same-same but different

Empathy is a handful. Its difficulty resides in its simplicity, and we usually shy away from too simple tasks — they scare us.

Here’s a thought: we should think intently and write more about happiness. Take a moment to be grateful for something or someone, or think about something that makes you happy. Practising empathy is one road towards this path — did you know there’s no angry way to say bubbles? I dare you, try it for a few times and laugh at the silliness of it 🙂

Practice openness and acceptance through the eyes of empathy, not because it’s a must-do. More like a feel-do. And then, practice seeing the others and thinking really, really hard if they’re actually the others and us, us.

What if we’re same-same but different? What if we take this limited perspective of us vs others and shift the angle; and let ourselves be amazed by the possibilities that lie ahead.

Empathy is not a button we press to activate a state, neither it’s something we can do only when we feel like it. Empathy is our mind in motion, acting as if and constantly challenging us to be more. More understanding, more forgiving, more present. And since it’s a balance exercise, it’s also challenging us to be less judgemental, less fisty, less absorbed in vacuum activities like mindlessly browsing social media or checking our emails whilst somebody is talking to us.

Next time you find yourself in a difficult situation with someone you see as the other, try and find the similarities that can bring you closer, and focus less on what can distance you more. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

tiny gestures

Call a friend today and say that pending ‘thank you’, it will make a difference.

Everything we do has a backend story to it, some unseen work, some unsung heroes, or some credit still needing to be given. When’s the last time you thanked your mom, for being your ever supportive and nagging champion? Or that friend who thinks you’re cuckoo but is there for you ’cause life’s short and friends rare? Or the barista who smiles at you at 7 am and wishes you a grand day ahead?

We should say ‘thank you’ more often. This is not about manners, though we should talk about those too, especially when it comes to the perception shift when changing the culture. This is about giving credit where credit is due, the more so if it’s behind the scenes work made by a team which the public won’t know about.

We all tell stories, be it via digital media, or in person, or in written media. We chose an angle (or more), and run with it until we make our point. In marketing and communications, so many people contribute to one single story, it’s amazing. It takes a tribe, eh?

The idea or the story are at the front; the messages it convenes; the feeling(s) it transmits. But then, there’s also the people. The strategy lady, the coffee guy, the brand artsy guru and so on. Most of these people are the invisible ones, the ones nobody thinks about when reading that story. And that’s okay. Here is where there’s some behind the scenes magic just waiting to happen, and it’s as easy as telling to someone who needs to hear it a heartfelt ‘thank you’.

My thanks of the day go to a bunch of awesome ladies, who make me better just by believing in me and reminding me I am worthy and enough and that’s kinda awesome. Go on, pick up the phone, say that overdue thanks 

train stations and (digital) tribes

When I was a kid, I had this ritual with my grandpa – he picked me up from home, we would go get croissants for me and a newspaper for him, and then we would take the tram to the train station. Towards which one of the 3 we were heading it didn’t really matter; what did was that we were together and that we would be train-watching. And people watching. This was indeed THE best thing to do, and it was perfect in every way.

I’ve always loved people watching, and I’m guessing that we all have a voyeuristic side of sorts. And I love train stations. The funny thing about train stations – they’re ‘suspended’ in time and space. Space typology is made up of temporal perspectives, and train stations usually give us a good glimpse into a city’s anatomy. Hence, we can perceive them as transition spaces, sometimes unaware of the fact that the private-public distinction lies in the eyes of the travellers.

Train stations belong to nobody, but they’re used by everybody, so their emotional charge is huge – can you even imagine? People always on the move, going places, doing things. They’re incredible, dynamic places.

Like digital spaces. They’re nobody’s and everybody’s, and if you’re lucky enough to have found your tribe, then things are pretty much great. The beauty about finding your people in this digital day and age is that you’re no longer bound by space or time to one place.

Digital train stations are all sorts of places, from Seth Godin’s Akimbo workshops (oh man, if that’s not an awesome, generous bunch of people, then I don’ know what is!) to the Do Lectures and Paul Jarvis’ Co1 to James Smith’s JSA. Which means we no longer have excuses for not going places. For not doing things.

We live in a world so utterly connected, that we sometimes forget about the possibilities that lie out there. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Who do you need to reach out to make that happen?

13 cups of coffee

Some people whoosh through your life, some people challenge you, some make you a better person. You never know, at first. As leaves dry up, stories unfold, and some people stay a little longer, some are gone with the fall.

The first coffees with Penny were either too rushed, or too hot, or not enough. And then, time slowed down, and the coffees were just right. About this time last year, Penny decided she wanted a makeover for her side project. She thought well, and she thought long before approaching us for this project. Not because she did not want to work with us, but because she wanted to get the timing right.

You see, timing is everything. Penny is a medium. So, we started working on the revamp late last August. It was a journey full of discoveries. As autumn flew in, she looked at the past and she asked for inspiration. We were trying to find the right shape for the meaning this revamp bore, as she was growing out of a shell into a new one.

the magic

It’s challenging, to say the least, to encompass one’s spiritual journey in a few shapes and figures. To make it resonate with others who might be on similar. Turning to nature, we found the nautilus – majestic, beautiful, ever-evolving. And it stuck with us.

The nautilus is a symbol for an ever-evolving journey, with no set destinations, just well-thought intentions. A good reminder we’re only going forward.