A kinder, gentler philosophy of success…

It’s weird sometimes to think that, even in this digital day and age, we have philosophers.

But…we do. The guy in the video, Alain de Botton, is one of the ones that I like the most.

As a creative you may well berate yourself at times for not quite being where you want to be right now.

I know I do.

So, watch the talk above and see how it makes you feel!

The difference between failing things and nailing things…

At University one of my favourite things to do was to play football.

The big characters, the big moments and the crusty football socks.

It was great.

Most of the time we played on the University astro-turf pitches.

Now you’d think, as students, they might let us use them for free?

Well, that wasn’t the case.

So, every few days we’d have the problem of coughing up enough cash to book it. Which, for penniless students, was a stumbling block.

footballmdw
(back in the day, 2nd in from the left in case you care).

Sure, everyone could scrape a few quid out of their sofas (along with old pizza) on the day – BUT someone had to actually supply the money up front and book it.

No one really wanted to do that. Our group chats on Whatsapp and Facebook would be full of “who wants to book today?” or “whose turn is it now? I did it last week”.

70% of the time no one would jump at the chance. So we’d either have to really coerce one of the richer kids (or rather one of the guys who could manage their student loan),  or we just wouldn’t play.

You know what the problem was back then? No one was accountable. It was no one’s specific duty to book, so everyone looked to someone else to step up.

We should have had a rota, or at least a plan…but it was just left up to being ‘somebody else’s job’.

It’s amazing how often I see this with real working adults, particularly those who are working on collaborative projects or trying to create things.

If you don’t assign ownership to someone, or make it their responsibility – there’s a high chance that it won’t get done!

Think of it from a sporting point of view. Imagine going out to play a team game and not giving anyone a position.

Sure, you may adapt after a while…but I don’t think you’d win much.

As much as I’m all for free-flow and creativity – structure is structure for a reason. So, next time you’re working on something make sure everyone knows their roles and responsibilities.

The dead project graveyard is massive, and I wonder how many of those projects died due to a lack of structure?

I’ll leave you with this little saying – the more creative things I get involved with, the more relevant it becomes:

This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, 

Anybody, and Nobody.  There was an important job to be done and 

Everybody was asked to do it.  Everybody was sure Somebody would 

do it.  Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.  Somebody 

got angry about that, because it was Everybody's job.  Everybody 

thought Anybody could do it but Nobody realized that Everybody 

wouldn't do it.  It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when 

Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

(http://www.columbia.edu/~sss31/rainbow/whose.job.html)

Life is but a…

…great chance to learn.

Well, the older I get the more it feels like it. At high school I was never much of a student, and things didn’t really pick up until I got to university.

But as a graduate it seems most of my spare time is now dedicated to learning.

As I said in an earlier post, the more ideas and schools of thought that you cram into your brain the more inspiration you’ll get yourself. 

The featured image is tonight’s offering – I’ll let you know my thoughts. 

Today I’m not writing because I’m learning.

A dinner party for strangers…

You’ve been asked to help your friend host a dinner party. You’re a decent cook and you know your way around a wine-food pairing scale, so you should have no problems.

The catch is…you don’t know any of the guests – they’re all your friend’s friends. Of course that’ll create a few general social hurdles for you to scale when the night comes, such as initiating conversation with strangers (!!) – but, the main obstacle is having to cook and prepare a night of entertainment for some people you know nothing about.

So what do you do? I mean, yeah you can create an all-rounder menu that you hope everyone will like – but then, particularly in this day & age, diets are so widespread that you could majorly miss the mark. And hell hath no embarrassment as embarrassingly embarrassing as mild social embarrassment, right?

Imagine the social ramifications – a collection of eyeballs bulging out as you dare to serve brie to a vegan! Or, on a somewhat darker note, the chance that the cake you prepared might trigger off a nut allergy – meaning a change of location from your living room to A & E.

And, believe me, the options in A & E vending machines aren’t gourmet. Even if you put a cocktail stick through them.

How would you resolve this predicament? It’s simple really. You’d investigate. You’d ask your friend and perhaps use social media to check their friends’ Instagrams – as, let’s face it, if a meal is munched without being uploaded to Instagram, was it even consumed at all?

But the point I’m driving at is that you’d research. You’d get an idea of who you were cooking for, and you’d make up your night accordingly. Creating a menu to accommodate everyone – a peppering of personal flair here and there.

My question is – why wouldn’t you do that for your writing?

Whether it be a blog post, a sales letter, social content, a novel, etc – you need to have an idea of who you’re writing for and what they’d like.

Next time you sit down to write something, take a little time to do some research about the kind of person you’ll be writing for.

Those reading a ‘young adult’ novel aren’t going to want to read a breakaway chapter about Thatcher’s Britain, while senior citizens aren’t going to respond very well to a meme about how annoying it is when your mum disturbs your FIFA game by calling you to dinner.

Personalisation is the key to connecting with your audience, and if you’re not interested in finding out about them you’ll struggle to engage them.