Here are Orwell’s rules, edited:
The new Windows 8 system has been experiencing some awkward press in terms of the new interface’s intuitiveness (or lack thereof). Today HP computers released a new ad that features well known yoga teacher Tiffany Cruikshank, using the platform and seemingly enjoying the experience:
What I like about this:
While I am certainly in the Mac/Apple camp, I wonder if the Windows 8 platform will be more intuitive to yoga teachers in particular - we can be a ‘hands-on’ bunch. My wild, unsupported speculation is that yoga teachers are far more comfortable with tablets than traditional PCs, and this is a breakthrough opportunity for many teachers intimidated by keyboards and ‘computers.’
What’s missing here is not just what she liked about the platform, but why she liked it. What’s now possible as a result? It’s more of a lifestyle piece than demonstrating why this product matters or should be purchased. Just like teaching yoga, sharing the “why” is always more powerful than selling the “what.”
Three years ago, I was starting a website for live online yoga classes - that could accomodate groups as well as individuals. It was cool, but the tech infrastructure wasn’t there and I didn’t have the talent (or the tools) to create the kinds of things that exist today. In many ways, I’ve resisted looking at online yoga in part because I’ve been sulking that I tried to implement an idea too early and it didn’t work, and also because I took a fulltime job that required my attention and focus elsewhere.
So all of that said, I realize I want to pay attention again. And enough time has passed that I’d love to know which online yoga resources you find the most affordable, effective, intuitive, and elegant. Which is your favorite and why? Is it the teachers, the accessibility, the price?
What makes for a good online yoga experience, and what’s still missing?
I somehow missed this in the firehose of info and interviews that came out of “Internet Week” in NYC. Here is Deepak Chopra (@DeepakChopra) briefly discussing technology as a catalyst for change. I say briefly because it veers away from technology pretty quickly and then goes into his books, thoughts about consciousness, strategies for shifting, etc. All good stuff, but considering the context he sets in the first few sentences of the interview, it seems like a big missed opportunity. The 10 min interview here:
Right away he comes out of the gate with,
I think technology is the extension of the human mind… It’s going to change our identity… we are all going to acquire a global identity, ultimately a cosmic identity through technology.
Wow. OK. I assume she’ll come back to that, right? But instead we get a softball followup that seems meant to please the audience of Internet Week (who aren’t on their iPhone) by feigning surprise, “ZOMG so you are saying technology might be a GOOD THING!?” (I may be paraphrasing there). Deepak’s response
Technology is neutral, what we do with it is up to us.
Thank you! I was honestly glad to hear him say this; it’s so true. But OK, please extend the thinking here - I mean a car is also neutral. So please tell me more about what you envision we do with this neutral technology, how it is up to us - where are those precious moments where we can make those choices that empower, engage, and renew a world that is somehow more disconnected with every device that boasts its ability to connect?
So we move onto discussion about the new YouTube channel, “The Chopra Well” which really is elegantly done, has a nice design, and clearly ready for prime time in terms of production quality and Deepak’s participation. It’s a great place to store his thoughts on several topics and people can see and hear it come from him directly. I really dig this and am glad to see him willing to do it in a way that is iteratable (not irritable). The shots are him in his office, and it’s not pretty, but over time my sense is we’ll see the quality of the responses to the questions get better too. Normally I’d say the biggest issue is a content one, but considering he’s written SIXTY-FIVE BOOKS, I’d say he’s going to be fine in this respect.
Speaking of the books, I must admit I cringe at his admission that he writes them on his Blackberry and then emails them to his office. “It’s hard to type on an iPhone” is one of those myths that just doesn’t cut it with me. Same with, “I’m not good at yoga” or “I’m bad with computers.” or “I can’t meditate.” These are just lovely and convenient myths designed to perpetuate your status quo of not learning or being new (some say being “bad”) at something. Somewhere a RIM executive got his wings.
Two other sidenotes:
It’s an old post from Seth Godin, but one I keep coming back to for writing, for teaching, for editing, and for life in general. Especially #5.
Writing naked (nakeder than Orwell)
Here are Orwell’s rules, edited:
1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. You don’t need cliches.
2. Never use a long word where a short one will do. Avoid long words.
3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
4. Never use the passive where you can use the active. Write in the now.
5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent. When in doubt, say it clearly.
6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous. Better to be interesting than to follow these rules.
The reason business writing is horrible is that people are afraid.
Afraid to say what they mean, because they might be criticized for it.
Afraid to be misunderstood, to be accused of saying what they didn’t mean, because they might be criticized for it.
Orwell was on the right track. Just say it. Say it clearly. Say it now. Say it without fear of being criticized and say it without being boring.
If the goal is no feedback, then say nothing. Don’t write the memo.
If the goal is to communicate, then say what you mean.
My best tip is this: buy a cheap digital recorder. Say what you want to say, as if the person you seek to persuade is standing there, listening. Then type that up. Simplify. Send.
We live in a time where saying it clearly and saying it now is easier than ever. But fear of being criticized is so engrained in our psychology it keeps us so small in our expression. This goes for business writing and certainly ‘yoga writing.’ My personal experience with the vast majority of yoga writing is that it is designed not to illuminate anything for me as a reader, but rather for the author to be seen in a certain way (spiritual, funny, gossipy, rejectionist, authority, peacemaker, etc).
When we put our energies into trying to affect how others experience us both online and in person, rather than on the quality of our expression, the content of the communication is compromised. Most of all, it’s exhausting and ineffective. It just doesn’t work.
Just say what you have to say. Say it clearly. Say it now. The funny thing is that’s what people have wanted from you the entire time.