Prizing adaptability and resilience (or why I’d love to be more like an octopus)

a black and white photo of an octopus - the tentacles and suckers are in sharp relief.I’ve a thing about the octopus – there, I’ve said it. Just look at this description by Sy Montgomery that I was sent today by a friend –and you’ll be impressed too:

“Here is someone who, even if she grows to one hundred pounds and stretches more than eight feet long, could still squeeze her boneless body through an opening the size of an orange; an animal whose eight arms are covered with thousands of suckers that taste as well as feel; a mollusk with a beak-like a parrot and venom like a snake and a tongue covered with teeth; a creature who can shape-shift, change colour and squirt ink.”

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Seeing the wood for the trees: 5 steps to help you step back and see the bigger picture

A photo of trees in a wood - you can see a path through the trees, but the tree trunks dominate the image.‘If someone can’t see the wood for the trees, they are unable to understand what is important in a situation because they are giving too much attention to details.’

I reckon I spend a lot of time in the wood staring at bark, let alone single trees, so this week I have spent time working out how step back and see the bigger picture.

1.    Remember what you are doing

Sounds stupid I know, but each thing you do is part of something bigger.  It might have a specific aim, or be part of your more general purpose. You just need to remember what it is. Write it down, stick it up and look at it daily.  Continue reading

What are stories?

firespotter notebook

A great answer last week from Greg Povey speaking at Culture Hacks Northstories are perspectives to help us understand the world.

His eight minute talk really got me thinking about the need to change how people see things not change how things are seen. I particularly liked his suggestion that we use story instead of simply provide information. And that we should always aim to improve the experience – ‘don’t make it shit’. (Oh, we are good sometimes at adding so much – interpretation, information, contextualization – that we simply obscure what it is that we want someone to really look at – he reminded us to ‘keep the naked eye naked’).

He spoke about the opportunity we have to extract value from our everyday experiences too. The company he is working with runs Chromaroma – a ‘game’ you play based on your Oyster card and the journeys you make.

As he spoke, he referred to his notes, written in a Firespotting notebook. A notebook, yes, but one with a story. It’s a notebook designed for firespotters – for with the responsibility to watch across forests, the power to avert tragedy and disaster. Yes, it’s a notebook. But one where the notes can be vital. One in which the writer is a hero.

I want one.