Saturday, November 24, 2007

Can you care too much?

Or not enough in this man's case.

Well, I've no doubt that a fair number of the readers of this blog have noticed that England's Euro 2008 campaign has ended, in spectacular style.

And, amidst all of the caterwailing that followed, the inevitable accusation came - that these pampered, over exposed, overpaid players just don't care about their country. Because I'm a perverse bugger who tends to try and see the other side of things, I think the opposite is true. If anything, I think they cared too much, that got inside their minds, and they bottled it, despite obviously having the technique to be able to get a result.

As for McClaren, well, it seems the opposite is true (I tried to find the photo of him with an umbrella, but sadly couldn't track it down). Out thought by Slaven Bilic, dear oh dear.

And it got me thinking about caring about things, and the notion of caring too much. It's particularly relevant to me, as I (when I'm unsure of what to do) worry unduly. Part of that is when I'm doing and learning new things.

It can be almost paralysing, especially if you publically handwring - something which doesn't help anything or anyone (and was, let's be honest, shown by the England team in their 'performance' against Croatia).

But should it be surprising? In this world, where continuous partial attention rules ok, where shuffling through vast libraries of music is the norm, and where everyone has about seven tabs open on their browser, there's often a worry about priorities.

And given that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert in something, according to Radio 4, it can seem like a massive mountain - will my performance be adequate, whether I'm an international footballer, an ad bod or a barrister? I guess the difficulty comes in just experiencing things, and not worrying about whether you'll be up to the task (which is, I think, what happened to England on Wednesday).

So yes, experience and trying and failing rules ok when it comes to learning. Care about that. Everything else is just unnecessary window dressing, and hey - if you don't chance your arm when you're learning, when will you?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I like free things...

John's new book.

...but I like smart thinking even more.

Given that I'm currently trying to think about a lot of green issues for a lot of the brands I'm working on, this post was particularly timely.

Greenormal is a great blog. Have a butchers, if you don't already. I really like how John has shed some light on the notion of green thinking, and how it relates to the dichotomy between green and commerce. I can't wait to have a read of the book.

Having a 'green matrix' is a particularly fine idea, and potentially a great framework to use when talking to organisations about how they can update their thinking, behaviour and, subsequently, their communications. (Notice how that came last).

Link to John's post (at least, the first 50 people) if you fancy reading some more on this topic...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Brain Food..

Depends what you via Bifurcate.

Time for something not directly about my workplace (aka, getting this blog back on rambling nonsense mode).

It occurs to me that quite a lot of my time as a planner is spent filtering out what I have to, and what I don't have to know, in order to know about a certain subject, whether it be a brand of car, dominos, faberge eggs or Stoke City.

Now, the danger is, with this filter in place (and I'm sure it happens at every workplace, or whenever you just want to relax), you lose the ability to challenge yourself, and at worst, intrigue and inspire those around you.

And it's something which can't always be easily done. But sod that; to be stimulating, you need to be stimulated. It's why I get on the tube every morning and read classic literature and not the latest 'man falls in love with cactus' story from the Metro. I need to be pushed, to be challenged by my reading, viewing, or whatever it is I'm listening to on my iPod.

It's just so easy to rely on random fodder for your mind, something which requires no thought, no challenge your preconceptions. Particularly when you are exposed to so much information on a daily basis. Well, I didn't get into adland, or indeed, do anything in my life, without wanting to be interested and interesting on a daily basis. The need to be interesting should overwhelm everything I do.

Bluntly, I can do that by reading Fitzgerald's account of madness, by going to gigs, by going to the V&A once and a while. Not by being chained to my desk, as much as I like my work colleagues.

And no, obviously I recognise the need to crack on, to do work. But in times where work dominates things, this should serves as a little reminder to myself (and hopefully to others) to make sure I keep on being alive to all the many cultural nuances out there. God knows, there are enough of them..

If anyone has any brain foody suggestions going on in London in the next month, hit me with them..
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