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“Those” Projects

Kabul: Hawala market

There are projects.

The ones that shape, mould and refine our methods, allow us to iterate on how we think about collecting, analysing and applying data – the operational things that help us get stuff done better, faster, smoother.

And then there are those projects.

Those projects shape us and our team, they expand our world view, open minds to new ways of thinking, bring our short existence into sharp focus – they remind us that our time on this planet is too fleeting to devote to things that are no sooner done, than forgotten.

Those projects make us question our beliefs, our career goals, who we work for, who we work with (and who we want to work with), and where we want to devote our energies for the next few years.

It’s those projects that rapidly evaporate any tolerance for bullshit.

They remind us of what we’ve let drift, and provide a rough hand to steer us back on track.

They are the essence of a life worked well.

Everyone has their own criteria for what makes one of “those projects”. For me they often include heart-in-mouth, will-we-or-won’t-we-make-it moments where the cost of failure is absolute, where fear stalks and somewhere along the line hearts leap, and tears are shed. They generate experiences that can’t be unlearnt, are in no danger of being forgotten.

Photo: An short experiment in priming a large group for an otherwise socially unacceptable behaviour, taken in a higher risk environment.