Zen & The Art of Email Writing

I’m going to tell you about the greatest email writer I have ever encountered.

It’s 10:30 in the morning when Tim strides purposefully into our uber-modern San Francisco office. He’s just crushed a morning workout. He takes the first sip of a cappuccino and a sly grin cracks his stoic face.

No one at the office knows who Tim really is, and to be honest, I’m not even sure what exactly he even does for the company. But goddamn can this guy write an email.

Perched on a bosu ball, Tim dives headlong into Gmail. Compositions begin dancing onto the screen. His subject lines make you think. His messages are concise, appropriately detailed, and occasionally humorous. They say what needs to be said, nothing more. They cut to the very essence of the matter at hand. 

Above all else, his choice of who to Cc and Bcc demonstrates profound acknowledgement of the human condition. 

Meanwhile, the rest of us office grunts wallow in the grips of email anxiety. Tony opens his laptop, exhales like a crossfit enthusiast staring down a tractor tire, types a few sentences and then starts digging through his bag for another protein bar. 

Unsure of how to word a response to my manager I simply stare at my screen, paralyzed in existential angst. This minor roadblock has caused a total collapse of my psychological structure.

Bill is headed to the men’s room to pop a couple more Adderall.

After tapping away at his keyboard in a controlled frenzy of inspiration for several hours, Tim stands up and cracks a joke with whoever happens to be nearby. Then he strolls out of the office for the day, a free man, with the satisfaction of a job well done. He’s accomplished more in a half-day than I did all month.

A healthy work life balance was not enough for Tim. He preferred to balance on the knife edge of human potential. To transform the office into a dojo, a temple for his cultivation of self mastery. He was expressing the fullness of his being, and doing it (somehow) through writing emails.

Tim was as dedicated to spiritual growth as anyone I’ve ever met in an ayahuasca hut or a meditation circle. His salary didn’t suck either.

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