For my work, I always make sure that I create the best possible atmosphere and environment to be encompassed in.
Imagine dining in a highly-rated restaurant. It’s undeniable that the atmosphere plays a huge role in the subsequent enjoyment of your dining experience. If the music is playing too loud, you will struggle to talk to your dining partner. If the lights aren’t correctly dimmed, your attention wanders around the slightly bleak room, rather than focusing on the present conversation. These initially small downsides build and your overall meal satisfaction is spoiled. In the same way, the small details that make up your work environment can hinder your work. And whilst it is true that you can still work well without having your optimal conditions, much like how you can still enjoy your meal with a sub-par designed atmosphere; setting yourself up correctly elevates the likelihood of you producing great work and enjoying the process of creating such work.
The key to a great workspace environment is immersion. You must be immersed in your work, inspirations for future work, calendars for keeping track of daily habits and minimal distractions. Building your ideal habitat is a great strategy for giving your productivity a boost and your brain a high baseline level of focus. But there is a particularly essential item that I personally, always make sure to keep in my workspace.
But not just art that looks fancy and shows off your ability to stay in-tune with culture. No. This has to be art that is personal. Something that, as your mind starts to wander mid-creative rut, you can glance at and remind yourself of your journey, your motivations and your aspirations. I have two specific pieces in my current workspace:
This is an up-close look at a large print that hangs on my wall. The print is by Ogata Gekko and is called ‘Kojima Takanori Writing a Poem on a Cherry Tree’. This particular print shows a samurai warrior wearing his gear, dressed for battle. He seems not to be casually dressed and lazily walking through the forest, but rather looks to have stopped mid-pursuit of some mission in order to write a poem on a piece of parchment which resides on a cherry tree.
The samurai deciding to take a moment to stand amongst the beauty of the blossom and create his own art in the form of a poem gives me a deep inner peace upon every glance. There is a certain balance between beauty and preparation which dwells prominently in the print.
Its importance in my workspace is great. It stands as a constant metaphor for how I want to live my life. To strive to be someone capable and someone with great strength in the face of adversity and yet chooses to put it to use through art and through giving back to the world that carries so much beauty.
Another piece of personal art that I have in my workspace is one that combines an old personal photograph filled with a memory and feeling of deep joy with a poem taken from a moderately good Liam Neeson movie. The photograph in the frame is one of my father and I when I was younger. The picture was taken in beautiful Hawaii and its sunset glow sits delightfully behind us capturing a moment full of warmth. The poem below it, written on a 6 x 4 index card, is taken directly from the movie: The Grey. The poem reads:
Once more into the fray,
Into the last good fight I’ll ever know,
Live and die on this day,
Live and die on this day.
Although there are many interpretations of this poem, one that was simply written by the writers of the film, my interpretation has become one of great personal motivation.
For me, the poem talks of treating every worthy moment as though it were your last chance to fight well. To live every day to its potential. To give everything you have to everything that means something of value to yourself. Seeing a picture of my father whom I admire greatly for his accomplishments and lifetime achievements, alongside a poem that encompasses the fighting spirit that is required to do great things of a similar degree makes for an unparalleled form of personal motivation. Something that sits, proudly, on my bookshelf.
Within my intentionally designed workspace, I often write about strategy. Strategy is a huge factor that allows me to be extremely self-reliant, but what is the point of this self-reliance? Ultimately, it is to be someone of use. Someone who can provide value and impact in a society. And having these types of motivators in your workspace can propel you to be that person yourself.
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