The Rough Edges

"All right! We did not die today. I call that an unqualified success." — Fear, Inside Out

The Rough Edges

THAT was probably the longest short week that I can remember for quite some time. It's just been busy. I hope this week's edition finds you well or at least trending on a path towards getting well. If you find my weekly rambling interesting, please share with your friends, or buy me a coffee .. or don't. No pressure; I just really like the bean. :)

Today I wanted to talk about the slow path to progress. Notice that I didn't say perfection; I said progress.

Here's a fact: everyone has something that they don't like about themselves (or something they can't admit to themselves) that they want to change. I have been thinking a lot about this re-reading last week's newsletter on Changing Perspectives.

you only get one life, your time here is short, so perhaps you should do something good with that time.

In making any changes, I tend to lean back on stoicism: change is not about a practice that you undertake, but it's something that you practice at, similar to the way you'd train for a marathon, to get better at what you do—every day. It’s a constant slow grind towards something better that yields the best results.

But this tweet from Shawn Blanc on Friday nailed my feelings this week:

I like that. A lot. Focus on the core. Don’t focus on the edges.

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Forward Thinking

Almost everyone I know has been in some form of a slump lately. It could be work, life, time, sleep (or lack thereof), or just the general heaviness of the world in 2022.

I came across an insightful (and aptly titled) post How To Get Out Of A Rut, in which the author applied a simple framework adapted from The Power of Full Engagement (PoFE), which describes what you need to feel "fully engaged."

To be fully engaged, we must be physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused, and spiritually aligned with a purpose beyond our immediate self-interest.

To help himself, the author conducted a personal audit for each area: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

It's a compelling read. As we head into summer, I feel that a 'personal audit' may be something that has a ton of value.

More to come.

Thought of the week

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

  • 2022 has been the year of completely ripping apart my habits around note-taking, and "The Problem With Note-Taking" really takes it to task. 'Creative expression shouldn't be contingent upon a hoarding of information. We shouldn't lionize someone that relies on a database of 50,000 notes to get their creative juices flowing. Rather, it's the person that can draw upon a unique blend of personal experiences, unfiltered memories, and imaginative thinking that will create a lasting work of art.' - More
  • Another one from Mark Manson, this time on building lasting discipline in your life. "If Self-Discipline Feels Difficult, Then You're Doing It Wrong" explores the shame when you don't meet your goals, but more importantly, how the path to self-discipline is real through self-acceptance. Brilliant stuff here - More
  • Sure, this one is peak 2022: "Hot dog filler covers Pennsylvania highway after tractor-trailer crash." Ever wonder what a monster from Stranger Things "upside-down" would look like in real life? Check it out - More
  • "That's a Stress Response" tackles the more significant issue of something being 'fundamentally unwell' in society today. And that the only path forward is not alone, but together - More
  • I still have my MessagePad 100; "Remembering Apple's Newton, 30 years on" takes a look at the legacy of this groundbreaking product - More
  • Atomic Habits is one of my favorite reads, and "Your brain on progress" dives into the basic concepts around microtasks and finding ways to mark progress. "The act of crossing out a task gives the brain what it craves: a motivating dopamine release" - More
  • "I Owe My Success As A Creative Entrepreneur To These 8 Questions I Ask Every Month" is a great list when thinking about what and why you have things in your life. 'if you had to stop doing 10% of what you're doing, what would you abandon?' is one of the great nuggets in here - More
  • I hate the idea of NPS metric (Net Promoter Score), so I liked this article as it articulates many of the feelings I've had about why it's garbage in/garbage out. Read more in "Net Promoter Score Considered Harmful" - More
  • In "Why You Should Stop Caring What Other People Think (Taming the Mammoth)," Tim Urban has (as always) an compelling lens on how to do 'a clear and honest assessment of what's going on in your head' and understanding your authentic voice - More
  • "You're the Chief Unblocking Officer" is an excellent look at some tactics on how a leader's primary objective is to drive their team's performance.' Attention fragmentation is a real problem. The author proposes a few solutions to dive time and that 'a manager should consider dropping all of their work if they can unblock their direct reports highest-value work. Yes, usually the thing that you are doing has a higher task value, but since you have multiple direct reports, their high-value tasks will scale to offset the current task you're not doing.' - More
  • From the book Art of Atari, Tim Lapetino takes a look at the iconic logo and it's origin story in "The Atari logo: behind 'the Fuji'" - More


Closing out this week with a look at one of my favorite scenes from the film Amadeus, in which Mozart and Salieri write 'Requiem in D Minor.' The post 'Seeing Music and Haunting Themes: Diegetic and Non-Diegetic Strategies' got me thinking about the power of non-diegetic sound (any sound in a film that doesn't originate from the world of the film) as a technique in storytelling.

After completing the bass voices opening, Mozart then stares at the sheet, and we hear in the non-diegetic this section of the music (without the rest of the sections that will accompany the voices). Then, as Mozart sings the part of the tenors, the non-diegetic tenors join him in unison. At this point, Mozart stops dictating so much with his mouth than the non-diegetic soundtrack communicates for him, which Salieri seems just as able to hear as Mozart imagines it. Salieri exclaims "I don’t understand!" but Mozart forces him to by the same way we come to understand, though this non-diegetic sound he seems to translate. The two speak the notes aloud but the real power comes from our ability to hear this music in its sections as it’s produced.

Be well. ✌🏻