Not long ago, after a long and trying day spent in meetings, I made the 90 minute drive back to my home in silence. No podcasts. No music. The stereo in my car was off.
On the highway, I heard barely any noise. Only the low rumbles of my winter tires, and the whooshing of surrounding traffic as we passed each other, driving into the sunset.
In today’s dizzying world, where we often fill the silence with social media and fast news, the silence and the isolation feel increasingly rare. They create an opportunity for slow thinking — for quiet contemplation.
More than ever, I think slow thinking is exactly what we need.December 12 2018
Over the past couple years, I’ve tried to transform my work into a spiritual practice — not unlike Jiro. As often as I can, I spend a few minutes each morning in meditation with God. On the days I can do that, I find I’m much more at peace with my work. Inviting God into my work changes why I’m working.
I’m reminded of Colossians 3:24:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Our spiritual relationship and development is tied up in our work. Recognizing that has removed a lot of stress from me.
On the other hand, no matter how dedicated you are to your craft, rest is important:
“Better to have one handful with quietness than two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind.”
– Ecclesiastes 4:6 NLT
On his deathbed, will Jiro wish he spent more time perfecting sushi? Or will he wish he spent more time with his sons?August 1 2018
The other night, my wife and I watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi. The film is a study of Jiro Ono, the man widely considered the finest sushi chef in the world.
Jiro is a shokunin. A shokunin is a sort of artisan, a person dedicated to the improvement of their craft for the betterment of the public. As Jiro explains it in the documentary:
I do the same thing over and over, improving bit by bit. There is always a yearning to achieve more. I’ll continue to climb, trying to reach the top, but no one knows where the top is. Even at my age, after decades of work, I don’t think I have achieved perfection. But I feel ecstatic all day… I love making sushi. That’s the spirit of the shokunin.
Of course, a shokunin doesn’t have to be a chef. A shokunin is a person wholly dedicated to his or her craft. Director and cinematographer Daniel Olivares made a short film about the shokunin at Varis Japan — craftsmen who make aerodynamic parts for high-speed vehicles.
The shokunin are fascinating because they are perfectly content with something I think many of us struggle with in the west. They dream of doing the same thing, every day, for decades. They don’t appear to have a problem with repetition. They are relentlessly hard on themselves in pursuit of the perfection of their craft.
In our culture, we struggle with the Groundhog Day of our lives: the mundanity of a day-to-day life where much of it feels the same. On the other hand, a shokunin looks for repetition. It is an opportunity to improve. Repetition is a chance to get better.
Jiro just wants the best fish to practice his craft on. He is content with that. He and many other shokunin have transformed their work into a spiritual practice.
This is a noble pursuit.
For those of us outside Silicon Valley, the push towards the “new” can be set aside. We can agree to work on perfecting what we do, and let that lead us where it will.July 30 2018
Absolutely thrilled to be featured on The Sweet Setup this week. I’ve been meaning to submit my gear to the website for over a year now, and just never found the time. The Sweet Setup is one of my favourite sites, and I’m thrilled to finally see my rig on there.
One thing I wish I remembered to mention: I would love a sit/stand desk. When Hildegard and I can afford the luxury of a new desk, a Jarvis bamboo desk exists with my name on it.
Edit: It turns out I did mention it. Oops. Ah well. I’d really like a standing desk, so it probably bears repeating.July 10 2018
I’ve already made a formal announcement on my portfolio site, but I wanted to share it here as well. I’m speaking on a panel about Promotion through Digital and Traditional Media at the first annual “Pride in Business” Business Forum and Trade Show on June 21st.
There are more details about the panel on my portfolio blog, but if you’re in or around downtown Toronto on the 21st, I’d love to see you there and hang out. You can get free tickets for the panel on Eventbrite.June 13 2018