This Is Shameful

During an afternoon stroll with my daughter, we came across a family of ducks with three little ducklings. It was the first time she’d ever seen the cute fluffy things darting around looking for food. The delight on her face was just gorgeous. Then my heart leapt into my throat as we glanced ahead to see these two shameful sightings. What are we doing? What kind of world are we bringing our children into? We are abusing nature.

If everyone took more responsibility and became more connected with nature and the world around us, noticed the impact of our actions upon our environment and the habitat of earth’s creatures, would we still behave this shamefully?

While we’re being fogged with an abundance of information and obsessed with technological advancements, we need to become more aware of, and more connected to, our natural habitat, the one big thing that gives us life – the air we breathe, the paths we walk and the little delights we love to see (if we’re not too consumed to notice them).

What are you doing to make a difference? 

Thoughtful

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I’m walking to a meeting and have just seen this sign. It’s nothing remarkable. It’s just thoughtful. I didn’t need to divert to either, but I did stop to think and take this photo.

Sometimes our needs and emotions ‘in the moment’ can cloud our ability to think straight. Someone was thoughtful enough to go one step further, to reassure and guide us swiftly towards our destination.

Often the small things make a difference.

Obsessed by Design

Every time I see an Airstream my heart races.

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Its design is distinctive, retro, shiny… equipped with all the modern technology, within the smallest of spaces, customizable, movable… a space to live, work, play… and inspires adventures by land.

Airstreams are not for everyone, but that’s what makes them so desirable. You’re buying into an exclusiveness that appeals to a certain crowd. Much like Harley Davidson. Not everyone owns one, or wants one, but these brands give people a sense of belonging, identity, community and experiences for enjoying life.

People are obsessed by design and brands that make a difference.

Image: Airstream

Encouraging Different Conversations

Being forever curious about all things new, I recently booked myself into The School of Life Melbourne which opened in March this year. I signed up to the “How to Have Better Conversations” class and took my fiancée along too. I was just curious. The classes are designed to give useful insights around big themes in life, such as “How To Make a Difference”, “How To Realize Your Potential”, “How To Be Creative”, and heaps more.BLOG-CONVERSATIONS.001During class, Theodore Zeldin’s name came up a lot, amongst many others, expressing views on how to have better conversations. Intrigued to know more, I researched further and this quote struck a chord:

“I particularly value conversations which are meetings on the borderline of what I understandand what I don’t, with people who are different from myself.” Theodore Zeldin

How often do we seek to meet, or hang out with, people that are very different from us? Those who may make us feel a little uncomfortable or intimidated because they know something we don’t? We’re often too set in our ways and naturally gravitate towards comfort zones, and resist the unknown or difference. But if we do this too often, how can we possibly learn, be inspired, explore new thinking and be more creative? And essentially become more interesting.

Next time you’re talking to someone and you want to escape, try a little experiment… stick with it and learn something new.

Check out the events program at The School of Life in your city.

The Power of Cultural Icons

The iconic Stokehouse restaurant in St. Kilda, Melbourne, burned to the ground in January. It caused an outpouring of public grief. The popular summer location with its stunning views and buzzing atmosphere immediately picked itself and opened a pop up version just weeks later in time for Valentine’s Day. The public is now being invited to input on the future of this local icon by participating in the selection of one of three architectural designs for the new building.

BLOG-ICONS.001The Stokehouse has become such a popular local brand and cultural icon. When struck by disaster, the local community felt the pain too. The business responded fast and got back on its feet with a temporary solution that enabled everyone to continue enjoying what they had grown to love.

How many brands matter this much to people? Would they be missed if they disappeared tomorrow? Would they instantly bounce back, and with so much public support?

When we are bombarded by endless products, that have very little difference, brands that matter most to people are the ones that form the cultural fabric of life. They have the people behind them to support them through adversity.

That’s a cultural following worth creating.

Look at Yourself

It’s all too easy to point fingers when things aren’t going well. It’s always someone else’s fault, of course. The person you should really be pointing at is yourself.

Following on from my last post Precious Gifts, you’d very rarely get this behavior in a hospital. Why? Because everyone has each others backs, as a team, they need and respect each others presence, contribution and expertise. They’ve all earned it.

Q: Why does this healthy team behavior exist in hospitals, yet not in other work place environments?

A: They all know they’ve all worked really hard to deserve a place on the team.

Medical professionals spend many years in study and training. They’re screened every step of the way and only the toughest and most resilient are good enough to pass the training, make it through to a career and become the best in their field. In other work place environments the training isn’t as rigorous. And who’s doing the tough screening along the way? It just doesn’t exist the way it does in the medical world.

Which is why in other work place environments we often see a frenzy of finger pointing and cultures of blame when things don’t go smoothly. Who’s taking accountability for their own actions, and who has their teams back? It’s down to each individual, their professionalism and attitude, to contribute towards team success.

Look at yourself.

What are you doing to prove to your colleagues that you can be trusted and that you’ve earned your place on the team? Don’t focus on others, focus on yourself and what you’re doing for those around you.

Creating Smiles in Communities

A smile is powerful, whether its something or somebody that makes you smile, it has the ability to transform moods and behavior for the better. So why not encourage more smiles?

Smiles per Hour project, Melbourne, Australia

The Smiles per Hour project has been adopted by seven neighborhoods around Melbourne, Australia. The idea was created following research highlighting that locals wanted a friendlier and more connected neighborhood. A ‘Smile Spy’ walks a stretch of the street and counts the people who smile at them. Each neighborhood is then given a rating and this is documented on a graph to monitor annual performance. Its purpose is to encourage a friendlier local culture.

I wonder whether this idea would work in the neighborhoods of New York City, or would people think you’re weird or hitting on them? Regardless, we need to encourage and see more smiles, whether it’s through the work we do, what we create or how we behave, because smiling matters and connects people.