Let me get right to it. If you have been hanging around for a while, you understand that Designer Sobriety is ultimately preaching one thing: balance. There is a time to hit things at a fast pace; there is a time to slow it down. This post is suggesting nothing different; however, would love to spend some time on the latter this go around. As both creatives and leaders, we are often faced with the reality that life gets busy. Work has deadlines. Home has complexities. And soon enough, demands have collided with dreams in ways that render us oblivious to the very things lying in front of us. In other words, it’s easy to get stuck in the repetition of the mundane.
Unfortunately, the notion of “balance” is not implemented via some formula. In fact, balance is more about a posture than anything: Are you willing (or able) to shift when necessary? In the moment, are you willing to pause and see a little differently – even in the mundane?
In the 1995 film Smoke, Paul Auster (writer) and Wayne Wang (director) played with this idea. In particular, there is a poignant and memorable scene (below) in which cigar store owner Auggie (Harvey Keitel) invites writer-friend Paul Benjamin (William Hurt) to see his “corner of the world” project – a collection of photos taken at 8 a.m. every morning in front of his Brooklyn cigar store. Year after year, Auggie captures this particular moment from the exact same location – each snapshot directed at the same “corner of the world.” As Auggie pulls out album after album, Paul quickly blows through the pages commenting on the absurdity and monotony of the seemingly “same” moment in time. Auggie interrupts Paul’s oblivion with a simple suggestion that seemingly shift’s Paul’s entire perspective on life:
“Slow down. You’ll never get it if you don’t slow down my friend.”