Doing by Undoing

What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare?..echoed W H Davies in his seminal classic poem ‘ Leisure ‘. And he ends by stating,  A poor life this if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.

The biggest lie we’ve been told is that ‘ productivity is all about doing ‘.

Working is Not Productivity. The message once(and even now) was loud and clear. Relentless self-optimisation was a way to cope, but is it really? Humans are NOT search engines !

There has been always something obscene about the cult of the hustle, the treadmill of alienated insecurity that tells you that the moment you stop running for even an instant, you will be flung flat on your face.

Productivity is not a synonym for health or safety or sanity. I will go onto add that frantic productivity is actually a fear response. It’s a fear response for 21st-century humans in general and millennial humans in particular.

Productivity, or the lack of it, has become the individual metric of choice for coping with the international econo-pathological clusterfuck of the Corona Crisis.

Have you taken the path not trodden, step into a void and, by design decide NOT to do anything? And then witness something strange happening? Ideas begin to flow, collide, offering solutions, relief, succour, insights, inspiration, closure..

Our best work will come from undoing—from slowing down and giving ourself time and space. The Japanese call this vacuum ma—an empty space that’s intentionally there. In Hebrew, the same concept is called selah. The word appears 74 times in the Hebrew Bible as a direction to stop reading, pause, and contemplate what just appeared in the text.

There is no preamble or drum roll when ideas arrive. There is no parade. If it’s big, it is not going to wield a megaphone and yell from the rooftop. At first glance, the big thing actually looks quite small. If there’s no void in your life—if your life is full of constant chatter—you won’t be able to hear the subtle whisper when it arrives.

Banish the FOMO that if you slow down, you will get left behind. What you would do is use less energy, you’ll go faster, and you’ll go deeper. The pedal-to-the metal mentality is the enemy of original thought. Creativity isn’t produced—it’s discovered. And it happens in moments of slack, not hard labor. Yes, counter to popular thinking, but true.

During those moments, it may appear like nothing is happening, but appearances mislead. Still waters run deep. As you stare out into the nothingness, your subconscious is hard at work, consolidating memories, making associations, and calibrating a new math while marrying the new with the old to create unexpected combinations.

So, don’t avoid the void.

Mute down the noise, just for a little bit, throughout the day. Give yourself permission to lounge in bed after waking up. Put yourself in airplane mode. Sit and stare at the ceiling. Wander aimlessly through a park.

Allow interior silence to oppose contemporary chaos.

Sink into the rhythm of no rhythm.

Step into the void—where all things that never existed are created.

Relentless self-optimisation is NOT a way to cope. Humans are NOT search engines !

Charles Richards on productivity: “Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One person gets only a week’s value out of a year while another gets a full year’s value out of a week.”

You’ll find that taking your foot off the pedal can be the best way to accelerate.

Ends.

Are you missing coming home?

It’s a little past 6 am on the clock and a sense of anxiety has already made it’s unwanted presence felt(liquidity crisis in the form of acid reflux anyone?). Being an early bird and having realised(of late and it’s just a random realisation before you audaciously attribute that to any wisdom or maturity on my part) that my most productive hours are from the wee hours( if others thought similarly, we could call it the ‘ we hours ‘) of the morning till about noon, and every minute that I delay in getting out of the house to earn my daily dread gives me FOMO attacks(my version only and nothing to do with status anxiety). But, then, those were the days. Sorry if it sounds pre-historic.

Some days, I admit, the last thing you want to do is go to work—but since it doesn’t look like those bills will start paying themselves anytime soon, you put on your best #adulting face and head out for your daily hustle.

Over the past few weeks, just like the teeming millions around the world, being locked in(and logged in) is the (cruel) but absolute necessity. There is no mother, there is no invention. Just stay home, period. Having finished counting the tiles in the house( 2924 at last count unless some of them have been broken courtesy my better half’s multiple in house walkathons) and other highly cerebral flings that WFH has brought upon us, I was recently enlightened to realise the number of absolutely useless channels that our TV subscription(traditional) package gave us. Numbers do give us a false sense of bravado and now I know why. At least it gives the remote something handy to do. Like going up and down, aimlessly! What if we could do that with squats, seriously? Our ham would begin to string a new tune. Ok, will exercise caution now.

Work @ work was fun(and I was perfectly @ home with it or so I think)- collaborating with my colleagues(@ISD Global) and clients on changing the world, being not just the game changer but the game, we are next level normal, we will make heaven wait, how dare… and what have you while studiously ignoring their condescending disapprovals. I don’t blame them. After all even relentless monotony can’t go beyond a limit and with the keep safe distance norms in place and borders being sealed, I have to wait for things to get back to  ‘ old normal ‘ for some ideas to pass(with or without Octroi). I only hope it happens ASAP unless the new definition(in the new normal) of ASAP is As Slow As Possible.

In the interim, I realise that my cell phone is acting up because when I keep pressing the Home button and look up, I realise I am still at work. Surely, some cells have been damaged. From hereon must check the sell by date. That probably calls for a visit to Shihab Mobiles(my Best Buy consultant). Alas, the contagion(no not Corona) is spreading. As now the keyboard has got into the act as well- I keep punching the Escape key only to note that I am still at work. I have seen the Great Escape but I saw something even bigger- the writing on the wall: Why is Monday so far from Friday and Friday so close to Monday? I see it better now !!

Those were the days. You always had something to look forward to. Driving back. Just like so many of us. Of coming home. And I bet, there’s nothing half so pleasant, as coming home again.

Sorry , go to go. In search of a new quest. A video on ” How to fold a perfectly folded T Shirt ” yet again! Sorry, if I wore my heart on my sleeve. But remember, we are all looking at the world with a new lens.

CAVEAT: Number of tiles indicated above will be more than 2924. I did not reckon with the other bathroom. Sorry, it slipped.. my mind. Updated stats in next piece. We can call it ‘ Stat(u)s Update ‘.

ENDS

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https://www.brandknewmag.com

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POVer Shift:From POV(Point of View) to POV( Power of Vulnerability)

Moving the Needle from From POV(Point of View) to POV(Power of Vulnerability)!
In today’s context, to say that social( in the sense of the term social media) has gained significant currency would be a gross understatement.It’s all pervasive, inescapable and deep rooted, one can safely assume.
Once upon a time the theory(espoused by Kevin Bacon) that was floating around was about ‘ The Six Degrees of Separation ‘ where one individual could connect with any other individual in the world irrespective of level, status or complexity through a chain of six human connections. That seemed a feat in itself. The advent of social media networks like Facebook apparently brought that number down to 3.57.
Now add another theory to the above. We are the average of the five people that we spend maximum time with is what we are being given to understand for some time now.That was in a physical world. Now, move that to a virtual scenario wherein our social media contacts run into hundreds if not thousands of connections and we are all observing, contributing, silently following one another and not always for the right reason because the swell of opinions and information is just too over powering for one individual to withstand. Distilling the wheat from the chaff is easier said than done. There is ‘ status anxiety ‘. There is the FOMO at play(Fear of Missing Out) as well. In the relentless avalanche that straddles social media platforms, where is the real ‘ you ‘, the individual? Is your POV(Point of View) actually your point of view? Or conditioned(by AI/Machine Learning etc), pulverised, calibrated, engineered, manipulated to suitably conform, comply, stand in? Or are we falling constant prey to the supposed ‘ wisdom of the crowds ‘?
Have we moved our butt so much from but naturally to bot artificially?
We seem to be in a sordid vortex of an ‘ authenticity drought ‘. Trying to project a chimera that is certainly not a wilful representation of our true self. The power of ‘ onlyness ‘ that creates the distinct individuality the world so badly needs from you is just a fleeting mirage.
Given the context, a huge opportunity looms large. That is embedded in another similar acronym POV but with a radically different meaning. Power of Vulnerability. The true you, with all it’s mortal encumbrances. With the courage ‘to stand naked in your own truth’. No excess baggage of trying to be whom you are not. The YOU that only you can be and WANT to be.Where failings and weaknesses are welcomed as normal just as all the super Machiavellian in us. Where the human is permitted and motivated to be humane. Can we circle back to leverage the opportunity that is unfolding?
For organisations, brands, marketers, behavioural economists and all of those involved in ‘ social listening ‘, data science and analytics, what option would you prefer? An ambiguous amalgam of over, untrue or misrepresentation or a predictably irrational version of what we humans normally are. The jury is out!
Tribe mentality‘ is absolutely fine. That is the way we have evolved over the centuries.  But don’t let that scuttle the ‘ onlyness ‘ in you. As you move ahead in life, don’t forget to take yourself along with you in the journey! That is the only baggage you may need. And there won’t be anything ‘ excess ‘ about it. It will be all ‘ access ‘.
ENDS
 
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www.brandknewmag.com

Oh NO: It’s FOMO(The Fear Of Missing Out)!

Didn’t want to miss out on posting this..

For a while I have been trying to wrap my head around the FOMO concept( Fear Of Missing Out I am given to understand by some social media pundits who have won a lot of plaudits)..

For the average Jane and Joe(like me), it means because we tend to feel the pain of a loss more deeply than the pleasure of a gain, we are more likely to embrace something if we think it will help us avoid missing out.

Phew, got it out of the way..Status anxiety I dare say..

ENDS

Image: Odyssey

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www.brandknewmag.com