Paying Attention to My Energy

In recent days I’ve come increasingly aware that my energy and attention are finite. I have known this all along, of course, but it’s become very real to me these days as I've noticed my energy being stolen right out from under me. There are some negative drains, of course, though I believe it’s also partially due to the fact that I have a lot of worthwhile things to pour my energy and attention into—yet I seem to always run short. 

This isn’t to say that I run out of time—I have plenty of time.  It’s that I’m often not a great steward of my time like I wish I was. It seems like these days more than ever before there are more things tugging at my attention, promising to be a worthwhile use of my ever-vaporizing energy.  My mind would find lots of meaningless ways to spend my energy if it was able to self-govern and go about its way. It would assure my body had (too much) food, found entertainment, and left my feeling satisfied that I pursued a life of relaxation and leisure. Doing so would leave me in a place of feeling like I’ve ‘conserved my effort for something, someday that truly matters.  Leaving me to again look forward to the day when the fate-fairy drops true purpose in my lap.

Oh, brain, you so dumb. 

if I want to accomplish anything in this life that truly matters it’s going to take a huge investment of my energy and focused attention. My purpose on this earth and in this life won’t be realized without the intentional combination of these two finite resources.  Yet, what am I doing with them when I have the free time to do so? I flick scroll Reddit and social media, I binge watch shows I don’t really care about on Netflix, I add weird stuff to my cart on Amazon, or rearrange the apps on my phone. It’s all about ‘just relaxin’, cuz you know I've earned it.’ 


I haven’t earned it, it’s just my brain telling me that, so it can conserve energy and attention for something else that will never come unless I pursue it. Why do I let myself believe this lie?   My brain wants to be lazy so bad, but to accomplish my purpose in life I must to beat it into submission with my willpower whip.

My attention is desired by lots of things, and those things can take hold of my attention if I’m not deliberate about where it is focused—zapping the remainder of my energy.  There’s also people that, in an effort to distract themselves from their own mindless wandering, will drain you dry of any remaining zeal you might have for their own gain like a creepy evil spirit from Harry Potter. If great people add to and enrich your life, these types of people do the opposite, so I avoid them whenever possible. My willpower has enough work to do without excessive outside critique, interruptions, and emotional weight barraging it from all sides.

I know this is something I’m to be a steward of and I yearn to be more deliberate than I have been up to this point.  Now more than ever it's time to deliberately choose what gets my attention, what I spend my energy on, and not leaving it the highest/loudest/shiniest bidder.

Alas, I can’t say that declaring this on my website is going to be the catalyst that turns my life into a fulfillment factory that belches purpose smoke out of my attention chimney, though it certainly can’t hurt—right? 


Life Is A Pile of Lego Bricks

You know the pile I’m talking about. It’s the one that comes from the giant box of Lego blocks and pieces you can buy that comes with no instructions, no picture on the box to copy, it’s just hundreds (thousands?) of pieces. When you pour that bad boy out on the floor, it’s a healthy pile of intimidation for sure.

Why is that so scary though? Shouldn’t this be the most liberating bit of Lego building? “I WANT TO BE ABLE TO DO WHATEVER I WANT” is something we hear from each other all the time, and yet when given the chance we don’t know what to do with it. It’s like a dog chasing a car—what would they even do if they caught it? The paralysis that sets in when we’re left to choose our own destiny can be scary because we’ve never truly thought deep enough about what we would do if we had the chance. What would I do if had the chance to do anything and new I couldn’t fail? Can you answer that questions truthfully?

The truth is, we can’t know what we want without trying to know. In the Lego building example, we have all the pieces at our fingertips and yet we’re waiting around for someone to hand us the instruction book, or worse yet, a Millennium Falcon that’s already been built for us. 

That’s not how it works. 

You’ve got to start building, you’ve got to learn—fail—learn more—fail again—learn even more—repeat forever. When you can ramp into the understanding that the future is unknown and it’s yours to create, the pressure of failure melts away. A failure is only a failure if you don’t apply what you learned from it. So how do you begin? Where do you start? 

You just start. 

Go ahead, start. Go, do it. Do something. Do anything. Anything is better than nothing. Nothing kickstarts creative discovery like starting to mine in your brain for what could be possible. If you can get to work and get out as many ideas as you possibly can, amazing things will begin to unfurl before you. 

A lot of people believe they should be able to find the gems on the surface, where anyone should be able to stumble into them. The reality is if you want to find the real gems, you’ve got to dig. You’ve got to put in the work and really mine for that idea that no one else was willing to put in the effort to get to. Work hard, then work harder. It’s the one thing that *always* pays off. 

So if you’re trying to figure out your dream, your next step, your purpose in this life . . . start. Any direction is better than a lack of direction. You have everything you need to start. All the Lego bricks are just laying there and it’s up to you to figure out how they all go together to build something. Don’t wait for the instructions, or someone to help you, just start. 

Believe me when I say the destination isn’t as critical when you discover the journey is the part you really  were looking forward to all along.

Salvaging Obsession

Obsession is a word that gets a bad wrap. Obsession carries all the negative emotions of a life lived out of balance. It's common to place obsession in the same category as the word addiction. The association is often warranted, but I believe it's time we change that.

For me, obsession is what makes people interesting. Obsession manifests itself in different ways for different people and that's what makes it fascinating. Obsession is the desire to experience something to its fullest extent. Used for good, it can be what makes us try again after every one else has given up. Obsession is what makes us go beyond what is acceptable in pursuit of something fantastic that we believe in. Obsession describes a state of focus more than an involuntary dependence on an unhealthy vice (that's addiction).

Addiction can't be leveraged for good, though I believe obsession can. Obsession is more congruent with resilience than addiction. Resilience is revered and celebrated by all levels of our society. Once an obsession has bred success it is revered, and all the sacrifices it took to get to that place are forgotten.

Many of us don't even know what we'd like to obsess about. What is worth that kind of sacrifice on a daily basis? How can I even know that? I've been there—it ebbs and flows if I'm not deliberate about it. I find I have to ask: "what is the one thing I must do today, this week, this year?" far more often than I'm comfortable having to do on a regular basis. It's the only way to stay focused, to stay aware of my purpose, and to know where I need to grow.

I've decided that obsession is good for me. It's a lens through which to look at the things before me and decide what matters most. It helps me weed out the needless distractions. Obsession just might be what sets apart the thriving from the surviving. I'm ready to obsess, so I can do more than survive.

Stumbling Forward

I’m done giving off the illusion that it’s all peachy and going perfectly. I’m an amateur. A bonafide hack at best. And I've come to grips that’s ok. Everyone I look up to was a beginner once. Every genius knew nothing at first. Every artist didn't know how to hold a pencil at some point.

I used to be even worse, and though I’ve gotten better I still have a long way to go. There will forever be more that I don’t know than I’ll ever be able to know. It’s no secret that I have a lot of room to grow. Instead of holding out on this blog till the day I’ve got it all figured out and perfected (ha), I’m going to try to fail forward in public on this site as much as possible.

Prepare yourself for a lot of rambly writing, a plethora of poor sketches, and a bunch of shabby doodles. It'll all be in pursuit of being a little better than I was last week. The only way out is through. So, to help you be encouraged that you too can improve no matter where you are, I’m going to let my shabbiness hangout.

We'll see how this goes. Writing this out is the first step toward forward progress. No longer will I be frozen in the now for fear of what the future may hold. I'd rather clumsily stumble my way forward than never move for fear of failing.

Buckle in.

Ten Things I Wish I Knew Sooner Rather Than Later

Just stumbled across this and had to capture/share it. This is some sage advice from a very wise woman in the branding and creative field. I feel like I might need to repeat this to myself every day (perhaps multiple times).

  1. If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not taking enough risks.
  2. Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time.
  3. Work very, very hard.
  4. Ask for opportunities.
  5. Finish what you start.
  6. Say “yes and” to almost everything.
  7. Busy is a decision.
  8. Confidence is overrated.
  9. Learn and build from your failures, but…
  10. It is only a failure if you accept defeat.

Debbie Millman (From her talk at The Melbourne Writers Festival 2014)

Terrible Precedes Greatness

It's frustrating being bad at things. It's infuriating. The insecurity inside me of anyone seeing my work in its premature state makes me a little bit antsy, no matter how much I trust the person. However, at some point along the way we've all been terrible at everything we do. Every single one of us didn't know how to not poop our own pants for years. However, in the following years we begin to have our worth, our value, our perception of ourselves shaped by the measurement of the quality of what we produce. Our merit is what we're told makes us valuable. 

We are told there is a bar, an expectation, and goal that we're supposed to achieve that makes us acceptable as adequate. Perfection becomes the idol that we strive to please, yet rarely achieve. In school, taking risks isn't praised but is actually wrong, because our course is set for us and all we're supposed to follow it through obedience. If we're not behaving, we're reprimanded. We subject huge stretches of our formative years to the scrutiny of our academic system that is supposed to make us into the best version of ourselves, however it really just accentuates within us the fear of failure. Not being good enough, is something we believe so strongly about ourselves that we may not even realize there could be an alternative. 

This has been most challenging for me as someone who's chosen a creative job, and my entire purpose is to create things that have never existed before. The pursuit of a good idea is really difficult and batting 1000 is essentially impossible. If I'm honest, the thing I need to be doing most is pursuing bad ideas, because in those bad ideas, lie some good ones—amongst the good ones, there might even be a great one. But bad ideas are bad, right? We're expected to keep those to ourselves, for fear of ridicule and laughter from our peers and managers. But what if we have to get those out of the way as we dig for great idea? What are we so afraid of? 

Bad ideas are the key to great ideas. Even when it comes to painting, drawing, graphic design, skateboarding, whatever you want to be great at—you have to be comfortable in sucking terribly before you can be great. You have to be willing to push through the potential embarrassment of being wrong, in order to eventually be right. You have to be terrible before you can be great. 

I'm feeling this the most with drawing right now. My understanding of form is awful, my ability to capture emotion is pathetic, my ability to communicate movement is a struggle at best, but it's worth it because if I can eventually be comfortable with being terrible, I might eventually get better. If I get better, I might eventually get good—and that,is the goal. I can't be great now, I have to terrible first. I have to push through, even though it goes against everything I've been taught.

Agile Teams & Meaningful Decision Making

Small agile teams equipped and empowered to make decisions can make a difference in ways that consensus and bureaucracy couldn't even dream of.

I wrote this on my AquaNotes this morning and since it's a morsel too long to tweet I had to get the thoughts out of my head about the subject. It's not profound in and of itself, but the opposite of it is the natural drift of growing and successful organizations.

Most often, small teams are what are able to make things that matter. The ring of collaboration is a short circumference, it's vibrant, exciting, effective, and additive. Ideas get better in this because the banter is more conversational and less oration-like. Ideas are able to be bounced off one another and plussed rather than a "you listen while this person talks, then this person, then this person" style.

I've found a lot of success in situations where it's a small group of us bantering about copywriting, conceptual art, storylines, and the like. However, when I'm in cast of too many, consensus becomes the goal (or inevitable outcome), and it becomes increasingly difficult to walk out making a ground-breaking idea.

I don't have research for this, other than my experiential evidence, but so far, for me, it rings true. The thought of "Running something up the ladder" can seem normal in a corporate world where you're not entrusted or self-trusting enough to make a decision, but that's not how innovation occurs.

Often, new ideas are hated by at least half of a group when they first come out, because risk and new are scary. But those who believe in ground-breaking, normal-busting, exciting new endeavors are those that take organizations from good to great. I want to be a part of that kind of pioneering. Anyone can be a maintainer of the status quo, but it takes effort, handwork, wit, and an agile group of like-minded people to make something truly remarkable.


Strava has changed my life. It has given me a chance to not let my circumstances determine who I am. I am not a competitive person, so the idea of running races, training against or with others, and competitive sports are not motivating factors for me. I don't like the idea of someone else yelling at me to be better, because believe me I already know I am probably not doing good enough.

However, Strava has created a scenario where I could be competitive with myself—not with my current self, with my previous self. I could literally work incrementally harder to simply be a little bit better than I was yesterday, and aim to be a little bit better tomorrow. This kind of constant forward movement gives me permission to strive for my best, to find the motivation with me, to build the positive self-motivated habit within myself that's maintainable and sustainable. It helps me become the best version of me.

Don't get me wrong, I have loved the people I've gotten to meet on Strava who share the same goal and desire to just be a little bit better than yesterday. It's a great place where I've found a passive online community of like-minded niche people.

I love situations where I get to become better, to strive to be the best version of me that is closest to what God sees me as. With the help of Strava, Fitbit, and LoseIt! I have lost over 50 lbs, and been more active than I've been since high school (where I was basically forced to be uber-active thanks to high school basketball).

It's amazing what the internet can do, and I know it's only the beginning the kind of connections that can be experienced now that we're living in the future.

Private Life Outloud

I’m a rather private person. I don’t often share openly about what I’m personally struggling with outside of a very small circle. I’m not one to broadcast what I’m worried about, stresses, my faith, needs, desires, or even what I’m passionate about (which is probably more odd than I realize). I often find myself writing at the end of each day in Day One, honestly just decompressing my busy days. It’s a place to take a step back from the day full of input from meetings, conversations, advice, and feedback loops and trying to get out of the jumbled mess into an understandable order I can actually comprehend. I struggle often to find words in the moment, it often leaves me initially shying away from face-to-face conversations because I’m afraid of looking like an idiot in front of someone who has better things to do with their time than to listen to me babble about something until their boredom sets in with a fierceness like that of the panic of a snowy day in Atlanta. I don’t know what that facet of me is, but I can definitely tell it’s limited me in a lot of areas. It not only makes me terrible at meeting new people, I struggle to find helpful words in creative meetings (a huge part of my job that I always feel like I’m ever-failing at), I even have a hard time just talking with people I feel safe with. It makes me terrible at marketing, promoting, or talking about myself.

I long to be articulate, to be worth listening to, or to simply bring value to a conversation that I’m a part of. I want to learn to be able to organize the jumble of thoughts in my head into something worth listening to or reading.

I think the hardest yet most comforting mental state is realizing that God made me this way. He designed me this way, knowing my desires and dreams, to be dependent on Him in the times where I not only feel inadequate, but actually am. He’s created a need for Himself, in me. He’s also created me to not be lazy, to work hard, to persevere, to overcome the shortcomings within myself. I have a lot of learned behaviors that I’m constantly trying to refine so I can be more effective and valuable to my relationships, friends, and job role.

It’s possible that I may never feel confident in my ability, but I think if I ever do, it will be for the worst. My dependence on me would rise at the cost of my dependence and reliance on God, even in the little things. I want to be better, not so I look better, but so God in my looks His best.

Being someone who’s rather private, it’s no secret that I’m insecure about a lot of who I am and what I do, so I suppose it’s about time I say what everyone else is probably already saying about me. It’s time to be a bit more vulnerable, because it’s a lie if I think I’m keeping any secrets (I’m a terrible liar, even to myself).

I have lots of learning and growing to do, but the journey is better than the destination. Here’s to life lived richly, not in the pursuit of riches.

Non-Fiscal Investments

Investment. Defined as “the action or process of investing money for profit or material result.” I didn’t need to include that, you already knew it. We often can’t see through our obsession with financial success and comfort to realize there’s more we’re investing without realizing it. The second definition is lesser used, but more accurate to what the majority of us actually have to invest in lieu of our mega-millions.

Investment. “An act of devoting time, effort, or energy to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result.” Time. Effort. Energy. Things we all have a limited supply of, but things that we squander on a daily (maybe even hourly) basis. We’re not even aware what we have at our disposal until we’re looking back wishing things were different, only to deny we had the potential to make that difference the whole time.

I realize now more than ever that I don’t want to wait until the end of my life to look back and dream of what I could/should have done differently. I’m going to make those changes when I have the chance. The challenge is that it’s not just simply deciding to live my life with purpose and instantly things fall into place. It’s an endless series of small decisions that add up to and support the greater goal being pursued. It’s something you have to decide once, and then decide over and over again every minute of every day.

It’s worth living your life to the fullest, but I’m not just talking about a busy schedule in pursuit of fulfillment, but strategic investments in how to life a rich life. Not rich in money necessarily, but rich in memories, experiences, and reason and well invested time and effort.

You only have one pitcher of life to pour out, choose your cups wisely.

Opportunities for Distraction

Opportunities come to us most often when we aren’t looking for them. Opportunities for more busy work, to meet new people, make new connections, collaborate on a project, or to build something we’ve always dreamed existed. Opportunity is really an invitation to invest your time into something. But too many opportunities can start to become something you never wanted them to be. Like drinking from a firehose, it can quickly become too much of a good thing. Now these new endeavors have moved from opportunities to distractions.

We as humans are often terrible at saying no. We’re intrinsically afraid of rejection so we’ll over-commit ourselves with opportunities that will eventually distract us from the opportunity we hope will come one day. What if we’re making ourselves too busy to actually do what matters? What if, instead of doing what is most important, we’re wasting our time doing what is simply urgent.

It’s easy to waste time on something that is easy to accomplish. It’s predictable, it’s quick, it’s achievable and the goal is in sight from the get-go. On the contrary, doing something new, something risky, something exploratory often has a hopeful but unknown outcome, it can be daunting to begin when you don’t know how it ends. But if we only did things that were safe, we’d miss out on a lot of potential growth. After all, life is best lived outside of our comfort zones. Anything worth doing is often a risk. That big leap, asking out that girl for a first date, a new city, a hard conversation, a pouring out of your soul, taking on that project you’d not done before.

It’s terrifying. It’s vulnerable. There will be failure involved at some point along the way. But one thing’s for sure. Life is best lived as a journey, not a series of destinations. Where are you heading? What are you doing today that’s going to change your tomorrow?

Choose your opportunities.

The ABC of Architects

This is beautiful. An alphabetical list of the most important architects with their best known building.

I love the style, timing, and kinetic fluidity. Not to mention he's wise in starting out with already beautiful subject matter. Brilliant work from Federico Gonzalez & Andrea Stinga

Concept and Animation: Andrea Stinga, Federico Gonzalez

Art Direction: Federico Gonzalez

Music: The Butterfly from Eugene C.Rose and George Ruble, (Creative Commons)

you can download it → here.

Ways of Reading

Some insightful thoughts on the process of reading and writing and how they are meant to work together in tandem. I’ve always thought to read things in their entirety, perhaps discuss them with a friend throughout, then write my own editorial thoughts in some form post-completion. This article (which I’ve quoted below) from A Working Library by Mandy Brown is an eye-opening peek into a few methods and reasonings for reading differently—perhaps more intentionally—than I’d considered before.

Always read with a pen in hand. The pen should be used both to mark the text you want to remember and to write from where the text leaves you. Think of the text as the starting point for your own words.

Reading and writing are not discrete activities; they occur on a continuum, with reading at one end, writing at the other. The best readers spend their time somewhere in between.

Reading must occur everyday, but it is not just any daily reading that will do. The day’s reading must include at minimum a few lines whose principal intent is to be beautiful—words composed as much for the sake of their composition as for the meaning they convey.

A good reader reads attentively, not only listening to what the writer says, but also to how she says it. This is how a reader learns to write.

If a book bores you, or tells you things you already know, or is not beautiful, do not hesitate to discard it. There are better books awaiting you, just around the bend.

Every book alights a path to other books. Follow these paths as far as you can. This is how you build a library.

A single book struggles to balance on its spine; it pines for neighbors. Keep as many books as you have room for.

Read voraciously, many books at a time. Only then will you hear the conversation taking place among them.

The best library contains both books you have read, and books you have not. The latter should grow in proportion as the library expands. A working library is as much a place for the possible as it is a record of the past.

Grit & Stick-to-it-iveness

Grit is something that I’ve heard a lot, but not something that I’ve really taken the time to unearth its true meaning. After listening to my fine friends Dan Benjamin and Merlin Mann talk bout it on episodes 87 and 88 of their podcast Back to Work, I began to have a better grasp of what this concept really is.

Grit is essentially what makes you do something when you don’t want to do it. It is the descriptive word we use when describing someone who is motivated to see a goal carried out, even when it sucks to be doing so, because the end goal is enough of a motivation to press on through the crap.

Paul Tough Describes this concept vis–à–vis children in his book How Children Succeed. In his interview on an episode of This American Life he discusses the struggle that children have with the traditional ways we measure intelligence and cognitive ability, but is that really giving us a true picture of what children will succeed?

They talk about the focus on cognitive abilities, conventional “book smarts.” They discuss the current emphasis on these kinds of skills in American education, and the emphasis standardized testing, and then turn our attention to a growing body of research that suggests we may be on the verge of a new approach to some of the biggest challenges facing American schools today. Paul discusses how “non-cognitive skills” — qualities like tenacity, resilience, impulse control — are being viewed as increasingly vital in education…

With that in mind, how are we setting up children to succeed in a world that isn’t going to think for them? I fight this same struggle of hearing that life is supposed to be easier, more relaxing, more comfortable, yet anything worth doing is a lot of work and discipline. Anything worth doing requires a level of “stick-to-it-iveness” that many of us (myself included) don’t just have by default. We have to overcome our nature to be successful.

This whole concept begs the question: Can grit be learned or is it merely something you have or you don’t? Discipline is something we look to others and uphold, but how do we measure the potential for that in ourselves?

I don’t know the answer, but I do know that whatever it takes to do more than I’m doing with more purpose, I want to be constantly pursuing that.

Day One Journaling App

I have done a lot of doodling and writing on paper without much purpose for pretty much my entire coherent life, yet none of it has been in any kind of consistent or single location. Ever. I've always kind of thought that a journal was more just a diary for boys, so I just wrote anywhere, but it was always a hot mess lacking organization.

Enter Day One. I have been using this app since the day it was released, and I can only scratch the surface in telling you how much it's changed the way I record and reflect on my every day.

Having both Mac & iOS clients means that I'm rarely ever more than a few taps or clicks away from recording a moment. Having it be private and secure allows me to reflect honestly and think out loud without clouding my mind with the fear of someone stumbling onto my scrawlings.

In many ways it's lessened what I tweet (and sadly, also cut into the amount I write here) because I often simply just want to savor a memory of a particular event or experience, but not necessarily broadcast it to the world. I love having it as a journal to record Maria and I's memories together of the places we go, or the experiences we have that writing/sharing online just isn't the proper platform for. Even just for personal ideas, or future endeavors, it's a great place to save such things because it's completely searchable.

This is only a very small facet of why I highly recommend Day One if you have any desire to create a written or photo journal of any kind. Day One and the fellows at Bloom have offered me a nearly resistance free writing habit that I couldn't give up now.

Full Screen Screen Sharing via AppleScript & Alfred in Mountain Lion

Use Alfred and applescript for Screen Sharing instances in Mountain Lion

I use Alfred to do a plethora of things on my mac, and while it works well as an application launcher, that's merely the tip of the iceberg. I could go into a laundry list of things I use it for, but this particular post I'll focus on Screen Sharing. I've used Screen Sharing a lot as a time saver for either technical support for friends, or to access other computers on my local network. It's easy enough to go to that networked computer in Finder, click Screen Share, enter your password, and viola! However, doing that hundreds of times grew cumbersome. Knowing I wasn't the first person to think of using AppleScripting to do this, I turned to the internets and found someone who'd beat me to it. Thankfully Alfred can also run those scripts from itself with a simple key command, so it was a matter of copy/paste, change computer name, and good to go.

However in Mountain Lion, they've changed something with the way that System Events calls windows, and suddenly all my (two-dozen or so Screen Share commands don't work anymore. After some tinkering and trial & error I discovered this fix:

Turns out, if you call the application Screen Sharing twice, it will bring the dialog box back to front focus so it can allow System Events to run it's magic and get you logged in. I've also added a bit at the end that runs after a 2-Second delay that turns it to a fullscreen instance so it's able to run at maximum resolution. If you've got it setup properly in Alfred it should look something like this:

Proper Setup

That's it, I hope it was helpful, and again I'm by no means anything more than a tinkerer when it comes to this kind of stuff, so if you know of a better way, I'd love your insight.

➤ Update

Jeroen let me know in his comment of a way he'd made his AppleScripts work in Mountain Lion to get Screen Sharing working, and it got me thinking of ways that I could do this in a different way on a deeper level without having to do the login auth. I discovered you can actually cut out a ton of the rigamarole by doing the following:

Not sure why I hadn't thought of it before, but you can use vnc:// almost anywhere in OS X to start a Screen Sharing session (you can even type it into Safari). This cuts out a ton of the lines from my original script, launches instantly without the dialog box, and I wouldn't have thought of it without Jeroen's comment.

Thanks again man!

Moonrise Kingdom

Unless you've been under a rock or perhaps were just recently born, yet gifted with a computer, and the ability to use and understand it immediately, you've probably heard of the recently released cinematic adventure directed by Wes AndersonMoonrise Kingdom. I've been wanting to see this movie since I'd first heard about it, as I not only love Wes Anderson's style, but I was quickly swooned by the beautiful poster typography created by the infamous Jessica Hische.

I have always admired Wes Anderson's Style, and this particular film did not disappoint. Captivating story telling that really brings the characters to life, beautifully shot and composed scenes that coupled-with and enhanced the story perfectly, and an excellent award winning cast made this movie a big win. Writing about this movie and do it justice is like trying to dance about architecture, so it's one you really just need to see for yourself. I honestly can't wait to see it again.

[box] "So impressed with Moonrise Kingdom. It's like Anderson figured out how to keep his touch, but loosen his grip. Taking notes…"
— Frank Chimero (@fchimero) July 9, 2012 [/box]

Check out the trailer, get some tickets, and go see it while it's still in theaters.

Sharing in Collaboration

When people think of collaboration, they often think of the sharing of ideas together sitting around a table. But often collaboration can just mean working together on a project that has already been defined, and hoping to make it the best it can be along the way by working together. However, actually sharing within that environment requires an extra level of vulnerability. It requires you to risk giving away your best idea, questioning someone else,s, or revealing your secret sources. All too often collaboration is limited to working together to produce something, when really it's an opportunity create through learning from one another.

Don't limit yourself to successes.

We all like success stories, especially when they're our own. We love to celebrate when our team or someone on it succeeds, but do we value the failures as highly? Often these are the lessons and advice that no one wants to learn from, but they're a crucial part of the creative ideation process. Nothing tells you what could work more than finding out what doesn't. The more you can separate what won't be effective, the more you can focus on the right answer. Experimenting in the creative process is essential, and digging into the reason why someone wouldn't/didn't work is crucial to a trajectory of continuous improvement.

Don't just share your successes, share where you've failed, what didn't work, and why. Show people that you value them enough to prevent them from having to make the same creative mistakes that you did. Providing a place of trust and honesty is so valuable in a vulnerable team environment. If people don't feel it's safe to fail, they'll always be hesitant to take risks, and risks are what keep us pushing forward. Give your team the gift of going second in sharing their failures—for me, that is collaboration.

Sharing may result in stealing.

And that's ok. Your ideas may get taken when you share, but isn't the purpose of a team to run with the best idea possible? If you're keeping great ideas to yourself you're not only cheating your team, you're cheating yourself. Our ideas can feel like our currency in a creative world, we can feel like it's what gives us value.

It's not about us, it's about our team. Giving away your ideas keeps you creating by forcing you to come up with new ones. If you always live in the world of giving away your best ideas, you'll always be looking for another one, in which case everyone wins. Giving away what you think is your best idea often is what makes room for your next one. Creating a culture where there is value to giving away your ideas helps your team realize that it's safe for them to give their best idea to you.

Sharing your thoughts on someone else's work is essential to them improving. I can't think of an instance when someone has given me brutally honest feedback on something and it didn't make the design better. It can confirm a suspicion you were trying to ignore, or at least make you question the 'why' behind what you're designing. The truth, the best, the greatest has nothing to hide. Question everything and naturally the greatest ideas will float to the top.

Share Inspiration.

We all have places books where we go to be inspired. For some it's a location, being around certain people, a folder you have stashed in Dropbox, Dribbble, or some other well-curated website of visual goodness. While it's tempting to hoard that inspiration to yourself, we have to share it. We're in this together, and what good are we if we don't keep the greater goal in mind. Akin to the idea of sharing your ideas, it gets the best ideas out there, keeping you on a constant pursuit for what's next. That my friends is what keeps you innovating, what keeps you searching, learning, experimenting.

Don't just work beside the people, work with them and learn from them. Being a part of team can be the most valuable asset of a creative, don't squander the opportunity to improve with the help of those around you by trying to go it alone.

Expectations & Tolerance


I've come to realize that having high expectations is not a bad thing. It forces me to demand more of myself both creatively, physically, spiritually, and mentally. Pushing beyond what you're comfortable with, or farther than you've been willing to go before is rarely easy, but almost always worth it.

The trouble with a mindset or desire of going beyond your prior limits is the fear of failure. In fact, failure is inevitable. This is where having high expectations can really stifle your creativity. Like the unemployed guy who is always holding out for a management position, you can be always aspiring for something you haven't earned. Creativity, problem solving, new ideas, innovation all require countless amounts of failure. The failure isn't for nothing though, it's there to be your friend by showing you won't work on your path to the right solution. Failure is the friend we all need but no one wants to listen to.

Let's be honest though, failure sucks. It's discouraging, frustrating, and deflating. So how do we continue on this cycle of failed attempts always striving for the hope of success without losing our minds and just giving up?

Tolerance of frustration.

It's easier to give up. It's easier to quit, to do nothing, to just lay back on the couch and watch another episode of The Office on Netflix. Is that 24 minutes really going to be fulfilling or is that just what we choose to prevent ourselves from the hard work demanded by things that matter?

We have to learn to tolerate frustration. Many choose to lower expectations and be content with a bunt, but while there are places that compromise is essential, it can't be a way of life. If we're able to raise our frustration tolerance we can learn to really roll with the punches. We must strive to become more aware and in control of our ability to deal with things wisely when they don't go as planned. Seek positive reactionarism.

Because frankly, lots of people who are less qualified, less educated, less resourced, with less free time, and who are less intelligent than you (and me) have figured out how to do things beyond what we've done. It's not because they have a magic potion, it's because they can tolerate the failures that will inevitably come, because they know it's a part of the process of getting to the answer the desire. It's not what you have, but how you use it.

Keep trying, don't give up. Learn to be in control of your frustration and become tolerant of the inevitable changing of course in any problem. Expect to fail and value the lessons that failure teaches, don't just count them as waste. You're going to fall down, but as long as you get back up and try again you're not letting failure rule you. Failure is your most honest friend, you just have to be willing to hear him out.