#098 Choosing Resistance
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 an idea from us, 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.
Mackenzie and I both thought it’d be a good idea to start the year with a health challenge after ending 2023 with little to no structure. We roped a few friends of ours into doing 75 Hard, which is more of a mental toughness challenge than anything. I’m quite embarrassed of the person who founded the challenge and don’t co-sign anything they stand for, so I’ll save you all the Googling and just tell you about it here.
For 75 days straight you have to do the following. If you miss anything, they say you have to start over.
Work out two times per day for 45 minutes each. One of which has to be outside. I usually do strength training in the morning, then walk outside at lunch or play tennis in the evening.
Drink a gallon of water.
Read 10 pages of non-fiction.
Follow a diet. The only required rule is no alcohol. My diet choice is no refined sugar, no fried food, and no nicotine.
Take a progress photo.
Here is my consensus so far (28 days in):
It is indeed hard
75 days is a very long time
I wake up at 6a and go to bed at 10p. Because my work schedule is demanding, every second of the day is occupied with some sort of task in mind
I haven’t watched any TV or played Playstation since we started
I also am finding it hard to find time to write
I don’t see my friends that often
There is nothing I can do at a bar aside from drinking soda water with lime
Even though Mackenzie and I work together and are married, we’ve had a hard time finding quality time to spend with one another
Drinking a gallon of water is the most difficult part for me
I feel amazing physically
I sleep for 8hrs straight with no interruptions, unless I finish my water too late.
I don’t get midday crashes
I don’t think a program like 75 Hard is sustainable for the long-term, but I think it’s probably doing something good in me for now. Come to think of it, a little bit of resistance does something good in all of us.
Throughout most our lives, we're faced with a choice between what's natural versus taking a few extra steps. We naturally shift into our most efficient state, finding ways to avoid conflict, waste less energy, and seek comfort.
When I look back on projects that we've been able to drag over the finish line at MW.S, the ones we write home about were not on auto-pilot. The best work has been made when we intentionally choose paths of resistance—when we choose to have the hard conversation, when we choose to internally disagree with one another, or even when we choose to push back against a paying client.
Ease produces results we already know. Resistance creates something new.
Similar to the work, I’m hoping a little mental and physical resistance will take me somewhere new.
An few ideas from us
I like to resurface old writings every now and then for new subscribers. Here are a few that I felt were worth resharing.
I. BIG PROBLEMS
It may be obvious but important to remember that a big problem is a bunch of little problems working together. Many people will fall into paralysis because they’re unable to see past the obstacle. The successful person can break it down into smaller parts and start chipping away until light breaks through.
Identify the little problems
Solve one thing at a time (Don’t let yourself get distracted by the larger picture)
Repeat until there are none left
II. A DIFFERENT KIND OF YES
Become a person that is very clear in your ability to say “No” so that people can trust your “Yes” in a much more significant way than they’re used to in others.
III. STEP OUTSIDE
We hardly ever give ourselves more than one shot to tackle the same problem. A walk around the block, a good night's rest, a conversation with a friend, or some level of physical exertion can change everything.
The answers are in there somewhere, you just have to step outside yourself to see it. Don't give up too early.
A quote from somebody else
“Process is more important than outcome. When the outcome drives the process we will only ever go to where we’ve already been. If process drives outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we will know we want to be there.”
— Bruce Mau
Links worth sharing
💐 Solange, In Service to Whom (2023) continually inspired by Solange’s practice, her ability to not be bound by medium or form, and commitment to documenting her evolution throughout the years.
🪁 A,B and C have a conversation on storytelling, language and narrative structures
🌈 A guide for understanding the seasons within seasons
🫂 Be a best friend by Jet T
🧣 Mackenzie & Alex launched esmé, a mohair scarf brand designed in Los Angeles and made in Peru. F/W ‘23 originally sold out within 48 hours but has been recently restocked for end of season. Purchase online now and follow the Instagram for brand updates.
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