I’m on the bullet train from Okayama to Tokyo. However, the last few days I’ve been slowly cycling through southern Japan’s Art Islands:
Benesse Art Site Naoshima holds traditional japanese villages, revived through modern art museums, fully integrated with Nature. Founder Fukutake’s vision: “I want to revitalise each region with the good use of contemporary art, and I want this art activity to last forever. It’s a message of how the world should be after capitalism”.
Inspired by his legacy, let me share with you some creations and insights since my last letter.
My best wishes,
PS: if this is the first time you receive my seasonal update, see here why I do this.
Entrepreneurial skills for making meaning
We tend to see entrepreneurship as a reallocation of resources to make a profit.
But those same skills can be used to grow a different kind of metric: meaning.
How could you use your existing work skills to create meaning in your life?
Let me share 3 examples.
a) Your “making meaning” moonshot
I set a personal moonshot where success was measured by how meaningful the experience would be – ideally tears involved.
The dream? To bring my younger brother Guillermo who has Down Syndrome to perform with his inclusive theatre group at Google’s HQ in Europe.
It required the use of copywriting, persuassion, networking, negotiation, public speaking – and dare I say leadership. These are raw business skills – used for a purpose beyond economics. When your intent is benevolent, people want to help you make magic: dozens of colleagues stepped up as volunteers.
The result? Hundreds of Googlers, from interns to executives, were deeply moved by their performance, opening their understanding of “diversity” to include intellectual disability.
Oh, and we doubled our 5-figures fundraising target for DownMadrid thanks to Googler’s and Google’s matching generosity. I was floored with gratitude.
What could be your personal “making meaning” moonshot this year?
(Watch the show here, Q&A at 22:50, I ended up choking on stage…)
b) A tribute to your loved ones
In 2014 I was at BurningMan attending a TEDx talk. The speaker’s idea stuck with me: he proposed giving eulogies before we die.
Now he has turned it into a startup that spreads meaning around the world. I used Tribute.co for my parent’s birthday and it was an extremely moving gift. So I asked Andrew from Tribute to make a discount voucher for my friends.
Use this code for a 35% off in 2017: “FRIENDOFMIGUEL”
c) AirBnB for finding meaning
You may be interested in learning how to increase your wellbeing: connecting with your body, lowering stress, or expressing your creativity. But with so many offerings out there, it’s confusing where to go.
My friends Jacobo, Marc & Cristobal have just launched a platform help you find trusted wellbeing professionals. If you are based in Barcelona, you can already start enjoying their service, soon they’ll expand:
Waiting for her coffee. Tokyo is full of minimalistic cafes of superb quality.
This couple designed their own home in Hakushu. We’d have breakfast every day with their parakeet flying around. I made this sketch as gratitude for their hospitality.
Naoshima island’s modern art museum gives a stunning view from its cafe.
Playing ball with kids in Teshima island, Japan
Marvelling at Shinto temples in Naoshima, Japan
Scouting wild buffalos in Nukuru park, Kenya
Hypnotized by the Iguazu waterfalls view from Belmod Hotel, Brazil
Learning from others
On Japanese perceptivity
– “When you come across something that you cannot throw away, think carefully about its true purpose in your life. You’ll be surprised at how many of the things you possess have already fulfilled their role. By acknowledging their contribution and letting them go with gratitude, you will be able to truly put the things you own, and your life, in order. In the end, all that will remain are the things that you really treasure. To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose. To throw away what you no longer need is neither wasteful nor shameful.”
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, by Marie Kondo
– “The Japanese were to become masters of space, and have throughout their long artistic history stressed the importance of space or nothingness as a juxtaposition to things that presently exist. As the silence between notes in music is vital, so the space provided in art is just as expressive, and wabi sabi has used brevity to magnify the intensity of the expression.”
WabiSabi, The Japanese art of impermanence by Andrew Juniper
On living to work
– “The strenuous purposeful money-makers may carry all of us along with them into the lap of economic abundance … but it will be those peoples, who can keep alive, and cultivate into a fuller perfection, the art of life itself and do not sell themselves for the means of life, who will be able to enjoy the abundance when it comes.”
John Maynard Keynes in 1930
– “The crisis we’re in now is less about wages, and more about time … many of our society’s ills could be fixed if people worked fewer hours per day. … it’s not our possessions that drive our happiness. It’s our experiences. And to have experiences, you need free time. We need to give people time to have the experiences that lead to the true enjoyment of life. And think about it: when you get home after an abnormally long day, and you’re drained, what goes to the wayside? Exercise. Community. Family time. Learning. Other enjoyable experiences and relationships. Happiness. Happiness goes by the wayside.”
The Five-Hour Workday (surprisingly much better than its title), by Stephan Aarsol
I will be limiting travel in the months ahead, and testing avoiding social dinners, giving preference to social breakfasts…