More Empathy Means More Opportunity

A century ago, a young couple named Earle and Josephine were starting their married life together in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Earle was a cotton buyer and Josephine was a homemaker.

Josephine seemed to be perpetually dealing with burns from hot pans and nicks and cuts from sharp kitchen knives. Almost nightly, Earle would dutifully treat Josephine’s wounds with bulky bandages fashioned from adhesive tape and cotton gauze.

Earle realized that Josephine could get relief much quicker if there was a way for her to easily bandage herself after a mishap. So, he cut several squares of gauze, folded them into small pads, affixed them to strips of surgical tape, and covered each strip with crinoline to keep the tape from sticking to itself. That way he could reroll the tape, and Josephine could unwind and custom cut what she needed to dress her wounds on the spot.

Making Sustainable New Year’s Resolutions

Every year, a significant slice of the population resolves to change something about themselves, their behavior, or their circumstances. Every year, a significant percentage of those resolvers fail.

The actual success rate of New Year’s resolutions varies according to research, but the reported failure rate is commonly quite high. One of the underlying reasons for this high failure rate is the very nature of a resolution.

A resolution is simply a decision to act. By itself, in a vacuum, an isolated resolution doesn’t mean much. It doesn’t have much power. It isn’t tied to our greater purpose or driven by our guiding vision or major motivation.

Can You Spark Your Own Hot Streak?

Elton John hit a hot streak early in his prodigious musical career. Of the thirty studio albums John has released so far, the five or six most commonly cited as his best were released across the four-year period from 1970 through 1973. This streak ran from his eponymous second album to his magnum opus, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. It would be safe even to extend this hot streak into 1975, really. Because John had six consecutive albums hit number one on Billboard’s US album charts, from 1972’s Honky Chateau to 1975’s Rock of the Westies.

Jackson Pollock hit a hot streak, too, but his was more mid-career than John’s. Although Pollock created many major works from the early 1940s to the mid-1950s, his most famous paintings were made during his four-year “drip period,” from 1947 to 1950. Pollock was catapulted to fame during this period by a four-page feature in Life magazine, and he had many important exhibitions during this time, including three at The Betty Parsons Gallery. Pollock would abruptly abandon his drip style at the height of his fame.

Steered Serendipity and Creative Interactions for Remote Workers

The idea of designing office buildings for serendipity has been embraced for decades, especially in established and emerging technology hubs. Architects create designs that encourage employees to move through the space, with the hope of catalyzing impromptu interaction and serendipitous encounters.

The goal is to break down the silos and echo chambers of the old-line office environs in favor of a more vibrant and collaborative workspace. These workspaces are characterized by architectural elements such as expansive atriums, informal gathering spaces, reconfigurable walls, community cafes, and outdoor working patios.

Now, however, many of these gleaming engines of workaday serendipity sit empty. Hollow husks awaiting the return of their former occupants, most of whom were pressed into remote work because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The reality, though, is that many of these people will not return. At least not full time, or in full force. Remote work is here to stay.

Overcoming Perfectionism with Wabi-Sabi

I’m not a huge film buff or anything, but if someone were to ask me to name my favorite director, I would immediately say Stanley Kubrick.

First off, A Clockwork Orange is one of my favorite films of all time. And I’d put a bunch of other Kubrick films in my top fifty, namely Dr. Strangelove, The Shining, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Full Metal Jacket.

Kubrick’s cinematic contributions are outstanding, and he is considered one of the most influential directors in the history of film. However, he was also a notorious and relentless perfectionist.

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