specific elements required for your unique admission”.
Deep down I wasn’t surprised. I was kidding myself I was ready, when I’d yet to find the singular focus needed to get to the other side.
I’m on all fours, and I’m running with a pack, struggling to keep up. Sunset is approaching. The mission is nearly complete and we need to make it back to our territory before it gets dark. A respite before we go again tomorrow.
I still don’t know what the mission is. It’s a blur. I’m just about keeping up with the pack, but I have no idea why, what or who I’m with. The chase today was over before I knew it.
We're close to basecamp now, and I feel an itch on my arm. I look down to see what it is. My skin is darker and there’s fur. My cheeks feel funny. I’ve lost all my clothes. I’m stripped to my core feeling anxious. I move away from the pack to find out what’s happening. They briefly look back to see why I’ve stopped, but don’t care and relentlessly continue.
I see a puddle close by and stumble over to look at the reflection, and there lies my answer.
I’m a monkey. I’m lost in a pack trying to keep up. And I don’t know what with, or why. I look up to see if my pack is in sight. They aren’t too far, but there’s bad news. A shadow of jaguars loom. They're on the kill.
The pack full of strangers I was running with have no chance. Despite this, they don't change their path, they run faster into the danger. I decide to turn the other way and find a better path home.
A high performer is commonly mistaken as one who is extremely productive in their field. But that’s only a by-product. Being productive is just an outcome, not the determinant.
Sustained high performance comes from within. It’s a real understanding of yourself, what your true drivers are, and what meaning you put into the work you do.
Only with this self-awareness can high quality work be created consistently. And I’m talking years. Else the path to high performance becomes muddied by the path of keeping up; chasing the real high performers who have set the pace and status quo for you.
The commonalities I see in true high performers are:
You always have a choice. You can hack temporary productivity. Or you can seek sustained high performance over decades. The only difference between the two camps is the hard work put towards moulding your version of the status quo.
On Sunday I wasted about 5 hours testing a new social media app.
I’m generally disciplined with my social media habits, so this was a whole new experience. And I went to bed on Sunday feeling awful: wired, anxious and in a state of FOMO. Most of all, I felt distracted.
I felt a sense of comparison, inadequacy, misalignment, and all the emotions that I’d researched a few years ago on the detrimental use of too much social media. These feelings were why I started limiting my usage; Sunday definitely took me back in time.
It got me thinking. How long will this all last? Or is this only going to get worse?
Some of my friends are totally addicted. Yet, more and more are disconnecting from social media. They’ve had enough, and have no real purpose to be on there.
I’m still in two minds on whether the work to be on social media is worth it. Because even if used in a curated, strategic and disciplined way, I still don’t know if the long-term risk is worth it.
Meaning, despite having a filtered feed across my accounts (so I only see what I want to), all the clever psychology of gamification and flashing lights is still at play. Even though I use it as a force for good, the low-level brain adaptation may not be worth the positive price.
I sense a rebellion brewing. I don’t know when, but it’s coming. It has to. This technology can only manipulate the emotions of nearly 2 billion users for so long before more start saying no.
In a conversation about this yesterday, I revisited a brilliant TED talk by Cal Newport, who has built an incredible body of work with no social media at all. Perhaps there’s a lesson or two for all of us here. Maybe I’m writing this as a memo to myself. Either way, go check it out here. It’s worth a watch.
There’s a shift that’s required in our society to prioritise all pillars of health: physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual.
Awareness is a start. But awareness is becoming a sexy tick box exercise now.
It’s sexy to be aware about diversity and inclusion.
It’s sexy to be aware of the lockdown’s impact on mental health.
It gives society an opportunity to say, “We’re doing our bit”.
Awareness is only sexy if it follows genuine action.
The solution, rather, lies in promoting small cultural change. Beginning with people like us who aren’t simply aware of these changes needed, but are acting on it daily. And not on a grandiose scale, but in small ecosystems pocketed around the world.
Trying to make the world act on culture change in one go is futile. It starts with the few, and changing their beliefs. Then letting the domino effect take place. Slowly.
For extreme culture shifts, making patient action sexy is going to be our most valuable currency.
If you’ve been telling yourself you’re not a creative, stop.
Truth is, we’re all creatives to a degree. It’s our conditioning that determines the degree of its expression.
Think back to when you were a child. You were probably creating some pretty cool things: whether it be messy (yet strangely artistic) drawings, something interesting out of playdough, or even, fort-like sand castles on the beach.
What happens as we trawl through life is that school, society and work beats it out of us. It tells us to stop creating. It tells us to stop thinking out of the box.
Perhaps more accurately, it just removes any opportunity to be creative.
But here’s a way to turn the childhood lights on again: start coming up with ideas daily and write them down.
It can be about anything. For example:
Or, what may be most apt: turn the way you do your next piece of work upside down. If there's a set way you normally work on a project, try coming up with ways to rewrite the rules.
You might just surprise yourself. Those people you think of as 'more creative' are probably the ones who've spent more time turning these lights back on.
(PS. I’m half way through the 30 day 'minimalist' challenge with my fiancé - today the goal is to get rid of 16 things! Check it out here to learn more.)
I used to pride myself on tactics.
A tactic to do something quicker, deliver something faster, and make something better. For right now.
Tactics to help navigate the day-to-day. Lots and lots of tick boxes.
I’ve learnt now that anyone can play the tactics game. It gives instant gratification.
Trying to understand and build a strategy is hard. Trying to look 5 to 10 years ahead to make bold predictions and assumptions requires a deep understanding of your market, and its position in the world.
Trying to then reverse engineer present decisions based on a future outlook, makes for tough thinking.
I’m trying to get a little better at playing this game each day. Because there’s no use trying to be a gladiator of tactics if you don’t have an arena to fight inside in 5 years time.
Nothing feels better than the buzz of ticking things off a list.
Yet, the key is knowing if you're ticking off fake or productive items; it's understanding the difference between fake and productive work.
Fake work is easy: emails, scheduling, social media posts, writing lists. It's very much 'in the now'.
Productive work is often hard to track. It’s more intangible, because a lot of it happens in your head, in conversation and in quiet times.
Yet, it’s this work that really moves the needle forward. It’s less obvious, and we may not be able to tick it off today, or this week.
This problem solving, deep diving, or whatever you want to call it, allows you to pull the trigger on projects that seem like mountains to climb.
It eradicates the inertia so you can fire on all cylinders.
That’s why the most productive people are getting lots of quality work out of the door. Not because they’re good at to-do lists, or have the best ‘hacks’, but because they spent days, weeks, months, sometimes years, sharpening the axe to knock the tree down in one hit.
Waiting to be inspired to do the work is a futile thought.
Inspiration is fleeting. It comes and goes as it wishes.
A better way is to act and be inspired by the work.
Two ways to have more inspiration:
Creativity doesn’t come from magical droplets. It comes from showing up everyday, and programming the brain to know that at a certain time everyday, it’s time to work.
In 2018, I gave three talks to high school students titled, Finding Your Passion.
My message was clear: Don’t accept the pre-determined path. And use high school to apply yourself in lots of different things.
For high school students, that’s exactly what they need to hear, because often the system tries to walk you down a certain path if 1) not aware, and 2) haven’t tried other paths.
More and more, it’s difficult to go anywhere without hearing ‘find your passion’ or ‘follow your dreams’.
The reason I gave those talks was because I used to think I was someone who followed my passion (in the way you hear about it now) when I was 17 years old.
I didn’t stop the idea of becoming a lawyer because I’d magically stumbled upon a treasure chest of passion. I did so because I found what I was really good at - facilitating change through the physical body. Transformation.
Unknowingly at the time, it came from a lot of trial and error. It wasn’t that law was only for those who were too scared to break the system, it was that I didn’t find enjoyment in the aspects of a law career I’d specifically seen. (I’d interned in 4-5 firms in London, Germany and Mumbai). Whereas I found a lot of fulfilment in transformation. I was just lucky I stumbled across it early. The fact I had so many hobbies, studied a broad variety of subjects, and had diverse friends of different backgrounds, probably helped speed up this process.
For adults, my advice now is different.
It’s to think of this as an ongoing discovery, not a result. There’s a myth that ‘passionate careers’ are only for those outside of the typical finance, insurance, accountancy and law sectors. But that’s a fallacy. I know plenty of people in these sectors who absolutely love what they do.
It’s not the sector. It’s the process of work. You don’t find your passion in a sector. You find it in the work.
Here’s a better way:
If you’re working in a job you think you don’t like, maybe it's because the specific work you're doing now is not fun. Maybe it’s because you haven’t found meaning in the work. Maybe the perspective is wrong. Maybe the people around you aren’t thinking on the same page.
Your best and most passionate work will always be a form of self-expression. That lies in the process, not the sector, title or salary. Any job can be a calling if it aligns with your flow. Maybe instead of quitting your day job, your best move is to find a different role within the company. Same sector, different work. Maybe that work is what will give you an opportunity to be better, allow more autonomy, contribute to something more meaningful. Maybe it's simply changing the way you think about the work.
Next time someone tells you to go on a Lord of the Rings type search for a treasure chest of passion, look the other way. You might be closer to it than you think.
Oh, and when you are doing your most passionate work, life doesn’t suddenly become sunshine and rainbows. That's another myth worth busting another day.
Covid-19 has changed the way we work forever.
Here’s eleven random thoughts on how I see it changing in the coming years:
1. Job descriptions without a remote option available will be rare.
2. More and more tools designed to improve remote working will be developed. The tools we have now are only just the start. I’m shocked I only just started using Slack.
3. Teams will have to become intentional in their communication, as the ‘water cooler’ chats will disappear. In many cases it will feel like forced overcommunication, but it’ll be necessary to maintain team spirit.
4. People will question pointless meetings, but on the flip side, may crave more face time with their team.
5. The ability to write clearly will be a vital for everyone, because of a growing need to document, express thoughts and create ideas in the written word.
6. E-Commerce will continue to thrive in unimaginable ways. I’m excited to see what Jeff Bezos has up his sleeve for this sector.
7. Industries or sectors that are stuck in their (old) ways, en route to commoditisation, or filled with too many ‘me too’ services, will undergo serious disruption. Only a few will survive. Real estate strikes me as one in particular.
8. More companies will sprout up online than ever before. Yet, more companies than ever will shut down within a year of starting. There will be a lot of churn to allow the cream to rise.
9. Many markets and sectors will undergo a correction as they mature. I know my own sector, health and fitness, is on the cusp of this.
10. Every bricks and mortar business will have an online revenue stream.
11. People will work more hours than ever.
After I brush my teeth, I stumble into the kitchen to have a glass of water and put the kettle on.
As the kettle’s boiling, I put two tablespoons of coffee beans in the grinder, and assemble my Aeropress. The morning brew is set.
I then go to the sofa where my laptop lies. A journal sits on top of it, so I write for a few lines, before switching on my laptop.
Next, I play either some binaural beats, or some work from Chopin.
Then I do the work. It starts with writing here.
Each signal is a precursor for the next.
Each signal primes the brain for what’s to come.
These are my short stack of things I do in the morning to fire the brain up. It’s nothing sexy. It’s about 5-7 minutes from start to finish.
But it works, and I can do it everyday. That’s what matters.
Find your stack of signals.
Messy. Disorganised. Scattered overwhelm.
Until another one to two thousand steps go by.
Then something magical happens.
Compartmentalisation. Organised chaos. Clarity.
Thirty minutes later, the unplugged walk that felt so unattractive before the shoes went on, just gave all that's needed for the day.
The magic happens when the repetitive, ingrained activity of walking allows the conscious chatter to step aside, and the subconscious truth to beam through.
To qualify walking alone and disconnected is strange, yet it’s a forgotten practice that gives us a brief chance to unplug from the Matrix.
Take thirty today.
A mission and vision is a filter against everything.
A set of values are the added armour.
Constraints are either created by the mission, vision and values, or are deemed as necessary to drive them forward. It works both ways.
Filters whittle down your choices and resources. Constraints will set your boundaries.
Filters are singular, constraints are multiple.
A personal mission to be a healthy and active high performer is a filter.
One of your constraints may be that you don’t drink.
Filters drives long-term behaviour, constraints drive the day-to-day.
At your workplace, the shared mission and vision may be to create sustainable financial solutions for working mothers. The filter.
One constraint may be that you only communicate with your clients by email. Or that you don’t advise on the stock market. Or that you don’t meet in person.
Some constraints are created automatically from your filter (i.e. working mothers only), some constraints are necessary to drive the filter forward.
A website can always be more intuitive.
A blog can always have better writing.
A spreadsheet can always have better formulas.
A product can always have less bugs.
But no one will know if the project is still pending, or in drafts.
Knowing a bit more information, having a bit more time, or in other words, waiting for a clearing, is futile.
Nothing needs to be flawless.
In the quest for perfectionism, procrastination rears its ugly head. Because sharpening your pencils for the fifth time isn’t going to make your drawing any better. It's sharp, you're ready. Now go.
On Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, we’re in Mark Zuckerberg’s arena.
He dictates the rules. His controlling share power means one person can impact close to 3 billion users everyday.
But what if he pulled the rug?
He probably won’t, yet the possibility is always there.
Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t need any more money. While he has the ultimate control, he’s also governed by share price demands.
Investors, shareholders and the markets want to see Facebook, Inc. grow fast. So it needs to make more money from their products: us.
If we focus all our efforts on creating attention, audience and connection on Facebook, we’re doing it on rented land.
The landlord could throw us out at any time.
It’s a risk for anyone who has a message with a force for good. Facebook’s companies do a lot of good, but there’s equal, perhaps even greater, downsides.
The choice is ours. And it’s up to us, now more than ever, to decide: what and where do we want to build?
That’s why I love physical books (and believe they will only become more valuable), and why I started this blog: so I can be a customer (to Weebly) rather than the product (to Facebook), and so my words can be away from the noise, rules and algorithms of social media.
I started yet another gangster TV show, Bad Blood. Judging by how much budget seems to be allocated to this genre, I don’t think anyone is getting sick of these.
I like them for a few reasons.
The first is that the mafias and cartels depicted are incredible businesses, just with an illegal product. The leaders, and arguably, everyone through the ranks, have tremendous entrepreneurial spirit. And I love that. If you take away the illegal product, there’s a lot to be learnt from them. They're raw entrepreneurs at heart who play with high stakes.
The second is the interesting question of:
Even with the inevitable prospect of jail or death, and/or when they're about to lose it all, why do the people in power continue to strive for more?
In the ‘legal’ world, death is rarely a consequence. Yet, if it were, would the drive to want more continue the same? In the ‘illegal’ world, the ego chooses to ignore the possibility of death or jail, with hope of riding the fine line to get away with it one more time.
In an episode of Bad Blood I watched yesterday, the narrator described it perfectly (I’m paraphrasing): “For a year everything was going well, then as always, someone got greedy and wanted more. So we entered a bloody war, yet again”.
Why are some people wired to ignore all (potentially bad) consequences in the pursuit of more?
In our own strive for high performance, these ‘potentially bad’ consequences are the breakdown of relationships, our health and our mental health. It’s usually one or all of the three.
So really, we’re not too dissimilar to the mafias and cartels of the world. If anything, we might be more masochistic because it doesn’t quite need to be this way. Right?
That’s a question I think about a lot. As you can probably tell, I’m yet to crystallise my answers.
It was getting hard in the business. I was going through a stretch of a few months at the back end of 2020 where it just felt like hell.
Every day I was waking up exhausted. And for the first time in my near 4 years since starting my company, I didn’t want to get out of bed.
I have a journal habit. Each morning it was starting to get repetitively draining writing in it. I was documenting the same emotions, with no light at the end of the tunnel. I even once wrote, on 26th November: “I just feel battered, and I’m fed up of writing that”.
Anyway, I grinded through the following weeks to reach mid December, when I thought the answer to everything lied in rest.
So I decided to sleep to my heart’s content, frequently clocking 12 hours a night. It felt great. When the holiday period arrived, my plan was to schedule and do nothing. No work; just sleep and relax. Supposedly the ideal life.
Ironically, after a few days I started to feel more tired. I was sleeping, relaxing, doing nothing (even taking time off training), yet getting progressively more tired.
Then Christmas Day came. All plans cancelled. And I was twiddling my thumbs. We had the usual Christmas meal scheduled for afternoon, but I had no idea what else to do. I’d slept in, gone for a walk, even watched a bit of TV. Living the dream, exhausted.
So I decided to write for a few hours. The next day, the same. And the next. I was spending 3-4 hours a day during my ‘time off’, writing about the topic I’m most curious about: why don’t people stay in shape.
I was energised.
All the haze, tiredness and reluctance to get out of bed, suddenly disappeared.
What did I learn?
We have two types of fatigue. We have genuine fatigue, where rest is the only option. Your mind is fried, and your body is showing overtraining type symptoms - elevated heart rate, extra muscle pain, and similar. In this case, trying to push through is futile, and will make things worse.
Probably where I was at before Christmas. Which is why the initial rest worked so well.
The second type is more the ‘being in a rut’ fatigue. It’s when we’re doing all the things we shouldn’t be for too long, living out of flow, or just in a cycle of procrastination (like getting out of bed late). That’s the type of fatigue that is cured by one thing only: action in flow.
Which is why writing for a few hours a day, after a short total rest, was the best way for recovery.
Sort of like deloading in the gym. You take 3-5 days off totally, then start off with lighter loads to get you back in the groove.
The lighter load period is our way of overcoming the inertia that typically accompanies periods of nothing. A close friend of mine said yesterday that this was the first January he’s been able to hit the ground running from Jan 1st with no let up. Why? Because he took some genuine time off for a few days, then just worked lightly in his flow through Christmas, instead of the usual 2-3 weeks off of doing nothing.
All different strategies of managing fatigue and rest. Deciphering between the two is tricky - as I learned, yet each experiment is a way to build up my individual awareness to know when I need which. One thing for sure is that when I next take total time off, I must schedule in time to warm the tyres, else I may find myself in the parking spot for a few more weeks wondering why I'm still too tired to get going.
Action is always the best recipe for coming out of this type of rut.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna, “You have the right to work, but for the work's sake only. You have no right to the fruits of work. Desire for the fruits of work must never be your motive in working.”
In the pursuit of anything, whether it be a physique, craft, skill, career or business, we must always remain focused on the work.
Ultimately, that’s all we have control over. We can’t create in anticipation of the reception, or hope of a (successful) tangible result.
In focusing on the tangibles, we can miss the magic of intangibles: the bits you can’t track, measure or see. It’s in these intangibles that we often find the most pleasure (and all we truly want). Yet, it’s in the tangibles we find ourselves as a society focusing on. It creates pressure, fear and anxiety in us as we worry if things will work out, if it will make any money, or if there even will be a result.
Modern society loves this, as it keeps us rushing and searching for meaning at new shiny objects. Ironically, the meaning can always be drawn internally. It’s why we must validate internally vs externally. There’s too many external forces out there to rely on them favouring you. Sometimes, you may put in years and years of work for no tangible result at all. That’s okay, because in the work you may have found joy and pleasure. And that’s something most tangibles fail to give.
If we only focus on the work everyday, and showing up, we can be satisfied in knowing we’ve done our part. Let the rest take care of itself.
(I read the Bhagavad Gita in the middle of 2020 for the first time - an excellent read for people of all cultures and backgrounds. It gives a universal message that is important than ever, given the world we live in. This is the version I have)
200 crappy words a day.
That’s all it takes to move the needle forward in your writing.
I’m often asked the best ways to start writing, and then, how to improve it.
My answer is always the same: 200 crappy words a day.
I can’t remember where I originally heard it from. A quick Google search points to a story told by Mark Manson about a prolific writer who’d created 70+ novels. That amount of output is no mean feat. His answer to the method behind the madness was simple: 200 crappy words a day.
What happens is always something special. By lowering the barrier to ‘crappy’, you take away all expectations. All you need to do is write.
It also takes away the fear of bad writing. The hardest bit about writing isn’t writing. It’s sitting down to do it daily without fear. Fear of writing something you won’t like. Yet, it’s in this writing of 200 crappy words you always stumble across a few golden sentences, a ground breaking idea, and if you’re lucky, flow state to keep you writing for 1000+ words.
I always think to the best creative geniuses of our past, and their courage to ship daily. Tupac Shakur comes to mind. In the space of five years, he created a dozen albums (and in total produced somewhere around 700-900 songs), eight films, music videos and even two books of poetry – all by the age of 25. Mind boggling.
Tupac’s best work changed the face of the music industry. But what we forget is that he also had clunkers and flops. Bad songs that no one remembers, or lyrics that don’t make any sense.
Yet the real question is: would songs like California Love, Dear Mama and Ambitions Az A Ridah have come without these flops?
Probably not. The presence of the remarkable often renders the rest irrelevant.
That’s why 200 crappy words a day works. Because it gives you permission to produce bad writing. It also gives you permission to stop at 200 (I’m now at 339).
What will happen over the days and weeks is you’ll get a bit better each time, and most importantly, you’ll find your authentic voice.
Write 200 crappy words a day from the heart and watch the magic unfold.
It’s not a health and fitness one, don’t worry. That’d be quite ironic given I literally wrote a book condemning them.
Instead, it’s about decluttering. Not Marie Kondo style, but an inspired activity from the new Netflix documentary, Minimalists - Less Is More.
The key message from the documentary was about having too much stuff. And how all the stuff we think is making us happier, is actually creating more sadness.
There were a few bits I loved, such as the push for more purpose, community and healthy focus in our lives, versus materialism and excessive consumption.
Luckily, I don’t have much stuff. But I could always do with less. So I thought I’d take on the challenge they promoted at the end:
These things can be anything, and you can donate, recycle or sell them. My day 1 thing was a pair of trainers I’d worn out beyond repair. Ironically while watching the show, my joggers had a hole on my kneecap, and my T shirt had three on the torso.. Maybe I need new stuff!
What was interesting in the documentary was hearing how much materialistic behaviour is driven by a feeling of not being enough, and that consumption serves to fill a void.
I’ve written about crutches a lot in the realm of transformation, but I’d not ever thought about shopping as one. Probably because it doesn’t (directly) impact body composition.
Though, in the Amazon Prime world we live in, it’s just as instantaneous and fast acting as drink and drugs.
I’ve always liked having less stuff. In 30 days, I’m not sure if I’ll have much stuff left at all. Let’s see how it unravels.
In the opening scene of the new Disney movie, Soul, Joe Gardner - the middle school band teacher tells Connie to “go for it” on the trombone.
What happened instead is she went totally off piece and into her own realm. She entered the beautiful state of flow.
After a few class laughs, Joe describes his visit to the jazz club with his dad, where he saw a piano player start with a few chords, and then, in Joe’s words:
“And I swear the next thing I know it’s like he… floats off the stage. That guy was lost in the music, he was in it. And he took the rest of us with him. That’s when I knew, I was born to play.”
As he’s describing this, you can see his own floating into another realm.
Later on, when he’s playing for a part in a band set, he does the same thing as Connie. He starts in sync, then goes into his own world where everything stands still but the music.
It tells of an important lesson for us all to find our own flow. Where time stops, everything around you is a distraction, and you feel different. Your state of consciousness is heightened and you’re oblivious to people and things around you.
If someone was to speak to you, you’d mumble a few words or make a few sounds. You don’t really know what they’re asking, all you want them to do is leave you to it.
That’s flow state.
It’s the state I seek everyday. Nothing replicates it. Writing here gives me an excuse to find it, and for this piece, write about it too.
Go check out Connie and Joe.
Then go find your flow.
A year ago I joined a workshop with one aim: to ship creative work everyday.
For the duration of the 100 days, I wrote everyday and hit publish in a designated community platform.
It became a habit, until it didn’t.
At day 101 something unexpected happened. The workshop finished and I didn’t see a reason to write.
So much for 21 days to build a habit.
For the remainder of the year, I wrote in a few ways:
As I was reflecting on 2020, it really hit me. I missed writing. I’d published a book in May but didn’t build on the momentum. In fact, I wrote a plan for book #2 in July, but didn’t act on it.
Introspection, no action.
However, I did let that plan marinate, and further developed it a few times. Around October time I said to myself, I’ll work on it in the New Year at some point.
Then Christmas came and I wanted a new book to read. I always feel that books call out to you when the time is right. I’d read Steven Pressfield’s War of Art a couple of years ago, yet I only remember one word: Resistance.
The Resistance, he describes, is the voice / being in your head that tells you not to create and hit publish. As I read it, I knew all these months I’d been kidding myself.
While I’d written some of my best work in the second half of 2020 (I’ll link some at the bottom here), I’d not worked on my craft by writing everyday.
I started the book at 8am on Christmas Day. By 11am I’d written 1500 words of my next book.
I was back in the game.
From the 25th to the 31st I’d punched out 15,000 words.
I realised on the 31st just how good proper writing made me feel. The flow I get into can only be replicated by the void I reach when training at my absolute hardest in the gym - but even that is fleeting.
So I made a promise.
No matter what project I’m working on - whether it be writing a book, report or article, I’m going to write and hit publish everyday here.
Because here there’s no agenda. It’s my form of practice. An opportunity to show up everyday and perfect my craft as a writer.
I’m going to talk about topics I enjoy, ideas I’m exploring, and observations I’ve made. From writing, creativity, transformation, entrepreneurship and high performance, I’ll be sharing my two cents on each throughout.
If it sparks a change in thinking for you, then that’s a bonus.
I’m excited to share this journey with you.
Welcome to my blog!
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