The disadvantage game

When we disadvantage others to get ahead, we disadvantage ourselves.  Many will decry the notion that every person has some kind of art to bring into the world, but what do they offer instead, what’s their advantage in believing that?:

Art isn’t only a painting.  Art is anything that’s creative, passionate, and personal.  An artist is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity, and boldness to challenge the status quo.  Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient.  The medium doesn’t matter.  The intent does.  Art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that creates change in another.”*

(*Seth Godin, quoted in Ben Hardy’s blog: These 20 Pictures Will Teach You More Than Reading 100 Books.)

The most wonderful world of all

This is an amazing planet.

Yes, it produces nettles and hogweed but it also holds the possibilities of ice-cream and chocolate and espressos.  How does that happen?

We know we are very capable of taking the commodities from the planet and making many things from these.  More and more faster and faster is not the problem.  Adding value is:

‘Curation is about selecting and arranging to add value – defined in the broadest possible sense.’*

Just before writing these words about this critical element of curation in the 21st century, Michael Bhaskar points out that good curation will demand we move out of our comfort into the uncomfortable to bring things of value into being:

‘Now more than ever, we need to argue that good curation takes us beyond our comfort zones.’*

It’s not good enough to blame the system, to point at others and say it’s their fault; we all need to take responsibility as someone who sucks stuff in and churns stuff out.

If we are to do this, I think we will have to slow down to see what is possible:

‘Walking shares with making and working that crucial element of engagement of the body and mind with the world, of knowing the world through the body and body through the world.’**

The faster we move, the harder it is to change the trajectory we’re on.  Walking, going slow, provides us with the opportunity to see many new directions, to see a wonderful world and imagine its future.

(*From Michael Bhaskar’s Curation.)
(**From Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust.)

The blessing

The challenge is to find the resolve to bring your work to someone who will benefit from it. To learn from what doesn’t work and then to do the work again.*
(Seth Godin)

Curation that doesn’t have the sense of taking care, preserving, nurturing is more likely to lead to negative outcomes.**
(Michael Bhaskar)

There are two important things to keep in mind and heart when it comes to a blessing.

One: You are the blessing so it’s important to have identified and developed what it is you want to bring to others: values x talents x energy and much more.

Two: It’s only a blessing to those who want to receive what you bring – if it’s not what they want or the right time then maybe ask what would be helpful before you move on?

(*From Seth Godin’s blog: Batting average is a trap.)
(**From Michael Bhaskar’s Curation.)

She dreams in the now

But sometimes life isn’t just about following your dreams.  Sometimes life is just about happily managing the here and now.’*
(Hugh Macleod)

Dreams are not so much about destinations, they’re about journeys.  If they don’t alter how we live today, being present in the small things as well as the big things then it’s probably not a dream worth having.

The question I find myself asking each day is: How can I live in some creativity, some generosity and some enjoyment today?

(*From gapingvoid’s blog: Enjoy just being alive.)


I don’t have enough discipline to keep a diary.  I don’t think I’m important enough to do that.*

Unhappiness can lead to new beginnings. […] Discontent can be a source of growth and inspiration.**
(Chris Guillebeau)

The thing you really want to do, to bring into the world, may not be this, but you will probably never get to what it is unless you do this.  This is your pursuit.  George MacDonald encourages us in this way:

“If people would do what they have to do, they would always find themselves ready for what came next.”^

There’s probably a ton of learning and growing to be done in this, so figuring out what you can really do in this makes it possible to move on to the thing that comes next.  Just being able to do this, to stick with something when others give up, may be the remarkable thing you are able to do and others need to see and hear:

‘Not curating, just letting things spill out and pile on one another, is in many ways an easy option; curating well is tough, patient stuff.^^

(*Nancy, quoted in Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together.)
(**From Chris Guillebeau’s The Happiness of Pursuit.)
(^George MacDonald, quoted in the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer.)
(^^From Michael Bhaskar’s Curation.)


Friendship is probably one of the highest expressions of what it means to be human.

To overcome differences that demand this or that and to find the third possibility for journeying together is a really amazing thing to be able to do.

Not everyone is able to do this, we know.  It demands learning the skill or art of “making place for the other” in our lives, as Karen Armstrong describes it.

Seth Godin caught my attention with his condiment blog, in which he names his five favourite food condiments:

‘With nothing but these five condiments, I could happily eat beans, kale and rice for the rest of my days.’*

I’ll let you go to Godin’s blog to see what the five condiments are.

He got me thinking, though, about how people who become friends or offer friendship become the condiments that add flavour to our lives.

Condiments give rather than take.

Figuring out how we can be friends, or at least be friendly, is one of the biggest adventures we can engage in.  Firstly, I offer some words from Margaret Meek that have become folklore, and then some words from Kio Stark that open up the possibilities for this in an everyday way – it’s a little bit nervy if you’re an introvert like me but it’s all a matter of scale:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only things that ever has.”

‘Talking to people I’ve never met before is my adventure.  It’s my joy, my rebellion, my liberation.  It’s how I live.  When you talk with strangers, you make beautiful and surprising interruptions in the expected narrative of your daily life.  You shift perspective.  You form momentary, meaningful connections,  You find questions whose answers you thought you knew.  You reject the ideas that make us suspicious of each other.’**

(*From Seth Godin’s blog: First annual condiment showcase.)
(**From Kio Stark’s When Strangers Meet.)

We built this city on …

The buildings of the city were tightly crammed, many of them larger than in smaller towns with many winding streets.

Walking around, moved us from business areas to residential to parks to derelict sites.

It was the sheer numbers of people that caught our attention most of all.

The people who were the foundations of this city of lifelong learning.

People learning with and from and through one another.

People having and providing choices, so much choice that they had to increase their ability to let things go.

This was not high pressure but slow, easy learning.

They had all day, all week, all year, all of life.

‘To be its best, Attention, from inside itself it seems, summons Ease.  Ease emerges and sweeps and dips and saunters, draping itself around Attention’s focus allowing it dimensions greater than focus alone can produce.’*

(*From Nancy Kline’s More Time to Think.)




The state of interdependence

American Seth Godin took the opportunity to write on Independence Day really being Responsibility Day:

‘What actually matters is what you’re going to do with it.’*

National pride must include knowing what we’re proud of AND respecting what other nations have pride and responsibility for.

The world is our State of Interdependence.

More than ever the world is set up for anyone from anywhere to make their thoughtful and caring contributions in response to needs they see around them.

This is a good dimension of the Internet.  We have yet to see what can happen when we find each other and connect.

Ben Zander writes about the power of contribution, something that understands the gift of the world wide web:

‘I settled on a game I called I am a contribution.  Unlike success and failure, contribution has no other side.  It is not arrived at by comparison.’**

When you have contributed, you have won.  Everyone has won.

The internet helps us conceive a different world.  Ursula Le Guin reflects on how a diverse and connected world requires effort on our part.  Describing the science fiction work The Languages of Pao from Jack Vance Le Guin reflects:

‘Vance was always aware that language is an interesting and tricky business – unlike many science-fiction writers who still routinely present a whole planet or even galaxy of people(s) all speaking the same tongue.  It is easier to explain airily that everybody speaks Ing-Lish ever since Urth installed the Galactic Empire than it is to cope realistically with Babel.’^

It isn’t impossible, only difficult and tricky and waiting to be explored.

(*From Seth Godin’s blog: Responsibility Day.)
(**From Rosamund and Benjamin Zander’s The Art of Possibility.)
(^From Ursula Le Guin’s Words Are My Matter.)


When we comprehend

Comprehend: to grasp and to bring together.

When we comprehend we are doing something new with what we have noticed, with what we have received.  It is pivotal for turning something we have received into something we make available to others.  Placing it literally on a larger canvas, Kelvy Bird writes:

‘Scribes create visual structures that aid in navigating disconnects.  In doing so, we balance the challenges of the times with the hopes of our times. […] This demands constant fluidity between sensing, comprehending, and crafting.’*

Bird is speaking about visual scribes but we each have the capacity to be generative with what we are noticing and receiving.

I’ve been writing about curation recently:

‘Curation is where acts of selecting and arranging add value. … At its broadest curation is a way of managing abundance.’**

This generative work is curation, in which particular things we notice and care about are brought together in some new way and made available to others.

(*From Kelvy Bird’s Generative Scribing.)
(**From Michael Bhaskar’s Curation.)