TEJI TUESDAYS - 9th January 2024

rainbows, designing for the future, learning to learn, attention spans, geopolitics

Issue #011 · 9 Jan, 2023

Hi All!

Here is your weekly dose of TEJI, a weekly round up of what I’m pondering and exploring. Feel free to forward along to a friend if you think they might enjoy.

Sunsets and Rainbows

Yesterday, I saw a full rainbow and it was a good reminder of how beauty often appears after the storm clears. For the past six months I’ve been dealing with one of the biggest personal challenges I’ve faced in my life yet. However, I’m a huge believer in reframing any circumstance you find yourself in.

I used to be an avid photographer and one of the key understandings I learnt during my time taking thousands of photos is — If you ever wanted to get good lighting or a beautiful sunset you had to have the right weather conditions.

Now what are the right weather conditions? If it’s a clear day without a cloud in the sky you’ll often get a mediocre sunset. Sure it will look alright but it’s not going to be one of those sunsets everyone on your Instagram posts a story of.

If you want a real sunset - you’re going to need some rain and clouds. It sounds counter intuitive wishing for poor weather when you want to catch a beautiful sunset, but it’s the only way to produce an exceptional result.

Back in the day my friend Mark, another talented photographer and I would often drive for multiple hours through wet weather in hopes of catching the ever elusive magical sunset. Most of the time our journeys would lead to nothing but for a  small fraction of our trips the conditions would line up perfectly and we’d spend the entire evening chasing the light. 

If you want a mediocre sunset (or life that is) wish for clear skies. However, if you want to live an exceptional life full of vibrant colors — you need to be okay with a few rainy days. A key takeaway here is understanding that not every rainy day is going to lead to a magnificent sunset and you need to be okay with that. However, a day may come when things are looking their worst and you are soaking wet until suddenly you look up.

Designing for the future by designing for the past

I recently decided to build a barebones personal website for myself to keep track of all the things I’ve either created or am working on. There is no fancy styling and some would maybe consider the design boring since it’s so basic. However, for my personal website I wanted the focus to be solely on the content and less about whats surrounding the content.

The aim is to have something so timeless that even my grandkids could check out an entire archive of their grandfathers body of work 100 years from now. A couple weeks ago I mentioned an essay on taste written by Paul Graham —there is a fantastic section I found super interesting related to timelessness I’ve taken from the essay below:

Aiming at timelessness is also a way to evade the grip of fashion. Fashions almost by definition change with time, so if you can make something that will still look good far into the future, then its appeal must derive more from merit and less from fashion.

Strangely enough, if you want to make something that will appeal to future generations, one way to do it is to try to appeal to past generations. It's hard to guess what the future will be like, but we can be sure it will be like the past in caring nothing for present fashions. So if you can make something that appeals to people today and would also have appealed to people in 1500, there is a good chance it will appeal to people in 2500.”

Learning to learn again

In school teachers often made a lot of the work feel boring — It made me not want to go the extra mile when it came to studying and learning about new topics. Whereas now I’m on a self directed educational journey where I often find myself with not enough hours in each day to study all these different fields I find so fascinating. I feel like I’ve found my childlike wonder again and have rediscovered the courage and curiosity to ask questions about the world.

I think we all need to try to rediscover the sense of wonder we had when we were children. We all need to be asking more questions about the world around us. Why does that work that way? Why does that look like that? Why, why why!

I can’t stress enough how useful having ChatGPTs voice assistant has been on my educational journey. Having the power to ask any question in the world and have an answer within seconds still blows my mind. Not to mention the abundance of information available for free online. You can literally learn about any topic or field you want.

However, the hardest part here is knowing how to decipher between what you should and shouldn’t pay attention to. When you’re on Netflix you probably find yourself struggling to pick a movie because you’ve become paralysed by the infinite amount of possibilities. The same applies to rediscovering your curiosity — you probably have something you’re interested in I’m sure? It could be aeroplanes, fitness and health or streetwear — we’re all unique and have our little inclinations. All you have to do is start somewhere and soon you will find a thread of information you can start tugging on leading to the next thing.

What you pay attention to expands

To stay on the topic of figuring out how to decipher between what you should or shouldn’t pay attention to here is an insightful Instagram post I found last week.

Australia in a post America world

During my travels abroad I met an elderly Indian man in a bookstore and we had a very interesting conversation. One topic he had brought up that sparked my curiosity was centred around geopolitics. Until then I hadn’t payed much attention to how different countries interact with each other around the world. Yesterday I found an interesting 7 minute video explaining Australia’s relationship with the United States moving forward over the next 10 years. I found the man in the videos take on the current state of Australia very insightful.

Until now I never thought of the fact that Australia has so many resources yet we don’t make anything in house with them. We just immediately export everything we dig up when we could be building out entirely new industries that could potentially bring in huge economic growth inside Australia. I’d like to learn more about geopolitics in the coming years especially related to China and the future growth of Africa.

Feel free to give me feedback on Twitter. What did you like? What do you want more of? What do you want less of? Other suggestions? Please let me know. Just send a tweet to @TEJITOPIA and put #TEJITUESDAYS at the end so I can find it.

Hope everyone enjoys their week!


TEJI (@tejitopia)

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