One Apple A Day #672 – love + discipline

I was very, and I still am, deeply shocked by the tragic loss of Kobe Bryant. He was undoubtedly a giant whose legacy goes beyond basketball and sport in general.

His uncompromising dedication to his craft, playing basketball, has always been a trademark of his career. There are so many stories about his commitment and relentless pursuit of excellence. 

Yesterday, I was reading this one particular story, and I was trying to understand what can motivate someone to put so much work into something. It can’t be just the discipline or willpower.

I believe I found the answer in the letter he wrote in 2015, to say goodbye to basketball.

“I fell in love with you.

A love so deep I gave you my all —

From my mind & body

To my spirit & soul.”

It was love, then.

A deep, fulfilling love for the sport. A love so mighty to give meaning to all the hustle, the struggle, the pain, the sweat.

My friend Mark once told me that when you infuse love into your work, it becomes your craft.

That’s the recipe we can learn from Kobe. Love plus discipline.

Because discipline without love is sterile and hollow. Love without discipline is anaemic and fragile. But it’s when love meets discipline that the magic happens.


Photo: Kobe Bryant, Lakers shooting guard, stands ready to shoot a free throw, source

One Apple A Day #671 – the power of AND

The conjunction “and” is so common that you would never think it carries such a powerful and transformative power.

It is definitely not as cool as many of the buzzwords we use in our conversations. 

Probably, because it is so short and so frequent, it doesn’t feel so rewarding for our thinking minds. Or maybe it’s because it’s scary in its simplicity. It’s easy to hide behind complex words and well-thought solutions. But a tiny word like “and”, can make you feel exposed.

I had a first glimpse at the power of AND during a coaching conversation with my mentor. I was struggling to make a decision between two alternative options. She asked a straightforward question. 

What would change if that OR becomes an AND?

That little change in the way I was phrasing my challenge, opened up a wellspring of inspiration and ideas.

“Co-creation sits in the space between freedom and constraints.” — The Way of Nowhere

The word AND is the key to unlock the creative power of the space in-between. To transform the tension between polarities in creative energy.

One Apple A Day #670 – close the book

Over the weekend, I had a few conversations about the ending of things.  

We give a lot of attention to the beginning. We remember and celebrate the first moment of something; a relationship, a job, a project, life.

I feel we are not as good at dealing with the end.

I’ve been taught how to start something, but I can’t remember anyone teaching me how to end anything.

Though, the end of anything is a crucial moment. One that will have a defining impact on anything that will come after. 

The destination plays a vital role in giving meaning to a journey.

I see so many people, and I am one of them, doing their best to avoid the end. Sometimes running away, or ignoring it. But mostly just jumping on new things. And in doing so, they drag the unfinished old ones with them. 

But how can you live fully what you have in the present when part of your energy is spent carrying the past?

The end of everything is so important. There should be classes at school on how to properly end or deal with the closing of something. So we can take all the value from the experienced that we lived and use it to nurture the present and build the future.

“A wise man once said; When you come to the last page, close the book.” — Mr Wu from The Love Bug

I was this movie when I was a kid, and this scene at the very end is the only thing I remember. There are really lessons in the most unexpected places. The space on my desk is limited. So, if I don’t close a book when I get to the last page, after a while, I won’t have enough space to open a new one.

One Apple A Day #696 – the magic is in the question

Yesterday I was writing an article about “the daily question process” created by Marshall Goldsmith. It’s a straightforward yet powerful practice to improve ourselves based on a set of active questions answered every day. You can read how and why it works here from Goldsmith himself.

This morning, while I was meditating and creating space for the seed of this post to emerge, I had a small Aha moment when my thoughts went back to the daily question process. Goldsmith does not say anything about what he does with all the answers he collects. 

Every day he asks, or better he has someone asking him 32 active questions to which he answers with a yes or a no. That’s a massive amount of data, but he never talks about it when he describes the process.

All that really matters are the questions. Just by asking the right questions in the right way, we can trigger a series of constructive thoughts and nurture our self-awareness. The answers are merely incidental in this process. The thoughts and the emotions that the questions spark are the real gold in this process.

And as Goldsmith says in his post, “even the process of writing questions will help you better understand your own values and how you live or don’t live them on a daily basis.

One Apple A Day #695 – my little book of questions

A few weeks ago, I went to this coffee place nearby for the first time. It’s a lovely place, perfect for morning conversations. When I went to the till to pay, there was this little black book laying there over the counter. Quite thick, with a leather cover and the title “The book of answers” engraved in gold on the cover.

It’s a delightful book to play with. You probably know how it works. You think about a question, open it randomly and read the short answer on the page before you. 

Then, it’s up to you to decide what you want to do with the answer you get. You can laugh and dismiss it. Or you can take it as a sign.

To me, the best next step is to take the answer as an inspiration to an even better question.

“Creativity rarely begins with an answer.” — from The Way of Nowhere

I’ve been thinking about the magic of questions lately, and about how much, when I encounter a challenging one, I feel the pressure to find an answer. However, it is only when I let go of that urge to answer, and I stay with the question, carrying it with me and allowing for it to do its work, that magic happens.

So, I’ve decided to carry a small notebook with me. I’ll call it my little book of questions