Advice is personal – Version 2

I forgot that I had already written about this, but I like this one better so I’m going to post it as well.

Recently a friend asked me to review his portfolio website.

As I clicked through the pages, I started to form an opinion of how he should update the site. Nothing major, just a complete revamp of the pages to give more content that would suit me.

Reminds me of that Simpsons episode where Homer designed a car and bankrupted the company.

The owner of the car company was his brother and he wanted the feedback of a normal American, what he got was The Homer. It was a highly specialized vehicle designed for Homer and a small niche of people like him.

His brother was upset because he got what he wanted. He got a car designed by Homer. He should have known that Homer was going to give an opinion because advice is personal.

When I looked at my friend’s website, I looked at it from my perspective. I don’t own a design studio. I’m not a manager of a design team. I’m a friend that can generate opinions on any number of topics.

So, the next time you ask for advice, remember, what you are going to get is personal. Make sure it fits your vision. You may find that it doesn’t, or you may find that it does. Just remember that it’s your job to figure out who to listen to and who to ignore.

Headlines and Sacrifice

My dad used to tell me to stop thinking about the headlines and worry about the now. That’s paraphrased and I’m sure if he read this, he would be disappointed with my transcription. Regardless, it’s now my truth.  I’ve since internalized his dad-ism and made it my own the phrase and the meaning.

The proverb is easy enough to restate. As for the meaning, there are a few meanings that I glean from this.

The first meaning is obvious. Don’t think about how it will feel to win. Think about winning and make that happen. See, that’s easy enough to get.

The second meaning is less obvious but foundational. Headlines don’t tell the tale of sacrifice. A headline doesn’t tell me what it took to achieve success.

There is a story I heard about Picasso. He was at a café in some exotic location and a woman approached him for a sketch. He doodled something rather hurriedly and handed it to her.

She thanked him profusely and then asked what she should pay him. He proffered some exorbitant amount to which she scoffed.

“This only took you a few minutes,” she protested.

“I disagree,” he stated matter of factly, “this took my whole life.”

For the woman, the finished sketch was a headline which is why she was stunned at the cost. That’s also a difference between crafting and artistry.

What does this have to do with us? Everything.

People don’t become great overnight. The headline might read that way but it’s not the truth. There’s a backstory to success and that is the story of sacrifice and discipline, hard work and dedication.

For me, this means saying no to some things that are good. I sometimes even say no to great things for the sake of attaining my goals.

For you, what are you willing to give up?

Assumptions and Nuance

I remember when I was first introduced to philosophy and philosophic thought. My sister was taking a college class and was questioning something that we had always taken for granted. She decided it would be a good idea to make her problems mine.

Up until that point in my life, things were simple. I didn’t worry about the subtle nuances of reality. Things just worked and I was content to allow them to.

Then out of the blue, the bastions of higher thought came at me hard and I was left undone. No longer did my world consist of basic truths but complexity and variation.

I could no longer be content knowing. Now I was pressed to know why and understand context.

Overall, I’m grateful for this lesson at an early age because it has helped to prepare me for the world today.

I have a motto. Not sure if I came up with it or if it’s one of those things that I stole. The origins, for me, are no longer relevant.

The motto? “Everything is a thing.”

I’m going to write in depth about this motto in the future. For now, I’ll just say that maybe the things that we assume are simple, aren’t. Maybe things, especially in the age of digital information and enlightenment are complex and nuanced. For everything that is nuanced, people are more so.