Keep Going

A colleague and I are using Austin Kleon’s new book, Keep Going, as a frame for our senior May Term program. Any senior working on a creative project during the month of May will receive or has received a copy. So far, students who have cracked it open have often said “wow” or “this looks like a great book” or sat silently reading until they reached a passage or drawing that they wanted to share, which never takes long.

More of the Same?

Yesterday I posted something about a (to be) revered moment in golf history. Today, a friend shared with me a revered moment from an e-sport (sometimes known as a video game). The parallels between the two moments are quite interesting: both include passionate players, steely resolve, perseverance, the triumph of hard-won wisdom, long practice, and fully engaged audiences.

Memo to the Evolving Ego

This is a nice piece of sports writing from the desk of Joe Posnanski and (delightfully) the POV of the 12th hole at the Augusta National golf course. I’m linking to it here because it’s a good read now and it will be a good read five years from now and five years after that. Evergreen is what that’s called in the business.

I also love this particular passage for what it says about the way the ego that drives us in your younger days may not be the ego that we need to keep going into our middle and later days. When you get to the sentence about young golfers feeling too proud and too strong, roll it around in your mind.

I looked at him closely. Was this really Tiger Woods, the bold and impertinent kid who believed that nothing was beyond his powers? I could not tell. I began to say my silent prayer for him … but then I stopped because I noticed something. He was not that Tiger Woods. He moved more gingerly. His face was wider. His weather-worn face suggested that he had seen things.

And as he began his swing, I caught something in Woods’ glance, something unusual, something I had not seen in, well, in a long time.


He aimed his shot away from the flag. 

He hit it to that space between my front and back bunker. The ball landed and settled 40 feet from the hole but dry and safe. It was the shot that young golfers feel too proud and too strong to hit. It was Jack Nicklaus’ shot. And now, it was Tiger Woods’ shot. 

And I knew right then that Tiger would go on to win the Masters.
Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Mind Your Own Business

Today’s share, given the timing of the week, comes via Dan Pink’s Twitter account, wherein he posted a research article about the restorative power of weekends.

It’s worth reading in full, but if you want a satisfying gulp to help you to power into your own weekend, here’s not one but three.

Rather than any changes in one’s activities, it was indeed one’s minding of the present moment throughout the weekend that increased enjoyment during that time and produced greater happiness when back at work.

Granted, some time on the beach or the slopes definitely has plenty of allure. But for the time-and-money-constrained, this research offers an accessible and affordable alternative that enables them to soak up some vacation vibes.

The benefits do not require taking additional time off from work, excessive spending for extravagant travel or the inclusion of particular activities. Fully attainable to anyone, vacations involve a mental break that allows people to become more fully engaged in and absorbed by their time off, making that time more enjoyable.

West, C., Mogilner, C., & DeVoe S.E. (2019). How vacation increases happiness.

Purely anecdotally, the findings make sense for me. I generally feel most refreshed after a weekend in which I got swept up in some kind of caper, adventure, project, or even problem.

So, once the workday closes, go. Be absorbed. Mind what is yours to mind. This plan only fails if you overplan it.

The Literary Piano – Paul Klee

Notes from a Podcast Recording

The podcast illustrated in the notes below will be up soon. I’ll share the final result once it has been edited and shipped. For now, spend a few minutes trying to make sense of Reshan’s doodles, and also, think about what must have been happening around them.

Here’s my version:

Reshan and I “met” with the podcaster over the phone. He asked us questions and recorded the call. Meanwhile, Reshan ran a backchannel for both of us via Zoom. He shared his screen and created live sketchnotes in Explain Everything while we spoke.

Yes, it was somewhat disorienting to see my speech animated almost as quickly as it rolled out of my mouth. And yes, there were moments of cognitive dissonance when I felt that Reshan focused on something that I didn’t mean to emphasize.

But these slight discomforts were well worth it for me because it’s not often that you see what others are hearing (and understanding) as you are speaking to them. It’s a potent reminder of the difficulty of clear communication and a profound lesson in the power of immediacy as a teaching tool.

Change the Narrative Podcast

Reshan and I recently finished a podcast interview with Michael Hernandez who, among many other things, leads digital storytelling trips for students and teachers to Latin America and Asia.

I had followed Michael’s work via Twitter (@cinehead) for many months before I actually met him, and I’m pleased to report that he is as genuine, curious, open, and big-hearted as he seems. His questions helped me to think more critically and deeply about some of my creative practices and helped me to learn some new things about Reshan, a longtime collaborator. Here’s the episode. Give it a listen, and if you like it, subscribe to the rest of the podcast. It’s sure to be genuine, curious, open, and big-hearted — just like its host.

Coming Soon

On Sunday, Reshan and I met in a studio in New York City to record an online course to help people break down, digest, and ultimately use the ideas and moves in our book, Make Yourself Clear. If you’re interested in hearing about this course once it’s available (it will be free for a month or two) sign up for our newsletter. We’ll send you an email as soon as it’s live.