Try to be less sure
Feat. Lauren Currie
|Aug 4|| 9|
Welcome to Salmon Theory, a weekly newsletter about philosophy and strategy.
(With the occasional interview about other people’s philosophies.)
I’m Rob. Thank you for your attention. Let’s do this.
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This week, my guest is Lauren Currie.
Much like other guests, we don’t really know each other.
Apart from – you guessed it – having met on Twitter dot com.
Seriously, say what you will about the toxic side of Twitter.
But for me it’s been a great tool to discover different, kind, powerful minds.
(Not the only tool, but certainly one of the best ones when used right.)
And, well, you’ll see that Lauren is a different, kind, powerful mind.
But that’s enough of my usual meandering preambles.
The floor (uh, inbox?) is yours, Lauren!
Welcome! Please tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Lauren. I live in Sussex with my partner Chris and my wee boy Atlas. I’m on a mission to help women find and use their power. I’m building three businesses: Stride - on a mission to democratise leadership development; UPFRONT – on a mission to change confidence; and Letter Love Shop – where I sell my hand drawn gender neutral nursery art for little people.
How did you get to where you are?
Privilege, audacity, and determination.
Why do you do what you do?
Some days I do what I do because I’m not satisfied with the status quo. Some days I do what I do because I’m angry at inequality and injustice, and other days I do it because if I don’t, well, who will?
How do you speed your brain up?
I intentionally try not to speed my brain up. I can’t drink coffee and I try not to work late into the night even when I want to. I find switching off very difficult.
How do you slow your brain down?
My little boy helps me with this. He’s two and he’s teaching me how to be more patient and slow down. I read novels and I try hard not to be on my phone in the evenings. I’m also comfortable with the truth that I’m high functioning and that’s ok. I used to give myself a hard time over my fast brain, but if I work with it wisely it’s my superpower.
Which two fields should talk more to one another? What should they talk about?
Extinction Rebellion and Black Lives Matter. They should talk about how to build movements that change laws, policy and attitudes on a grand scale.
What’s something everyone could do with a bit more of?
Listening. Listen to those who vote differently from you, listen to those you don’t understand and listen to those who look and sound different to you.
Writing. I believe writing is one of the most valuable things you can do for yourself and your career. Want to say something? Write. Want to give a talk? Write. Want to be heard? Write. Want to share an idea? Write. Want to author a book? Write.
Amplifying others. Make a point of championing, cheerleading and sponsoring others – especially black women, women of colour and LGBTQIA+ people.
And I say this last one particularly to women: say what you think. No really, say what you think. I say this directly to the women reading this because, well, we don't say what we mean. Every day we are interrupted, talked over, mansplained, not heard and so, in a work environment like this, it becomes very easy to not say what you think.
What’s something everyone could do with a bit less of?
Being certain. The world is full of uncertainty, yet we are all desperate to form strong opinions in seconds about intersectional, historical problems. Uncertainty brings doubt and nuance – though neither does well on Twitter or television or Instagram. It’s complicated and slow and nowhere near as sexy as knowing the answer, but we should stick with it and try to be less sure.
The status quo. Reject the status quo and demand a better world. If you find a way to do this that suits you, inspires you, and is sustainable – you will change things for the better. We need this rejection to happen everywhere, from family dinner tables and hospital corridors to care homes.
Busyness. For most of us, being busy is a choice. We could argue it’s an addiction to feeling important, and feeling needed. Being busy is a really easy way to ignore making hard decisions. Don’t wear busyness as a badge of honour, but instead stop and think about what you are saying yes to, and the choices you are making.
And I say this last one particularly to women: stop waiting. You’ll never feel ready. Do the thing. Nobody else will do it for you.
What’s the last thing you changed your mind on?
I changed my mind on celebrating the creation of a new sculpture in the city of Bristol. The statue of Black Lives Matter activist, Jen Reid, was created by artist Marc Quinn. Of course, when you dig deeper there is more to this – a London-based white artist has occupied a space created by black activism. There’s much to celebrate but also much to debate and criticise.
Everyone’s a bit mad. How are you mad?
I have trouble with the word “mad” as I think it perpetuates mental health stigma. Of course, mad is a catch-all word that doesn’t mean just one thing, as we hear in songs like ‘Mad World’ by Gary Jules. But I think we often use words like “mad” or “crazy” to describe someone we don’t understand, or someone who doesn’t fit our world view. This is plain ignorance and is problematic.
I imagine people might use those words to describe me because the way I work and live represents things that make them uncomfortable because it’s unfamiliar. I’m a young woman who is a mother and a CEO. I stand on stages and talk to audiences of 1000s with a Glaswegian accent. I do things even when I think they are impossible.
What gives you hope?
I think being hopeful right now is the ultimate act of rebellion. In her new book, Five Rules for Rebellion, Sophie Walker says “Hope is our strongest armour” and I agree with her. I feel hopeful when I meet new mothers, when I listen to the words of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, when I read the words of Cindy Gallop, when I join marches as part of the global movement Greta Thunberg created, and when I watch Viola Davis on screen. I feel hopeful every time my little boy locks eyes with me. There is potential and talent inside every single young person.
Thank you Lauren!
🍬 Link love
Stop perforating my soul.
Warning: contains truth.
What a lovely idea. [ed note: from a work friend]
Challenging tempus nullius.
😽 Furry feels
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