Whilst listening to a Richard Feynman, the celebrated physicist, lecture this week I was struck by how confident and assertive he seemed. Yet, a lot of what I've read about Feynman suggests that he was quiet and introverted. Although he was one of the last century's great scientific minds, it wasn't his knowledge that gave him his confidence. He could communicate and challenge big questions with ferocious tenacity. In my opinion, one of the most essential elements of creative or design-thinking is courage—the courage to step out of what you know and assume and find a new understanding of uncertainty. Courage is one of the critical elements of both confidence and creativity.
I love to draw, and I love drawing with a fountain pen. As a result, I was recently searching the internet for flexible-nibbed fountain pens. You see, most fountain pens are built for writing, which means that you don't want too much flexibility in the nib. However, you want a nib that can flex between a fine line and broad fat strokes for sketching and drawing, it adds speed and expression to your drawn line. So, after a short browse, I found that such a thing does exist and promptly ordered it.
After James Clear - Atomic Habits. I ride a motorbike which I love. I love the closeness to the feeling of speed in control. I love the physicality of riding, of tilting my body to swerve and turn. There is no feeling like acceleration quite like an intentional, progressive twist of the throttle with the power pushing you whilst you balance on two wheels. But none of this pleasure would be possible if I hadn’t first made the commitment to learning and then to make it automatic. I don’t have to think about it. I can just do it. None of this would be possible if I didn’t form habits, assumptions and automatic thinking. We need habits. We need habits to survive and to thrive.
The Adjacent possible In the middle of the 17th century, two men came up with the same idea, independently and simultaneously and a bitter international row broke out, dividing the scientific community and the countries they belonged to.
Restless minds You would have thought, wouldn’t you, that by now we would have sorted out how we want to live, what political and economic system works and we would have found an excellent comfort level, where nothing changes, and everyone is happy… Brave New World?
A little before the COVID crisis, I was invited to the House of Lords to join a panel discussion. I hadn’t been to the Palace of Westminster for years and was overwhelmed by the scale, the gravity and the beauty of the space. The architecture was completely congruent with its function and the message it conveyed to the visitor. This is a serious and dynamic place.
3 Steps and 4 Laws to make behaviour change easier. 30 years ago, I used to be a very heavy smoker, nearly two packs per day (I also had a huge amount of hair and a moustache back then). Soon after the birth of my daughter, we brought her home from the hospital following a very difficult birth. As I held her in my arms for the first time at home, I had just finished a cigarette. My daughter gave a little cough and I realised if there was ever a time to give up smoking this was it!
Whilst we may love to solve problems with simple linear equations, where one thing follows another leading to a conclusion, the reality is that most problems are complex and confusing. They don’t fit neatly into a mathematical formula and they often have circulating feedback loops creating a lot of confusion.