Day#345: Improvisation and the mess – Tim Harford

Day#345: Improvisation and the mess – Tim Harford

Hey Researchers today I want to discuss mess and the ability to improvise, it is a post that is inspired by Hidden Brain a podcast that I am truly obsessed with. I heard about them when researching podcasts, if you don’t know yet I am working on a podcast on research with a fellow research friend. The particular episode can be found here. Shankar Vedantam discusses chaos in different scenarios. I found the second segment very thought provoking by Tim Harford, Tim Harford tells the story of Keith Jarrett a pianist in 1975 who was scheduled to play a big concert. Upon arriving at the concert he found the piano was not set up correctly for him and that he would not be able to play it in line with his piece he had prepared. Keith Jarret had even indicated he was not playing, and was persuaded by the organizer of the event to give it a try. The show was recorded, and Keith is heard complaining to himself at rare intervals. What Tim Harford mentions is that this becomes one of the most famous pieces of music in the jazz context. By being forced with certain conditions, Keith Jarret came up with the most unique piece of music that he would not have come up with otherwise. You can check out the full episode with Shankar and Tim above, or watch a presentation by Tim Harford below. 

I think something that is important to mention when it comes to improvising is that you need to understand the basics of what works before you can break the rules. I remember when I was younger wanting to improvise with a meal idea, and it would totally flop the basics were not a known fact for me and that’s why it was not easy to move away from the recipe. Oh don’t get me wrong this is not to say that I am great in the kitchen now, but the point is that once you are highly skilled it is easier. Tim Harford also mentions an interesting example with his own family. Where his kids have messy rooms, and as parents it would always frustrate them having to see it, and then having to tell the kids to clean their rooms all the time. He says once they decided to just stop mentioning it to their kids, the rooms stayed the same but they felt more relaxed not having to worry about it all the time. I think this speaks volumes, and to the extent there are certain things that you can not forcefully always have control over. Releasing the stress from such things will help you in the long run to simply enjoy your life and not bother about it too much. 

I have not read the book Messy by Tim Harford yet, but as you can imagine it is certainly on my list along with a few other really interesting ones that are starting to pile up. There really needs to be a way to simply download books to my mind like in Matrix already because I really just don’t seem to have enough time for all the amazing things I want to do in this life. I sometimes think back to when I was dissatisfied with my life and how different I was. I lacked motivation and stumbled at moving forward in the design industry. Now everywhere I look I am inspired by improving myself, and I can’t wait to take in more and more topics, and ideas to better myself each day. If you are feeling stuck by the clutter around you, or life is feeling messy i really do implore you to introspect. My life was a mess of my own doing, and because of my inability to drop everything and start again. It is a difficult task to transition industries but one I will never forget that I have grown so much and can’t imagine still being a designer at all I was always meant to be a researcher, sounds cheesy right? Well whatever it’s my journey and I’m bursting with joy just thinking how happy I am with this wonderful industry that i get to be apart of. Really looking forward to the last few posts of this blog. Happy researching until next time.

Bye for now


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *