Updated: Sep 9, 2021

A line from Morgan Housel’s Psychology of Money:

If you risk something that is important to you for something that is unimportant to you, it just does not make any sense

Morgan talks about this in the context of an investment company who’s brokers were millionaires, made from their earlier decisions and yet put everything on line (to become billionaires) and went broke because of one bad decision.

So much of the book to me not only talks about the way humans handle money but the way they handle their life. The quote is true as much for human relationships with one another as with money, career, nature, you name it.

More often than not we forget to weigh in what we actually have and are capable of in the present moment when we set our eyes on the greener side. Our desires take us away from enjoying the present and if and once we are in the future which we wanted someday, that too will be ruined by looking forward

If expectations rise with results there is no logic in striving for more because you’ll feel the same after putting in extra effort.

In the creative professions, as beginners we would love to have some skills in the things we pursue and we work our asses off, but when we do get the things we worked so hard for the joy of it gets pushed off some more into the future. We don’t look at the tools in our bag that have grown tremendously and start utilizing them, but look at someone else who has honed their craft much better. We forget plainly that we didn’t start out wanting to become JK Rowling or Herge (or even the legions of instagrammers who are better than us in varying degrees). We started this because we wanted to simply be able to create, to express.

For both the stock broker and the creative the greed to pocket big gains, either creatively or financially become the focus and makes them risk something precious. For the creative his time and the broker his money.

One of my favorite Bruno Mars songs:

A line from Cal Newport’s Deep Work:

”These efforts, (cartoonist Tim Kreider) is convinced, need support of a mind regularly released to leisure

..a mind regularly released to leisure. I’ve often found myself at the thin end of not taking breaks thinking I can somehow fix the solutions of my designs by working more on them. But as Cal beautifully puts it in his book

“some decisions are better left to your unconscious mind to untangle. In other words, to actively try to work through these decisions will lead to a worse outcome“

An experience comes to mind of when I attended the writing workshop, Handwash my heart by artist / poet, Christine Herzer. It was very odd for us to be given long breaks to do almost nothing between the sessions that she would have with us. We would have small instigations that would take about 45 mins to an hour in the morning and be set free for about three hours and meet post lunch to discuss if (at all) we had any notes that came off of it and to share it. There were no rules but it was considered ideal to be isolated from each other and we did without persuasion. Needless to say all of us not only wrote some astonishing stuff (things that still surprise me) but found a deep joy in the whole process.

When working on client projects, even now, at times I struggle with taking breaks. Largely an influence of a conditioning festering into our lives from the industrial age where working more would produce more. We are firmly rooted in the information age presently and with it we are flummoxed with the brutality of the plenty and as such, value in this age is not in creating more quantities but processing what we have deeply.

Quoting from the book again:

“for decisions that involve large amounts of information and multiple vague, and perhaps even conflicting, constraints, your unconscious mind is well suited to tackle the issue”

And taking deep breaks is the only way to ignite our unconscious mind and let it work its magic.

In ’The Art of Noticing’ Rob walker quotes Todd B. Kashdan, a professor of psychology at George Mason University.

”(Kashdan refers to) curiosity as ‘joyous exploration’ - defined as ‘the recognition and desire to seek out new knowledge and information, and the subsequent joy of learning and growing”

I feel given the rigours of professional life, the only way to be constantly and fruitfully engaged is to choose the stream one is curious about. Curiosity is the playful tenderness that guides the mind through the joys and tribulations of life, be it in work or otherwise. It is my feeling that no work can be expressed to its peak without having a deep curiosity about it. What all are we curious about? We all have a unique combination of it, it might even be the question that constitutes what we call our identity. Human behavior - blues music - high altitude mountaineering - visual art - films are a few of the things that I’m curious about and in a way, my inclination to them is my current identity.

Conversely drudgery is probably the other end of the spectrum where curiosity has left one’s heart and soul and each task is dealt mechanically. Like an automaton we perform tasks day in and day out, fuelled by our own misguided expectations or the ones we inherit from our society. But without curiosity, this joyous exploration, do we at the end of each day feel fulfilled in our quest or hollow? We do owe to ask ourselves this.