#020 On Certainty
And writing as a vehicle to trusting ourselves
We hardly worked on productions in 2020 after investing ourselves in digital design and strategy at the perfect time (luckily), but as restrictions have eased, we put together a two day photo and video shoot at the end of last week for one of our clients. I saw a lot of people I haven’t talked to in nearly a year. Also, I literally couldn’t move the next morning when I woke up. With my ankle still healing, I haven’t done anything that physically taxing in a long time.
Before the shoot, I was catching up with a somebody that I’ve worked with plenty but haven’t seen in quite some time.
“Common Discourse is so good man, thanks for putting it out there.”
I sometimes forget that people read this newsletter. And that in any moment, I have to stand behind what I’m putting out in the world.
Creative work, writing specifically, requires so much certainty: faith in the quality of the writing, in your observations, and in the narrative you’re throwing out there for people to consume. A lot of people write to think but it might be more accurate to say that we write to know: to define a reality, understand our place within it, face what we feel, decide how we respond, and establish a set of beliefs that ultimately shape the way we view the world and approach it.
I used to always need the validation of my beliefs. I wanted people to think my job was cool, or that my bio on social had impressive past and present employers, and sometimes I’d tweet bits of thought and delete them if they didn’t get enough attention (cringe but true). I realize now that I will never stand on my own two feet if my judgement is constantly derivative of my community. Whichever the wind blows, I’ll go with it.
But writing, the ability to establish what I know and believe, has taught me how to work through things alone. It’s taught me how to focus when others are not necessarily focused on me. And most importantly, it has taught me how to trust myself.
Make It Yours, a thought from Alex Singh:
Whether reading a book, watching a film, or observing a painting, make sure you make it yours.
That means internalizing your perception via a filter, ideally in relation to an idea, point of view or project you're currently engaged with.
Often, you will have a stronger connection to the work, as you are embodying it within a relatable context. And it enables you to appreciate the work over time, via different vantages.
Ideas from me
I. WORKING BETTER
At any given point in time, I’m forgetting to do one or more things on this list. When I’m consciously practicing all 10, I’m at my best.
Do one thing at a time
Use do not disturb mode
Know the problem
Learn to listen
Question the question
Filter out what does not matter
Accept that change is inevitable
Admit your own mistakes, and don't point when mistakes come from others
Say it with as few words as possible
II. SMALL DECISIONS
Constantly question whether or not your focus, time or money is spent on the things that generate the majority of the results.
The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle states: 80% of the output or results will come from 20% of the input or action. The small decisions are the ones that account for the majority of the results.
III. FINITE TIME
At many moments, there will be multiple choices and paths we can take, but choosing one can mean losing all the rest.
If we don’t make conscious and deliberate decisions about how we spend our finite time, life will decide for us.
Quote from somebody else
“Our modern obsession with personal branding and self-commodification wants us to flatten ourselves into something someone else can understand in five seconds, but that’s just not how people are, and it seems cruel to deem anyone so simple, least of all ourselves.”
— Somebody on the Internet, Found Source
Links worth sharing
💃 Fashion jobs that are in demand now and likely to stay.
🌐 Related to that note, this modern fashion show execution from Marine Serre is something worth taking notice of.
🔠 Create Your Own Font based on a personality questionnaire, just for fun
🟢 stream. is a collection of evolving ideas — heterogeneous elements and assemblages by Valeria Granillo
👕 Sunnei releases a Do What You Want tee shirt collection
❓ Shemas of Uncertainty — a research project on the relation between prediction and prescription within current socio-political structures.
Thanks for another week!
Common Discourse is a weekly briefing designed to help others (and myself) think through creativity, focus, and intentional work. It hits your inbox every Tuesday at 9:17am.
ℹ️ Read more about Common Discourse here.
📬 If you like this newsletter, please consider sharing with others who might enjoy it as well.
👉 If you’re new here, sign up to receive future briefings.
🗂 Here is every Common Discourse weekly briefing to date.
💬 Reply to this email to open up a conversation, I always respond.