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.
I have hobby addiction phases. Like right now, I’m dealing with a reborn love for tennis. I play 4-5 times a week, bought all new gear, study technique videos on youtube, & watch the sport on television whenever I can. It’s all I can think about.
Mackenzie makes fun of me for going through these cycles, but I literally can’t help it.
I mostly love what the sport is teaching me mentally. Having the fortitude to prevent myself from carrying previous frustrating points into the next one, realizing my biggest obstacle is always going to be myself, and using repetition as building blocks for improvement.
Slow growth type shit, but make it a sport!
I’ve been going back and forth on getting a trainer, and keep stopping myself with, “Am I really going to spend money on something that isn’t going to take me anywhere?”
The more I think about it, one of the worst reasons that we use to stop advancing in anything is realizing that we’re not going to reach a level that somebody else has already. We stop investing in ourselves once we believe we won’t be a professional athlete, a profound author, or award-winning whatever.
Ava from Bookbear this week mentioned something similar on the topic of envy,
“We also convince ourselves that success is a zero-sum game; seeing someone else achieve a goal makes us perversely feel like there are reduced odds of us achieving the same thing, even when the opposite is true.”
It’s too late for me to be Nadal, but I just feel better knowing that I completely maximized my potential in whatever I do.
This feels like a good way to live.
A few ideas
There are a few things about gardening that are extraordinarily parallel to the way we should be crafting our ideas, work, and relationships:
A gardener does not dig up a seed the day after it’s planted to see if it has grown. For many days, it will appear that you are giving such care to a pile of dirt, until one day, break-through happens.
A gardener does not only water a plant after it has bloomed. Most people will hop on board after something is already beautiful, but as the creator, you must give the care and attention long before anyone else can see the results.
Planting a seed and eating the fruit can never happen in the same day. The fruit eaten from the grocery store will never feel the same as the one you picked off a tree you planted. Delayed gratification will always mean more to us than that which comes instantly.
II. WRITE IT DOWN
At this point, we’ve gotten really great at “writing it down”
We’ve been trained to take notes, snag photos, and add things to our bookmarks so we don’t forget about them.
The more important question that nobody has bothered to ask is what to do with it all.
Components are ultimately the building blocks of a story, project, or idea, but accumulation means nothing without connection.
What are the footprints of your life adding up to?
Often times you’ll find yourself exhausted not from having done too much, but rather doing too little of what sparks life in you.
The things we truly love in this life leave us only wanting more.
A quote from somebody else
"Words set things in motion. I’ve seen them doing it. Words set up atmospheres, electrical fields, charges. I’ve felt them doing it. Words conjure. I try not to be careless about what I utter, write, sing. I’m careful about what I give voice to.”
— Toni Cade Bambara
Links worth sharing
🗣 Even though Kanye says some pretty wild things sometimes, we can’t deny his genius in moments such as these.
❓The beauty of conversation lies in the questions we ask. This channel catalogues questions, within a range of topics, that encourage compassionate curiosity.
🌺 Beauty Is A Method - Came across this piece a few weeks ago and have found myself returning to it every so often. Such a tender documentation of the way beauty can be found in the everyday, and simplest moments of our lives.
🍃 Take a walk, plant a seed and meditate in Soft Space. A website that aims to frame human-computer interactions, prompting users to reflect on their internet behaviours through web-based art.
🌏 Land Lines lets you “draw” to find satellite images matching a line/shape, and “drag” to create an infinite line of connected landscapes.
Thanks for consuming!
ℹ️ Read more about Common Discourse here.
📬 If you like this newsletter, please consider sharing with others who might enjoy it as well.
🗂 Here is every Common Discourse weekly briefing to date.
🐤 We have a Twitter feed where we populate things that resonate.
⭐ We use Are.na as a tool to archive specific aspects of this project.
🗣️ This project is more fun when there is dialogue amongst those who are reading. Use the comment feature at the bottom of this article to start a conversation, we’ll use your ideas for future briefings and food for thought.