A Clarifying Potion

Estimated read time: 2 minutes

No matter what, storms leaves wreckage and loss. What can be shaken must flex — or break.

And yet on the other side of a storm … all things are new.

We’re not through this storm yet, but we decide how we’ll navigate trauma.

We’ve all heard of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

But there’s an opposite. Post-traumatic growth.

Transforming trauma to growth. Resilience.

I didn’t make that up. It’s when you emerge from trauma, shaken but unbroken.

Clarified. Focused. Lessons learned.


The little reed, bending to the force of the wind, soon stood upright again when the storm had passed over.

Aesop, author, circa 600BC

Sometimes (often) I get stuck in a project muddle. Especially during the year of massive delays.

A new watch design or project idea lights me up and I dig deep.

It’s almost like a fever. Consuming. Obsession.

But sometimes that fire loses some fuel as I wrangle watch design details or wrestle with manufacturers that say, “That’s impossible.”

From mountain highs of vision to valleys deep in drudgery.

Many hundreds of decisions that chip away at resolve.

For example, here’s tiny details on COURG/42. And this is just one round out of months of revisions.

COURG/42 Corrections

A Clarifying Potion

I think it’s similar to when I haven’t picked up my ukulele for weeks.

A big reason is because I’ve gotten bored with the songs I know.

I’m no longer playing. I’m just going through the motions.

We all need the new song spark.

Exploring. Stretching. Trying new things.

Because nestled amid the awkward, stiff, twisted fingers of learning a new song — there’s a special moment.

A click. The notes start to ring clear. Then the rhythm springs to life.

When the sounds become the shape of a song.

When I start to feel the music, or maybe it’s the music filling me.

It’s flow state in the stream of melody and it’s a taste of rapture.

Intoxicating — not in a drunken sort of blurry way. A kind of clarifying potion.

And then I return to what muddled me before with renewed vigor and fresh insight.

A heightened state of awareness — even appreciation for a project to pick up and work through.

On Your Mark, Get Set — Make Your …

Whatever way you make your music — designing watches, restoring cars, writing code, serving your community, loving your family, flying planes, teaching kids, healing people, building a business …

Don’t let boredom lull you to sleep so you forget to learn new songs.

Play when the first few notes sound discordant.

Play when your fingers feel like sticks.

Play when the melody sounds alien.

Play when it feels like it’s been too long — sometimes that’s exactly when you’re really ready to get back to work.

And remember these words of wisdom from someone who knew a little something about deep work:


Play is the highest form of research.

Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist, circa 1950

The flow will come. You’ll find new work, new solutions also bring new insight into previous muddles.

Often when you least expect it.

Keep on making your music.

Carry on.

Play on.

And people might laugh. They might hate it. They might fall asleep. They might run. They might misunderstand.

Those who matter will get it. They’re the ones who matter.

And they’ll thank you for showing up and playing your music.

Don’t give up. Give it away.

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