John Perry Barlow – 25 Principles of Adult Behaviour

I was sad to hear of the passing of John Perry Barlow – internet pioneer, lyricist and cattle rancher – and posted this piece over on the Burning Pine blog.

I also came across this, which is better shared here. Approaching 30 and “surprised to have reached an age of indisputable adult”, Barlow wrote himself 25 principles of Adult Behaviour.

You can read the full list over on Lifehacker.

Here’s a taster:

  • Never assume the motives of others are, to them, less noble than yours are to you.
  • Expand your sense of the possible.
  • Don’t trouble yourself with matters you truly cannot change.
  • Concern yourself with what is right rather than who is right.
  • Learn the needs of those around you and respect them.
  • Avoid the pursuit of happiness. Seek to define your mission and pursue that.
  • Endure.

Worth discovering.

Also, an excuse to share the song Cassidy, mentioned in the article.

Here’s the Dead:

I have seen where the wolf has slept by the silver stream.
I can tell by the mark he left, you were in his dream.
Ah, child of countless trees.
Ah, child of boundless seas.

And also, on the subject of Cassidy(s), here’s a beautiful piece by Barlow describing the song’s origins.

Why we don’t have nice things – @thisisseth

We get what we deserve. So says Seth:

Every once in awhile, someone steps up and makes something better. Much better. When it happens, it’s up to us to stand up and notice it. Which means buying it and consuming it with the very same care that it was created with.

Read the rest, here.

 

Photo by Wesual Click on Unsplash

The flexible workforce and the future of work

Short but interesting article on how business is responding to the rise of sovereign professionals by using this new, highly skilled and flexible workforce to power more agile and innovative business models.

This idea has been bubbling around for a few years. Back in 2012, Andrew Burke‘s research showed how freelancers contributed to both agility and innovation within firms (The Role of Freelancers in the 21st Century British Economy). Burke is now Dean of Trinity Business School and Chairman of the Centre for Research on Self-Employment.

Of course, the Irish management writer Charles Handy  foresaw all this in his 1990s books The Empty Raincoat (1995) and The Age of Unreason (2002). The ideas, however, finally seem to be gaining critical mass and traction with larger businesses.

In the last couple of years, Accenture have identified the move as one of the key trends in their annual Technology Vision:

Firms like MeasureMatch (a client of mine) are appearing to answer the need for reliable, responsive marketplaces to match buyers with the sovereign professional suppliers.

It’s an exciting time to be a sovereign professional.

 

 

Thumos – relight the fire in your belly!

Lost values?

Sometimes, it feels as if our world is lacking in those old-fashioned qualities of responsibility, integrity and honour.

Instead, we have a culture of “rights”, entitlements and expectations. Of “alternative facts” and blatant, cynical lies. Too often, the spoils seem to go to those with the straightest faces and the brassiest necks.

In his recent series of insightful posts, What We Know About 2018, Nicholas Bate ventured (I suspect rather hopefully) that:

It will be World-Wide Year of Ownership

Human beings will re-discover the lost art of taking responsibility; accepting history as well, history; agreeing to disagree but staying civil and realising the ‘sound-bite’ lacks both width, depth and certainly any kind of length.

I’m not sure I see it, sadly.

As an aside, earlier this month I took a wicked pleasure in hearing the editor of GQ magazine, Dylan Jones, describing his experience of photographing and interviewing Jeremy Corbyn for the cover of his magazine. For a day or two, he was everywhere (for example here, here, here and here) delighting other editors and interviewers with his behind-the-scenes revelations. And, selling magazines.

It was funny, but also, I felt, a bit dishonourable to have invited the politician onto the cover of his magazine and then to tittle-tattle like an excited teenager about what went on.

The lost concept of thumos

Anyhow, back on track. If we feel we’re losing the ideals of honour and integrity, then we have certainly lost the very concept of “thumos”.

The Art of Manliness blog introduced me to the idea the other day with a post entitled: Jack London on how to live a life of thumos:

The philosopher Plato thought that the soul of man could be compared to a chariot and consisted of three parts: a dark horse which represented the appetites, a white horse that represented thumos, and the charioteer which symbolized reason, and worked to keep the two disparate steeds in balance.

Of the three parts of the soul, thumos is the hardest for us moderns to grasp. The ancient Greeks thought it essential to andreia, or manliness, but there’s no one word in contemporary language that is a real match for it. Even for the Greeks, it was a multi-faceted force that they saw as the “seat of life.” Thumos was the source of emotion – particularly a righteous anger that manifested itself not only towards one’s enemies, but also at oneself for failing to live up to one’s own principles and code of honor. Thumos was the juice to action and the energy of drive – particularly that which led a man to fight, preserve his honor, become the best of the best, and leave a legacy. It was also the location of a man’s philosophical code – a matrix of discernment through which he pondered possibilities and intuited decisions. Thumos was a man’s spiritedness, his fire in the belly.

The post is a great introduction to the concept, but I find it’s been a recurring theme of the blog (maybe unsurprisingly given the blog’s title). You can find more about the ideas, here:

Fire in the belly

The juice to action, the energy of drive, the fire in the belly. Now, there’s a concept to play with. It underpins all those other fading concepts of integrity, honour and responsibility and is, surely, essential to all sovereign professionals.

Re-light your fire.

 

Photo by Joshua Newton on Unsplash

Image, presence and the sovereign professional #workstyle

How you dress, groom and present yourself is important in a business environment. It’s even more important for the sovereign professional who interacts with different clients, always an outsider but needing to fit in.

You need to convey a degree of authority and gravitas without being aloof. You need to blend in, but be discreetly different enough to convey success and credibility.

Prospero’s World has sound baseline advice, here.

  • The younger you are the more appearance will contribute to your credibility (or not). The older you get the more licence you obtain in being individual or weird, depending on taste.

Read the rest, here.

 

Image credit: https://unsplash.com/@mariyageorgieva