No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

Heraclitus, – Fragments

I got an email today informing me that a domain was coming up for renewal. It was one I grabbed several years ago and – unlike many others– put some effort into. But I won’t be renewing it, that idea hasn’t been my focus for a long time and keeping it would be a distraction from the one or two things I am doing now.

The apostle Paul once wrote “this one thing I do“. It’s hard to argue against his influence even if you are an atheist. I’d suggest that this radical focus was a large contributor for his contribution.

It’s not pursing bad things you need to worry about

When I was a teenager I was worried that I’d not get stuff done because I would spent too much time on bad things (or at least things which didn’t bring value). In my late twenties I realised the issue had evolved. Now it was “good” things that might prevent me from doing good things.

By giving up this domain I’m ending that dream, but giving up that dream is the only way to bring into existence my remaining goals.

Or as Patrick Rhone might say,

Saying no is actually saying yes to other things.

Things I’ve learned this year

noun [si-nek-duh-kee] Rhetoric.

a figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole or the whole for a part, the special for the general or the general for the special, as in ten sail for ten ships or a Croesus for a rich man.

Dictionary.com

Similar to a Metonymy.

As I concluded the Isaacson biography of Da Vinci he referred to the Mona Lisa as “Da Vinci’s pièce de résistance”. A term many are familiar with, but one I had never considered. The words are literally a piece of resistance.

This term – synonymous with the greatest work created by a group or the highlight of someone’s work – highlights the struggle that is present in creating.

Great work requires struggle and perseverance.

This sees very present in Da Vinci’s work. He left so much unfinished, yet Mona Lisa is one of his few finished products.

If Da Vinci hadn’t persevered, he wouldn’t have created his pièce de résistance.

P.s. If a french speaker would like to correct my translation, I appreciate that but I think the point is still valid.

It bears repeating: Miserable human beings who you wouldn’t want to spend a second with in real life are capable of making something great that is beautiful or useful to you. That is, in fact, the whole point of art. (It’s currently an unfashionable belief, but it’s true.)

Whatever you love about a writer or an artist’s work, that really is the best of what they have to offer you. You don’t want the whole human, trust me. You really want that thing they offered up to you: The art.

Austin Kleon – Assume Away

One of the key distinguishing features of Todoist compared to other task management applications, is the ability to share tasks with another user. When my wife and I got engaged we started using Todoists shared lists to help share duties and organize the tasks we needed to do for our wedding and beyond. 

However a year and a half ago I switched to using Things 3 which doesn’t have a shared task list. You might have thought that this would have caused a problem in either using two task management applications or worse. My wife assigned me a task which I then didn’t see as I wasn’t using Todoist. But this wasn’t the case as we had stopped using the shared tasks.

We had switched to having a weekly meeting where we discussed what was coming up and what we needed to do. This communication made sharing a list unnecessary.

Looking to technology, when we should look to ourselves 

Often, we look for technological solutions to solve people problems. Sometimes these people problems can’t be solved with a simple conversation, but more often our technology solutions are merely trying to replace good communication and personal skills (and often fail for the same reason). 

Want an example? 

At a one language school I worked at, we had to fill in a register with a record of work in a Google spreadsheet. Some staff filled in theirs immediately after classes with clear records. Others would regularly not fill in their record, and when they did, it was as if they were speaking a different language. 

The doc was supposed to make it possible to be filled in from anywhere at any time to help those who found it difficult to complete at work. But it didn’t help. It was the same people who didn’t fill it in at home, who didn’t fill it in at work. 

But technology can open new doors

On the other hand, I’ve used Google docs for students to share questions and answers to their homework before the next class. This collaboration couldn’t have been done without some form of technology (other classes of students have used WhatsApp and Facebook groups). 

Sometimes, technology can solve or ease our problems, but often there is a simpler solution resting with us. 

Metonymy

Noun

Rhetoric

a figure of speech that consists of the use of the name of one object or concept for that of another to which it is related, or of which it is a part, as “scepter” for “sovereignty,” or “the bottle” for “strong drink,” or “count heads (or noses)” for “count people.”

dictionary.com 

My colleague and I discovered this word today and I think it makes for a wonderful word of the day.