Facing the Struggle

"Parkinson’s disease is the gift that keeps on taking. But it truly has been a gift." - Michael J. Fox

A climber on a high cliff
facing the struggle, AI generated.

It's been a busy week with work travel, conference talks, meetings and lots of walking. Not that I'm complaining, I averaged 25k steps a day just getting around, but I am just one of those people who don't enjoy the jungle that is Las Vegas. It's nice to be home now.

While catching up through my "to consume" list this past week, I finally was able to watch Michael J. Fox receiving the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for his activism and fundraising for a cure for Parkinson's disease over the last 20 years.

He refers to his disease as "the gift that keeps on taking" and in a wonderful acceptance speech, I found that his optimism, fueled by gratitude, and positivity just an incredibly inspirational way to end the week. It's also an important reminder on how you can intentionally reframe something that's going on, into a positive motivator.

We all get overloaded, stressed out, wrapped up in the trappings of day to day minutia; but cognitive reframing can be a valuable tool in helping shifting your mindset to look at a situation, person, or struggle into a different perspective to motivate change.

I'm not saying it's easy to do, but rather, it's a valuable skill to develop. We all struggle with impostor syndrome, our own daemons or health issues, and most of us easily slip back into a negative mindset. Some of the hardest work is to identify negative thoughts and intercepting them; but if you can figure out how to recognize when you start down the path of negativity, you can build the muscle to create replacement thoughts.

Some quick tips that have helped me:

  • Keep a journal.
  • Fact-check yourself - ask yourself 'is this true?'; forming the habit to finding 'proof' for a though can help shut down negative thinking.
  • Talk to your board of directors.
  • Turn the thought into positive action - use the thought as a catalyst for a task to make yourself feel better. Challenges are opportunities.

In the end, we're all spinning around on this ball through space together. Knowing that we all dealing with our own shit, perhaps makes the journey a bit easier for each one of us.

If you enjoy these posts, you can buy me a coffee ☕️, or if you'd rather keep up with my daily ramblings, follow me on Twitter, Mastodon or keep reading my posts on this blog.

Forward Thinking

I have linked to articles from Will Larson in the past, but I felt that this quote from his latest post, Company, team, self., was worth a shoutout.

People are complex, and they get energy in complex ways. Some managers get energy from writing some software. That’s great, particularly if you avoid writing software with strict dependencies. Some managers get energy from coaching others. That’s great. Some get energy from doing exploratory work. Others get energy from optimizing existing systems. That’s great, too. Some get energy from speaking at conferences. Great. Some get energy from cleaning up internal wiki’s. You get the idea: that’s great. All these things are great, not because managers should or shouldn’t program/speak at conferences/clean up wiki’s/etc, but because folks will accomplish more if you let them do some energizing work, even if that work itself isn’t very important.

Lots of great food for thought in this one.

Thought of the week

Latest obsession

On a whim, I picked up Storyteller Tactics last week.

It somewhat reminds me of Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies; I'm interested in exploring this "workplace influence in a box.'

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

  • While I've written before about the benefits of boredom, "Why it’s good to be bored" was another reminder that idle time is a 'chance to shape our own lives' - More
  • "What a Chicken Chain Can Teach Us About Culture" explores the benefits of a Chick-Fil-A franchise that shifted their schedule into making every weekend a four-day weekend along with other changes 'created a system where folks could work an honest week while STILL getting their lives back, they would solve one of the biggest issues facing entrepreneurs like himself: finding and keeping good people.' - More
  • With the release this week of ChatGPT, I found "AI Is Coming for the Thought Leaders" and "AI Art Just Opened The Threat to Human Work We Were Expecting from AGI" to be excellent summaries of some of the social and creative challenges this tech is highlighting. I played around with ChatGPT a bunch this week in my spare time, and it's crazy where this stuff is evolving.
  • KPIs, OKRs, lions, tigers, and bears, oh my! "You Have Too Many Metrics" explores the idea that 'the more metrics you track, the less you know' - More
  • Another expose on "What Kind of Man Was Anthony Bourdain?". I cannot help but be fascinated by his life and death and his internal struggle. There's a new book out, "Down and Out in Paradise: The Life of Anthony Bourdain" that I need to add to the reading list - More
  • Counter to last week's post on endless consumption, "Creative Consumption" explores the idea that any content is 'creative calories' - More
  • "Bye, Twitter" is Tim Bray's observations and rationale about Twitter, other companies trying to be the "new Twitter," and the entire world of federation. Personally, it feels like 'The Fediverse' is on to something interesting, but we need to see how it all plays out - More
  • I know many fans who didn't like Andor, but for me, it was the BEST Star Wars in a long time. "Star Wars just deployed an 88-year-old cinematic trick invented by Alfred Hitchcock" is a wild look at the ending funeral scene and how it is a 'marriage of the visual and the auditory elements of filmmaking' and that the 'tension is telegraphed through the music itself, whose crescendo matches the narrative climax' - More
  • A super thought-provoking article on "How to win the week (with a Weekly Review)." When it starts with "Go to your Downloads folder. Click on it to see all the contents. Hit CMD + A to Select All. Delete." - I'm in to see where this goes; I need to give this method a try - More
  • I've often been a fan of handwritten notes, so "Notes of Appreciation Can Boost Individual and Team Morale" wasn't a big shock to me. More of a reminder that I need to do it more often - More


How's this for a fun weekend flashback - The Internet Archive just put 565 Palm Pilot apps in your web browser.

While I was more in the Apple Newton camp (and yes, I still have the MessagePad 100 sitting in a drawer here), I found it a bit fun to go retro and play with these early pocket apps.

The entire archive is available online here. Time to play with Palm DOS.

Be well. ✌🏻

Subscribe to Makoism

Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.
Jamie Larson