I particularly enjoyed the exchanges on maintaining perspective. Seinfeld teased Obama about this throughout, asking him questions about his underwear, emotional eating, raising the heat in the White House, and other stuff that normal people have to worry about.
At the 00:14:35 mark, they started talking about how privilege and power changes you. Seinfeld said, “Privilege is toxic, sadly. Things that people struggle to achieve, they get to positions of power, influence, money, can do things… it has a toxic effect on their judgment.”
Then, Obama turned the tables on him. “Has it happened to you yet?” Obama asked.
“No,” Seinfeld replied immediately and definitively.
Obama kept pushing. He mentioned Seinfeld’s sudden and extreme success — the fame, the money — and he asked, “How did you calibrate dealing with that?”
I fell in love with the work. And the work was joyful and difficult and interesting. And that was my focus.
Very reminiscent of what Obama himself said earlier this year in an interview with Humans of New York, although in that case, Obama was referring to how you recover from massive failure.
Earlier this month, someone asked me for the best resources to learn about Doug Engelbart’s work. Doug didn’t publish prolifically, but he wrote quite a bit, and some of his papers are must-read classics. You can find most of his writing and many other great resources at the Doug Engelbart Institute, which is curated by his daughter, Christina.
Finally, for a detailed repository of notes and recommendations from when I first started working with Doug in 2002, see this list. Sadly, many of the links are broken, but most are probably findable via search.
If you have others to recommend and share, please post in the comments below!
Yesterday, I started losing my voice, and it stayed gone all day today. Of course, I had meetings scheduled all day today, and I needed to speak at all of them. So I got to try on a new persona today — that of a person who speaks softly, calmly, and slowly.
Normally, my voice is clear and strong. Projecting is not a problem, and although I have learned to speak softly on occasion, when I get excited or agitated, I naturally start speaking faster and louder.
So today was interesting. I liked that my inability to speak up without straining my vocal cords forced me to slow down and speak softly and gently. I was able to stay calm and deliberate as I spoke, even when I was excited about something. It felt better — getting excited eventually drains me — and I’m sure it made it easier and perhaps more enjoyable for others to follow. I’d love to keep practicing this.
However, there were also times when I wanted to project simply so that others could hear me. Not being able to do that felt frustrating and disempowering. It would be interesting to experiment with this long-term to see how much of a role my natural voice plays in me being seen by others, and how I might compensate in other ways.
I’m a private person. Over the years, I’ve found a nice balance between living and working openly while maintaining personal boundaries. I’m consistently surprised by the benefits of being selectively open and vulnerable in public.
My Photo-A-Day project has pushed these boundaries. On the one hand, I’m not that excited by how much I’ve shared about my life, even when they’ve only been tiny windows. On the other hand, what I have shared has resulted in deeper relationships with many people I care about. All in all, it’s been net positive.
Still, I feel discomfort, especially when I’m not feeling great. 2015 has been a stellar year overall, but I’m human, and I have my ups and downs. I’m going through one of those down periods now. It’s nothing serious — no one is dying, thank goodness. I’m going to get through it just fine, and I most definitely don’t want any sympathy. But forcing myself to continue publishing photos that tell an authentic story while also maintaining personal boundaries has been tough. I’ll be glad when this project is over.
I’ve found over the years that you mostly just have to wait out times like these. Sure, I have my coping mechanisms: basketball, music, food, family, friends, etc. They all work to some extent. But there’s really only one thing that consistently helps: Making things.
Make a picture. Make a tool. Write something down. Doodle. Make change. Make music. Make trouble. Make love. Just make something. Express yourself through making. And whatever you do, don’t be nice. Be you. Feel what you feel, and be okay with it.