At the sound of hooves: think horses, not zebras.

There is a thought and a mantra which I lately find myself coming back to over and over again, both at work and at home: when things get tough, when things start to pile up – keep things simple.

So often, the main task (not necessarily job) of the “adult in the room” is to keep the basics on track and ask the simple, fundamental questions.

That way, it becomes easier to drill down to the fundamentals (whether that applies to writing, photography, art, science, or life in general).


  • Awareness, not thinking
  • An attitude of openness and curiosity, not judging
  • Flexibility of attention, not resisting

I’m trying harder to put the three bullet points above into practice, both at, and outside, work.

A photographic hobby helps to some degree: unless you’re out documenting something specific, or work as a photojournalist on assignment, I would think that the above traits are essential to getting started on a body of work that reveals something about what and how you see.

The post above puts the three points in the context of mindfulness and introspection, and how the latter can become a trap unless there is some distance there that “re-baselines” your sense of yourself. Perhaps a little dramatic at times (and themes do repeat themselves) but the essence is there: get some distance, compare how you see yourself and how others do, and above all else – engage in conversation and don’t spend so much time alone thinking. It’s the interactions that stimulate change, the (healthy) introspection which can then put it into context and direct it.

Where this becomes interesting is as this relates to work. Mindfulness in my private life, when I’m pursuing my hobbies, or when I’m thinking is one thing – being aware and empathetic in a work environment is something else entirely.

But then it’s not: it’s still listening (actively), putting yourself in someone else’s shoes (empathy), and ultimately generating that distance to what you are doing to better let you see whether a sprint is appropriate at this stage of a marathon, or whether it might be worth looking and feeling what is going on around you to aid the flow.

Related post:

My photography just is; the subject creates itself. I point the camera at things that make sense to me to photograph. Any needed rationalizations come later, at the point of editing, selecting, sequencing, articulating. What I’m left with defines what I’ve seen and how I’ve seen it.



Here’s what I’m thinking about:

Another example of writing for purposes other than the grand finale is Austin Kleon’s blog. Author of the bestseller, Steal Like an Artist, Kleon writes and posts every day as a means of shaping his thinking. His smaller stuff evolves into bigger stuff. His raison d’etre is forced output as a means of refining his eye on the world and his ability to describe it.

This daily routine is what I’m currently getting used to: small steps, with individual pieces, but gradually I am starting to tick boxes in a consistent manner.

First focus is on the daily picture: so far I am almost on 100 without a missed day.

Next step will be my daily words and triggers, followed by exercise.

Blogging should follow swiftly: and once I manage to unify all of the above (perhaps not the exercise), there should start to be benefits from the cross-fertilisation.