Category: Blog

No one cares, so just do it.

It’s hard to blaze your own trail. It can feel like the world is watching you, judging you, waiting for you to fail. It’s as if a crowd of people are hiding in the bushes, waiting to catch you the second you stumble.

The reality is, for the most part, no one knows, or cares what you are doing. They’re too busy with their own lives to worry about what you are doing. Think about it, how much time do you spend each day worrying about what others are doing with their lives? Exactly.

When it feels like everyone is judging you, it isn’t. Blaze your own trail, do what you need to do, and have fun with it.

On breaking rules

Understand why rules exist, so you know when to break them.

Fitbit advises the Surge is unsafe to wear in the shower, yet I do this daily. You see, this rule exists for legal reasons, since the company was recently sued after the previous model gave users rashes when it was damp. The unit is actually rated 5 ATM (the technical term for ‘can easy withstand a nice, splashy shower’).

Look deeper, beyond face value, and make up your own mind. 

My profile is better than yours

Social media has evolved from a way to connect with friends and family, to a medium to show off the best parts of our life. Our profiles show only the best, finely curated aspects of our lives, a huge misrepresentation.

Our friend that, with a quick scroll, appears to be the happiest person in the world, sitting in the sun, eating amazing food, parting every night, having constant adventures, may be chronically depressed. It’s easy to fake it – there is so much we don’t see.

I’m not suggesting we start posting about the time we tied both our shoes, or bought 3 potatoes at the supermarket, but rather acknowledge that these tailored snapshots don’t completely represent our lives. At most, they provide insight as to the things that are important to us.

Remember this, the next time you’re left feeling like everyone’s lives are great except yours after a quick scroll through your feed.

On growing up

Remember your younger self? The one who was curious about the world, the people in it, the places visited, the tools used. The world was a place of endless possibility. Questions were fired off without hesitation, nothing was obvious or dismissed as ‘just the way it is’. Why was asked time and time and again.

Even our subjective reality was different. The sun burned brighter, the grass more vibrant, scents more powerful. We’d vividly imagine the places we’d go, the person we’d become, the experiences we’d have. We saw no distinction between imagination and reality.

Then something happened.

Over time the imagination faded, reality began to inject its poison. Life didn’t go as planned. Days began merging into an endless cycle of work, bills and grocery shopping.

This became the default, the weekly trudge that sucked up all traces of childlike imagination. Worse, we simply accepted it.

Well, make it unhappen.

Be a child again, play. Fly a kite, play a stupid game of tag with your partner, do a puzzle, draw. Do those small things that bring simple joy, the things society suggests we phase out as we ‘grow up’. 

The child is still there, and they want to play.

What I learned on the Startup Bus

Imagine you have 72 hours to form a team, conceive a viable business idea and then pitch it to investors, tech gurus and journalists. No imagination is necessary, just jump on the Startup Bus.

I did, and I learnt some incredible things:

When in doubt, make a call. Action is better than inaction, better to fail fast and iterate than to wait for the stars to align, they won’t. Get on the phone, make a decision, do something.

Time constraints are vital, put them on everything. Defining a product name and logo typically take weeks, if not months. We gave ourselves 4 minutes, and guess how long it took? You got it, 4 minutes.

The validation phase may be put off for months until more information is gathered. We got on the phone to industry professionals immediately, and validated our product within hours of its inception.

Be excited about your vision and others will be too, the world is full of people willing to help out. Ideas flourish when shared, bring people on your journey and nothing can stop you.

External pressure is powerful, leverage it. The bar on the Startup Bus is set high, which has an empowering effect. We are expected to get traction, acquire paying customers, find investors, and have a working product people can use. When the seemingly impossible is portrayed as the normal, our mind shifts gears, it finds a way to make the impossible happen.

My partner and I wrote on our presentation slides that we had raised 5k for our new product, Committ, then submitted them. We hadn’t, and we couldn’t retract the slides. We then had 2 hours to make that figure a reality.

We gave ourselves no other option, so we raised 5k.

When success is the only option, our brain finds a way to make it happen. Have high expectations and set challenging timelines, you will find a way to succeed.

12188150_10153975970035348_6624209162648266571_o

I can, just not yet

‘There is nothing you can’t do’ is often dismissed as a meaningless platitude, and so I’d like to propose a more interesting alternative:

There is nothing that can be done, that you can’t do too.

The caveat of course, is that the right amount of effort be applied.

The only reason that, at this point in time, we aren’t able to do the cool, interesting and seemingly difficult things that others can, is that we have not yet learnt how. It doesn’t mean we aren’t smart enough, or aren’t wired to think that way, it simply means we have not yet applied the effort to learn how. Sure, the effort required is unique to each person, but it’s always possible.

Whenever you think you can’t do something, remember you can, though have not yet learnt how. With this mindset, ‘there is nothing you can’t do’.

Dear all,

To those who inspire me, I will pay it forward.
To those who believe in me, I will not let you down.
To those who support me, you forever have my gratitude.
To those who doubt me, thank you for adding fuel to the fire.
To those who mock me, thank you for making me stronger.
To all those in my life, I am grateful for your presence.
Without you, I would not be who I am today.

There is beauty within

We cannot appreciate what we don’t understand.

Consider a game of chess, midway through a match.

An observer unfamiliar with the game may see a chunk of checkered wood with a few figures placed haphazardly atop.

A seasoned chess player may instead see the deep array of patterns connecting the remaining pieces, admiring the subtle strategies in place.

Only when the intricacies are understood does the game become beautiful. 

To understand our world is to unlock the beauty within.

Beyond the Book: Geek Sublime

Beyond the Book is a series of essays, each inspired by something I’ve read. This essay was inspired by Geek Sublime – Writing Fiction, Coding Software by Vikram Chandra.

Consider Hemingway’s 6 word story:

For sale:

Baby shoes. Never worn.

Look beyond the explicit, what do the words imply? How do they make us feel?

Words to a writer are the foundation of suggestion. Enough blocks are placed that the shape is implied, though not quite complete. We fill the gaps with snippets of our imagination, we make the story our own.

Imagination is unique, a construct of individual experience. We look within for meaning and then project it back on the words. We experience the narrative as an extension of ourselves, the protagonist is us in a different circumstance.

A story has as many connotations as it does readers. The story becomes our story.

A question may have many answers, all correct

Two people are going about their day today, each with similar lives.

The first believes they need more. A bigger house, more money, more friends, another promotion. 

He thinks he is unhappy.

The second believes they have enough. A roof over their head, affordance of food, a few close friends, a job.

He thinks he is happy.

Both are correct.