Baseline

“But if there’s one single thing that has made the difference between partners who have hope and partners who are struggling, it’s this: we – the ones with ADHD – have to own it. We have to say to ourselves and our partners: “Some of the things I do don’t work for us. They don’t work for the family, for my job, for me. I want to change them.”

That’s it. That’s the baseline. There are many different ways to go from there: couples counseling, education about ADHD, medication, support groups, and forgiveness and growth. There’s no one-size-fits-all “next step,” but if we can’t at least do this – if we can’t at least say “something has to change” – there’s nowhere we can go.

ADDA – We All Want to Be Heard

False Imitation

“[…] Governor Cuomo praised the design of the broad, bland new stations to the New York Times as a “public space where community can gather and where culture and shared civic values are celebrated,” and, at a news conference, predicted that “this is just the beginning of a new period of rebirth.”

What actually happened was that the design of the new subway stations was outsourced to assorted stars of the modern art world, most of whom not one New Yorker in ten thousand would likely recognize by name or achievement. One of them, Chuck Close, filled his station with mosaic portraits of “New York artists who have formed Mr.Close’s wide circle,” which includes Lou Reed and Kara Walker along with Cecily Brown, Philip Glass, Alex Katz, several younger artists he favored, and two self-portraits.

The artist Vik Muniz did Close one better, providing three dozen images of various friends, relatives, and cultural celebrities dressed up, reported the Times, like “normal people,” including “the restauranteur Daniel Boulud holding a bag with a fish tail sticking out; the designer, actor, and man-about-town Waris Ahluwalia”; and Mr.Muniz himself, “in a Rockwell-esque scene of him tripping, spilling papers from his briefcase,” as well as his son, dressed “in a tiger suit, like a Times Square mascot on lunch break.” Isn’t it marvelous? The artists are depicting themselves and their celebrity friends imitating us, waiting for a train and doing all the perfectly ordinary things that we ordinary people do?

The Death of a Once Great City, by Kevin Baker (Harper’s, July 2018)

Paying Attention

“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” – Lao Tzu

Richter

Quite early on, you were described as “inconsistent’, because you were always swapping levels, both in your subject matter and, even more, in your style. You have described yourself as ‘uncertain’. Or is some of it about proving to yourself and to others that you can do anything?

No, it isn’t that. Painting a copy of a photograph is something that can be learned. And there are so many conceivable kinds of artistic statement that I haven’t made – I’m relatively limited – a bit one-sided, in fact. Never anything but oil painting.

Inconsistency is simply a consequence of uncertainty, which I certainly do tend to suffer from – but then I also regard it as inevitable and necessary.

So perhaps uncertainty is the overriding theme?

Maybe. At all events, uncertainty is part of me; it’s a basic premise of my work. After all, we have no objective justification for feeling certain about anything. Certainty is for fools, or liars.

Posttraumatic Growth (6/17-6/18)

“PTG is a cousin to resilience, but more of a thug: meaner, more brutal, more devastating – and more transformative. Rich Tedeschi and Lawrence Calhoun, psychologists at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, coined the term in 1995, when they noticed they some people did not recover from their traumatic experiences in a typically resilient fashion. Rather than return to their set point, everything about them radically changed: their worldviews, their goals in life, their friendships. […]

“The one thing that overwhelmingly predicts it is the extent to which you say, ‘My core beliefs were shaken,'” Calhoun adds.

“What kind of core beliefs? “The degree to which the world is just,” Tedeschi says, “or that people are benevolent or that the future is something that you can control. Beliefs about, basically, how life works.”

Life Reimagined, The Science, Art, and Opportunity of Midlife, Barbara Bradley Hagerty

“Ley”

Zeddig remembered the courtyard of the Hanged Man the night she and Ley broke up – no, “broke up” wasn’t the right terms – the night their six months’ war grew too hot. Dreamdust addicts sprawled on couches, mewling in their stupor as dreams and bass pulsed from the dance hall upstairs. She reached for Ley’s arm, but Ley always could slide away when she wanted. “She didn’t leave us to die.” Just me. And not to die: just to live my life without her. “She just left.”

Ruin of Angels, Max Gladstone

Softbank.

“Those doubting his grand visions have been proved wrong in the past. In 1981 he founded SoftBank to distribute personal-computer software in Tokyo with two part-time employees. On the first day the diminutive Mr Son stood on two apple cartons and announced to those befuddled workers that in five years the firm would have $75m in sales and be number one. They thought “this guy must be crazy”, Mr Son later told the Harvard Business Review, and quit the same day. But Mr Son’s drive and ambition saw SoftBank eventually distributing 80% of PC software in Japan.”

The impact of Masayoshi Son’s $100bn tech fund will be profound.” – The Economist

Communication Breakdown

“Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself …” – Carl Jung

History Lessons

“A century ago cars were seized upon as a solution to the drawbacks of horses, which were clogging city streets with manure. The broader social consequences of cars, both good and bad, were entirely unforeseen. Today the danger is that AVS will be treated merely as a technological solution to the problems associated with cars and that, once again, the wider impacts will be overlooked. AVS have the potential to transform physical transport as radically as packet-switching transformed the delivery of data. But as with the internet, realising their benefits is a matter of politics as well as technology. AVS offer a chance to forge a new and better trade-off between personal mobility and social impact—but only if the lesson of the horseless carriage is applied to the era of the driverless car.”

“Who is Behind the Wheel,” The Economist, March 3, 2018

End Game Analysis: Relationship Principles

This article, and the articles that follow analyze my thoughts on what I am calling my “end game.” You can read more about this concept here.

In the article entitled “Mind the Gap,” I wrote about the importance of having both self and situational awareness when it comes to managing relationships. Since it is difficult to provide explicit guidance across all personalities and situations, a better alternative is to rely upon a set of relationship principles.

The absence of principles is akin to traveling without a map. This approach may be suitable for local exploration, but arguably irresponsible when traveling in unfamiliar territory (at least if you wish to reach a specific destination). Principles allow one to navigate successfully independently of the situation.

Let’s build an initial set by posing the following questions:

Do I feel comfortable with this person?

Is the relationship balanced?

Is the relationship moving forward?

These translate into the following three criterion: comfort, balance, and strength, and are neutral enough where they can be easily applied in both professional and personal contexts. They also follow a natural order (i.e., relationships which make one uncomfortable should probably not move forward by default).

Lastly, since change is ever present, these questions need to be continuously asked. Each assessment should inform whether the relationship is on track or requires recalibration, containment, or termination.