43 Folders

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Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

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”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Stefan Sagmeister on design and happiness

TED | Talks | Stefan Sagmeister: Yes, design can make you happy (video)

I really enjoyed this 15-minute TED presentation by Stefan Sagmeister (watch out: flashy page with grabby browser javascript) on how specific instances of design have made him happy.

The replacement subway signs he mentions (recreation below via Chris Glass) really are pretty terrific. (Anyone have more info or links on the artist and the guerilla campaign?)

Like, Chris, I also really like what Sagmeister has to share about the patterns in his own life that have made him more happy than not. It's easy to see how striving to live these sixteen bullets could help a person enjoy a more creative, open world.

  • Complaining is silly. Either act or forget.
  • Thinking life will be better in the future is stupid. I have to live now.
  • Being not truthful works against me.
  • Helping other people helps me.
  • Organizing a charity group is surprisingly easy.
  • Everything I do always comes back to me.
  • Drugs feel great in the beginning and become a drag later on.
  • Over time I get used to everything and start taking if for granted.
  • Money does not make me happy.
  • Traveling alone is helpful for a new perspective on life.
  • Assuming is stifling.
  • Keeping a diary supports my personal development.
  • Trying to look good limits my life.
  • Worrying solves nothing.
  • Material luxuries are best enjoyed in small doses.
  • Having guts always works out for me.

Like Chris said, "Good stuff."

Link and recreated graphic via: Chris Glass: "Making Happy"

TomK's picture

I dunno. Most of...

I dunno. Most of these sound good ... but drugs are good anytime. If you can't handle your drugs without feeling down later, you must have a leak somewhere in your workflow. I used to think drugs were slowing me down. Then I started reading 43 folders and GTD, and now I realize it's other productivity blocks slowing me down, not my prolific drug ue. I can use the time I get and freed productivity from following these messages to handle the harsh day after and fogginess after the heightened lucidity wears off.

In fact, some of their insights about capturing data and processing later are great if you use a lot of drugs. For example, if you're a musician, and think of a good tune while in a 3 day heroin binge, you might get so frustrated you take a handful of Quaaludes with some grey goose vodka if you try stumble into the studio and fiddle with the knobs to record it. But, if you use Merlin Mann and David Allen's advice, you could hum the melody into the mic on your macbook pro, and enjoy the rest of your heroin binge like a real artist, without being driven to suicide by guilt over your failure to immediately capture it. You'll know you've stored the idea in a recording bin you will empty later, and your drug addled brain won't have to constantly revisit it, leaving your mind free to wander the deathless void beyond this life until your dose wears off and your conscious mind is plunged, screaming, back into your body. And, because you have a trusted system in place to capture all of your thoughts, you'll know that while you're detoxing and crying for three days straight, that thats where you are supposed to be, and won't have to deal with the excess psychic strain of thinking about that drug dealer you owe 2,250 for that last ounce for.

Thanks to Merlin Mann and David Allen, I've gone from a stoned slacker to a stoned overachiever. Thanks Merlin and David!




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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