“Only I have no luck any more. But who knows? Maybe today. Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.”
― Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea
“The challenge lies in knowing how to bring this sort of day to a close. His mind has been wound to a pitch of concentration by the interactions of the office. Now there are only silence and the flashing of the unset clock on the microwave. He feels as if he had been playing a computer game which remorselessly tested his reflexes, only to have its plug suddenly pulled from the wall. He is impatient and restless, but simultaneously exhausted and fragile. He is in no state to engage with anything significant. It is of course impossible to read, for a sincere book would demand not only time, but also a clear emotional lawn around the text in which associations and anxieties could emerge and be disentangled. He will perhaps only ever do one thing well in his life.
For this particular combination of tiredness and nervous energy, the sole workable solution is wine. Office civilisation could not be feasible without the hard take-offs and landings effected by coffee and alcohol.”
― Alain de Botton, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work
I was looking forward to an easy day – especially since it was supposed to be my day off. But the phone calls kept rolling in, the emails kept coming, everybody wanted a piece of me. By the time I made it home… there was nothing left. Another day stolen by the man.
“You’re going to pay a price for every bloody thing you do and everything you don’t do. You don’t get to choose to not pay a price. You get to choose which poison you’re going to take. That’s it.”
― Jordan B. Peterson
I am working on a list of “Bill’s Rules” – hopefully coming up with a list of useful, yet pithy, statements that I, more or less, came up with on my own. I’m up to four, but have serious doubts about the fourth – probably goin’ to give that one up.
At any rate, Numero Uno:
The key to creativity and innovation is to embrace failure
This seems obvious at first – of course if you are to be creative and innovative you have to be willing to fail. What I’m saying goes beyond that – you have to embrace failure. You have to crave failure. You have to have failure as your primary goal.
To illustrate, I’ll give an example from that white-hot furnace meant to burn away all and any trace of creativity and innovation (and joy, and human-ess, and anything else worthwhile) – the world of the modern giant corporation. It is a world of metrics, and goals, and people scurrying like ants to meet those metrics… and the world be dammed. Not meeting goal, having that dreaded red box on the monthly PowerPoint metric presentation – projected on that screen in that sterile conference room – , is the worse thing in the world and a source of executive shame.
And they don’t understand why other companies (usually very small) always come up with the new ideas.
Here’s my idea – everyone should have on their annual review goal list – “I will initiate at least six major projects in the coming year that will fail… preferably fail in a spectacular and embarrassing manner.”
That would spur some creativity and innovation. And what happens if your projects all succeed in wild and unpredictable ways? Well, you weren’t innovative and creative enough – if you manage to hold on to your job you better try harder next year.
“After all, the best part of a holiday is perhaps not so much to be resting yourself, as to see all the other fellows busy working.”
― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
Oblique Strategy: Do something boring
Went in to work today for the last time this year (not entirely true – thanks to our government and their thoughtful regulations I will have to stop by a couple more times, but that doesn’t really count). It was surprisingly not-unpleasant despite the fact that I finally had to to all of the stuff I had been putting off all year.
Oh, sorry, can’t help myself – I stumbled across one last quote:
“The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.”
― George Carlin
Man, I miss George Carlin. Actually, now that I think about it – as far as I’m concerned (I never met him and never would anyway) he is as much still here as he always was.
“There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.”
― Alain de Botton
VisionShift – Sonia King
Oblique Strategy: You don’t have to be ashamed of using your own ideas
Every year, going into the holidays, I am stressed at work and looking forward to getting away, doing some of my own stuff, and getting everything teed up for next year.
But the hits just keep on coming. Everybody is in a hurry, they want their problems solved, and they seem to think I’m the only one to solve them. I’m sure everybody feels this way.
On another note – I have become re-fascinated by this wonderful piece of music. I keep listening to it over and over. It’s a shame it was used as a cigarette commercial jingle for so many years, and that’s how so many remember it.
Over several years, for the month of June, I wrote about a short story that was available online each day of the month…. It seemed like a good idea at the time. My blog readership fell precipitously and nobody seemed to give a damn about what I was doing – which was a surprising amount of work.
Because of this result, I’m going to do it again this year – In September this time… because it is September.
Today’s story, for day 30 – SCHOOL by Melissa Goodrich
Read it online here:
SCHOOL by Melissa Goodrich
They eat spicy Cheetos and Ramen noodles, have the kind of beautiful faces that crack rearview mirrors.
—-Melissa Goodrich, SCHOOL
We were talking today, like we often do, about Game of Thrones, gratuitous nudity, and little person sex. I said, as I often do, “The problem with the world that Game of Thrones is set in, is that everybody’s life is miserable. From the most destitue peasant to the kings of the world, nobody is happy and life is so difficult and, despite the gratuitous nudity and little person sex, so joyless… If I lived there, I’d just kill myself, and anyone else would too.”
Someone else said, as they often do, “It’s like the life we live today.”
I replied, “No, we don’t live in miserable times… we live in the crazy times.”
Interview with Melissa Goodrich:
Is writing more of a blessing or a curse?
God. Both. I usually think I’m not writing enough. I’m haunted by those people who write every day, and run ten miles, and read new books and journals, and eat organically nurtured produce…I’m still a cereal-eater, a sleeper-inner, a person who writes slowly and then binge-watches TV.
But the blessing is I trust my voice now. And I trust that writing should be joyous and surprising, and that none of it is wasteful.
—-from Cultured Vultures
“All happiness depends on courage and work.”
― Honoré de Balzac