Unexpected Guru

A video post featuring Tim Minchin kept popping up in my Facebook feed today. You know, this guy:

Not being much of a fan of stand-up comedy myself, I didn't know much about him, and I'd assumed he was kind of Australia's answer to Russell Brand (which is not necessarily a bad thing, at all).

This short video was an entirely unexpected surprise. In between musing on the critical importance of the Arts and Sciences together to communicate scientific knowledge despite the "recent, stupid and damaging idea" that the two areas are opposed, Tim taught me 10 life lessons, which I've paraphrased for you below:

1. You don't have to have a dream. It's very American talent show. If you don't, try micro-ambition - passionate dedication to the pursuit of short term goals. And keep your eye out for the next thing to capture your attention...

2. Don't seek happiness. Keep busy and try to make someone else happy and you might find you get some as a side-effect.

3. Life is all luck. Understanding that you can't truly take credit for your success nor truly blame others for your failures will humble you and make you more compassionate.

4. Exercise. Your long, luxurious life is going to make you depressed but there is an inverse correlation between depression and exercise.

5. Be hard on your opinions. Be intellectually rigorous. Identify your biases, your prejudices and your privileges. Most of society's arguments are kept alive by a failure to acknlowledge nuance.

6. Be a teacher. Even if you're not a teacher, be a teacher. Share your ideas. Don't take for granted your education. Rejoice in what you learn.

7. Define yourself by what you LOVE. Be demonstrative and generous in your praise of those you admire. Be PRO stuff, not just ANTI stuff.

8. Respect people with less power than you.

9. Don't rush. Don't panic if you don't know what you want to do with the rest of your life. There is only one sensible thing to do with this empty existence - FILL IT! Life is best filled by learning as much as you can about as much as you can, taking pride in whatever you're doing, having compassion, sharing ideas, running, being enthusiastic. (And love, travel, wine, sex, art, kids, giving, mountain climbing...)

10. This one doesn't come from Mr Minchin, but from me. Absorb inspiration and wisdom from all possible sources, because you can learn something from every single person in the world, even a musical comedian with crazy hair from Perth.

The awesome thing about this, is at the ripe old age of 27 (for another few days at least) I reckon these would be exactly my handy hints for life too. Glad someone else has gone and put them out there for me, and in a much more clearly and simply articulated way. Now to go and live by this advice...

Watch the full video here:

Creative Role Models

As I continue my search for the perfect work/life balance or whatever it is I'm searching for, I've found myself paying particular attention to a handful of people who set a great example to me for a career/study/work path I'd like to emulate.What I've noticed about each of these people is that they almost make a point of going against the grain. They do what isn't expected, challenge the norm, and seem to enjoy life an awful lot for it. Straying outside the safe way of doing things may seem risky, but the potential reward is so great. I've commented on this before, but I might leave more discussion on that for another post I have brewing...

For now, here's my current list.


James Franco

Though some discount him as yet another slashie - model/actor/director/etc - I really admire his love for information, creativity and pursuit of projects that aren't necessarily popular, as well as for his passion for education. He might be odd in some ways and he will no doubt continue to have his detractors, but for my mind, he is one of the most interesting personalities in Hollywood. He could have just as easily relied on his good looks like many others, but instead he continues to push the envelope and follows his creative instincts, whether or not they lead him to sound business pursuits or not. I hope I can create a body of work that is as varied as James, and I hope I rack up as many degrees as he has managed to.


Marieke Hardy

As literature lover, writer, radio and television personality, and creator of her own projects like Women of Letters with writer Micheala McGuire, Marieke's strong opinions, creative drive and likeable nerdiness give me hope that a love of reading might turn out to lead to a viable career path. What I admire in Marieke is that she makes no apologies for being intelligent, opinionated and a little offbeat, and she manages to do it in a way that is mostly entertaining and rarely offensive. She seems to be the kind of person who would be fun to collaborate with - generous, good at thinking out of the box and good for a giggle. She is also a great strong, female role model who embraces personality traites some women seem to shy away from.


Mirka Mora

A true Melbourne treasure, Mirka feels like the last bastion of a long lost era. An unashamed and unrelenting bohemian, she continues to live life filled with creativity, hedonism and authenticity, well into her eighties. I've come across her several times and it has been such a joy to converse in french with her, and to witness her utter joy and love of life first hand. If nothing else, I hope I continue to live my life with such passion and enthusiasm as I age. It seems to me, she has managed to transpose french life successfully to Melbourne, and I think I'd like to follow her example in that too.


Lena Dunham

This young lady is a pretty formidable creative powerhouse at just 26, having written and directed Tiny Furniture two years ago, and written, directed and starred in Girls to great acclaim. It hasn't all be rosy, with Lena copping plenty thanks to the fact that she doesn't filter her version of reality to have it comply with what some may think it should. Plus, she looks vastly different to most of Hollywood, and isn't shy about the fact that she's young, female, opinionated and clearly quite driven. With such an impressive body of work already, I can't help but feel I have a bit of catching up to do.

Zan Rowe

For a long time, I wanted to be the Music Director at Triple J. And great as Richard Kingsmill is, eventually I decided Zan was more awesome, more enthusiastic and with better hair. What I love about Zan is that she seems to walk the fine line between LOVING her job, and still be impossibly cool about having the best job in the world. Plus, she makes no apologies for being intelligent, informed, articulate and female. To me, she's a great antidote to an exhaustingly sceney industry, filled with too-cool kids, without inspiration or aspiration. And happily, she seems to see through those types, in as nice a way as possible.


Beyonce Knowles

I can't think of a woman more well known, or more in control of her brand and image. Her creative pursuits stretch across film, fashion and digital, and are anchored by her musical output. For me, Beyonce signifies a new breed of feminism - strong and sexy while remaining classy and in control. She's been in the public spotlight for what seems like forever, and has managed to deliver everything she's done to a high level of quality. With a phenomenally influential husband and a new baby, I'm intrigued to see where things will go next.

Do you have career/life/work role models? Who are they? Why do you aspire to be like them?