As I carry on my daily work, my mind is focused. I’m immersed in the detail and the demand of the task.
But in the moments of reduced attention, in recent weeks particularly, it wanders to thoughts of my demise. I realise that I, my parents, my wife and children, and everyone we know, all one day gone.
Today I thought of a business friend who lost her child 10 or so years ago and the pain that she must know, and I hope that I never find myself there.
It’s a remarkable thought to contemplate one’s own mortality, and although it’s unnerving, it captures my interest. I had pneumonia a few years ago and I couldn’t take three steps without gasping for breath. I remember thinking, this must be what it feels like to be on the brink. …
What is resilience? How does it impact your mental health and performance in life and work, and how can you build it within yourself? In this article, you’ll learn what resilience is, what resilience is not, how to build your resilience to better manage challenging conditions, and how to develop your ability to bounce back from adversity. You’ll learn about the features of a resilient personality, strategies to help you cultivate these abilities in yourself, cope under pressure, and reach higher levels of performance in life and work.
If one thing is certain in life, it is change. Small change we can cope with, big change hits us hard. We have never before in our lifetime seen change such as that we have witnessed in the last five or so years. Covid-19, the market collapse in March, a headcase in The White House (he’s on the way out now thank god!), demonstrations and riots on the streets of major cities across the world. …
My wife wants a new car–a Peugeot 3008. She’s in love with it, and beams with happiness when she talks about the prospect of having it. We already have a family car — the earlier model 2008, and apart from a few bumps and bruises, is in great nic. Mileage is very low and it runs perfect. It’s a good size, the seats are higher off the road than regular cars, and it has never given any trouble. Except for that time when “someone” let it run out of juice and then flattened the battery trying to start it.
There’s no practical reason in the world why we should buy a new car. And in addition, it means taking out a loan to do so. As if the good condition of our existing motor was not reason enough, buying the new wagon means adding an unnecessary cost to our monthly outgoings. She wants it nonetheless. Much like everyone else, she is convinced that her life will be better for the having of this thing. My job is to bring to the conversation, the inevitable consequence of diminishing emotional returns. …
You’re a fool no matter what. The moment you feel inflated by the apparent self-confidence or self-depreciation that possess you, you should know it to be true.
All ambition, all notions of grandeur and importance, your status in the world, all feelings of worthlessness and objectification by others, the entire form and structure of your self-image is merely an attempt to further the deceit.
We spend the entirety of our lives playing a game of hide and seek. We build a self, or perhaps one is built for us, and we hold on to it for dear life, because without it we cease to exist. All status, identity, purpose, feelings of loss and depression, loneliness, belonging, grief and joy, all self-constructed ideas of oneself in the world is a trick. …
On the edge, just inside the edge, there is the mainstream media, culture, society, a glut of data. Fabricated, manipulated, molded, spun, practiced and polished. It’s where most of us get our information.
It’s the nature of surface level reality, but rather than thinking of this information distribution in a two-dimensional circle, consider it three-dimensional, with no centre and no edge. Particles, waves, wavicles in constant motion, combining, separating, mutating, dipping, diving, pulsating, expanding, contracting, growing.
Immensely complex and self-organised.
It’s not ours — we inherit it, then adopt and contribute to it.
We come into the world, Aristotle proposed, a tabula rasa. Then the world of things and people, rules and regulations, impose its will on us. …
The Sunday Letters subtitle reads; “…articles on life, work, & the pursuit of happiness”. I didn’t plan that subtitle, it kind of grew organically. But it’s no less accurate. It captures broadly the essence of my curiosity in a single line and that curiosity finds satisfaction in many fields of interest. I find it is an always wanting and only temporarily satisfied curiosity. However, it is a curiosity nonetheless, rather than an angst ridden striving to fill a deep seated vacancy.
You see, I learned some time ago that the answer to whatever it is I’m asking is not “out there”, and someone else doesn’t have it. It’s not in a book or a conference or the words of some guru or other. It’s not on a stage dressed in smart clothes touting words I want to hear. It’s not in the utterances of clever marketers and would-be evangelists. And it’s most certainly not in material gain, reward or applause. …
Boring is somber, unexciting, unremarkable, and yet it’s the opposite of these things.
This is daily work.
There’s nothing here that stands out from the backdrop of everyday life.
It is water on stone, the ever persistent artist in their art, their craft, their daily work. The street sweeper, the accountant, the plumber, the engineer, the writer, in their work for the sake of it.
Absent of ulterior motive.
This is not to suggest that the work is, or should be, monotonous or soul destroying. …
As I carry on my daily work, my mind is focused, undistracted, on point, no time for drifting to thoughts of other things.
But in recent weeks, in those moments of reduced attention, I’m brought to the realisation that one day I’ll be no more. I think of myself, my parents, my wife and children, friends and so on, all one day gone. But not only that, our entire way of life, culture, technological advancements, writings, discoveries, film, poetry and the very planet we occupy — all gone.
Today I thought of a business friend who lost her child 10 or so years ago and the pain that she and her husband must know, and I hope that I never find myself there. …
I don’t aim to polarise when I write.
My intention is not to inflame passions or raise anger. I might shine a light on some social disturbance or other occasionally, but I like to add perspective, some balance when I do.
Most of the time, anyway. At least that’s what I think I do.
Regardless, I don’t allow things to get too heated around here, and if you’ve been reading me for a while you know that.
You see, most of us are polarised, and we live in a polarised society.
We are a species living on the edge of the world — on the edge of something. Sometimes we approach the middle but only if we are hungry, thirsty, tired, angry or horny. …
I have come to the tentative conclusion, as I sit here this evening in my quiet illusion, that the more real I am to myself, the more ambitious I am, the greater my need to fulfil, and the faster I need to move to fulfil it.
It’s full on, full speed.
My reality seems wafer thin, and if I slow down or stop, I’ll fall straight in, to what I don’t know. Oblivion perhaps? A deep dark grave buried alive and no way out. Or endlessly falling through a Mandelbrot set.
So I keep moving.
Goal after goal, after goal, after goal, an endless pursuit of what I don’t know. Because whatever I got, what I thought it was, it was not. …