Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Dear United Kingdom, 

I’ve never felt that you’ve been an overwhelmingly ‘united’ place. I sought to escape you ever since I was young and have succeeded in doing so over and over again. I can’t put my finger on what it was that lead to said abandonment. It’s easy to say the weather, the people, the food and all that. But that’s all too easy as far as I’m concerned. 

As for what’s happening now, concerning this desire to be sovereign, independent and free, it’s all very confusing. Real independence, for me at least, exists only in the interior space of what we dare call our soul. Turning within to question what’s good and what’s right, while hopefully taking action to put ourselves on a course that’s in-line with the consequence of such inquisition, is a practice we should all be doing all of the time. Read More

According to a study ran at the University of Texas, regular journaling strengthens immune cells. Psychologist James Pennebaker, who completed the study, also contends that the activity can help those who practice it come to terms with events in their lives, thus better processing them and relieving themselves of accompanying stress.

Journaling, in some ways, has saved me as an individual. It’s something I do almost everyday and have tried for years to establish as a daily habit alongside other things like meditation, exercise and learning. It works simply. I open up my computer (I don’t write by hand), I open up Evernote (one of my favourite applications), I set the Google Timer to 10 minutes (or my phone if I have no internet access), I put my favourite writing track on repeat and then I go. I don’t think about crafting a masterpiece. Journaling doesn’t work well with that kind of pressure.

Instead then I basically write a stream of conscious block of text that encompasses my particular thoughts in that moment. Sometimes they are nonsensical. Most of the time they are repetitive. But, nonetheless, they are there and out of my head.

The process has become for me, after regularly journaling over the last three years, something akin to taking a soothing shower. It’s a healing process. And one that leaves me feeling mildly relieved, refreshed and reenergised.
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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