Token Reminders

"That way when you look at your totem, you know beyond a doubt you're not in someone else's dream." - Arthur, Inception

Token Reminders

Taking a long weekend off last week was great to relax, unwind and reset. I hope this finds you well and that you were also able to get some downtime to focus on whatever matters to you.

There are a few loose threads that I've been thinking about recently, so I figured I would ramble a bit to see if it forms some connective tissue. We'll see.

Earlier today, I watched a heartfelt commencement speech from comedian/actor Patton Oswalt, given at William & Mary's graduation ceremony this week. From the get-go, you know it's going to get spicy and controversial:

I just wanted to say to the president to the administration five words which is a 'thank you for this privilege' and to my teachers, my professors who I had then and to the professors here now, I say four words 'I cherish your guidance' and to the graduating class of 2023, I say three words... 'you poor bastards'

While the speech does get into some politically touchy areas, he wraps up regarding the amazing end-scene in Blade Runner (which I've quoted here before):

'All of these moments will be lost in time like tears in rain' ...

What I didn't know:

Every single word of dialogue was mapped out that speech was thought up the day they were shooting it by the actor himself; they didn't know how to end the movie - and they let chaos and creativity and humanity punch through and it made the most memorable scene in a movie.

A strong message on the exploration of chaos and creativity, even in the hardest of times.

Shifting gears to a video Liz sent me that she thought I'd enjoy (I love that my wife 'gets me'). In 'The Armor is No Longer Serving You,' Brené Brown discusses on The Tim Ferriss Show how the 'armor' we all put on no longer serves you. Instead, the weight of it is too heavy and prevents you from being seen by others and becoming who you need to be:

And if you want to watch the entire hour-long video, here's a link to the time marker, where she talks a bit more than the choice isn't 'what armor you want to shed,' but instead how to embrace 'curiosity as your superpower.'

Be curious about yourself.
Be curious about the world.
Be curious why you reacted that way.

Curiosity is really the superpower for the second half of our lives because it keeps us learning, it keeps us asking questions, and it increases our self-awareness.

Powerful stuff.

This gets me to the last thing I've wanted to yammer about this week: tokens, totems, challenge coins, and worry stones.

I'm obsessed with them.

For the unfamiliar, they are small, pocketable coins (or rectangles) that serve as physical reminders. Worry stones, additionally, have a thumb-sized indentation on one side that you rub for relaxation and stress relief. But the basic idea is that they are a physical reminder of something that is important or an accomplishment.

One of my favorites is the Momento Mori stone, which I bought after my first heart attack as a reminder 'of the inevitability of death' and to live life to it's fullest today.

A physical reminder to shed the armor and the weight that accompanies it.
A physical reminder to be curious about yourself and grow
A physical reminder to be curious about others.

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Mind Benders


— via Spocko

Brain Dump

Here are a few articles and videos that resonated with me over the last week:

  • TIL about the idea of 'Generous Exclusion,' which 'is the intentional drawing of a temporary line for the good of the guests and to help activate and fulfill a gathering's purpose.' Some solid advice in here that can help guide any group interaction, and how the 'art of gathering is an invitation to become more thoughtful about how you spend your time and with whom and to make those choices with care.' Also applicable to work meetings. — [via Why the more is not always the merrier]
  • James Clear, author of one of my favorite reads, Atomic Habits, has a wonderful post on how "to find your hidden creative genius, and how to create meaningful work by learning how to make creative thinking a habit." I do not want to spoil too much; just read it and be inspired. — [via Creativity: How to Unlock Your Hidden Creative Genius]
  • This was awesome. I got sucked for over an hour watching many of the chess matches of Anna Cramling. Anna, an International Chess Federation master, plays tons of pickup games (these were in Washington Square Park), where her opponents often underestimate her abilities. Fun to watch. — [via What Happens When a Chess Player Mistakes a Grandmaster for a Beginner: It’s Pretty Delightful]
  • Everyone I know (myself included) seems to be in a constant battle managing time. Balancing time in meetings, getting actual work done, tactical thinking, plowing through the to-do list, etc., the demands on your time always seem to continue. This post had some excellent practical advice that I'm going to implement. — [via How Leaders Manage Time & Attention]
  • A quick reminder that 'all it takes is a spark' to do something special — [via Power of One]
  • After reading this article, I need to add Tom Hanks's new book, The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece, to my anti-library. I loved the ringer quote on life ' no matter where you are in your arc, no matter where you are as far as your age goes, your body, your wherewithal, you still get to come back to this empirical truth: you start at the beginning of whatever story you're telling, and you just work your way through it.' — [via Tom Hanks on the Rewards and 'Vicious Reality' of Making Movies]
  • I am jealous of those that can take naps - I wish I could; my sleep patterns are generally terrible. Maybe I should try some of the advice in this infographic — [via How To Have The Perfect Nap]
  • I thought this was interesting insight on how managing processes before people works at 37signals. The first one, 'replacing the commonly used daily stand-up meetings with a set of automated questions,' is something that I think many would prefer. — [via Manage process before people]
  • May 24th saw the passing of Tina Tuner at the age of 83. Her signature hit, The Best, has a fascinating backstory I wasn't aware of. Bonnie Tyler had recorded a version just a year prior, but Tina wanted to 'make it her own' - and it became the 'motherlode' that has 'done so many things for so many people, it just keeps going.' Simply, the best. — [via The Best: The Story Behind Tina Turner’s Career-Defining Anthem]
  • I'm just going to say that Father's Day is coming soon ... and who wouldn't want this glorious LEGO, a followup to the earlier Atari 2600 set .. just sayin' this thing is kind of beautifully perfect. — [via Lego's new 2,650-piece Pac-Man arcade set includes a mechanical crank]

This Weeks Vibe

I am beyond excited to see Chris Nolan's Oppenheimer later this summer.

Earlier today, they dropped a fascinating short on the IMAX film: 'the literal rolls of (IMAX) film that Nolan used stretch all the way to 11 miles, and they weigh as much as 600 lbs.'

Additionally - 'Nolan has already revealed he was able to simulate the explosion of the atomic bomb without relying on VFX..'

I cannot wait to see this.

Be well. ✌🏻

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Jamie Larson