Five Things #37 by Ross Farley

Every Wednesday I share five things I liked and think you might like too. Here are this week’s Five Things…

  1. Since the passing of David Bowie a year ago, there have been many great articles written about him. This might just be my favourite. I particularly love this quote: "How starstruck, after all, can anybody feel after the object of one’s veneration says, early on, without a trace of irony, that he was excited to start a new project because: 'Now I get to do one of my favourite things. Go to a stationery store and get Sharpies and Post-its!'" Rock star, musical genius and stationary fan.
     
  2. I recently stumbled on a BBC series from 1972 called "Ways Of Seeing". So far, I've only watched the first episode, but highly recommend it. You can watch the whole series here on Youtube.
     
  3. An interesting piece on the importance of music in our lives.
     
  4. A long and moving read on B.J Miller and his "Quest to Change the Way We Die". He's a fascinating guy. A doctor, triple amputee... and the proud owner of a motorbike. 
     
  5. I've just discovered the music of Julia Holter... I have no idea how or why it's taken me so long to hear of her music! Here she is performing her song In The Green Wild on KEXP. 

That's all for this week. If you enjoyed it, sign up to receive future posts or check out my previous Five Things posts.

Five Things #36 by Ross Farley

Every Wednesday I share five things I liked and think you might like too. Here are this week’s Five Things…

  1. We all have those days when we struggle to get out of bed in the morning. The Roman emperor and Stoic philsopher Marcus Aurelius has some words of motivation for you.
     
  2. Katy Ann Gilmore might just be my new favourite artist — Where Math and Nature Meet Art
     
  3. A fun, animated video by The School of Life on Ludwig Wittgenstein and how to avoid some of the muddles we get into with words.
     
  4. Musician Ólafur Arnalds on five things he learnt in his twenties. I particularly relate to his thoughts on live performance, which I embellished on in a blog post titled "The Beauty of Live Performance".
     
  5. You might have heard of the acronym "FOMO" (the Fear Of Missing Out). It's a problem for many people that's exacerbated by our constant exposure to everyone else's "perfect lives" via social media. There might be a solution, JOMO, the Joy Of Missing Out. The excellent Note to Self podcast did an episode on this that they rebroadcast last week.

That's all for this week. If you enjoyed it, sign up to receive future posts or check out my previous Five Things posts.

The Beauty Of Live Performance by Ross Farley

Photo by Marino Thorlacius

Photo by Marino Thorlacius

I totally agree with Ólafur Arnalds on this: 

The beauty of live performance lies in its imperfections. Otherwise you can just be listening to a CD. The live situation is not the same as a studio situation so you shouldn't play like you're in a studio. . . . It needs to be human. That's why people come to concerts. That's why mistakes are okay, that's why surprises are okay and imperfection is super important live.

The energy and intimacy of a live performance is so far removed from that of listening to a CD or Spotify. It's strange that bands and artists choose to just replicate their studio recordings live on stage without making changes to reflect the new environment and undistracted attention of an audience. It's probably why I haven't been to a pop or rock gig in so long!

Ólafur is a fascinating guy, you can check out the full interview below.

Read: Ólafur Arnalds: Five Things I Learnt in my Twenties

 

How to Become Great at Just About Anything by Ross Farley

If the title of this post attracted your attention, I recommend checking out this episode of the Freakonomics podcast of the same name. 

My biggest takeaway from listening to the episode was this quote from Bob Fisher on the importance of deliberate practice:

Instead of just practicing, you are focused; you’re engaged; it’s like a rubber band. You are constantly stretching the rubber band, and you don’t want to stretch it to the point that it breaks, but you want it to have continual pressure. In other words, you want to try and do things that you are not able to do at the present time.

If you want to get good at anything it takes a lot of focused practice. Practice that is directed on things just beyond your current level of ability. Start with one thing you want to improve at, and find a way of breaking it down into smaller, easier pieces. 

Here's Bob Fisher again:

People who continue to get better never allow themselves to go on automatic pilot; they’re continually breaking down the element they are trying to do and working on pieces and then putting it back together.

So whatever you're planning on improving at in 2017, bear this in mind.

Listen: "How to Become Great at Just About Anything" by Freakonomics Radio

Five Things #35 by Ross Farley

Every Wednesday I share five things I liked and think you might like too. Here are this week’s Five Things…

  1. In case you didn't know this already. Our brains are weird. Exhibit A: The movie that doesn’t exist and the Redditors who think it does.
     
  2. ... Weird, and incredible. Exhibit B: Brain's party noise filter revealed by recordings.
     
  3. A great interview with Brian Eno. His thoughts on the importance of creativity in education really struck a chord with me.
     
  4. As 2017 rapidly approaches, it's a good time to pause and reflect on the last year. This Wait But Why post might make you think a little differently about how you spend your time next year.
     
  5. "We grow out of a lot as we grow up. One of the most unfortunate things we leave behind is a regular dose of change." I love this quote from Jason Fried and his ideas in this article. — Be More Productive. Take Time Off.

That's all for this week. If you enjoyed it, sign up to receive future posts or check out my previous Five Things posts.