Welcome to another weekly roundup, filled with three resource gems from the internet, two ideas from me, and one story lesson to pass on!
3 Gems of the Week
- Changing my mind, by Rika (4 mins)
“My problem was that I was clinging onto information, onto knowledge, because I thought it would help me to become a better writer. But that’s just tip of the iceberg. I was holding on tightly because I didn’t trust myself. Notes became a crutch.”
A real time thought exercise of her approach to note-taking. And beyond that, a more important meta lesson: changing our mind is a good thing, and not necessarily that we are easily swayed or lack conviction.
She shares this wisdom from Daniel Kahneman:
I change my mind all the time, and I change my mind in research all the time. That drives my collaborators — also, I like to collaborate so I work with people — and I drive my collaborators crazy. I change my mind.
I keep telling them … and also I am not very respectful of their ideas, either. I keep telling them: “Look. I treat my ideas as badly as I treat yours. This is part of the process.
I think encouraging people to change their minds is a very, very good thing for an organization to do. That is, rewarding it. That we want people who can “think again.”
Recognizing that the ability to change your mind is just part of good thinking … that improvements in thinking are incremental. You don’t find a flaw and fix it. You find a flaw and fix it, and then you find another flaw in the fixed thing. That’s the way it works.
- Sergei Polunin, “Take Me to Church” by Hozier, Directed by David LaChapelle (4 mins)
If I could ever do it all over again, I’d love to explore an alternate reality where I danced ballet.Like yoga, there’s something I find irresistibly fascinating about the craft — the combination of strength and elegance, of yin and yang.To me, ballet is a pinnacle of what true mastery represents: a beautiful and inspiring art form. It takes intense difficulty, immense strength and ability to accomplish these moves, blended with the creativity and elegance through the expression of dance.
You see it here: how Sergei Polunin weaves powerful emotion with jaw dropping precision in movement.
- Writing advice sent to a young fan of Lewis’ Narnia books (1 min)A damn fine lesson in the HOW and WHY to “show”, not “tell.”
Don’t use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the thing you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us a thing was “terrible,” describe it so that we’ll be terrified.
Don’t say it was “delightful”; make us say “delightful” when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers:
“Please will you do my job for me.”C. S. Lewis
Letter to Joan Lancaster
2 Thoughts of the Week
- On Pressure.I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea of pressure.
In physics, pressure is force over area: a continuous physical force exerted on or against an object by something in contact with it.
It’s curious that we also define it as something more abstract: “using persuasion, influence, or intimidation to make someone do something.”
Quite often, that someone is ourselves: we coerce, coax, compel ourselves to pursue many things.
Things we want to do.
Things we should do.
Things we think others want us to do.
Things we expect from ourselves.
The root of happiness is matching expectations to reality. And when expectations and reality don’t match, in that delta lies pressure.
When we translate this law of the physical world into a metaphysical one, it made realize how absurd this idea is. Because applying continuous physical force to something will eventually crush this thing.
Fun fact: Listening to Surface Pressure on repeat as I write this section.
- Favorite Question.
When we only focus on the seriousness of work and cease to make work playful or irreverent, it begins to feel more like an obligation and less like freedom.Which can lead to less feelings of joy, and eventual burn out. So one of my favorite questions to counter this is:
How can I have more fun with this?
1 Story Lesson
If you haven’t seen the show Ted Lasso yet, it tells the story of a kind and well-intentioned American coach brought in to rescue a football team. It weaves the story of how he slowly changes everyone in his vicinity: his staff, the team-members he coaches, and even the owner of the team itself.
One of the star characters in the show is Roy Kent: the irascible, grumpy midfielder with a penchant for swearing at children who transforms into a motivating team captain and eventual coach.
The actor, Brett Goldstein, was originally a writer on the show Ted Lasso. HIs original plan was to be behind the camera, not in front. Sort of like a Phyillis from the Office story.
5 episodes in, he began to realize: I think I’m Roy Kent.
But he also thought no one thought of him like this, being the reticent, Muppets loving person he is.
After finishing up writing the series in LA, before his flight to London, he filmed 5 scenes as Roy Ken and emailed them to the producers with the message:
“Thanks for having me. If this is awkward, or this is shit, pretend you never got this email and I promise you I will never ask you about it.
But if you like it, I think Roy Kent is in me, growling.”
By the time he landed in London, the producers had written back: “D’you know what, we can’t be bothered to keep looking, that’ll do.”
Goes to show how putting yourself out there can garner an Emmy win in return.