Create that folder

I am feeling overwhelmed today. I have no idea when the last time I have not felt less overwhelmed, or the situation that all my friends are also overwhelmed and currently going through some sort of adulting issues at the moment — but this can’t be normal. I would have wanted to launch into rants of the capitalistic tendency of today’s society where every single activity gets monetised, that competition is the only legitimate organising principle for human activity, and the world is also apparently on the brink of boiling us alive — BUT I will let that rant happen on another day.

There was a tweet or a post somewhere online which suggested for us to keep a separate folder of Nice Things People Have Said to Us™ in our inbox, and that’s the folder we should open and read whenever we are feeling less than optimal. I have not started such folder, but last year I had been keeping track of my achievements, however little, along with some nice things people have said to (probably also have tweeted some of them) in my Moleskine. Today adding to more compliments I wouldn’t expect I would have gotten, on top of “quiet fire”, “persistent thoughtfulness” & “gentle strength” (see there’s a pattern) is “I love your relentless energy”. I was probably anxious and nervous, but I thanked the complimenter nevertheless.

Today I read a Medium post from Margaret Lee, UX Director at Google on having to lead when you are somewhat reluctant, and why current definition of leadership doesn’t match the rallying cry for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Some takes:

  • Rethink the term culture fit for your team & organisation, for it can reinforce some biases and we could end up hiring people who are just like us
  • Be able to adapt to both the front and back persona (basically when you are a leader, there are times you have to work behind the scene, and there are times you have to be at the forefront of the battle)
  • Listen to learn, not to answer, not to win, or to fix!
  • Turn confusion into curiosity
  • Don’t put egotistical visionary too high on the pedestal. Bad behaviour =/ good leadership.

This is something worth framing:

If something isn’t relatable, how can we establish inclusion? By listening to learn. In listening to learn, we remain open and curious, setting aside preconceived notions and assumptions to gain new perspectives. Since listening to learn isn’t the default mode for most of us, nor as goal-oriented as the other styles of listening, it requires our best intention and effort.

I also finished reading a paper on the performance of everyday life during the Gezi Park protest — just by eating together, exercising, constructing a library, cleaning — that sets towards intensifying the citizens’ political agency, sending a message that “we can all live together in harmony despite our differences” — and finally acts as a subversive tactic to challenge the power holders of the country. One quote stands out:

“We are not disposable even if we are silent.” (Butler, 2015)

Duran Adam (Standing Man). Artist Erdem Gunduz stood passively in Taksim Square where he was soon joined by other people, showing a form of radical passivity to subvert the government’s narrative that protesters were violent and looters. Credit: Bob Schwartz

The weekend couldn’t come too soon.

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