Month: September 2017

The Power of Perspective With Om Malik

Om Malik is the founder of Gigaom, a technology blog and media company, and a partner at True Ventures, a firm dedicated to investing in tech startups. Om also writes his own blog and is a photographer. After a near death experience and getting a second chance at life, Om now lives a mindful life focused on living in the present. Whether it’s how he views his place in the world, what he chooses to photograph, or how he lives his life, Om appreciates the power of perspective.


Putting Things into Perspective

Like many people in today’s busy world, Om was putting his work before himself and his health. Working long hours and in a constant state of busyness, Om didn’t put emphasis on the importance of taking a break and being mindful of your body, mind and soul. Then, his life was turned upside down.

Ten years ago, Om Malik suffered a heart attack placing him in the ICU for weeks. Having to fight for his life, and realizing that he can’t control what happens in his life, changed his entire perspective and outlook. Om now lives in the present, focusing on the now and planning for the next few days, rather than the far future. “If you want to piss off God,” he joked, “You make plans.”


“Forget about the past and focus on the present and the near future. I’m really happy with that approach to life.”


Photographing a Feeling

With a new gained perspective on life, and the desire to experience the beauty there is in the world around him while living in the present, Om turned to photography. Going on photography trips began as a way to take a break from the world of tech, and is now an extension of him, his thoughts and feelings.

When you look at Om’s photography, it is clear that his work is full of both powerful emotions and a calm sense of peace. “I find photography a way of capturing what I’m feeling and sharing it with others.” Om visits different locations across the world and tries to capture the essence of a place as well as how he is feeling in that spot. For him, photography allows him to convey how he feels with others, while checking in with how he feels himself.


“I’m trying to capture a feeling.”


In the Grand Scheme of Things

Visiting places like the Arctic for his photography trips really puts into perspective how small we are in the grand scheme of things, reminding him to remain mindful and present. Om understands how easy it is to get lost in your day-to-day work life. To combat this, he suggests to take a step back and ask yourself, “Are you living your life by a set of rules and regulations set by society?” Too often, people get wrapped up in their own lives without paying attention to the bigger picture.

After Om’s life altering, near death experience, and through gaining a more balanced outlook on life with photography, he explained that his biggest life lesson was to learn how to lower his expectations – of himself and of everything – because we only have the present. Rather than worrying about what is coming next for him, he lives his life one step at a time, remaining grateful for what he has.


“What matters to me is enjoying what we have.”


When asked what he is specifically grateful for, he eloquently responded: Everything. A second chance at life, my family, my friends. The gift to see and the gift to be alive.


Om’s Questions for KYŌ (App):

  • What are my expectations for myself?
  • What am I going to do for the next 3 days?
  • Am I living life by my own set of rules?


Photography by Om Malik

A Passion for Minimalism with Alberto Negro

Alberto Negro is a recent graduate and young entrepreneur passionate about design and minimalism. For somebody who at one point didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life, he has come quite a long way. Taking a year off after high school shaped who Alberto is. He used this time productively to discover his passion, read, explore his creative side, and meet new people for inspiration.

Then, with a new-found love for design and minimalism, during his university education he began 5 STYLE. Starting as a minimalist lifestyle brand existing on social media, it is now an award-winning design-led magazine called “the destination for minimal luxury.” Alberto also co-founded Minimalism Life, a collaborative project with other minimalist designers intended to “help you live more with less.” Alberto is passionate about incorporating creativity and minimalism into his work and his life, all in pursuit of his purpose.

“I wanted to make sure the thing I created actually gave value to me and my followers.”


A Creative Challenge

In University, Alberto was looking for a creative challenge. He wanted to spend his time in a meaningful way, creating something he was passionate about. Since he loved design and “always had a good eye for things,” he began collecting images of design, fashion, travel, photography, and other things that he liked, all of which evolved around minimalism.

For Alberto, his love for minimalism grew from being a product designer and wanting to create pieces that were minimal and simple. The focus is “less is more” and living life, and designing, with only the essentials, stripping away unnecessary extras. He then taught himself how to design websites, sometimes even during class. “For me, school was pretty much my part time gig.” He continued to challenge himself by trying new things and eventually pursuing his passion of creating a brand. Thus, 5 STYLE was born.

“The one thing I wanted to do in my life was to create my own brand.”


Minimalism for Life

For Alberto, his love for minimalism, and his desire to put it out into the world, isn’t just about design, but a lifestyle. He wanted to share this passion with the world. “I was trying to find out what to do with my life,” and not surprisingly, that thing would be minimalism and design. He realized, “We need to make the biggest website about minimalism.”

“I think collaboration is so powerful.”

So, with the success of 5 STYLE, he co-founded Minimalism Life with Minimalissimo and The Minimalists, a collaborative hub between minimalist designers and influencers, publishing weekly journal articles, monthly newsletters, and premium thematic volumes. Minimalism Life is receiving 60,000 visitors to month, just in the first year, and Alberto is excited about the potential that both 5 STYLE and Minimalism Life has to change the world.


Discovering Your Purpose

Alberto remembers how his University experience helped him discover his purpose. While other students went out partying, Alberto shared, “I would spend my Friday nights in creating stuff.” Alberto’s life now consists of the very things he loves to do and is passionate about: helping others discover minimalism and using his love for design and creativity while doing so. “If you find your own purpose, and you make sure the purpose you have is also your job, then it’s incredible.” The beauty in discovering your purpose is that your life no longer becomes a balance between work life and personal life, but then “your life is just life.”


Alberto’s Questions for KYŌ (App):

  • Is this the best thing for me?
  • Am I doing my best work?
  • What is my purpose in life?


Photo by Hugo Sousa on Unsplash

Beyond the Waterfall with David Airey

David Airey left his position as a designer in a cancer charity to pursue brand identity design and writing as a full-time independent graphic designer. He also has a successful blog and has written two books, “Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities” and “Work for Money, Design for Love: Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Starting and Running a Successful Design Business.” David’s passion for what he does is evident throughout his work, and he attributes his happiness and mindfulness to loving what he does.


“Being happier in my work means I’m less worried about what the next thing is. I can focus more on what I’m doing now rather than thinking ahead too much.”


Multitasking Does Not Equal Mindfulness

Multitasking is often viewed as a positive skill, but it usually means you’re not being mindful about what you do. David believes in the power of slowing down, switching off, and focusing on one thing at a time for the best results. “The more you can switch off and focus on one thing, the better you’re going to be at that thing.” Rather than doing multiple tasks at the same time, David suggests doing them in order, one after the other.  Ensuring each task can receive your full attention is how David remains mindful in his creative work and everyday life.


Stopping in Order to Keep Going

David takes at least five minutes a day to clear his thoughts, focus on his breathing, and refresh his mind. He meditates in silence or with music and a guiding voice (in person or with an app). When he is feeling over worked or unbalanced, a quick moment of meditation offers immediate results. “If you just take a little time out of your day, every day, for five minutes, it’s going to help. You’re going to feel relaxed and less stressed.”


“It takes a very short time [of meditating] before you feel the benefits.”


Meditation & The Waterfall

Meditating offers instant relief, but sometimes it’s hard to do. David acknowledges that meditation takes practice, and shared a Buddhist analogy he refers to. “If you picture your mind like a waterfall, the water is the torrent of thoughts and emotions, and mindfulness is the space behind that.” He explained that meditation is trying to get past your rushing thoughts to focus on the calm space behind the waterfall.


“If you can break from that even for just a few seconds at a time, the more you do it the better you’ll get at it.”


Gratitude and Living In The Now

An exercise in gratitude David practices is writing down 5 good things that happened that day. “I found myself going through days not really appreciating what I had.” Being grateful for what you currently have, rather than focusing on the future, helps you stay present. “If you’re always thinking about what’s coming next, you tend to lose track of what’s happening now, and now is the only moment we have. The more you can be in that moment, the more enjoyment you’ll get out of it and the happier you’ll be.”


“Now is the only moment we have.”


David’s Questions for KYŌ (App):

  • What am I grateful for?
  • What can I change?
  • What’s the worst that can happen?


Photo by Jeff Sheldon on Unsplash