Things to Read - 3 Interesting Articles from Around the Web (on measuring your life, parenting advice, and cute. vs. craft)

1. How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton M. Christensen in the Harvard Business Review - "First, how can I be sure that I’ll be happy in my career? Second, how can I be sure that my relationships with my spouse and my family become an enduring source of happiness? Third, how can I be sure I’ll stay out of jail? Though the last question sounds lighthearted, it’s not. Two of the 32 people in my Rhodes scholar class spent time in jail. Jeff Skilling of Enron fame was a classmate of mine at HBS. These were good guys—but something in their lives sent them off in the wrong direction."

. . . .

. . . it’s easier to hold to your principles 100% of the time than it is to hold to them 98% of the time. If you give in to “just this once,” based on a marginal cost analysis, as some of my former classmates have done, you’ll regret where you end up. You’ve got to define for yourself what you stand for and draw the line in a safe place."

. . . .

This is my final recommendation: Think about the metric by which your life will be judged, and make a resolution to live every day so that in the end, your life will be judged a success."

2. JJ Keith's hysterical (and true) advice to New Moms in the Huffington Post - "You can't win at parenting or homemaking. If you think you're winning then everyone else thinks you're a dick.

My philosophy can be summed up with "Really?!" It's what you say when strangers tell you that your baby is freezing in 85 degree weather and how to respond to the moms in your play group who tell you either "Ferberizing is the only way to go" or "Sleep training causes brain damage." And "really?!" is the only acceptable response to a partner who claims "I don't know how to change diapers as well as you."

When in doubt, ask yourself what a pioneer lady on a wagon train would think is important. Suddenly, organizing baby socks will fall off your to-do list and you'll feel a lot better about your day. ("Sock organizing? Really?!" you'll say to yourself.) And "really?!" will come in handy as your baby gets older. Kids are beautiful and majestic little human unicorns who are full of total bullshit and they need to be called out on that."

3. In the New Yorker, Alexandra Lange questions the wastefulness of the "crafts" movement - "What “craft” mostly means on “Craft Wars” is the act of making things cuter. Take this shopping cart full of sports equipment and make a cute bag. Take this shopping cart full of school supplies and make a cute playhouse. That these bags will never be used, that some of them are not even completed, that, really, a duffel bag has already achieved ideal sports-bag form, are not considerations, not when a sawed-off tennis racket can be inserted “for ventilation” and tennis balls strung to make a “more comfortable” carrying strap. And what could be more delightful than a playhouse roofed in composition-book covers, never mind its ability to withstand rain?

Craft used to mean something, and it would never have been made with Mod Podge. You can buy a tea towel with the William Morris quotation, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” (It is a hundred per cent linen, so it is both.) What Morris, a designer, entrepreneur, futurist, and leader of the late nineteenth century Arts and Crafts Movement, proposed was a return to the medieval craft tradition, in which objects were made by hand by skilled workmen, and priced accordingly. Rather than three sets of elaborately decorated transferware china, you would have one set of handmade and glazed plates. Rather than rooms full of elaborate Victorian furniture, you would own a few chairs, hand hewn and joined with wood, not industrial glue.

. . . .

Making things cute is not a business. It is not even a part time job. Instead, it’s a hobby."

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