Plus Why Today's Masculinity is Stifling & Chasing Curiosity as a Career Path
|Jul 7, 2018||Public post|
Hi there Friend, 👋
Greetings from a suitably colourful hammock in Portland! I've given myself a few days of buffer time to reflect on what has been an emotionally intense but also deeply enriching month of travel and adventuring.
It was my partner Sophie's birthday on June 11th, which (as was to be expected) brought back some intense waves of grief. But looking back on recent weeks, I find myself filled up with an overwhelming sense of gratitude which has perhaps come from noticing that light between the cracks and gradually learning to fall in love with the world anew.
🤔– What I've been up to >> Earlier in June I was fortunate enough to spend time on retreat with the remarkable human David Whyte to explore the Celtic Irish coastline through his poetic lens – returning with souvenirs in the form of photos and podcasts! Episode #003 is with big wave surfer and pioneering farmer, Fergal Smith and episode #004 with the enthusiastic polymath and curiosity evangelist Anna Starkey.
🌎– The 'World Domination Summit' >> this was the 8th annual WDS event held here in Portland, Oregon. I enjoyed the week so much that I've just bought tickets for next year and 2020. I could write a long post about WDS but one workshop with Leo Babauta on navigating uncertainty stood out – in particular the tear-inducing exercise of gazing deep into a strangers eyes for several minutes without looking away.
💭– Quote I'm pondering >> “To cover all the earth with sheets of leather— where could such amounts of skin be found? But with the leather soles of just my shoes. It is as though I cover all the earth!” – Śāntideva
This is an imaginative 8th-century Buddhist scholarly way of saying: don't you worry about trying to change all the people and all the things, worry about changing yourself first.
I hope you enjoy the latest podcast episodes and links below... this Curious Humans project is an ad-free labour of love so hearing any feedback or thoughts from you (yes you dear reader) never fails to send goosebumps of happiness down my spine, so please don't hesitate to hit reply if you have something to share.
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Shiny New Podcast Episodes 🎙️
#003 – The Big Wave Surfer Planting Seeds for Future Generations
Fergal Smith is a big-wave surfer and pioneering farmer, two words that don't often go in the same sentence. He juggles his time between growing veg and paddling into 30ft slabs of Atlantic ocean swells! I spent a couple of days helping out at Moy Hill (my photos below), getting my hands in the soil and helping the team fill their 90x veg boxes to be sent out that week.
Why Listen:"The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings." – what I hope comes across in the conversation is Ferg's eloquent sincerity, the courage that it took and his vision to inspire a new generation of 'growers' and planting seeds for future generations (they’ve already planted 18,000 trees!) // Listenhereon Soundcloud
#004 – Anna Starkey: Chasing Curiosity as a Career Path
Anna Starkey is a genuine 21st century renaissance woman. From lecturing on antimatter and working as the 'director of impossible projects' to performing standup comedy sketches, producing live arts shows for global cinema and gracing the TED stage with her talk: 'Do Not Press the Big Red Button'... it's a testament to embracing curiosity as a career path.
Why Listen: we dive deep into her zig-zag career (which begun with her dream of being an astronaut 👩🚀), the latest research on curiosity as 'the knowledge emotion' and waxing lyrical on her current mission of ushering in a new age of curiosity! // Listen here on Soundcloud.
Five Nourishing Nuggets of Brainfood 🧠
1 // Today's Masculinity is Stifling >> the conversation of re-imagining masculinity for the next generation seems to coming to the fore lately. This Atlantic piece makes the case that not only are there so 'few positive variations on what a “real man” can look like' but also 'when the youngest generations show signs of reshaping masculinity, the only word that exists for them is nonconforming... it’s a personal loss to countless little boys who, at best, develop mechanisms for compartmentalising certain aspects of who they are and, at worst, deny those aspects out of existence'.
2 // Rise of the Full Stack Freelancer >> this post comes with a nerd warning attached. Tiago's argument is that it's not essential to specialise as a freelancer, instead we should think about building a portfolio of income streams rather than narrowing within a single niche (music to the ears of fellow multipotentialites!) "Formal schooling frames our career choices in stark terms: either hyper-specialise, putting all your eggs in one basket you hope and pray will be relevant for years to come; or take a gamble on self-employment, testing your resilience and risk tolerance under extreme conditions."
3 // Personal Sprints: Applying Design Thinking To Daily Life >> modelled on IDEO's initial work and Google's 'sprint' framework, this post outlines how you can apply the idea of rapid prototyping to life. I've found myself using a modified version of this to scale down potentially ambitious side-project ideas into experiments that can be tested in a 2 or 4 week sprint. Recently, I've been aiming to choose experiments that a) have the steepest learning curves and b) that tend to be nourishing in the moment (a wonderful question borrowed from Brandon Stanton), regardless of the outcome (this newsletter and my podcast interviews are two examples!)
4 // What if we stopped chasing so many things? >> ever since a CH reader turned me onto Reboot I have been following their blog and podcast. As I read this post I could almost feel my monkey mind calming and I wanted to cheer out loud as I read the final lines. I intend to return to these words again: "That place where I am part and parcel of a larger symphony playing out all around me. It may seem like there’s nothing to write home about here, yet there’s so much richness here that can’t be captured on film or in pixels. Something different happens here. Meaning hangs in these moments. Far, far away from ‘likes’ and ‘loves’ and giving a rats arse what other people think, I find myself feeling “This is it.”
5 // Alan Watts on not hurrying >> a timeless lesson that we seem hardwired to forget and must be learned and re-learned: "the enjoyment of our world is not really unlike listening to music. We don’t play music in order to get somewhere. I mean, if the objective of the music were to arrive at a point, say the last bar, the final great crashing pause of the symphony, well than all we’d do we’d be just hurry up its playing, play as fast as possible so as to get to the culmination as soon as possible. Or, just cut out the whole symphony and play only the last bars."
Et. Cetera 🤔
🎒– Can Elon fix education?
🤣– Deliberately uncomfortable objects
🌈– We discovered a new shade of blue
🖥️– Quantum computers look really cool
📓– Seth Godin made a journal (I want one)
👊– Frank's lovable human productivity guide
📕– 20 words that aren't in the dictionary (yet)
🐟– Bucky Fuller inspired free range fish farming
🤖– Automation is making life-long learning essential
🐝– Honey bees have apparently grasped the concept of zero
🔭– A ridiculously sharp view of the Andromeda Galaxy (zoom in first)
Parting Thoughts from a Pooch 🐶
"Sometimes. the human presses their noggin against mine. to figure out what i’m thinking. so i just think really hard. about how much i love them. and hope they figure it out."
– Thoughts of Dog