Golf, Bob Dylan, and How to Lead
Updated: Mar 15, 2019
Fortune Magazine, December 2016 issue; How to Lead Like Zuck by Adam Lashinsky:
“Ideas typically do not just come to you,” said Mark Zuckerberg in a 2014 public Q&A session at Facebook. “They happen because you’ve been talking about something or thinking about something and talking to a lot of people about it for a long time.”
What CEO Mark Zuckerberg discusses in Fortune I call “peppering the subconscious.”
Like homemade soups and stews, ideas must simmer to enhance body and flavor. Time enriches character not revealed in those first, early tastes.
It is in the subconscious that the ingredients of creation accumulate: the coalescence of random, disparate snippets that bubble into awareness as new ideas and fresh projects. We enhance that alchemy when we pepper our subconscious with variety.
I’ve been playing in my spice cabinet, mixing then simmering ideas from books and magazine articles that feel relevant to current projects:
“Chaos creates opportunity: adversity can be liberating because it frees us from the obligation of our set path, awakening our inner hunter,” writes entrepreneur Jeremy Gutsche in Better and Faster: The Proven Path to Unstoppable ideas.
I do not play or watch golf. This is precisely why I picked up at the library the April 2011 issue of Golf Digest – to experiment with an unfamiliar spice:
“I went out on the mini tours thinking that if I had a good swing on the driving range, I should never hit a bad shot on the course,” says Rudy Duran (junior golf coach and consultant). “And even when I hit good shots, I didn’t really know how to make a score. As I thought back, I realized that the best way to learn the game was by playing the game.”
“I still kept turning the radio on,” writes Bob Dylan in Volume One of his autobiography, Chronicles, “probably more out of mindless habit than anything else. Sadly, whatever it played reflected nothing but milk and sugar and not the real Jekyll and Hyde themes of the times.”
From Running Man by Charlie Engle:
“At the refreshment table, a burly, tattooed guy came up to me and told me to make sure I got a nickname in prison.
‘Why’s that?’ I had asked as I helped myself to an Oreo from a paper plate.
‘You get yourself a nickname so that when you get out of the joint and you’re walking down the street and somebody yells out your prison name, you ignore that son of a bitch and keep on walking.’”
New York Times Magazine artist profile by Darryl Wee:
“I don’t usually have a fixed idea of what I want to do and don’t know how the painting will turn out,” said artist Yayoi Kusama about her creative process. “Countless ideas come into my head, and it’s not my role to decide how the final product should be. Once I begin the painting, though, the image becomes clear. And when it’s finished, I realize that this is the painting that I’ve been trying to make.”
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers:
“It’s the moments where you feel most like hiding or dying that you can make the biggest difference as a CEO…follow the principle of the Bushido – the way of the warrior: keep death in mind at all times. If a warrior keeps death in mind at all times and lives as though each day might be his last, he will conduct himself properly in all his actions.”
Liner notes from Freddie Mercury’s CD, Messenger of the Gods:
“The B-side, Exercises in Free Love, is essentially Freddie’s meticulously constructed ‘guide’ for Montserrat; an improvised mock operatic falsetto vocalization without lyrics. It is, if you like, Freddie’s vocal ‘impression’ of Montserrat and it was this recording that he took with him to Barcelona when he first met the diva, and which so greatly impressed her.”
Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life:
“When I was in high school, my math teacher Mr. Packwood used to say, “If you’re stuck on a problem, don’t sit there and think about it; just start working on it. Even if you don’t know what you’re doing, the simple act of working on it will eventually cause the right ideas to show up in your head.”
Get your spice on!