Pick of the week: In 2009, former Yale professor and best-selling author William Deresiewicz addressed West Point cadets on the meaning of solitude and leadership.Read on…For tracks of the week, scroll down 🔻
Arts & Culture
One of the key traits of any artist is to protect against and take advantage of the contradictions. It goes back to what F. Scott Fitzgerald said about intelligence: “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” In this video, Chinese dissident/artist Ai Weiwei explains why he calls Beijing his home.
“I wouldn’t think Beijing’s a prison for me. But Beijing is definitely a prison for freedom of speech.”
Financial Times writer Barney Jopson went on the Shikoku pilgrimage in Japan, a route founded and dedicated to commemorate the original 750-mile trek of Buddhist monk Kobo Daishi. Also known as Kūkai, Daishi returned from studying in China in the late 7th century AD to help import Buddhism in Japan. Jopson biked the route but given the age of many of the participants, most prefer to travel by bus while others walk.
“There are no definitive counts but each year between 80,000 and 140,000 pilgrims — known as o-henro — are estimated to travel at least part of the route. According to one survey, around 60 per cent of them are over the age of 60. The vast majority speed around on air-conditioned bus tours but a hardy band of 2,000-5,000 are estimated to do it on foot, usually completing the circuit in 40-50 days.”
Philosophy & Productivity
A lot of people think thinkers can’t be leaders. But that’s exactly what leadership is: thinking. The leader of a group takes what they read and hear internally and externally and originates his/her own thought. They speak for themselves. As former Yale professor and best-selling author William Deresiewicz said in his 2009 speech to West Point cadets:
“If you want others to follow, learn to be alone with your thoughts.”
Half-ass efforts produce half-ass results. The same goes for 99 percent effort. If you don’t commit 100 percent to whatever it is–quitting smoking, writing a book, taking photography seriously–it’s going to fall to the wayside.
“99 per cent is a b*tch. 100 per cent is a breeze.” Jack Canfield, The Success Principles
Social Media & Technology
“Keep ’em typing!” says Kenneth Alexander, a typewriter repairer with over forty years of experience. He works for California Typewriter in San Francisco, one of the last surviving typewriter repair shop in the United States.
“If you want to concentrate, if you want to write in your own mind, write with a typewriter. You see the words hit the paper. There’s no distractions.”
One of the ways mobile behavior has changed is that instead of sharing stuff at the moment, we edit and share it later with a caption like “That time I…”. According to Washington Post journalist Britt Peterson, the phrase, and its various iterations (“that time when,” “that moment when,” etc.) create immediate intimacy with your followers which is why it works so well for celebrities, who may not want to reveal their present location for obvious privacy concerns.
“That time I” works in real time to make readers feel like they’re part of an in-group, creating collective nostalgia for events that just took place. In some way, it’s a neat linguistic trick.”
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