This has been a really long week and I’ve been super busy. There has been travel, late nights and plenty of work to get done in both my day job and in the business. In fact, for the first time in since I started this new role about ten months back, I’m having to work on a weekend – tomorrow (Sunday) has been set aside to write a document for some work that landed in my lap towards the middle of last week.
By no means has it all been hard, I managed to catch up with some friends at our local monthly meetup here in Sydney on Wednesday night and this past week I’d noticed that I’d been writing these daily emails and blog posts for over 200 days consecutively and have already exceeded my 300,000 word goal for the year – plus I still have four months to go!
I’ve also launched the “Six Weeks of Growth” challenge in a Facebook group I run. That’s going really well with a whole bunch of people taking on exciting goals for themselves and reporting back. I’ve also had a few of you tell me that you’re participating in the challenge yourself and I’d really enjoy seeing your updates! If you publish them on social media, remember to use the hashtag #6wog and let me know.
All up, it’s been a hard week of mixed results… However, something interesting has happened that was largely unexpected…
I’ve been toying around with an idea for a new product/program that I want to create, but it’s been unclear to me how I’d make it work. I knew the idea was solid, there were some good foundational elements, but it was too rough to conceptualise or move forward with. I never really like to force things like that, so I’ve just left it to roll around my brain.
With life being so hectic, I said to my wife this morning when I woke up that today I just needed a day off. I didn’t want to do any work of any kind aside from writing this post – I didn’t even really want to spend much time on the computer if I could avoid it. As it was a nice day, she suggested that I go out for a long walk, get some sun and unwind with a bit of exercise. I wasn’t really feeling it, but after we did some grocery shopping this morning, I thought it was a good idea and off I went.
Normally, when I go on a walk, it’s usually about 4km which takes me about an hour. I slip in the headphones, listen to a podcast or two and do my thing.
Today though, I felt like I needed to do something different. I heard a Kanye West song in the shopping centre this morning and while I find him to be a bit of a clown, it’s pretty hard sometimes to not find yourself bobbing your head while listening. For some reason as I fired up the iPhone for the walk, I hopped into Spotify and brought up some Kanye. And to prove it was upside down world with this walk, I left my house and went the opposite direction from my normal route.
About 3km in, I was still listening to Yeezy and thinking random thoughts. I spent most of that first forty-five minutes contemplating how Marvel will incorporate so many characters into the Avenger Infinity War films.
As you can tell my brain was tackling the big issues.
Then Kanye’s “Black Skinhead” started playing and this idea I’ve been mulling over popped into my brain and immediately there was clarity and a way forward. It was like an epiphany and I even stopped walking for a second and closed Spotify just to give myself some quiet reflection time.
The ideas that I’d been grappling with suddenly became much more clear and I saw a way forward. I understood how these ideas tied together and knew what steps I needed to take to move them forward. It was like a light had shone into dark recesses of my mind and the path was now clear.
Is this what Kim Kardashian feels like when Kanye is around?
For the remainder of my walk, I decided to listen to some podcasts I’d been meaning to check out. As I mentioned earlier this week, I find so many podcasts are really boring now and the same old static formats are tired. That said, the podcasts I wanted to listen to were both from the show Longform and were interviews with Ezra Klein and Malcolm Gladwell (second time Gladwell has been on the show).
If you’re not familiar with Klein, he’s the Editor-in-Chief of Vox. He’s considered a bit of a thought leader in the future of digital content media, particularly in and around the world of journalism. Some of what he had to say in the episode was interesting – he made an interesting observation that I entirely agree with, most people think things are technologically moving faster than they are. I see this a lot in my day job, but in the online business world, there’s the same phenomenon.
Malcolm Gladwell probably needs no introduction, he’s just got a really interesting perspective on the world. I mentioned him earlier this week in my post about podcasting and talked about his new show on iTunes, Revisionist History. It’s different and interesting because it plays to Gladwell’s strength – he’s amazing at changing the common narrative of a topic by presenting things in a different context. The one big takeaway from this interview that’s relevant to this discussion was that he said he doesn’t make things with his audience in mind, he focuses on doing good work.
The reason I switched to podcasts away from Kanye for the remainder of my walk was that I find I can listen to podcasts and think at the same time whereas, with music, I find that much harder to do. This worked out really well because my ideas coalesced more quickly as I walked and I was able to explore them more fully in my mind.
Not only that, I came up with the idea for this post AND I have an adjoining topic for tomorrow already lined up! This was a very productive walk.
As I said, at the 3km mark I shut off the music and switched to the podcast so I could think more clearly and focus on my ideas. As the interview with Malcolm Gladwell finished, I realised I’d pretty much walked a route subconsciously that would let me listen to the two episodes, just as I rounding the home stretch. It turned out, I walked an additional 7km for a grand total of just over 10km but the time I got home.
After coming in the door I immediately came upstairs and grabbed a new Moleskine Cahier and started scribbling down the ideas from my walk – I have to admit, I’m a bit excited and surprised by how much I was able to pull together on this walk.
Tonight, however, I’m totally paying for it. My legs are sore, I got a little too much sun on my face and my feet feel like they’ve been run through a meat grinder. Even taking the discomfort into account, it was so worth getting this idea out of my head into something meaningful, even if I had to listen to an hour of Kanye West and walk 10km to do it!