Lifelong Learning & Playing

I was looking at some résumé templates on Pinterest the other day and I laughed at what I was seeing. Most templates showed 80% of the résumé as being work experience and just 20% of it being your formal education.

This perfectly shows how outdated things are today and why résumé are inadequate to show the potential of a person in the future emerging presently because your working and learning should be continually ongoing. Even what you’re playing with should be in there as well. By this I mean things you’re experimenting with to see if they are interesting paths to pursue for further learning and work.

Yet that’s not what we’re seeing today because we’re still stuck in the past. We need to move from outdated best practices to newer emergent practices, whereby playing, learning, and working are continually ongoing aspects of life, rather than just a serial one way path from childhood to adult.


Adding Unsupported Music Services to the Sonos Google Assistant

Last year we purchased a Sonos Beam soundbar speaker to completely replace our previously outdated Harmon Kardon sound system and speakers within our living room. Near the end of the year, we also decided to add an IKEA Sonos-compatible SYMFONISK Bookshelf speaker to our kitchen as well. So far we’ve been loving the ease of use and sound of them overall.

Wanting to finally play around with the voice assistant capabilities of the Sono Beam, I activated Google Assistant on it recently and I’m also really enjoying the basic functionality of it for doing things like increasing or decreasing the sound volume, pausing playback, or skipping songs.

One drawback I noticed though is that the voice assistants only support a very limited range of music streaming services. One music streaming service we’ve been loving lately has been Stingray Music, primarily because of it’s human-crafted stations which go well beyond the 50 song playlist limits of other music streaming platforms (i.e. Spotify). Unfortunately Google Assistant doesn’t support Stingray Music even though Sonos does, so I couldn’t play its stations with it.

To get around this problem, I noticed that you could link your Sonos system and Google Assistant using to create custom voice commands to play music stations on unsupported music platforms like Stingray Music. To do this, all you need to do first is just add the station to your Sonos Favourites and then create an applet which links to that favourite similar to this one.

Needless to say, this is pretty wild because it allows someone to potentially create Google Assistant voice commands for many other things that aren’t normally supported by Google Assistant as well.


Making a Living By Just Living

Capturing the essence of what you do.

In watching a variety of people share what they love to do online over the years (like Li Ziqi above), I’ve been noticing a pattern emerging. To many of these people, they’re just simply living their life and by doing so, they are make a living out of it.

Of course for this to work, you need to create a system, a process, and an environment that seamlessly and effortlessly can capture the essence of what you’re doing, while you’re doing it. I’ve found this extremely difficult to do in even capturing the essence of my own life’s work, as probably 80% of what I’ve learnt and know I haven’t shared yet. Often times, this is because I don’t capture the essence of what I’m doing in the moment but do it later. But by doing it later, I find a lot of the essence, the feeling of what I was doing in that moment, is lost.

More than just sharing what you know, what is also important is how you share it. In Li Ziqi’s video above, I find it remarkable that she’s effectively just getting out of her own way and letting her work speak for itself. In comparison, most Western shows would have the person talking and gabbing away while they work, similar to how most cooking shows do today (to the point I have to change the channel because I find it too overwhelming and distracting).

She, in comparison, remains silent for the most part, thus creating and holding this otherworldly presence that enfolds you and invites you in, creating a relaxing sense of time and space for your own life. This is comparable to some artists I’ve seen who record their work and share the emergent creative process as it quietly unfolds.

All said and done though, I believe everyone has a hidden talent and potential that they rarely recognize because it’s second nature for them (perhaps even believing that everyone can do it, so it’s not that big of a deal). If given the chance to share this talent and presented so in the right way to compliment what they’re doing, I think most people could make a living by just living and being themselves.


Being Yourself

Working on living your life your way.

I use the term “work”, because it’s more understood, but really it’s “me time” — doing what I love. Writing, learning, improving, and creating. Whether it’s creating music, websites, books, or companies, it’s all just creating.

The word “workaholic” would apply, except it’s play, not work. It’s completely intrinsic — just following my own interests. I’ve found what I love, and do it as much as possible.

Derek Sivers

I’ve said before that The Future of Work goes beyond just working and integrates both learning and playing into it as well. And furthermore, that the outcome of this integrative process, the transformative effect of it, is that we are finally able to just be ourselves (tying into my mantra of Be Real Creative).

With this in mind, it’s evident that The Future of Work as a descriptor for this change and transformation is an inadequate one. Calling it The Future of Living would probably be closer to the mark, as it incorporates playing, learning, and working as a collective, cyclic process of life.

Yet even The Future of Living seems inadequate to me, as it implies something not here yet, even though this new way of living is emerging right now and being practiced by many people on the edges of our society as we speak.

For some reason I’m reminded of my previous site subtitle of Life in Design. It was supposed to be a play on words, relating to my graphic and web design work in the past but it seems to have taken on a life of its own, representing now how I’m striving to design my own authentic life. Yet not design in the conventional sense, where you plan it all out ahead of time, but rather design in a natural sense (similar to permaculture) whereby your life’s design unfolds on its own by observing its patterns and seeing where it wants to naturally grow and go.

It’s funny when I think about this all. I’ve continually been shifting the articulation of my identity over the years (ie systems > identity > social innovation > creativity > play) to try to better encapsulate and “package” who I am. Yet I realize now I’ve done this continual shifting because I’ve been focusing on the wrong thing. I’ve been focusing on the how of my work rather than the why of it all.

In effect, the why of my life’s work is striving to help myself and others to just be themselves within a world that wants and even expects them to be someone else. Systems, identity, social innovation, creativity, and play are all just the ongoing methods and means I’m continually learning of how we can create environments that allow us to just be ourselves.

Again I laugh at the absurdity of the statement that my life’s work is just striving to be myself. And yet it seems almost poignant when one questions what “life’s work” means? I initially thought it was something that took you your entire life to achieve but perhaps it goes beyond this. What if your life’s work is the work of living an authentic life in itself?

Again to many, this might sound stupidly simple to achieve…until they realize how much of their life and identity is defined by others rather than themselves. Therefore being “nobody-but-yourself” is actually quite epically challenging, requiring a lot of courageous leadership and creative willpower to “follow yourself” and just be your authentic self.

To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight.

E.E. Cummings

Shifting Our Attention

Moving from getting attention to giving attention.

And so I feel compelled to speak up because in my experience the more I go after that powerful feeling of paying attention, the happier I am. But the more I go after the powerful feeling of getting attention, the unhappier I am. 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

The Value of Describing the Indescribable

The power of being able to express one’s feelings and identity.

And meanwhile in acting school, I was really for the first time discovering playwrights and characters and plays that had nothing to do with the military but were somehow describing my military experience in a way that before to me was indescribable.

And I felt myself becoming less aggressive, as I was able to put words to feelings for the first time and realizing what a valuable tool that was.  

Adam Driver

Imagining a World of Play

Expressing the deeper, real meaning of my life’s work.

While reading an article on Creativity & Play: The Whole Child and another on What is Self-Expression & How to Foster It?, I realized something deeper about myself and my life’s work.

While my journey obviously started with seeing things wrong with the way that work worked and thus starting my research on The Future of Work, it’s apparent that it has moved well beyond this but I haven’t accepted this truth yet, even though I’ve been mentioning and embedding hints of it in my writing.

What I’m talking about here is how our society as a whole is effectively killing and constraining play in a larger context, beyond just the work world, and thus killing our self-expression, growth, and potential in the process. For example, society as a whole, with our families as representations of them, often try to get us to avoid playing “outside the lines” and would rather we learnt the hard way to “work within them”.

This has made me realize, after looking at my site’s subtitle of Imagining a Better World of Work Through Play, that really what I’m simply trying to do with my life’s work is Imagining a World of Play, one in which the permission to play with our lives isn’t even required but is rather our given expressed sovereign right (which ties into my mantra of Be Real Creative as an expression of How Play Leads Us to Our Authentic Selves).

In saying this out loud, it mirrors with the arc of my life’s story in that I started out “playing within imaginary worlds” but now I’m “imagining a world of play” that we can all truly express ourselves within. This also rings true with what I have learnt through play throughout my life. It is play that has continually allowed me to step outside my shell and become something much larger than my previous self with each passing year.

And finally, it mirrors with how my journey started, when I read The Cluetrain Manifesto many years ago. At the time, I thought it was all about just the work world but the final closing paragraph of the book made me realize over the years that this Big Shift we’re encountering is going beyond just work as well.

Imagine a world where everyone was constantly learning, a world where what you wondered was more interesting than what you knew, and curiosity counted for more than certain knowledge. Imagine a world where what you gave away was more valuable than what you held back, where joy was not a dirty word, where play was not forbidden after your eleventh birthday. Imagine a world in which the business of business was to imagine worlds people might actually want to live in someday. Imagine a world created by the people, for the people not perishing from the earth forever.

The Cluetrain Manifesto

Science = Play + Intention

Understanding play in a much larger context.

Beau Lotto, author of the book Deviate, being interviewed and talking about how science and play are a way of being which helps us in turn understand play within a much larger context of our lives.

The way we do it is by not calling it science. Because if you ask “What is actually science?”, science is not a methodology. Science is a way of being. Right. Science actually evolved to be effectively play with intention.

That’s why we evolve play because everything you do, you do to actually decrease uncertainty, you hate it. But there is only one context where we love uncertainty and that’s play. And this is why play evolved. So play is a way of being that enables you to step into uncertainty. Science is just play with intention.

So then if you create a game, that’s play with rules, that’s an experiment. And then if you make observations of that experiment, you have data. So effectively we use science as a Trojan Horse, to enable kids to have the skills to ask questions and step into uncertainty. 

We don’t teach children how to ask questions. We teach them that the cash is in the right answer. Because it comes from Victorian times when we wanted kids to be efficient. But efficiency is only one side of innovation, the other side being creativity

What I find remarkable about his closing statement is that he’s effectively saying that they are trying to teaching kids how to ask questions. The irony of that statement is not lost on me, as it seems like kids would be asking questions naturally. But today it seems like they aren’t because we’ve unnaturally cultivated it out of them, so we have to reteach to them again.

Of course, for adults it’s even worse. We don’t ask questions because we don’t want to look incompetent, not understanding something. But even if we understand something too well, our questioning of the practice of it can jeopardize our sense of belonging and sense of place within society because it can seem like we’re “attacking” the status quo.


Finding The Seed of Your Work

One way to find the seed is to ask yourself this question: “What is the real meaning of my work?”

Dan Oestreich

How Do We Articulate Multipotentiality?

Going beyond the job as the core of our identity.

Michael Schneider over at Inc. has an article entitled Being a Leader is More Difficult Than Ever Before Thanks to These 5 Workplace Trends that talks about how leaders today are having a more difficult time (with a big assumption being that a manager is a “leader” in the first place). Reading through it though, it became apparent that a lot of the problems mentioned were natural stepping stones to evolving and transforming the organization to a higher stage of development, similar to what Frederic Laloux talks about within his book Reinventing Organizations. Therefore much of what was discussed didn’t surprise me and the answers seemed evident.

What stood out for me more so though was this small quote below that encapsulated a deeper problem that needed to be solved but with which practically no one seems to be working upon.

Jobs are becoming more and more convoluted. With less hierarchy comes more diffusion of responsibility. As a result, role intricacies increase as employees self-manage regularly operating outside the lines of their normal job descriptions.

Therefore based upon this truth, how can people in an organization find the right person to help with a problem if job descriptions obviously do not contain their full potential but rather just a small facet of them? What this means is that a lot of the potential of each person and the entire organization as a whole is effectively hiding in plain sight, blind to most people.

If so, it means we need a new way of articulating the potential of a person that goes beyond a job description for what they’re doing now and instead includes the multipotentiality of everything they’ve done, allowing them to be much more flexible and adaptable to our rapidly changing work.

This means that we need to transform the résumé, shifting it from a linear progression towards a singular point to instead showing the radial possibilities and potentiality of a person in many different ways, like the rays of a sun spreading out in many different directions.

But most important of all, we need a new way of perceiving and articulating the multipotentiality of each person in a way that others can easily understand in just a few words, rather than requiring a chaotically long list of hyphenated words to describe the person.

I believe the easiest way to do this would be to try to understand what is this “core” at the center of each person that their multipotentiality radiates out from. And I think if we find that, we will create a fundamental shift in the way we view ourselves and the world around us, in the same way that a fundamental shift occurred when we realized the Earth wasn’t the center of our solar system but rather the Sun was.

In this same way, we need to realize that jobs are not the center of our identity. There is something much deeper and more “atomic” (as Dick Boles liked to use the word) at our core.