If the question no longer fits, tailor it to suit you better. (Photo by Kenny Luo on Unsplash)
This morning, I completed a massive cleanup of the accounts I follow on Twitter, thanks to the useful and delightful Tokimeki Unfollow app, created by Julius Tarng. The app was inspired by Marie Kondo's KonMari method, which, you know:
Anyway, one thing I love about Tokimeki Unfollow is that when you're reviewing an account and deciding whether to keep or unfollow it, the question you're prompted with is:
"Do the tweets still spark joy or feel important to you?"
Not only is this a helpful clarification of the definition of "tokimaki," Kondo's original word that's been translated as "spark joy," but it also expands the user's sense of what qualities matter most to them while using Twitter. (I know I certainly follow plenty of accounts that feel important, but not particularly joyful.)
When the question changes, our perspective changes – and often, so do our choices.
On a similar note, my friend Alexis Morgan recently wrote that she has been experimenting with replacing the question, "What would make me happy?" with "What feels satisfying?" This makes more room for complexity, discomfort, and nuance – all crucial qualities in a culture that prefers distraction, simplification, and happy-happy bypassing of uncomfortable feelings. Alexis also replaces "What sparks joy?" with "What feels nourishing?"
We all have questions we return to often, whether because they are chronic preoccupations – for instance, "What do others expect of me?" – or because they have been helpful to us in the past. (I KonMari'd my wardrobe years ago and "What sparks joy?" worked great for me then.)
But as we evolve, the questions we use must evolve, too. See if you can catch yourself in the act of inquiry this week, and get a little meta on yourself. Ask yourself:
How might I make this question work better for me?
How would I ask it if I were putting it to a cherished friend?
What twist on this question would prompt a more meaningful answer?
If you're inspired to share your replies to the above questions, I'm listening. Just hit reply and send them my way.
How to say no to the wrong clients (and yes to the right ones) seems to have struck a chord with many entrepreneurs and freelancers. I've also been publishing curiosity experiments again: here's one on the alchemy of being witnessed, and another on some of my favourite ways to foster creativity through constraints.
If you read one thing in this newsletter, make it this gritty and galvanizing essay on hopepunk. When it comes to imposter syndrome and other strains on our self-confidence, motivational mantras and pep talks aren't enough. This article on a Barcelona art exhibition about climate apocalypse is, surprisingly, the most hopeful thing I've read in a long time. Humpback whales learn each other's songs and remix them. Lucy Bellwood's 100 Demon Dialogues illustrates (highly relatable) conversations with her inner critic.
This Spotify playlist compiled by Adrienne Maree Brown to help you mute/boycott R Kelly. (Her post about the playlist and how monsters are everywhere is also great reading.) An unexpected friendship with basketball legend Charles Barkley. Maybe it's just because I was born in the 70s, but this might be my favourite Kickstarter video ever.
I help entrepreneurs, freelancers, and nonprofit leaders discover their own definitions of success, and live and work in alignment with them. If that sounds like you, you might want to pick up my latest book, Curious for a Living, or book a coaching session with me.
One last thing…
If you're not already on the Lizzo train, get on board now with this delightful (and NSFW) profile in The Cut.
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