"So I’m in love with my future work. Even though it’s not here yet, I’m in love with what could possibly come."
Who are you? Who is Zim?
I am ambitious. I am intrigued. I am curious about everything, and I want to know a little bit about a lot of different things. And that’s both a gift and a curse, right, in a world where people are sort of celebrated for being labor-focused. There are also people that are celebrated for being a jack of all trades or renaissance men or women, and so I think I sort of fit in the middle of those two.
What do you do?
My real job: I am a producer at the Consumer Electronics Show, which is the world’s largest tech trade show. So I have this really strong affinity to technology and design and health. My background is in Biology, so I am a producer for the Digital Health Summit. On the side, I run a project called Travel Noire, which is a platform of cultivated insights from a global community of Black travelers. I help people curate their ideas, get them out there, inspire other young Black people to get out there and live unconventionally.
What is the ideology that drives what you do?
There is a couple. Right before I graduated college in 2011 I got the opportunity to move to India. And I was reading this book named Aspire and one of the quotes within that book was "Live life in crescendo, your greatest gifts and contributions will always be ahead of you." That’s sort of a philosophy that I’ve stuck by; the work that I’m doing now is great, but the work that I’m going to do in the future will be even greater.
So that’s one, and the other philosophy is that people don’t understand the kinds of rewards or the kinds of things that you get for being different. When we’re growing up and we’re young we are celebrated for being the same. People want to have the same shoes, they want to dress the same, they want to have all the hottest gear, and they don’t recognize that being different is phenomenal. ANd people who are different in middle school or high school are always picked on, but then people who are different at the age that you and I are or even older are celebrated. Why can’t I think differently? Why can’t I do this and that? So I think that one of the philosophies behind what I do is that people should always think differently; they should always strive to live unconventionally and not sort of go with the flow. Sometimes things need to be stirred up a little bit. It’s a mindset thing.
How did you arrive at that ideology?
What inspired that particular ideology was the book “Aspire.” It’s a book about words and the meaning of them. The author takes about ten words, dissects them, and tells stories about each of them. I can’t remember the particular backstory for this one, but it was a complete ‘aha’ moment. Like, “Dang, the work that I’m doing now in college is really good work. I’m helping people. I’m able to do good work, but the work that I do in the future will be even better.” So I’m in love with my future work. Even though it’s not here yet, I’m in love with what could possibly come.
What advice can you offer to someone searching for their ideology/purpose?
I’m a huge fan of Think Week. A Think Week is a period of time--it’s usually a week, can be four or five days or whatever--that you spend in complete solitude. Turn off your phone, turn off your electronics, get your journal, print some articles beforehand. For me, I’ve done Think Week by going to Burma for a week and I was in complete solitude. I had no electricity for six hours of the day. That time allowed me to reflect on my goals, where I wanted to be in life, and what I wanted to do. The backstory of Think Week: Bill Gates, when he was running Microsoft back in the day, he used to take week long stretches of time, take his employees’ reviews and ideas, and go completely off the grid. Nobody could call him, nobody could reach him for this period of time. He’d read through every one of those ideas, and some of Microsoft’s greatest contributions came from those Think Weeks Bill Gates took. For me, knowing when to take that time off is crucial. A lot of times, especially in our community, people are looked down upon for doing things by themselves. Traveling solo, eating by themselves or going to the movies by themselves, but in solitude is where you can find yourself. My advice to someone searching for their ideology or their purpose is to take some time out and be by yourself. Take a Think Week.
Zim is a producer and creative based in San Francisco.