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Sadowsky’s Metaphor for Life

by on August 18, 2010

Adam Sadowsky, an entrepreneur and former actor, spoke on TED TV about his experience in creating the ever-complicated contraption in the band Ok Go’s music video, “This Too Shall Pass.”

He, along with his Syyn Labs team, created the impressive Rube Goldberg Machine, which (in his words) is an “over-engineered complicated machinery designed to accomplish a simple task.” Think  “Beauty and the Beast” and the wood-chopping machine that Belle’s father, Maurice, traveled through the woods to enter into the contest at the fair.

Sadowsky’s machine aimed to do a few things, with the following guidelines: No magic; Band integration; Machine action should follow song feeling; Make use of space (10k square foot warehouse); Messy; Machine starts the music, synched to the rhythm, hit specific beats, and ends precisely on time; and (most importantly) … All in one shot!

It took about 85 takes to shoot the video – only 3 of which were successful. Many things were destroyed in creating this music video (e.g., pianos, televisions, and even shoes). I especially enjoyed Sadowsky’s metaphor between the creation of this music video with LIFE LESSONS:

–       Small stuff stinks – but we need to start/focus on it. I can’t count the number of times I found myself complaining or stressing about the small things in life… then quickly caught myself and focused on overall perspective and the positive.

–       Planning is very important. I’m usually good about this, but usually find myself improvising and doing things very spontaneously.

–       Put reliable stuff last. In the video, Sadowsky put the trivial lego toy car first, and the real car last. In life, I try to generally get the more difficult tasks out of the way earlier in the day or week so I’m not stuck stressing out by the end.

–       Life can be messy. Stress.  Finances. Family. Death. Life is messy just like the many things we experience within it.

–       Many difficult moments in building the machine. Our lives are a series of difficult (and beautiful) moments.

–       This too shall pass. One of my favorite quotes. Great to remind myself of this when going through tough times.

One final thing that Sadowsky forgot to mention is that, much like the music video, we only have one chance at life. Let’s make the most of today in our personal and professional lives! 🙂


From → USA

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