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. #blogging

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 where 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.

“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 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.”

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

Amplified lives

Gif on incoming face time

Social media has graduated from edited real life. It is now presented in story format, free from the reigns of filters and surfeit hashtags. Yet, the content is more contrived than ever before. 

As each of us become influencers on this Shakespearian stage, the presentation game has changed. We amplify everything. We don't just broadcast our lives, we sculpt it into far-fetched fantasies. The second-screen is where we act out our dreams, with all types of dupery that viewers expect. So much for the days of authenticity! 

There's little difference between the wannabe entrepreneur and the Silicon Valley vet when it comes to our screens. The former is faking it until they make it, renting a reality that even the most established adores. As we venture into the next iteration of social media buttressed with artificial intelligence and augmented reality, there's no telling what the actors on the internet stage will do. 

image via giphy

Act before you think

Illustration of girl surrounded by brain space

Trying too hard, the artist or the athelete lets slip their best abilities. The aim for perfection breeds imperfect results. 

The monkey mind always tries to woo one into unnecessary complexity and confusion. But let it be. A good way to negotiate with a chatoic mind is to let it be while you keep it simple and execute. 

Trapped and drained by limited beliefs, you beat the neural activity of doubt to the punch by deciding to press forward. 

Not our path

Railroad gif

If we can see the path ahead laid out for us, there is a good chance it is not our path; it is probably someone else’s we have substituted for our own.

David Whyte, The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America

image via giphy

Bailong Elevator, the highest outdoor elevator in the world

Bailong Elevator, the highest elevator in the world image
Image via @nk7

The Bailong Elevator is the world's highest outdoor elevator, towering an astonishing 1,070 feet high inside the National Forest Park in the Wulingyuan area of Zhangjiajie. China. Opened in 2002, the elevator allows 50 visitors at a time to skip up the mountain in two minutes versus a dangerous five-hour car ride.

As you can imagine, the outdoor lift also provides panoramic scenery to its riders of bridges and villages below. Meanwhile, the top of the mountain features the scenic Yuanjiajie natural heritage spot.

Add Zhangjiajie National Park to the list of places to visit, along with Vietnam's Golden Bridge and Coron Island in the Philippines. See more about the Bailong Elevator in the video below.

Notice the light inside

Art gif of light inside body

The artist over the critic, the maker over the collector, the writer over the reader. Once we become creators rather than passive consumers and dive deep in, we preserve our own history. 

Ignoring our calling to shake off a responsibility merely postpones an itch that intensifies with time. Unlike robots, humans are light inside. We want to live the stories we see in our heads, otherwise, what's the point of slogging on to work that fails to define us? 

We can put a fence around our intuition and simply buy things to feel better. But investing in our own heads and hands produces manifest discreteness. Individuality is happiness. How are we going to be remembered if we can't be ourselves? 

The listener relationship

gif of thumbs up

Who's your trampoline? Who's the person you can depend on to bounce off ideas when you get stuck or need an additional opinion? I'm not talking about receipients who provide you the desultory nod.  

There's a good listener out there always waiting. But you must compel yourself to ask. No one is going to pop the question for you. 

Be cautious of approval though. The creator seeks input and a fresh approach, not reassurance. Discontent becomes self-evident. Nothing lights the flame of a creator more than a tangle of insightful contradictions. 

gif by @davidshrigley

Styrofoam dancing to sound waves

gif of dancing sound waves

Put your hands in the air and wave them like you just don't care.

What looks like a dubstep rave is actually styrofoam dancing to sound waves in a massive flexiglass pipe. The faux mosh pit is the result of a process called sound looking which demonstrates what audible vibrations may actually look like.

Watch the entire video below.

What unlocks you?

A gif image of a lock

A good read, a daily meditation, journaling, a simple contemplation, a trip overseas—it's the moments of rest and reflection that shape you. Head down in the sand or at the desk at work can be expansive but exhaustive. We need more activities that generate thinking without thinking, unmoored from the depths of the laborious ritual. 

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The challenge in making life feel new again is figuring how we can copy and combine the observations and artifacts we collect into something that feels original. 

We should lean more on our guidance—everyone knows what they need to do, as long as they are willing to embrace the pain. Change is on the palette, a necessity no matter how subtle it presents itself. Not surprisingly, it evinces itself only when you step away. Tapping into the world around you unlocks the potential of one's mind.

art via giphy

Week in review: Genius athletes, Andy Warhol’s Whopper, what introverts do at parties, and more…

Below is a version of my Web Gems newsletter sent out weekly to hundreds of subscribers. Sign up here to get it to your inbox.

Hi Friends-

I still have more than a dozen subscriptions to The Browser to give away. Here's the link.

And now for the most intriguing links I think are worth sharing: 

  1. In Search of Greatness. “All inventive and creative peoplethey're not hung up on fixed definitions of what any form of life or reality may be,” said the philosopher Alan WattsDirector Gabe Polsky explores the creative genius of athletes like Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali to explain what sets them apart from the rest. 
  2. Everyone needs a dragon day 🎨
  3. Andy Warhol's Super Bowl commercial. “Art is whatever you can get away with,” said Andy Warhol. I learned a few things about that strange Andy Warhol Whopper commercial in last week's Super Bowl
  4. What introverts do at parties.
  5. I wrote a 30-second read on embracing your inner rebel

Thanks for reading. If you like the newsletter, subscribe below to get it straight to your inbox.

Into the vortex of interestingness

eyeball vortex GIF

We try to put things in the right order, solve and find problems. The lighthouse in our mind is always moving faster than any fifth dimension of reality.  

The impulse is always to learn more to keep the story of life flowing into a vortex of interestingness. The end goal is to avoid the maw of cynicism, as it works like a magnet in dire times.  

Stimulation-seeking people look for a way of life. They feed off chasing ideals and improvising off risks. They are the sole judge of themselves, fighting for simple awareness and the right to exercise real choice.

Thinkers keep digging deeper into the hole, seeking out the next set of burning questions.

art via giphy

Making peace with fear

Image of women lying in bed with anxiety

We can make peace with the anxiety of antipication. But it's the hope that kills. What we need to gauge the nerves is preparation.

One way of accomplishing this is through fear-setting, a practice which requires that we envision the worst outcome. By going toward the fear, we  undermine its strength and power our resolve. 

The counterintuitive nature of the fear-setting approach is why it works. Using our imagination, we literally live through something before it happens. The mere process of visualization provides action steps that tame the monkey mind. 

Wrote the Stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger: “We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.” At least we have mental exposure to help stem the tide. 

art by @rebeccahendin

What introverts do at parties

What introverts do at parties, from the book No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotion at Work

If you read Susan Cain's Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, you'd realize introversion is not a disease nor does it make poor leaders. The opposite is true. Introverts are often more sociable in intimate settings although they like to “recharge at parties,” with a preference on listening, thinking, and acting dutifully as well rather than squander people's time with bombast.

We perceive talkers as smarter than quiet types—even though grade-point averages and SAT and intelligence test scores reveal this perception to be inaccurate.

Susain Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

There's even no use in separating the introvert versus the extrovert. Most people are ambiverts anyway, toggling between reservation and vocal expression the same way people vacillate between left and right brain hemispheres. The dual characteristics make us whole.

PS. If you're looking to break free of all the sidedness of what type of behavior is right or wrong, learn how to embrace your emotions at work. This book may show you how.

The telescope of attention

Gif art of windows over the eyes

We're ideating everywhere, all the time. But it's not so much about the information haul as it is the synthesis. We really don't understand something until we write it down or draw it out.

Behind comprehension are two influential variables: our genes and the undercurrent of environmental factors. Some people look at society from the lens of jazz or football; culture is seminal external stimuli.

We are the sum total of our existence. In cultivating awareness, we choose the way we look at our surroundings. Once wrote Oliver Sacks, “I needed no telescope except my attention.”

The mind is in a perpetual state of recognizing novelty from rote thinking, from streams of consciousness to automation. Attention brings forth our internal weather and hails any adjustments.