The value of boredom
Boredom has been defined as wanting to be able to engage in a satisfying activity and not being able to. Its sibling is downtime, both of which the smartphone–and the Angry Birds it implies–eradicates. Another way to look at boredom, Hall says, is to think of it as a creative pause where your mind can drift, which allows you to integrate your recent experiences into your present state of mind.
Sitting with boredom
So let’s get a little bit more refined in our terminology: it’s not that we should be in useless awful meetings, the kind that prompt the feeling of I’m so bored!, but rather that we resist the urge to always act on that gestural itch and give our brains a mindful break or time to daydream. Like any designer will tell you, absence has presence. Not doing is a kind of doing.
The boredom diet
In the same way that what we eat when we’re hungry has short- and long-term consequences, the actions we take when we’re bored have ongoing outcomes. So says NYU’s Gary Marcus: if you’re bored and use that energy to play an instrument and cook, you’ll be growing; if you drool before your television, you might be happy for a second, but that stimulation junk food will depress you later.
Since most of what we do on our phones is the daily dillydallying of social networks, playing games, and texting, your iPhone acts like an endless supply of Cheetos.
So before you dissolve into your screen, check your fingers for orange dust.
Hire for passion and commitment first, experience second, and credentials third. There is no shortage of impressive CVs out there, but you should try to find people who are interested in the same things you are. You don’t want to be simply a stepping stone on an employee’s journey toward his or her own (very different) passion. Asking the right questions is key: What do you love about your chosen career? What inspires you? What courses in school did you dread? You want to get a sense of what the potential employee believes.
Once you have the right people, you need to sit down regularly with them and discuss what is going well and what isn’t. It’s critical to take note of your victories, but it’s just as important to analyze your losses. A fertile culture is one that recognizes when things don’t work and adjusts to rectify the problem. As well, people need to feel safe and trusted, to understand that they can speak freely without fear of repercussion.
The art of communication tends to put the stress on talking, but listening is equally important. Great cultures grow around people who listen, not just to each other or to their clients and stakeholders. It’s also important to listen to what’s happening outside your walls. What is the market saying? What is the zeitgeist? What developments, trends, and calamities are going on?
3. Tend to the weeds
A culture of passion capital can be compromised by the wrong people. One of the most destructive corporate weeds is the whiner. Whiners aren’t necessarily public with their complaints. They don’t stand up in meetings and articulate everything they think is wrong with the company. Instead, they move through the organization, speaking privately, sowing doubt, strangling passion. Sometimes this is simply the nature of the beast: they whined at their last job and will whine at the next. Sometimes these people simply aren’t a good fit. Your passion isn’t theirs. Constructive criticism is healthy, but relentless complaining is toxic. Identify these people and replace them.
The origin of the mark goes like this: Knight wanted to differentiate BRS‘s custom product from the ones they were importing from Onituska in Japan: "…so Knight turned to a graphic design student he met at Portland State University two years earlier." One day in 1969, the student, Carolyn Davidson, was approached by Knight and offered $2 per hour "to make charts and graphics" for his business. For the next two years Davidson managed the design work on BRS. "Then one day Phil asked me if I wanted to work on a shoe stripe," Davidson recalled. The only advice she received was to "Make the stripe supportive of the shoe." Davidson came up with half a dozen options. None of the options "captivated anyone" so it came down to "which was the least awful."
The Hedge Society has been re-launched as a group blog. It’s a little blog about a lot of things and I will be posting some of the fun stuff from Jordon Cooper Outfitters over there as well as some of the stuff that may or may not end up here. I’m kind of excited about it because it’s other contributors are some of my favourite people online and I can’t wait to see their contributions. You can also follow Hedge Society on Twitter @hedgesociety
How many times have we seen this format in the last couple of months. TED, Christianity 21, the Nines, a couple other copycat conferences that have numbers in them, now this. A copycat conference with the same speakers, peddling their wares in a fixed format. Tell me again where the fresh idea is? C’mon. There are better options out there than following the latest trend. It gets embarrassing again. Especially when it comes from an organization called “Leadership Network”.
I am waiting for a conference on helping evangelical clergy deal with their addiction to conferences. That is one I would go to.
When we bought the cabin, I put up a quick free blog hosted on Blogspot to post photos to so we could show the changes the cabin has gone through. While we have done that, I have posted a lot of design and architecture links to it as well which has generated a growing amount of traffic over the years. Over the last year the site has been linked to by several architectural firms, some classes, and some publications as a niche architectural design resource which has been really cool. I am not an architect or a designer but it’s nice that my curation efforts are recognized.
As I was looking for something today and I had a lot of fun looking back at some of the amazing buildings, boats, and structures found in the architectural section of the site. Here are some of my favorites.
- The Saskatoon Hayloft :: This is a fun post because I saw it being created day by day as I walked or drove by it on my way to work. What started as a Safeway store in the 20s turned into a home and performance space that is one of the jewels of Caswell Hill.
- Floating Home on Lake Huron :: When I think of projects like this, I don’t think of them being located on the Great Lakes. When you do take a look at both the design and the location, you realize how it all fits together (although I am not sure how the ice doesn’t tear it apart in the winter).
- Unplugged :: A series of cabins who are all off the grid. While some are a little over the top, the Shack at Hinkle Farm is a long time design favorite.
- Rustic Houseboat by the Sea :: If I was single and lived near a large body of water, I would love to have a place like this to get away to. It’s a little rustic by my standards and I doubt it would be comfortable on a really hot day but the idea is a great one.
- Home Office Cube in Chile :: This is quite high end but what a great concept. The contrast between being open and closed is incredible.
- Compact beach chalet in the U.K. :: While I get a kick out of how close the English can put beach front cabins together and I am not sure if I would want to live like that, I do really like how this cabin is designed on the inside, now if it could only generate some elbow room.
- The Cube :: How great would it be to have a home office on the side of a mountain, especially one that seemed to blend right into the mountain and at the same time disappear while you are in it.
- Chen House :: This is an interesting design that strives to integrate life inside and the surrounding environment together. It also has an interesting flexible engineering structure designed to move with the wind and the rains rather than stand up to them.
- A lo-fi urban private club :: A fun post about a private urban country club in New York. Why more of these don’t exist, I don’t know. Before you ask, I have tried to get one for the parking lot at work and was vetoed.
- An off the grid weekend getaway :: This is nothing more than a repurposed boat shed in the middle of nowhere but what a great layout. It inspired us to open up our cabin and rearrange the layout and design of it. While we are definitely on the grid, it does show you how little you need to get away from the city and enjoy the weekend. I think of all of the projects I have linked to, this is my favorite.
- A Hermit’s Cabin :: I keep thinking I am going to build one of these for Mark and Oliver at the lake.
- Emergency shelter’s made from pallets :: As I have posted before, I am not sure why these aren’t used in places like Haiti and other places where there are large scale refugees needing quick, cheap, and stable emergency housing that can be improved over time.
Of course, if you have comments or other suggestions that you think would fit in, let me know in the comments.
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materialicious™ has been relaunched with a new design. materialicious™ is a visual curation site featuring residential architecture and design, craftsmanship, materials and products and has long been one of my favorite sites on the web.
The new design is a big departure from the old Typepad hosted site but after a couple of days of looking around, it has really grown on me. For those of you who are regular readers, you may want to note that it’s RSS feed has changed.
While we lived in Calgary, our sub division was too new to have much for parks, we had a large field which was rectangle and had grass but that was it. It allowed us to play baseball, soccer, football, and race our bikes and did everything a park needed to do. The other extreme are the over landscaped, over glorified outdoor hallways that these parks resemble.