My manifesto on art and life

My life is the sum of what I have created and what I will create.

If we judge everything we do as creative, we set our own bar for what we put out into the world.

Rather than setting goals, step back and evaluate what I am creating and what do I want to create. Creation is more than goals.

Collaborate with others because life is more interesting creating with people.

And more complicated.

Borrow and lend freely.

Success is judged by others. 

When I judge it myself I am mostly wrong.

How much do I care what others think?

Comparing to others limits creativity. 

All that really matters is what is left behind when I am no longer here.

My manifesto on art and life








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There are two types of qualification.

One is those that are bestowed on you externally by universities and colleges, professional bodies or schools. 

They confirm that you know or can do something to a standard. 

They are necessary but are only part of the picture when thinking about qualifications. 

External qualifications cannot replace our own personal sense of feeling qualified for what we do.

In the past this was learned through experience, think apprenticeships, and it was accepted that it took time.

Today there is a race to notch up externally approved qualifications.

Many people move so fast in the external qualification world that they forget to work on their internal qualification.

Getting ourselves to a point where we internally feel qualified to do what we do is a challenging introspective journey that nobody externally can bestow on us.

When we align our external and the internal qualifications, we can feel truly qualified. 


Degrees and qualifications are only part of the story

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Unusual strengths

Michael Burry has one eye removed from a childhood tumour and Aspergers Syndrome which has prevented him from forming good relationships with people.

He used these “strengths” to be the biggest winner in the 2008 financial meltdown by betting against the dodgy mortgage loans that caused all the trouble for the rest of …the world.

A great example of playing to strengths no matter how unusual they are…

The Vanity Fair article previews Michael Lewis’ new book, The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine.

Ueli Gegenschatz, lots of practice and a matching mental attitude

Ueli Gegenschatz
Ueli Gegenschatz
One of the most incredible things I have seen is Ueli Gegenschatz base flying along the side of a cliff in his wing suit. The closest thing to humans flying showing incredible skill and ability. In this video he takes us through his progression from parachuting, skydiving, sky surfing and then base jumping, what he called the purest form of human flight.

Incredible visuals and demonstrating how to achieve a personal strategy in an incremental way.

Sadly, after a BASE jumping accident on Nov. 11 2009, Ueli died in a Swiss hospital.

This post is in memory of a visionary athletic pioneer.

You can watch his fascinating talk at and the video is included below.

Are you in the zone?

Getting into flow
Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi grew up in Europe and was a child of ten when world war II ended. His experience caused him to grapple with the question of what makes people happy. He had witnessed a whole generation whose life, work, homes and security were destroyed by war. He wanted to understand what made life worth living.

In this unassuming video, he talks about his life work which has become about understanding and measuring when people are in flow. In sport we might call this ‘The Zone’ or ‘The Field’ and it applies as much to business as it does on the sports field.

You may know it as that experience when times seems to fly by, you have more energy upon completion of what you are doing that when you started and you feel an absence of self consciousness. It is the perfect space for performing at your best.

Mihaly explains why money cannot make us happy and shows us the ingredients for getting into flow or into the zone.

How we missed Madiba

It’s a strange feeling to watch the United States celebrate our heroes more effectively than we can.

My father mailed me the link to the Arthur Ashe Courage Award presentation to Nelson Mandela which happened on the 19th July as part of the annual ESPY awards. If you haven’t seen it then stop reading now and watch. It’s electric and I guarantee even the most emotionally disconnected will feel a tear well up in their eyes.

I got curious about why I hadn’t heard about this prestigious award. I’ve been traveling and hit the ground running after my winter break (hence not much Thought Leader blogging). Thinking I may have missed the coverage, I searched the websites of the major English newspapers in South Africa.

Google showed the following results:

Mail & Guardian
Your search – “nelson mandela” “arthur ashe courage award” – did not match any documents.

Sunday Times
Your search – “nelson mandela” “arthur ashe courage award” – did not match any documents.

The only English paper to carry the story was the Independent. Why would this be? Why are we not celebrating our most famous citizen as he gets recognised internationally for his bravery and strategic brilliance?

The footage on YouTube, introduced by Barack Obama and presented by Venus and Serena Williams, takes you back to a different time in South Africa. The 1995 Rugby World Cup was set against a backdrop of violence and uncertainty in the years before. Hope emerged, at least for a moment, as we all dropped our guard and rallied around the boys.

As is usual for an American TV production, this ten minute segment is powerful, real and emotional. Unlike some US productions, it isn’t over the top.

Can you remember what you were doing on those days when we beat Australia in the opening game, beat France in the semifinal and then the big game against New Zealand? Prompted by the video, I remembered each occasion vividly.

Today I browsed Mark Keohane’s gushing account of the rugby world cup 2007 “Champions of the World: Seven Magnificent Weeks”. The book documents the Springboks second World Cup win. While a fantastic achievement, the 2007 win wasn’t quite the same as ‘95. This means we have to look harder for these special moments.

Have a watch and then pass it on. We can’t afford to miss celebrating and feeling proud of Madiba and our rugby heroes.

The powerful catalyst that was created through a leaders’ foresight and a game of rugby is worth spreading. We’ll find more of these moments over the years ahead and they will help us re-build our country.

Don’t worry about the newspapers, they’ll catch up and start reporting the things that really matter; when we make them matter.