After delivering a talk, I sometimes get asked to give advice on how to improve public speaking skills.

On such occasions I refer to the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi.

The principle of wabi-sabi values uniqueness over attempts at perfection.

It teaches that when something becomes too polished it loses its soul and comes across as artificial and not genuine.

That’s why we prefer real flowers which wilt and die, to plastic flowers which never fade.

Too often, we worry about how we’re supposed to sound or how we’re supposed to act.

Don’t worry about how you’re supposed to sound or how you’re supposed to act, show the world what you’re really like, warts and all.

You may not come across as perfect but you will come across as authentic.


We are all born originals – why is it that so many of us die copies?
- Edward Young

Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth
- John F. Kennedy

Remember that you are unique, and if that is not fulfilled, then something has been lost
- Martha Graham

Be faithful to that which exists nowhere but in yourself
- Andre Gide


A letter of resignation:

Dear Mr. XXXXXX,

As a graduate of an institution of higher education, I have a few very basic expectations. Chief among these is that my direct superiors have an intellect that ranges above the common ground squirrel.

I was hired because I know how to network computer systems, and you were apparently hired to provide amusement to myself and other employees, who watch you vainly attempt to understand the concept of “cut and paste” for the hundredth time.

You will never understand computers. Something as incredibly simple as binary still gives you too many options. You will also never understand why people hate you, but I am going to try and explain it to you, even though I am sure this will be just as effective as telling you what an IP is. Your shiny new iMac has more personality than you ever will.

In a world of managerial evolution, you are the blue-green algae that everyone else eats and laughs at. Since this situation is unlikely to change without you getting a full frontal lobotomy reversal, I am forced to tender my resignation, however I have a few parting thoughts.

1. I have all the passwords to every account on the system, and I know every password you have used for the last five years. If you decide to get cute, I am going to publish your “favourites list”, which I conveniently saved when you made me “back up” your useless files. I do believe that terms like “Lolita” are not usually viewed favourably by the administration.

2. When you borrowed the digital camera to “take pictures of your Mother’s birthday,” you neglected to mention that you were going to take pictures of yourself in the mirror nude. Then you forgot to erase them like the techno-moron you really are. Suffice it to say I have never seen such odd acts with a sauce bottle, but I assure you that those have been copied and kept in safe places pending the authoring of a glowing letter of recommendation. (Try to use a spell check please; I hate having to correct your mistakes.)

Thank you for your time, and I expect the letter of recommendation on my desk by 8:00 am tomorrow. One word of this to anybody, and all of your little twisted repugnant obsessions will be open to the public. Never f*** with your systems administrator. Why? Because they know what you do with all that free time!

Wishing you a grand and glorious day,

Mr. xxxxxx


To your success