What I’m Doing Now

November 4, 2015

I’m in Madrid, attempting to stay sane, focused and free from the Kardashians. I spend my time on these things:

My main obsession of the moment is eating large quantities of food and lifting heavy weights in order to improve my physique. And running. Which I have to force myself to do.

If my activities or priorities change, I’ll update this page. Last update was June 2016.

For those of you familiar with this site, you’ll notice the transection at play between strategy, philosophy and design. I’m fascinated by processes, systems and techniques designed to harbour greater efficiency. But I often struggle to apply them back to real, tangible actions.

This is a problem I notice with the majority of writing reserved for the web and blogs in particularly. The reader is constantly tasked with cutting through the metaphor in order to determine what exactly they should be expending their energy on. That can prove frustrating.

Whether the onus is on the creator to do that however, is still in question. For the most part, I’d side with the artist every day of the week. Reason being? It’s much harder to create than consume. That’s why we procrastinate and deliberate so often in the information-gathering phase. And find it so difficult to simply jump in and start. 

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In his most recent book Deep Work, Cal Newport hypothesises that the most useful skill that people can develop in order to gain the most traction toward their goals, is that of concentration. It’s this ability, Newport argues, which is going to help us develop the key skills and abilities that will help push us forward in terms of advancing our careers.

My understanding is that most of us want to be successful. I know at least I do. And so this advice, which I keep seeing cropping up again and again, is something I’ve grown rather obsessed with throughout the course of this year.

I thought I’d made a breakthrough back in February, when, gathering in the deep winter of my native UK, I isolated myself from the world thanks to a 10-day silent meditation course. As the days rolled on, and my only stimulus available was that of my own inner-chatter and the guidance of the meditation teacher, I finally began to recognise, after many years, what that state of deep concentration actually looks like.

Quiet. Still. Automatic.

Of course I only reached that inner state a couple of times, but it was insightful enough, I remember, to make me think I’d suddenly hit upon a ‘super power’ that was going to propel me forward as soon as I made my escape back. Read More

A quick question; how much conviction do you have right here, right now, knowing that whatever path you’re on or whatever you’re doing right now is absolutely the right thing or right place to be?

If you answered that without a shred of doubt telling you otherwise, I’m impressed. You’re on the road, no doubt, to a life of relative tranquility and peace. Not one blighted or likely to be stained through continued self-analysis, second-guessing or mistrusting of the gut.

In other words: you’re a rarity. Read More

The Art of Frugality

June 20, 2016

My relationship with money is one wrought with complications. There have been times when I’ve had plenty. There have been times when I’ve had close to nothing. Happiness, amid those two points, hasn’t fluctuated accordingly. That’s always been on a path of its own.

But why stop and think about money? Isn’t it better just to simply avoid it, put in the back of our minds and carry on our lives just as we’ve been doing so all along? Any talk of finances, investments etc., and most of us are inkling for an exit. I used to be the same.

When I was younger I remember having the most terrible track record with money imaginable. I’d get a little bit and it would be all gone within 24-hours. What I spent it on I can’t rightly recall. But I do remember being famously into magazines, football stickers, video games, sports equipment and whatever other fad was popular back in the day. The concept of discipline and delayed gratification? So far off my radar it was as if I was living on a different planet altogether. Read More

Earlier this year I set out with the intention to keep a detailed media consumption record to track everything I gave my attention to in terms of music, films, podcasts, books and TV. Suffice to say, I fell off the bandwagon pretty fast in terms of keeping that list consistent and up-to-date. The days began to roll into themselves, one thing would lead to another and I’d end up eventually forgetting to record exactly what it is was that had fallen onto my radar.

One thing I discovered, after first starting that project back in January, is that it, at least first, it actually compelled me to go out of my way to actively consume more media. It made me hungry. And I wanted to see that list look prettier by throwing in at least one new entry per day.

Obviously that wasn’t sustainable, despite my best efforts.

But the experiment (which I am continuing by the way, although haphazardly) definitely taught me a few things. The first, that certain types of media are much more easier to consume than others. The second, that the sheer dichotomy of choice, at least in my case, indeed leads to that which the paradox of choice postulates.

Feelings of anxiety and distraction, plus the difficultly to remain attentive? That definitely comes with the on-going onslaught of newness in our life. Media, for its part, espouses that. We’ll never have enough time to watch, listen and read everything. Even if our friends or mentors implore us that we must. Read More