Beginner's mind

August 23 2014

Hi, I’m Vincent.Gosh, where do I even begin?!

Obviously with how surreal being chosen to write is!

Secondly, a massive thank-you to all the fine penmen and women past and future who have and will continue to make a minute or two of my everyday a little different, a little interesting, a little funny.

Most day’s I feel like most people: a little bummed out, a little ungrateful, a little lethargic. But on a rare few special days I feel extremely privileged. Privileged that despite a modest upbringing in one of the poorest countries in the poorest regions of the world, that I have much of the same opportunities as people in the rich world. It isn’t so much that I have these opportunities as it is about the environment in which I have these opportunities: it’s about opportunity with perspective.

The opportunities I’ve had means that everywhere I look I invariably see poverty. People whose lives are measured in dollars: less than $2 a day, if that. But perspective means that I also see beauty and happiness. Lots and lots of both. Everywhere!

On those days, I look around and see people and things whose worth isn’t measured in currency. And poverty looks much like the problems you’d find anywhere in the world—different but the same.

On days like this pity seems especially profane and I acknowledge that there’s so much real, authentic beauty in the world, if only I learn to see it. And I realise that the truest way to make a difference is to sincerely start with myself. To try and see things as they are, not as I’m told they are. To see things with “beginner's mind.”

And because we’re ultimately a sum of, among other things, literature and music, here’s (some of) me:


Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
John Steinbeck, East of Eden
George Orwell, 1984 and Animal Farm
Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockinbird
Dave Eggers, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius


Metronomy, The English Riviera
The National, High Violet
Modest Mouse, The Moon and Antarctica
The Black Keys, Brothers
Bon Iver, For Emma, Forever Ago
LCD Soundsystem, This is Happening
Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi, Rome
Netsky, Netsky

If you related to any of this, or would just like to chat about books or music or pretty much anything, drop me an email.

Last, but not least. To: Kash, hopefully reading this, for affecting my life in more ways than you could know, much love. (Two Listserve mentions and counting, how lucky can you get?!)

Vincent M
[email protected]
Malawi (The Warm Heart of Africa)

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