Zadie Smith: “I have to avoid all social media”

ELLE: You are a mother of two young children, and with not much help with childcare. Writing is a form of mental gymnastics, isn’t it? How do you do it? What are some of your preoccupations at the moment?

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Zadie Smith: Both my husband and I write whatever it is we write between 9am and 3pm, school hours. Sometimes till 5pm, if I can find an ex-student to take those extra two hours. But that kind of help comes and goes—I don’t rely on it, otherwise I’m overcome with frustration. It’s my belief that even the freest, most single and childless writers rarely do more than four hours of intense writing a day. I do the same, but I just have much less spare time to waste. If I lose a day to Googling etc., then it’s really a problem because I have no slack, no extra time. The other essential part of my job, reading, is what really suffers. We try and read the moment the kids go to bed, and resist the pull of Netflix, but it doesn’t always work. In order to write, I cut out a lot of things: reading the newspapers, for example. I listen to the radio, because you can do that while cleaning. And I have to avoid all social media and most daytime emailing. But I have also absolutely given up on the idea of peace and quiet as being necessary to writing. I just don’t allow myself to think about that. I don’t go to writers’ retreats, and I really can’t imagine any more what it would be like to write from 9am to 6pm each day, or on weekends or during the summer. I work in the time I have.

Source : http://elle.in/culture/man-booker-nominee-zadie-smith-elle-interview/

“you’ll have an entire population growing up and going through life and just never really finding joy” -Simon Sinek on Millennials

Instant gratification. You want to go on a date? You don’t even have to learn how to be socially awkward on that first date. You don’t need to learn how to practice that skill. You don’t have to be the uncomfortable person who says yes when you mean no and no when you mean yes. Swipe right – bang – done! You don’t even need to learn the social coping mechanism.

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Everything you want you can have instantaneously. Everything you want, instant gratification, except, job satisfaction and strength of relationships – their ain’t no out for that. They are slow, meandering, uncomfortable, messy processes.

And so millennials are wonderful, idealistic, hardworking smart kids who’ve just graduated school and are in their entry-level jobs and when asked “how’s it going?” they say “I think I’m going to quit.” And we’re like “why?” and they say “I’m not making an impact.” To which we say—“you’ve only been there eight months…”

It’s as if their standing at the foot of a mountain and they have this abstract concept called impact that they want to have on the world, which is the summit. What they don’t see is the mountain. I don’t care if you go up the mountain quickly or slowly, but there’s still a mountain. And so what this young generation needs to learn is patience. That some things that really, really matter, like love or job fulfillment, joy, love of life, self confidence, a skillset, any of these things, all of these things take time. Sometimes you can expedite pieces of it, but the overall journey is arduous and long and difficult and if you don’t ask for help and learn that skillset, you will fall off the mountain. Or the worst case scenario, we’re seeing an increase in suicide rates in this generation, we’re seeing an increase in accidental deaths due to drug overdoses, we’re seeing more and more kids drop out of school or take a leave of absence due to depression. Unheard of. This is really bad.

The best case scenario, you’ll have an entire population growing up and going through life and just never really finding joy. They’ll never really find deep, deep fulfillment in work or in life, they’ll just waft through life and it things will only be “just fine.” “How’s your job?” “It’s fine, same as yesterday…” “How’s your relationship?” “It’s fine…” That’s the best case scenario.

Source : https://scrapsfromtheloft.com/2017/01/09/simon-sinek-on-millennials/

Seth Godin:”I don’t think my audience owes me anything”

Question: What are the five things that enabled you to be successful?

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Seth Godin: If we define success as the ability to make a living doing what I do, I’d say the following:

  1. No ulterior motive. I rarely do A as a calculated tactic to get B. I do A because I believe in A, or it excites me or it’s the right thing to do. That’s it. No secret agendas.
  2. I don’t think my audience owes me anything. It’s always their turn.
  3. I’m in a hurry to make mistakes and get feedback and get that next idea out there. I’m not in a hurry, at all, to finish the “bigger” project, to get to the finish line.
  4. I do things where I actually think I’m right, as opposed to where I think succeeding will make me successful. When you think you’re right, it’s more fun and your passion shows through.
  5. I’ve tried to pare down my day so that the stuff I actually do is pretty well leveraged. That, and I show up. Showing up is underrated.

Source : https://guykawasaki.com/ten_questions_w-10/

Rita Levi-Montalcini “What you do you should do well”

Q: So I am also wondering what advice would you give young people now. Many young people are not interested in science, and it’s a very exciting time, as you mentioned.

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Levi-Montalcini: I’d say, as I always say, that nothing is beautiful as to work on something scientific or social, to be very invested in what you do. I mean, not [to] be afraid, but knowing that you never will go ahead if you don’t do it very seriously and then, as you say, the important [thing] is to be very engaged. What you do you should do well. I will say that it is not as important as scientific or social [work] because I’m also working on social problems, as you know, in Africa. So it is important to know what it is important in life, not just only very simple and stupid things, like being beautiful and successful, this is nonsense.

I always say so, and I have many followers you know. I work here, and I am delighted because excellent people work here, Antonino Cattaneo, Pietro Calissano, I mean, many people, not too many, but some people still understand the importance of being invested in important problems, not in futility.

Source :

https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/full/10.1146/annurev-physiol-021909-135857

Rita Levi-Montalcini won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1986 with Stanley Cohen, decades after her groundbreaking work in Italy and the United States. The theory she developed was quite elegant and simple. Competition of nerve cells early in development for limited amounts of growth factors produces winners and losers. The winners are nerve cells that made the correct connections with their targets, and the losers undergo death, which explains the massive amount of programmed cell death that occurs in the peripheral nervous system.

Anthony Bourdain:”There are always delusional people who thought it would be a great idea, who decided to “follow their passion.”

Q: There are so many cooking and food-travel shows now Do you feel like these shows have created a false impression of what it’s like to work in a kitchen?

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Bourdain: Yeah, sure. But anybody who goes in laboring under the assumption or thinking it’s going to be easy or glamorous is going to be very, very quickly dissuaded. They were not going to last. But that was always the case. There are always delusional people who thought it would be a great idea, who decided to “follow their passion.” This was always a lethal instinct. Or almost always a lethal instinct. And I think the genuine problem is that there are a lot of cooking schools around the country who, in a predatory way, have contributed to or have essentially knowingly encouraged people who, in good conscience, should not be encouraged, and leading them to believe that, at 35 years old, they will be able to roll out of this third-tier cooking school, saddled with a huge and often punitive debt, and somehow ever get out from under.

I mean, they’re not telling them that, if you’re 35, you’re going to be grandpa in the kitchen. You’re going to be, chances are, the oldest person in the kitchen. That it is physically hard, and that you’re going to be getting paid shit, if you’re lucky, for the first few years. And if you want to be really good, then you will insist upon getting paid shit, because what you should be doing is working for somebody really, really good for as close to nothing as they’re willing to give you, in return for the experience. So that’s something that I think it would be useful to point out. That if you have a good job, you’re 35 years old, and you think it’s going to be easy, or that you’re going to make a good living, you at least need a realistic picture of what the business is really like before you make a jump or a commitment like that.

I mean, I admire anyone who wants to cook and knowingly enters the field. It’s a hard thing. But, you know, look before you leap. Because I’ve seen that so many times, kids coming out of cooking school and working in my kitchens, and literally two weeks in, you see it. You look behind the line, and you can just see the dream die. This terrible information sinking in, like, “Oh my God, this is nothing like they told me it was going to be.”

Source : https://www.thrillist.com/entertainment/nation/anthony-bourdain-interview-appetites-cookbook

Charlie Kaufman:”It’s hard to be human”

Q: As Michael asks in the film: what is it to be human, to ache?

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Charlie Kaufman : I don’t know. It’s hard to be human. I get angry at being human and at humans and I wish there was more kindness and I could be more kind and other people could be more kind. I get very rattled just in traffic. On the road, a certain combination of selfishness and aggression exists. I think it’s analogous to look at people in cars and people online because it is an anonymous situation where you get to act on these impulses without repercussions – unless you’re in an accident – and just to be mean. I just find it so upsetting.

I was driving last night on this quiet road and this person was driving towards me and had their lights on. I flashed them to let him know, not in a rude way, that I couldn’t see. And he or she turned her brights off immediately and then turned them right back on. It was like: ‘Screw you. Don’t tell me what to do. Fuck you.’ I can’t really figure out any other version that makes sense. It just puts all of my cortisol or some sort of adrenalin nightmare stuff coursing through my veins.

The converse is true too. When I see something that’s just kind, I find it the most incredibly moving thing. It just makes me relax and tear up. When someone looks at you warmly for a second as you pass them on the street – rather than just an obligatory nod – it gives you some sort of renewed faith.

Source : https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/dec/16/charlie-kaufman-anomalisa-interview-donald-trump