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Brain Food for Christmas

A Christmas gift…

The festive season is upon us and thoughts drifting to holidays in sun-drenched locales. While away from the office, there is the opportunity to sit back and reflect on the year that was, as well as the year ahead.  As an avid YouTuber there is also a video to be found on practically any subject – so I thought perhaps a handy Christmas playlist could be the gift that keeps on giving.

Most of us associate Christmas with tangible gift giving which reinforces the commercial aspect of the festival. If we strip it back to its essence - the giving of gifts is an exercise in enabling others with our thoughts, wishes and the power of intention. As Jim Carrey puts it:

“The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is”
— Jim Carrey

This to me is very much a part of what Christmas is about – having an affect that is for our collective good – in the form of giving gifts. As a comedian, Jim Carrey decided that he wanted “to free people from concern” through laughter and comedy and he has made a career of this. Freeing people from concern – even for a moment – is a priceless gift and can make a real difference.

With this in mind, I’d like to share six themes for you to ponder on with the following video playlist. Each theme has an underlying gift, which I hope you enjoy. 


Theme #1: Reflection

Christmas is a time to reflect on the year that was – both professionally and personally.  What have you achieved that you are proud of? What have you enjoyed and experienced? And what has been truly important in all of that?

The source of advertising inspiration is Don Draper from Madmen, and this little clip is one of the seminal moments from the TV show – one that helps us remember what’s really important…

For Aamplify, 2015 has been a big year: from assisting on major brand projects, to producing 24 videos and 10 shareable apps for clients across Australia and New Zealand. And it was a year in which our family grew to 15, something worth pondering (for me anyway). Seeing the smiles they generate with clients and together gives me a sense of satisfaction.


THEME #2: Understanding

Learning something new, and delighting in understanding the world around us is part of what Christmas has to offer. It is especially fascinating for me to watch the young discover some new intricate toy or figure out a puzzle. Gifts can be as much about learning as they are about value. This video is a wonderful insight into how, in seeming chaos, there are patterns that can help us make better sense of the right way to approach marketing and promotion.

Each of us is part of a network and a pattern, which isn’t just a coincidence. These patterns reveal that nature is always working to maximise efficiency in linking our activities and resources, highlighting that there is reason in the seemingly random – we just need our view set in the right direction to see it. 


Amazing to realise that we are all connected in ways we don’t realise. What new thing will you learn this holiday time?


THEME #3: Contemplation

Contemplation of what is to come is part of holiday time. While work stops for a couple of weeks and you get a chance to catch up on sleep and enjoy the summer sun, we often start to contemplate what could be in the years ahead.

This inspiring piece from Bjarke Ingels (one of the foremost architect’s of today and designer of the new Googleplex HQ) was made as part of the future of storytelling forum.

“Somehow so many of our choices today, tend to settle with reaffirming the status quo… rather than inventing what could happen next…”

The idea of 'Worldcraft' could be applied in almost every business endeavour – not just architecture. Thinking about where you’re at – both professionally and personally – what opportunity is there for you to embrace the truly possible in the year ahead? Remember: “Architecture is the canvas for the stories of our lives where our knowledge and technology doesn't limit us but rather enables us to turn surreal dreams into inhabitable space, to turn fiction into fact.”


THEME #4: Family and Friends

They are what sustain us in good times and bad. And they are often the reason we cite for what we do. Over the years, there has been a gradual change in the definition of the family. Spurred by marriage equality and broadened societal norms, the ideal of the nuclear family is evolving. As our definitions of what is normal shift, friends are playing a greater part in our family and can be just as much part of it as blood relatives. As the lines between the physical and digital worlds blur, so too are the lines between work and personal life. And so too is what constitutes family. This year marks a point in time where this definition altered in law for several nations – Ireland and the USA in particular.

In this video, Zach Wahls speaks of family not being based on an adherence to certain roles, but rather a commitment to what binds people together, and it’s a message that is relevant at this time of year.

How has your definition of family evolved over the years?

Understanding a collective vision and making a commitment around carrying this forward is part of the business planning process. It underpins and binds us together as we carry things forward in the year ahead. What is your vision and what commitment will you make and to whom this coming year?


THEME #5: Renewal of Faith

Christmas is also a time for the renewal of faith. In 2014, Jim Carrey gave a commencement speech at the Maharishi University school of Management in Fairfield, Iowa. While he’s best known for his comedic prowess, here Carrey addressed themes relating to life’s challenges, dreams and rethinking faith (although his humour isn’t completely absent).

Carrey speaks about not viewing faith as something intertwined with religion but approaching it in a new light as a catalyst to accomplish great things. He also speaks to the choices we have around fear and love. While a little longer than other videos in the playlist it is perhaps Jim Carrey at his finest and therefore worth the watch.

The gift in this to me is that: “Hope is the beggar. Hope walks through the fire, faith leaps over it." These are words that I try to live by.


THEME #6: Magic

At the heart of Christmas is the idea of magic. What could be more magical than the idea of Santa, elves and reindeer – especially at this end of the world? Remember the innocence as a child that allowed you to believe in Christmas and the possibility of miracles?

So the last in the video playlist is about the magic of poetry and it’s significance to us as adults.

In the movie Dead Poets Society, Robin Williams plays an English teacher who inspires a class to be more. More than ordinary. In the words of Walt Whitman…

This clip is the same prose, reimagined in a modern day context. The concept of self-expression is translated to apply in the digital world, where thoughts, moments and memories are so often created and shared in new and magical ways, some of which have not yet even been imagined.... 

In 2016: What will your verse be?

Thank you for your support and have a wonderful Christmas and delightful New Year!

Samuel Williams

With Aamplify, I’m bringing to life a vision of a marketing company that spans the fearsome gap between new digital media and traditional channels. The aim is to provide forward-looking businesses with compelling brand stories that encourage an emotional connection between their products + services and the people who use them.