The Mix Tape, Vol. 68
Welcome to this week’s Mix:
🖌Fine-tuning your creativity
🔁The desire to “go back”
🚘Speaking of commuting
💼The origins and end of careerism
Fine-tuning your creativity
My friend Nate Kadlac on digging deeper to hone our creativity:
And if exploration is the root of creativity, having a sense of curiosity about why we’re drawn to certain objects allows us to ask better questions of ourselves.
First, make a list of the things that inspire you. It could be music, art, or a fountain pen you use daily. Who created that, and why? Why do you love it? Start to think about how it makes you feel to have a better understanding of its impact on your life, which will ultimately give you a deeper appreciation for the things around you.
Once we notice the what and why of what inspires us, how can we apply it?
For example, maybe you need to choose a typeface for your personal site. Instead of choosing a random font from a long list, you might prefer to find a type designer from your country or state because you take pride in where you’re from.
Or if you’re looking to buy a new reading chair, instead of going to the largest .com to buy it based solely on reviews, you might instead think about your favorite book and choose a style that emits itself from the fumes of the story itself.
Nate’s idea helps us build more meaningful and vibrant surroundings—which should, in turn, help us create with more meaning and vibrancy.
The desire to go “back”
I keep hearing a longing, in the wake of the election and our ongoing COVID challenges, for a “return to normal.”
Why this desire to go “back?”
We all want this pandemic over. But in its wake the future will be different. I’m here for it.
Are we really in a hurry to go “back?”
Marathon work commutes creating emotional, psychological, and climatological damage
Ever-increasing concentrations of wealth and control held by fewer and fewer people and corporations
Endless American wars, drone strikes, etc.
Unsustainable higher education costs
Dishonest political communications and fake decorum done in the name of “decency”
Let’s face it: we’ve reached the end of the stability of the post-World War II era.
Tons of changes are underway: technological, societal, economic, cultural — and there is no going “back.”
Let’s focus on building what’s next.
Speaking of commuting
Of all the global warming villains, it always baffled me how commuting escaped critics’ ire in favor of cows or other far less impactful factors.
Commuting and business travel are two of the modern world’s most wasteful activities. Commuters waste an average of 54 hours a year stalled in traffic, and the average passenger vehicle emits 5 metric tons of carbon dioxide a year. That waste is saved when the commute is to the home office or a local shared workspace, or when the kick-off meeting is held in a virtual conference center.
It doesn’t appear commuting will ever return to its previous levels:
It took a pandemic, but maybe we’ve finally broken through the “in the office” mindset and all the issues it created.
The origins and end of careerism
Another post-World War II concept coming to an end: the idea of a “career.”
Before the 1960’s the idea of a “career path” was not a thing. Workers hoped to merely keep their jobs. Early uses of the term seem to have been aimed at two audiences: men joining the military and women joining the workforce.
The idea of a career had profound implications on work and culture.
This is when new “schools” of business thinking like Total Quality Management, Six Sigma and Lean entered the scene.
These programs gave the career-driven person language and initiatives to “proof” they needed and guaranteed that career success and analytical measurement of that success would become inseparable.
We looked for meaning, “roots” and purpose inside of a corporation—and rarely found it. Then the implied handshake of job stability disappeared.
It’s time for a new model, or rather a new story, to help us make meaning of, and guide our efforts around, work.
So much change ahead.
Thank you for reading and sharing.
Please hit reply if you have questions, comments, or open rebuttals. (Or just want to say hi.)