The Life Well Lived Project is motivated by this: There is so much unhappiness, anxiety and depression in the world, and this work is about trying to make things better, tiny bit by tiny bit, one day at a time. The vision of the Life Well Lived Project is a world where this cycle of unhappiness, anxiety and depression does not have to be handed down across multiple generations and accepted as an unavoidable fact of life. The vision is a world where everyone is liberated to know, embrace and express the full breadth of their own individual uniqueness. And the vision is a world where we can work together to solve big problems, rather than squabble over minor matters out of a place of insecurity and hurt. I know that 45-60 minute podcasts, which is what most episodes of the Life Well Lived podcast are, is a big investment of your time, and your time is your most valuable asset. So it's a huge privilege for me, to have you here with me and my guests for this. If you enjoy the podcast, please go to Apple Podcasts, find this show and leave a review. And if you want to make sure you don't miss any future episodes, please sign up for updates about the Life Well Lived Project. Go to my website at https://www.shanebreslin.com/mission.
Episode 37: Mako Fujimura on art and creativity, the diversity and oneness of humanity and the divinity of making
David Brooks, a New York Times writer, wrote a piece not long ago which touched on my guest on this episode of the Life Well Lived Podcast. Titled "Longing for an Internet cleanse", Brooks’s short article lamented how we have come to view and experience time in the instantaneous “everything now” age we live in. The article was subtitled “a small rebellion against the quickening of time”, and Brooks wrote tellingly about the work and words of Mako Fujimura.
"There is a rapid, dirty river of information coursing through us all day. If you’re in the news business, or a consumer of the news business, your reaction to events has to be instant or it is outdated. If you’re on social media, there are these swarming mobs who rise out of nowhere, leave people broken and do not stick around to perform the patient Kintsugi act of gluing them back together. Probably like you, I’ve felt a great need to take a break from this pace every once in a while and step into a slower dimension of time. Mako’s paintings are very good for these moments … Mako once advised me to stare at one of his paintings for 10 to 12 minutes. I thought it would be boring, but it was astonishing. As I stood still in front of it, my eyes adjusted to the work. What had seemed like a plain blue field now looked like a galaxy of color."
Mako Fujimura is a world-renowned Japanese-American artist, writer and advocate for creativity.
His fellow artist Robert Kushner has described Mako’s work as “a new kind of art, about hope, healing, redemption and refuge”.
Mako’s latest book, Art and Faith: A Theology of Making, is published this month by Yale University Press.
It is an exploration of creativity’s quintessential—and often overlooked—role in the spiritual life.
Conceived over thirty years of painting and creating in his studio, this book is Mako Fujimura’s broad and deep exploration of creativity and the spiritual aspects of “making” as he comes into the quiet space in the studio in a discipline of awareness, waiting, prayer, and praise.
During this conversation we try to explore this sense, of creativity and wonder and spirituality, and how those two things align.
In this conversation, we talk about:
What the experience of creative flow feels likeThe gift of creativity, and how Mako no longer fears that gift being taken awayThe influence of memory and experience, both from his own life and the lives of his ancestors, on his workGlobal diversity, warring factions and the oneness of humanityThe battle between artistic freedom and commercial successWhy he writesWhat Mako learned about the universality of experience from some time spent in Cork, IrelandHow religion and church doctrine has failed humanity, and where we, individually and collectively, might go from hereI hope you enjoy this conversation with artist and writer Mako Fujimura, about art, creativity, spirituality, beauty, freedom and life, as much as I did.
1:00: A small rebellion against the quickening of time
7:30: What creative flow might feel like
20:00: Does Mako fear the gift of creativity disappearing or being taken away?
20:45: His art and how it might be described, through Japanese lineage and training
28:00: Individual experience added to intergenerational and ancestral memory
30:00: Race, nationality, culture, individual expression and the oneness of humanity
39:42: How we might prepare ourselves for success
41:10: Lewis Hyde's book The Gift, and how the gift economy can peacefully co-exist with capitalistic society
49:39: The battle between freedom and commercial success
53:10: Why he writes
1:00:00: Church and religious expression and where we go from
Episode 36: Productivity, happiness and how we might value the things we do, with founder of Rad Reads, Khe Hy
Productivity is one of those areas that has exploded into a major industry over the past couple of decades.
The concept of productivity is something that started out, really, in the 18th and 19th centuries from an industrial capitalist imperative to “produce” as much as possible from the resources available. Out of the American baby boom generation which came of age in the corporate landscape of the 1970s and ‘80s came two major milestones in the history of personal productivity that have influenced the way so many of us do so many things: firstly, the book Getting Things Done by David Allen was published in 2001, which was described by Wired magazine as “a new cult for the info age” and the Guardian as ideas that are nothing short of life-changing", and secondly, and more broadly, the rise of the Internet as an almost free tool available to almost everybody, and which with its array of social networks and apps, many of them driven by the technology companies of California’s Silicon Valley, has transformed the way we do everything.
The guest on this episode is Khe Hy, the founder of Rad Reads, a collection of essays and blogs and workbooks and techniques which takes a wise, perhaps even spiritual, approach to productivity.
Khe has built Rad Reads after what he calls his “third of a life crisis”, when he quit Wall Street after 14 years working in the financial world.
Among the things we talk about are:
The life lessons he learned from his career in high financeHow productivity might fit into happinessHow he thinks about the concepts of doing and beingTools that help us get things done, and what we might need to do firstKhe's powerful “$10,000 per hour” framework, which allows us to consider the value of the things we do in the context of two simple questionsThe coronavirus pandemic, and what Khe has learned about himself and his place in the world from the events of the past 12 months.Timestamps:
7:00: "Third of a life crisis" ... "Ambition treadmill to nowhere" ...
11:00: Lessons about money from 14 years on Wall Street
14:00: The power of compounding
16:00: We are our own worst enemies
17:20: Understanding how the system works
21:00: Productivity and happiness
25:30: Doing vs being
36:00: The three key components of productivity
43:30: The place of tools
48:30: The $10,000 per hour framework
54:40: What he's learned about himself from the pandemic year
Episode 35: How to change the world one question at a time, with Creating the Future co-founder Hildy Gottlieb
This is Episode Number 35 of the Life Well Lived Podcast, with the co-founder of Creating the Future, Hildy Gottlieb.
Hildy Gottlieb is a social scientist and the founder of an organisation called Creating the Future.
Creating the Future is focused on helping people and organisations to change the systems they find themselves in, to aim those systems at bringing out the best in people, all by changing the questions they ask.
The movement is a multi-year experiment to answer the question, “If people everywhere are asking the kinds of questions that bring out the best in themselves and those around them, how much more humane could the world be?”
During this wide-ranging conversation we talk about:
The discovery that despite great work being done by bright people in forward-thinking organisations, nothing was changingCreating the Future’s "Catalytic Thinking" framework, based on research on what makes positive change happen - and what, specifically, is not happening when people struggle to create change?The mission of Creating the Future to conduct a multi-year experiment with Catalytic Thinking, and share the lessons learned through the work so that anybody can create changeThe blurring of the lines between traditional for-profit, non-profit and public sector organisations and the trend towards "profit for purpose", "conscious capitalism" and other ideas around "business for good"The disconnect between the stock market and the world that the vast majority of people live inHow big systems, which can cause a convoluted mass of problems in so many ways for so many people, might be challenged and changedThe concept of “collective enoughness”, and why competition has in many ways created the unsustainability that the world is grappling to deal with nowHow systems have coached generations of children to feel not enough, and how that manifests in tens or hundreds of millions of people around the worldThe neuroscience of thinking from a place of fear, and how it is utilised by advertisers, marketers and politicians, and how love can overcome that fearHow trying to ask the right question is the wrong approachNavigating the "messy middle" between where we find ourselves and where we might want to goI do hope you enjoy this conversation with the co-founder of Creating the Future, Hildy Gottlieb.
Links mentioned in the show:
Creating a Better World Means Asking Better Questions [Stanford Review article]The Creating The Future websiteWatch Hildy Gottlieb's TEDx talk here
Episode 34: Why the current uncertainty could make now a perfect time to consider your professional possibilities, with career change coach Nicola Porter
My guest on this episode of the show is Dr Nicola Porter.
Nicola Porter has been a lecturer in psychology for the best part of 20 years and has in recent years added an accreditation in executive and life coaching and established a practice specialising in career coaching and career change for mid-career professionals.
This set of skills and experiences allows Nicola to combine everything she's earned from psychology and the science of behavior, with professional coaching tools and techniques to provide an effective and evidence driven approach to career change for her clients.
In this conversation, we chat about everything from the micro to the macro of careers and the working life.
We talk about the next best step that someone can take if they're struggling in their day to day professional career, about finding that spark that can breathe new life into the working week.
We chat about taking part in “career experiments” and how it’s more possible now than it has ever been before to put a toe into the waters of a career change without needing to dive straight into the deep end.
We chat about the workplace, the challenges of management and leadership, and how people as individuals are often rated or judged exclusively on their output, rather than their whole self, and how individuals themselves are often their own harshest judges.
We go through the detachment from meaning that’s so common to the working experience for so many people these days.
And we also consider the prevailing landscape in 2020 and beyond, with the effects of a global pandemic and the economic fallout from that, about the certainty of uncertainty in our lives and careers, and about how right now, in this strange year, might be the best time to lay the foundations of future career progression.
All that and more in my conversation with academic psychologist and career change coach, Nicola Porter.
Find out more about Nicola's work at www.coachd.ie.
Other items mentioned in this conversation:
Putty Like - A home for multi-potentialitesWatch Emily Wapnick's Ted Talk "Why Some of Us Don't Have One True Calling" on YouTubeThe concept of "possible selves" from the book Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career, by Herminia IbarraValues In Action survey
Episode 33: Designing a purposeful life, the uncertainty of what's to come and how to futurize yourself, with body-centred stress coach and futurist Tom Meyers
Tom Meyers is an osteopath and body-centred stress-coach based in Brussels, Belgium, and also a forward thinker and facilitator of change, with the aim of helping to empower people to live well in body, mind and spirit and lead with resilience in an exponentially changing world.
He has also become a thought leader on the topic of The Future, and how we might proactively build the future version of ourselves. On that topic of looking forward, he speaks regularly at events, is the author of the book Futurize Yourself and is currently busy organising TEDxVilvoorde Online, which due to the pandemic will take place in a virtual setting on October 10th next.
In this episode we chatted about:
Tom’s journey from chef and failing, directionless businessman, through two decades of self-development to his new career as an osteopath and body-centred stress coachHow finding purpose, a sense of life and contributing to the world, and the innate feeling that comes with doing something that is meaningfulWhy he resists most tools and products, instead discovering the ability to work from anywhere without requiring anything apart from his mind and his knowledge and his skillsFinding out who you are while working within your field of potentialThe changing world and how we might prepare ourselves for the uncertain future that comes with exponential change in work, technology and society at largeLinks mentioned in this episode:
Tom is the organiser of TEDxVilvoorde Online, which takes place on October 10th next. Click here for more details on TEDxVilvoordeTom's book Futurize Yourself: Design Your Life on Purpose is available via Amazon hereMore information on Tom's work is available via these websites:
Episode 32: Professor Carlos Moreno on the 15-Minute City, Jane Jacobs, topophilia, zombie geeks and the Ancient Greek view of time
This is Episode 32 of the Life Well Lived Podcast.
Most of the episodes of this podcast so far have been broadly about self-awareness, self-exploration and self-improvement.
A big part of the motivation for the show is to offer help or guidance for individuals to explore and express their individuality, so that they can live each day in a way that’s aligned and purposeful, which over time can add up to a fulfilled and happy life.
There is a meme that goes around the Internet and it says:
“Happiness is an inside job.”
The way we think about things has an outsized impact on our happiness both in the micro moment and in the macro long-term too.
But equally, there is lots about living a happy life that is outside our own individual control.
So this podcast will include some more episodes and interviews about bigger issues affecting humanity as a whole, such as universal basic income, agriculture and food sources, and the biggest issue of them all, climate change.
This episode of the podcast is the first step in that direction.
My guest in this episode is Professor Carlos Moreno.
Carlos is a professor in IT at the Sorbonne University in Paris, France. He was born in Colombia and moved to France when he was 20, and for the past four decades he has been leading research that is certain to deliver tangible benefits for people all over the world in the years and decades to come. A key specialism for Prof Moreno is intelligent control of complex systems, and to that end he has dedicated much of his work towards the concept of Living Cities or Smart Cities, and in recent years has developed the concept of “the 15-minute city”, which he speaks about at length in this episode.
As a result of his work in research and education, Prof Moreno was awarded the rank of Chevalier of the Order of the Legion of Honour in Paris, one of France’s highest accolades, in 2010
One final thing to note before the interview.
Prof Moreno is from Colombia and has lived in France for approximately 40 years. English is perhaps his third or fourth language, and while he is fluent and delivers some exceptional answers here, if you have any problems understanding his accent, I have made this full podcast available as a written transcription too.
To access that free download,visit www.shanebreslin.com/32 where you will find a PDF download. I promise you that it will add greatly to the enjoyment and learning you will get from this episode.
In this show, we discuss:
The concept of the 15-Minute CityAmerican Jane Jacobs and living citiesEdgar Morin and theories of complexityThe South American writers and the theory of "topophilia", or the love of placeThe rise of the "zombie geek" and technology-driven disconnection of people and placeWhy it's so important to get this right, in the context of wider social unrest during the Covid-19 pandemicSome examples of cities around the world which are making great progress in their approach to urban planning
Tracey Mccann .
Truly inspiring person , Tracey puts nothing in her way to go after her dreams . Really engaging podcast . Thks Shane and congrats on continued success with your podcast .