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The best music to help you focus

Music is a performance-enhancement drug. There’s a reason athletes listen to songs on repeat to pump them up before games. But music’s effect on studying, writing, or doing office work is equally profound.

Music is known to increase your productivity by sharpening your focus and putting your brain into a flow state. However, it takes the right type of sound to help get concentrate on your studies and work.


Extreme Productivity Has a New Secret Weapon

Always do your best work

Focus@Will offers over 20 channels and thousands of hours of music that are scientifically optimized to help you focus and get stuff done.

Seriously, the app has some serious studies to prove it.

“We ask our users to rate their productivity during each session, and we’ve found that the average productivity in a one-hour focus@will session is 75% – this is far above the productivity most people report in an hour without focus@will.”

I use the Uptempo channel at work when I need to filter out distractions and help push me through reading hundreds of emails. However, I turn on the Ambient playlist with medium intensity when I want to get into a contemplative state to journal or blog.

You’ll be amazed at how a little hum of music can make your more productive. I’m listening to the Cafe Focus channel now as I type this post!

Music = neurological focus power

“Music is part of being human,” Oliver Sacks wrote in Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain (Amazon). And the right music, customized to supercharge your happy work creativity, can make a huge difference in your workday!

I recommend that you give Focus@Will a try on the computer first since it seems to work best when you can toggle between focus channels to find one that fits your work habits. But the complimentary app works just as well.

You can sign up to Focus@Will today get two free weeks. If you see the increased focus you’re looking for, I suggest leveling up with the annual subscription since it’s ultimately cheaper than month-to-month.

So get stuff done while making better use of your time. Reduce your distractions. Be more creative. Always do your best work. And give your mind the boost it needs.

Get focused, today.

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE SEE THE DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

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Why everyone should blog

why everyone should blog

Everyone should blog. You do not have to publish 500 words a day. You do not even need to post at all. In fact, writing comes easier when you can write for yourself, in private.

Use a smartphone journal like the Day One app or the ever popular Morning Pages Journal (Amazonwhere you write by hand. When it comes to blogging effectively, you have to be a little vulnerable. Don’t tell all but don’t hide everything either, especially if your advice will benefit the lives of other people.

Get started with a free WordPress site

Create a blog with WordPress
If you want to create a blog, get started with a free WordPress site and be on your way to publishing in less than five minutes. Start with Free

“Everyone should write a blog, every day, even if no one reads it. There’s countless reasons why it’s a good idea and I can’t think of one reason it’s a bad idea.” 

Seth Godin

I have been blogging for years (click here to view my guide to setting up a blog on WordPress). It is harder to get an audience who cares to read your stuff today than it has ever been. You have to assume nobody wants to read your shit (Amazon) because he or she is busy or would rather be social networking or playing games instead. However, for those readers who do read your blog frequently, they have subscribed for a reason.

Luis Suarez has been blogging since 2002 and recently offered some advice about using your blog to reflect the real you.

“It’s all about having a meaningful presence and how you work your way to make it happen, to leave a legacy behind, to share your thoughts and ideas others can learn from just like you do yourself with other people’s vs. pretending to be who you are not…Just be yourself with your own thoughts and share them along! It is what we all care for, eventually. The rest is just noise.”

Share your work with the world

Create a blog with WordPress
Create anything on the go, for anyone. Try WordPress, it’s free

No, blogging is not dead

People like to say blogging is dead. But not only are new platforms emerging like Medium, but blogging is just writing. Words will always be a powerful way to say something meaningful, whether it is in print, online, graffiti, or the walls of a cave.

I started this blog so I could show the world what interests me. It is no surprise that what you read here is information I learned from other blogs. In other words, blogging acts like a canvass where you synthesize, remix and interpret in your words. Above all, blogging is free, what Seth Godin calls “the last great online bargain.” Blogging gives you a voice, and it is an excellent incentive to think in a world that just wants us to consume.

Blogging is a bicep curl for the brain. Write daily, and practice the art of conviction.

“Use your blog to connect. Use it as you. Don’t “network” or “promote.” Just talk.”

Neil Gaiman

‘All human activity is prompted by desire’

All human activity is prompted by desire. There is a wholly fallacious theory advanced by some earnest moralists to the effect that it is possible to resist desire in the interests of duty and moral principle. I say this is fallacious, not because no man ever acts from a sense of duty, but because duty has no hold on him unless he desires to be dutiful. If you wish to know what men will do, you must know not only, or principally, their material circumstances, but rather the whole system of their desires with their relative strengths.

Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness 

Memories reconstructed

Memory is reconstruction. We capture an image in our mind’s eye and recreate it with the code in our brain when it needs recalling.

The problem today is that most of what we see is on screen. Our mind encodes both reality and irreality, often generating exaggerations such as the dream for human wings.

The greatest secret of a powerful memory is to bring information to life with your endless imagination.

Kevin Horsley, Unlimited Memory

The symbiosis between physical and digital bytes fuse a mirage of mind movies. In the search for meaning, we rely on reproducing imaginary blocks in our head.

Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism

Cal Newport's Digital Minimalism #gif #books

I’m looking forward to reading Cal Newport’s new book Digital Minimalism before my face falls off from the screen glare. 

A philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time in a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.

Cal Newport, Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World

Artwork by Abstract Sunday 

The compound effect

It's the anticipation that kills. The only ailment is doing the work on a consistent basis.

It’s the anctipation that kills. The only ailment is doing the work on a consistent basis. 

Hard work is nonmiraculous. It’s the transformation from turning ambition into signal that makes the man. 

Experience and sticktuitiveness strengthen the bones in the goose. 

To wake up and do it again seems like insanity. And it is. But in doing so we reap the benefits of discipline. The compound effect takes over. 

We are nothing without pushing through our habits. It is only then do our efforts germinate and evolve into something bigger than ourselves. 

gif by Maximillian Piras

‘In the future, everyone will want to be anonymous for fifteen minutes’

Banksy reversed the Warhol quote so it fits today’s weather. 

“In the future, everyone will want to be anonymous for fifteen minutes.”

Banksy

“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” 

Andy Warhol

Needless to say, social media changed things. Going off the grid will be the new luxury. 

Why people deny the facts

The partisan brain is real and nonsense. Say and hear anything enough and of course, it’ll feel true. Such mimetic behavior even dupes so-called intellectuals from grasping the reality of the facts. #gif

Everyone gets it.

That rush of blood to the head when something or someone reconfirms your beliefs. You just knew it!

But how often is that perspective the result of wearing blinders?

The partisan brain is real and nonsense. Say and hear anything enough and of course it’ll feel true. Such mimetic behavior even dupes so-called intellectuals from grasping the reality of the facts.

The sidedness has to stop. Remixing and replaying the tribe’s view does little good to resolve the long-term problem, especially when the solution of acceptance is right under their noses.

The growing block theory of time

Time is simply blocks or slices of reality, added on top of one another. Writes C. D. Broad’s in his theory of time in 1923. #books #amreading

Time is simply blocks or slices of reality, added on top of one another. Writes C. D. Broad’s in his theory of time in 1923: 

[…] such a theory as this accepts the reality of the present and the past, but holds that the future is simply nothing at all. Nothing has happened to the present by becoming past except that fresh slices of existence have been added to the total history of the world […] The sum total of existence is always increasing, and it is this which gives the time-series a sense [direction] as well as an order.

C. D. Broad, Scientific Thought: A Philosophical Analysis of some of its fundamental concepts

A big believer in boredom

“I’m a big believer in boredom. … All the [technology] stuff is wonderful, but having nothing to do can be wonderful, too.” Steve Jobs #gifs #quotes

“I’m a big believer in boredom. … All the [technology] stuff is wonderful, but having nothing to do can be wonderful, too.” 

Steve Jobs

Boredom adds to the mystery of life. When we sit alone with our thoughts, the world breaks open. Nature comes alive. Time slows down and insights emerge from dormancy.

The ransacking of human attention has been virtually unstoppable ever since the iPhone came out. Technology makes us hyper-attentive all the time, so much that we end up paying attention to nothing at all. Mobile screens drown out the dull, mysterious thoughts and replace them with bytes of cotton candy.

Don’t get it twisted: the mind is alive and well, especially when it has nothing to do.

art via davidmichaelchandler

Anthony Bourdain’s tip for aspiring travelers

No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach (Amazon) was Bourdain’s sixth book. In it, he offered this sage advice to ambitious world travelers.   

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves mark on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”

Anthony Bourdain

Clack-clack: Go retro with the Qwerkywriter Typewriter

Clack-clack

For the nostalgic typewriter enthusiasts comes the Querkywriter keyboard that recreates the look and feel of the click-clack experience onto modern computing. If you’re a fan of Tom Hanks Hanx writer fan, then you’ll certainly want to take it a step further and use the closest to the real thing.  

As they say, the life of a computer is 3-5 years. The life of a typewriter is a century. You can also find the Qwerkywriter on my Amazon list: Tools for creators.  

For the nostalgic typewriter enthusiasts comes the Querkywriter keyboard that recreates the look and feel of the click-clack experience onto modern computing. If you're a fan of Tom Hanks Hanx writer fan, then you'll certainly want to take it a step further and use the closest to the real thing.  #typewriter #xmasgifts

Jimmy Chin teaches adventure photography

Capture breathtaking images

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE SEE THE DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

National Geographic photographer and producer of some my most favorite adventure documentary films including Meru (Amazon) and most recently Free Solo (Amazon), Jimmy Chin, is teaching a adventure photography course on MasterClass. 

Push the limits of photography

If you follow the world-renowned photographer Jimmy Chin on Instagram, you’ll know he’s a daredevil climber and mountaineer with a keen eye for landscape shots. In this course, he’ll teach you all the techniques you need to know for capturing stunning photos. He also details his approach for more commercial and editorial shoot as well, including the daily gear he uses to work his magic. 

Things aren’t that interesting to me unless the stakes are very high.

Jimmy Chin

About MasterClass

If you’ve never taken a MasterClass before, it’s a great opportunity to take a peek into the mind and explore the process of some of the world’s leading experts in photography, writing, music production, filmmaking, and even cooking. You may be aware of Margaret Atwood’s creative writing course, Tom Morello’s electric guitar course, or Serena Williams teaches tennis course.   

If you’re looking for a great Christmas gift, considering gifting the Jimmy Chin course to a loved one or friend. Even better, gift someone the All-Access Pass so they can take all the courses they want.