Published October 2012
1 minute read


Our time and attention is thought to be a most precious and valuable resource, but this only true under certain conditions. The value of our attention rises or falls depending on where it is invested. It is like a fuel: stored in a container at a warehouse it is merely on standby, doing nothing, idly waiting for what Fate has in store for it; but when it is put in an engine, it sparks the whole operation into action and pushes the cogs that make the machine work, powering a higher process of which the engine is the life force, like the heart pumping blood through the arteries and veins in our bodies.

Left unguided or used without care, this fuel can be used to destroy, feeding fires and burning everything in its path. Unused it is wasted; ignited and let loose to act on its own devices it consumes and destroys; but when it is restrained and channelled into the performance of a productive task, then we have something of an altogether different nature: we have our engine, the heart that sustains life, the propellant of progress. A single thing binds and directs this powerful flow of energy to make it what it is. It is Purpose.


Further Reading

Proust wrote that the true voyage of discovery is not to visit strange lands, but to possess other eyes, to behold a hundred universes that each of them beholds. Thus, in the words of Ruskin, what good books give us is not mere knowledge, but sight.

Every month I send out recommendations for exceptional books that will challenge your thinking and give you more eyes on a range of topics that include design, technology, history, media and philosophy. Sign up below: