The Delights of Distraction No.84: It took us years to get here..

It took us years to get comfortable with sharing who we are online. To show up as our personal selves and co-founders of the brand. Viv & Ami only appeared on your radar eight years after we launched The Wishing Chair. 

We just didn't feel comfortable sharing parts of ourselves in a public space.

You may feel the same too. That's OK.

This whole creator thing is a process and it takes time. It requires some paradoxical mindsets: vulnerability paired with a thick rhinoceros hide. Authenticity paired with consumer-driven marketing acumen.

Here two things that might help:

  1. Focus on output, not outcome.Because output is 100% in your control and outcome is never in your control. So for example: Emailing out 90 newsletters is an output. Getting 15,000 subscribers is an outcome. Focusing on what you can control is the best way to get to where you want to go.
  2. Believe that self-promotion is NOT a selfish act. It’s a generous one. If you create something that truly provides value to people, you’re helping them by telling them about it.  If you feel cringey and uncomfortable at the thought of putting yourself out there, consider that perhaps you don’t believe what you created actually provides value.​

Stick with it, you’ll get there. The world wants to hear the unique, extraordinary voice that is solely yours. Have the courage to follow through on an idea –  to resist the inner critic that says, “You are worthless. Why bother?”

To sum it up, words from the brilliant, insightful and lyrical musician, Nick Cave: “Beautiful ideas abound. These ideas swim around us, ideas that can be of immense utility to the world. Some ideas have our singular names inscribed upon them and it is our responsibility to reach beyond our lesser selves to the brightest version of what we can be and breathe life into these ideas. This act of reaching is almost always accompanied by the wretched homunculus and its dreary anthem of personal incompetence, but it is our sacred duty, to turn around and kick this little fucker in the balls. The fight with the dark force inside us is the forge in which true art is formed.”

And now to our regular programming for the week, some of our favourite links:

To read: As middle aged women, we love to laud, like our aging brethren, the cheap and cheerful good ol’ days. But data clearly shows that on certain objective measures of wellbeing –  wars, poverty, health and human rights - the world is getting better, Yet many people feel dissatisfied. In some places, like India, happiness has been on the decline. So how should we view the state of the world: with optimism or pessimism? This article helps us contemplate the question, and delivers us the concept of “melancholic joy”. 

“Both the optimist and the pessimist have it wrong, because each is looking at only part of the evidence. When we open our eyes to the fullness of reality, what we find is a chiaroscuro canvas of both darkness and light. The totality of evidence elicits in us something like ‘melancholic joy’: a grateful and uninhibited joy for the goodness of being, but one tinged by sadness at the pervasiveness of evil and melancholy because it all comes to an end.”

To joy scroll: A preview of majestic black and white photos from a photography project, “Last of  their kind”, an expansive and intimate portrait of the endangered species of Africa’s wildlife. They serve as both an homage and a warning - to what we might lose. 

On a lighter note, check out German photographer Christian Vieler’s works on Facebook or Instagram  for his comedic dog portraits. Most are photos of dog’s faces caught on camera, as they leap into the air to catch a treat. Who knew that the millisecond before a dog catches a treat would make such perfectly hilarious pictures? Vieler told CNN why he thinks these photos became so popular.

“I asked myself: What is the magic behind these photographs? I think the expressions of the dogs remind us of well-known feelings like desire, loss, pain or joy. And that's what we normally don't see that clear in the faces of our dogs.”

To quote: “Let yourself really fail once in a while – not some tiny little mistakes here and there, but big, glaring, confidence-shaking, dark-night-of-the-soul-inducing failures. Understand that no one simply coasts from achievement to achievement. The most accomplished people in the world fail and fail big. That’s how they learn so much, grow so quickly, and become so interesting and wise.” Michelle Obama

To listen: Here’s 600 songs from 1990 to 1999 remixed into a track that lasts for 34 minutes of unadulterated joy. We were in high school and on the brink of college in the 90s -  so every beat and melody on this nostalgic megamix was a part of the soundtrack of our formative years. We think we might have found the music that will fire through our synapses when if ever our  life flashes before our eyes. Every song has been tempo matched, beat synced, harmonised and spliced together perfectly, truly a masterful work.  

To WTF: This is a curious Twitter thread, Paras Chopra has summarized a shortlist of paradoxes in economics and society, such as: Paradox of Plenty or Resource Curse, a phenomenon of countries with an abundance of natural resources having less economic growth, less democracy or worse development indicators than countries with fewer resources, or another paradox where the attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely. 

To ponder: From page 61 of the book Who Not How: "What is the ultimate quantification of success? For me, it's not how much time you spend doing what you love. It's how little time you spend doing what you hate." - Casey Neistat

To cook: British television chef and winner of the Great British Bake Off Nadiya Hussain has a wildly popular recipe for two delicious things that come in a crust, samosa and pie, to create  - a samosa pie! Yup, the merging of our favourite snack baked into a picnic staple. Intrigued? Check out the recipe here, and do watch more fun, easy to make at home recipes that mix east with west on her Netflix show, Nadiya Bakes!

To end:

"The Guest House"
By Jalaluddin Rumi
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


Thanks for reading and being here! We hope you stay hydrated and hopeful, and had a restful weekend. 

Viv and Ami

P.S. If you would like to go back read any of our previous newsletters, you can find them here. Pls reply to this email if there is someone you would like added to this weekly newsletter.

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