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Riding compounding waves of inspiration

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ax is an author, public speaker, and yoga instructor. He has spent more than a decade managing complex businesses across geographies for major IT multinationals.

In this show he deconstructs strategies and tactics for surviving and thriving in the post-industrial age we are entering into.

The Hidden Cost of Your Commute

Max Zografos

Have you ever wondered why there're so many ads on the London Tube, or any public space for that matter?

Wouldn’t you rather look at Van Gogh’s Starry Night, The Birth of Venus, or American Gothic for that matter, instead of home insurance spam?

And if that's not possible then isn’t it time we adopted the internet payment model and travel for free? [1]

Tragedy of the commons

Unfortunately billboard ads are here to stay. The space they begrime is so “common” that nobody bothers—or knows how—to defend.

Besides, staring at ads never killed anyone, right? Wrong. Those colourful zombies vie for our attention and hence our life energy.

But while adverts are debilitating we shouldn’t be angry at them. Angry people consume more. We cannot point fingers; it’s a collective problem and ill will won’t fix it.

I believe the first step is to own our attention and understand that we are in charge. Those ads violate us because we let them to. We want them to penetrate and fill our emptiness. We want to be violated because our sense of self worth and capacity to be at peace was never allowed to flourish.

We’ve been trained to believe that we are not whole; that we need something (consumption) or someone (sex) to be complete. So our goals are externally focused and we are always craving.

The implications for us and the environment couldn't be more profound. How long can we keep craving? How long can our planet sustain that?

The underground billboard ads are the epitome of all this. They are intrusive, violating and bad for us. But if we cannot be angry then what can we do?

My yoga instructor once posed a question during class: “Does a sailor get mad at the sea when the waves become high and the going gets tough? No, all he does is negotiate with it, avoid it, find another route.”

In Greek mythology, the Sirens […] were dangerous yet beautiful creatures, portrayed as femmes fatales who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island. ~Wikipedia

Lately I’ve consciously tried to avoid the ads during my commute—it’s not easy, they’re everywhere. I keep eyes downcast when I walk down the Tube tunnels. And when aboard the train I try to remember to shut my eyes and move my attention inwards.

It doesn’t always work, of course. After a long day at work decision fatigue has rendered me incapable of noticing and avoiding them. Exhaustion has left me unable to fend for my attention. Isn’t this why ads are so rampant in the underground; the place where 4 million workers get to and from work on a daily basis?

Safeguarding our attention means we can afford to focus on areas and people that truly matter.

What will you choose to focus on today?

[1]: According to the TfL, 91% of operational expenditures are covered by fares, so good luck with that. Incidentally, I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t mind a 9% fare increase (on my extortionately expensive ticket) to replace those ads with something else.

Are you perfect

Max Zografos

I’ve recently discovered a small hack, in the form of a mantra, that allows me to soothe any negative thoughts that infiltrate my mind.

Whenever I get bad vibrations it’s an indication something is off-kilter. It’s the mental equivalent of pain. A brain signal asking me to change course.

What thoughts do I get? Well you know, the usual. Blaming, judging, crucifying people for things they’ve done, feeling victimised, wronged, and hence morally and ethically superior. You know the drill, ego crap.

Chita Vritti

I learned during my yoga training that thoughts are generated by ego, and are, therefore, quite partial.

Ego cannot be trusted, never.

Consciousness on the other hand, can. Why? Because consciousness makes observations, uncoloured by emotion. Consciousness says, "oh that’s a negative thought. Let’s observe it."

Consciousness, I find, has a better sense of humour too. The other day I was ruminating about some ancient old squabbles. Oh, how bad I was treated, how ignorant those fools were, how bad their taste was, and so on.

When I woke up to having this experience, my consciousness kicked in.

“You are having bad thoughts about those people," she said. “You mean . . . they are not perfect?”

The penny dropped

I blamed them for not being perfect. I condemned them for being fallible humans, just like me. Which means—deep breath—I was condemning my own self.

Whenever I catch myself harbouring negative thoughts for others, I try to remember to ask myself: “You mean they are not perfect? They are human? Just like you?”

That changes everything.

Those 3 Books could Change your Life

Max Zografos

Welcome to my first official podcast episode.

It's more of a taste for what's to come. I've got plenty of material lined up for you so stay tuned, we're only getting started.

I'm running this gig on barebones equipment (iPad). It's part of this experiment I've been on to discover if one can live, work, create and produce content without a laptop.

Remember, this is work in progress. Enjoy!

Scary encounter

Max Zografos

On our way back from Satya’s walk we saw a lady that looked like someone we may’ve met before. So much so that Satya jumped and tried to kiss her.

By the time it dawned on me that (a) I have never met this lady before, and (b) that she doesn't like dogs (like, at all) it was too late.

I tried to pull Satya back but I was carrying a shopping bag with the other hand. Her paws managed to make contact on that lady’s chest. Oh, the daggers she shot at me.

Alas, it didn't stop there. Satya and I kept walking down the pavement. I then looked over my shoulder and that lady was still staring at us. I turned and kept walking another bunch of steps until I checked again. Sure enough her eyes where still fixated on me. Yikes.

Eventually, thank God, she was on her way. Dear me, that must be the scariest encounter I've had in ages. And it was in my neighbourhood so I dread at the prospect of walking into that woman again.

I am (slowly) learning to be more responsible with Satya. Keep her on a tighter leash and always assume that people don't like dogs unless they actively come forward. Always stay mindful.

To that woman I send love and ask for forgiveness. I have aggravated and perhaps even scared her. I'm sorry.

This is what dogs look like to some people. This is no joke. It's not their fault. We dog owners have to respect and work around this fact of life.

This is what dogs look like to some people. This is no joke. It's not their fault. We dog owners have to respect and work around this fact of life.