Beautiful Things Grow Out of Shit
Brian Eno was a brilliant conceptualist, a founding member of Roxy Music, and a self-described “non musician.” I recently heard his take on creativity and it spoke volumes to me.
“Beautiful things grow out of shit. Nobody ever believes that. Everyone thinks that Beethoven had his string quartets completely in his head – they somehow appeared there and formed in his head – and all he had to do was write them down and they would be manifest to the world. But what I think is so interesting, and would really be a lesson that everybody should learn, is that things come out of nothing. Things evolve out of nothing. You know, the tiniest seed in the right situation turns into the most beautiful forest. And then the most promising seed in the wrong situation turns into nothing. I think this would be important for people to understand, because it gives people a confidence in their own lives to know that’s how things work.
If you walk around with the idea that there are some people who are so gifted – they have these wonderful things in their head but you’re not one of them, you’re just sort of a normal person, you could never do anything like that – then you live a different kind of life. You could have another kind of life where you say, well, I know that things come from nothing very much, start from unpromising beginnings, and I’m an unpromising beginning, and I could start something.”
Taken from: Daniel Lanois & Brian Eno (Producers of U2’s The Joshua Tree & recent No Line On The Horizon) talking about creativity in “Here Is What Is”
Be Frugal About the Right Things
Many great leaders quote Seneca as one of their biggest influences. Seneca is said to be one of the great Stoics. Below is a passage shared recently by #TaiLopez in his blog.
Seneca then reminds us to be more frugal with our time than our money: “You will find no one willing to share out his money; but to how many does each of us divide up his life! People are frugal in guarding their personal property; but as soon as it comes to squandering time they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy.”
It’s so true. I know people who will get five quotes on a piece of furniture, walk the mall looking for the cheapest cup of coffee, only buy beer and wine when it’s on sale and skirt the shout until it’s a necessity. Yet they flit away their time on social media, watching rubbish television, reading a book that’s adding no value or enduring meetings that have no real purpose or plan in mind. These same people are the first people to complain that they haven’t got time to read, listen, plan, learn and get ahead.
I think this quote from Seneca is so powerful it’s worth re-reading. We’re frugal regarding our personal property but when it comes to wasting time – the one thing we have a right to be stingy about – we’re not.
A Tiny Idea
Currently I’m reading a book called Non Obvious which was written to help people develop the skills necessary to spot new trends. Well here’s one trend that I’ve spotted that I reckon is only going to gain momentum, given the cost of buying a home in many cities is becoming so far out of reach.
With that in mind, Tiny Houses has become the latest big trend. For example, Japanese Home Goods and Furniture based brand Muji have develped a series of tiny houses called Muji Huts. These micro-cabins, which in some cases can be as little as 6ft (2m) wide, offer people an affordable way to live a simplistic and minimalist lifestyle. The idea behind the huts is to offer an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city to a place where you feel instantly at ease.
The Tiny House movement is on the rise with individuals, couples and families wanting to trade space for simplicity and more importantly be able to do it on a budget that provides less pressure to their overall lifestyle and the environment. Many Tiny Houses are now being built on trailers so that they can moved to different locations. You’ll see more and more television shows, media and promotion for tiny houses as we reduce the size of our living to adopt simplicity, minimalisation and affordability.
Recently I was speaking about disruption and innovation and showed a slide for Chirps, a corn chip made of crickets, or what we would call grasshoppers. Somebody asked if I’d heard of Critter Bitters.
Critter Bitters is a flavoured bitters created with roasted crickets that apparently add a sweet, nutty taste to your drink or cocktail. There’s vanilla, cacao, toasted almond and of course the original, cricket. Founders Julia Plevin and Lucy Knops are looking to spread the vibe on edible insects. It’s estimated that 2 billion people worldwide find insects edible, they are a terrific source of protein and are ecologically friendly – yet to most of us, unthinkable.
Recently the New York Times cited crickets as a potential ingniter of the next quinoa like food craze. Yet I when I mentioned Chirps to a room full of people, most of them are screwing up their nose and saying, ‘Yuck!’ When I asked if anyone had actually tasted them, there was a resounding, ‘NO!’ So, how do you know? It’s just the perception.
You can check out Critter Bitters on Kickstarter but there are a couple of things to note. It’s taking a territory which others scoff at that has some value and having the courage to pursue it; and #2 we quite often turn our nose up at new ideas with no real knowledge or evidence, acting purely on perception. We at The Espresso office would be keen to have a crack at Cricket.