#049 You Haven’t Changed a Bit
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Common Discourse is a project designed to help others (and ourselves) think through creativity, focus, and intentional work—from Alex Tan & Alice Otieno.
Every Tuesday we share words from a journal, a few ideas, a quote from somebody else, and links worth sharing. On Fridays we invite a guest to share images from their camera roll and a sound that resonates with them.
From Alex —
There are some experiences in life you don’t forget even if you tried, like not being allowed into your own company holiday party because you’re under-aged.
In hindsight, it feels impossible, but when I was 20 I convinced an agency to hire me because I was hungry and desperate to give my parents a reason to leave the accounting program that was supposed to promise me a secure future.
My first boss from that job was in town this weekend and we were able to catch up over brunch at Salt’s Cure in West Hollywood. (Shout out to the OG hotcakes…ˢʰᵉᵉˢʰ )
As we were chatting about all the things that have drastically shifted since the day he decided to hire me, I mentioned “It’s insane how much I’ve changed since the day I met you.”
He took a couple bites of his food without any initial response, then finally said, “You haven’t changed a bit. You’re just finally realizing that you’re the person I knew you were the day you walked in the office.”
Making a difference means placing your bets early and investing in what will be even if there’s little to no return now. You may even change someone’s life. He sure as hell changed mine.
A few ideas
When we were building MW.S at the only office space we could afford inside a warehouse on Skid Row, it didn’t feel beautiful. It didn’t feel beautiful when we were losing pitches to more established agencies. And it didn’t feel beautiful, the few times our bank account was thinning out when rent was due.
In retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful. The focal point of every achievement is the humble reminder of the difficulties we go through to get there.
Some of our greatest moments in life are not pleasant, successful, known, or positive in the moment but feel the most rewarding in hindsight.
The quality of conversation is a two way street. When we listen intently, we invite the speaker to invest more of themselves into the dialogue. We welcome them to speak more honestly, openly, and dare them to go places they might hesitate to move toward otherwise.
In a world full of distractions, hardly anyone is listening, meaning there’s less care in what’s being said.
If you want to walk away with something, let them know you can hear & understand them.
III. BY DESIGN
Disney World wouldn’t feel special without the ornate buildings, characters in costume, and environments that are built to bring you inside the screen you experience at home.
Apple’s products would certainly feel overpriced if they weren’t displayed on solid maple hardwood tables, unevenly distributed, and had tangled cables everywhere.
Design is a subtle language that makes all the difference.
A quote from somebody else
“The ability to ask beautiful questions, often in very unbeautiful moments, is one of the great disciplines of a human life. And a beautiful question starts to shape your identity as much by asking it as it does by having it answered. And you don’t have to do anything about it. You just have to keep asking. And before you know it, you will find yourself actually shaping a different life, meeting different people, finding conversations that are leading you in those directions that you wouldn’t even have seen before.”
— David Whyte, On Being interview “The Conversational Nature of Reality”
Links worth sharing
🏢 Why American architecture is becoming more homogenous every day.
😣 When it all feels like too much, embedded
✏️ Love these drawings by Richard Feynman
🙇♂️ Things you’re allowed to do
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