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Creativity Productivity & Work Social Media Writing

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 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.”

Luis Suarez

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.

“Blogs are like ham­mers. They are tools for building stuff.”

Hugh MacLeod
Why everyone should blog
Art by Hugh MacLeod

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
Categories
Life & Philosophy Politics & Society

Don’t adopt other people’s anxiety

We rely on other people’s testimony. It’s no wonder, therefore, that their anxiety becomes ours. We then cognize every piece of information to fit our nervy narrative.

Worries spread like viruses. And they provoke an unwarranted shock into mass health scares, money problems, and job pressures.

Humans are a strange and contradictory animal who can barely see through the apparition of fear. The brain’s chemicals are so easily triggered and duped.

Society is just the storyteller. It’s the citizens who exacerbate panic.

To avoid falling ill to anxiety’s publicity machine, we need to convert the abstract energy of positive motivation into something with meaning. We have to put a mental finger on the synchronicities between facts and hope.

People who can stay light and grounded without falling into the trap of the mind’s filmic productions know how to separate truth from fiction.

It’s the obedient clerks that manufacture all the negativity. It’s the interested folks that refuse to buy into the algae of stress.

Keep our perspective. It’s a passport to freedom.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work Psychology

Avoiding the losses

Every story needs a villain that disobeys the rules. Bereft of the drama, we lose interest in the hero’s tale.

Every single event that occurs in one’s life prepares them for a moment yet to come. Life begs for a beautiful struggle, where an exaggerated sense of faith begets a David versus Goliath triumph. 

When we overcompensate for our vulnerabilities, we harden our determination. “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how,” wrote Nietzsche in the Twilight of the Idols.

The last scene may culminate in success, but the movie goes beyond the screen into new chapters. Even the victor with impressive persistence rarely goes undefeated. Every hero meets their maker, accepting risk as to the possibility of a loss. 

The protagonist expects the ebb and flow of living. All the scars reinforce a type of fundamental competition. A confident attitude brings us closer to the winner’s circle than surrender does. 

Knowing we’ve got nothing to lose avoids all the losses.

Categories
Politics & Society Tech

Collisions of thought

It’s not about how much information we consume. One can suck all the information out of the Twitter firehouse and learn nothing. 

News makes our brain fat. 

After all, it was Aldous Huxley who forewarned that we’d drown in excess entertainment and not care about anything else. Writes Neil Postman in Amusing Ourselves to Death

“Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.”

Neil Postman,Amusing Ourselves to Death

TV and social media silence thought — our opinions quickly become someone else’s. The attention merchants intend to monetize on such passivity through ads. Retweets are endorsements.

But we can still take a proactive stance on the balance of ideas thrown at us.

An ambient awareness keeps the excess noise at bay as we learn to listen and absorb the world’s texture. Our goal is to replace the enormous dent that screens instill in our thoughts with a perspective we call our own.

The more ideas collide with one another, independent or externalized, the tighter authenticity clicks into place. The thinker makes their own rules.

Categories
Arts Creativity Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

From seeing to believing

Obvious to you, not to others.

It’s the human condition to see patterns but leave them to abstraction.

Identifying the gaps is only the start. No one gains from keeping silent on the puzzle of opportunity.

What occupies the rest of the grey space is doing the work.

Creators play the dual role of keen observer and competent persister. They control the master switch between idea and reality, optimizing their time, energy, and luck while never having all three simultaneously.

Anyone can learn how to see — how to build off a concept, sell the story, and contribute something meaningful is the worthiest challenge.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Psychology

The becoming

“To be or not to be. That’s not really a question,” quipped film director Jean-Luc Godard back at Shakespeare’s most famous line.

To be is rather a false start. Not to be precludes trying. Becoming is more like it.

We think that success happens, but it’s the mistakes along the way that build up our future. 

Struggle makes us human. Similarly, the impairments that deem to weaken us end up making us stronger. 

As we overcompensate for our flaws, we excel in creating unique survival methods that are almost impossible to replicate.

Humans thrive in a slow march, detached from the cult of action and the tyranny of business and competition. Progress embraces the tortoise’s quiet and extensive route, inching forward and sometimes backward, gaining perspective bit by bit.

Said Malcolm Gladwell: “A lot of what is beautiful and powerful in the world arises out of adversity. We benefit from those kind of things,” but “we wouldn’t wish them on each other.”

We are all underdogs in something, a compromise that gets us out of bed in the morning and back to work.

We become the person we are, over time, wading into discomfort by building confidence out of effort and bouncing off our handicaps. To be or not to be, the real question is if we can keep going.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Psychology Science Tech

Information is the sum of parts

The brain is just a collection of tangled wires with neuron connectivity levels. We call its output ‘information’ because we need some way of describing chemical synchronicity.

The computer works the same way.

On the inside, it’s a collection of chips and wires with various voltage levels. What we see on screen is what we label as information.

Information is the same name we give to brain chemicals and computer voltage to describe organized chaos. While negative beliefs and rusty chips impair memory, the function of the thinking mind or active motherboard set rules for action. 

Furthermore, the conflict and synchronization between man and the machine (i.e., science fiction) continue to be the mother of invention.  

Information is the sum of parts, and it allows us to go beyond the robot. 

Categories
Life & Philosophy

Foxes and hedgehogs

“The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing,” said the Greek poet Archilochus.  

No matter how clever the fox is, it still gets caught. Meanwhile, the hedgehog protects itself by curling up under the protection of its spines. Those who can do more may do too much.

The advantage of specialization over general application is a single-minded philosophy that increases your chances of survival by keeping things simple. Of course, any sudden emergency poses a threat to a one-way system. 

But behind every stark situation is a silver lining. Constraints are opportunities in disguise, offering a stimulus to find a better way of doing something. Darwin’s finches adapted to new niches by growing fine-tuned beaks for eating both berries and insects.  

The hedgehog pulls out all stops because he has no choice. There’s only one way to survive: adapt or die trying. 

Categories
Arts Creativity Productivity & Work

A panoply of tools

What’s the primary device that unlocks your creativity — the camera, a pen, or the paintbrush?

These tools are our passport to freedom. So photographers speak through photos, writers communicate in text, cartoonists draw, etc.

“We become what we behold,” Marshall McLuhan said, “We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.”

Tools for Titans
Photo: Bill Robertson

Our vocation shapes our perspective and predetermines our output.  

But we gather scraps of ideas everywhere; through unintended eavesdropping, mishearing things, and misread headlines. Artists are scavengers.  

We combine divergent widgets in our toolshed to strengthen the entire arsenal. The writer makes draws; the architect paints with light; the musician scribes poems. 

Using a variety of widgets helps work out different artistic muscles. As we draw analogies across subjects, we improve our core craft. 

Said the Greek poet Archilochus: “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” 

All the hedgehog knows how to do is protect itself with its spines. But the fox is more elastic — it can adapt to different conditions that enhance its chances to survive.

We permit our perspectives to shapeshift by opening the mind up to ubiquitous inspiration. Our imagination expands in so far as we stretch our palette. 

First, we collect and understand. Then we deduce. Only then can we return to mastering our core competency. 

Categories
Culture History Tech

2020: Living in the hyper-extended present

2020 feels like living in the hyper-extended present. The year never ends, yet it continually validates the future.

Immersed in the warp speed of home deliveries, zoom meetings, and cryptocurrencies, 2020 expedites technology and cultures.

The virus flattens the world, sucking the rich of hidden powers. The freest fail the quickest, bending toward succeeding last.

Arrogance and denial compel even the brightest to commit an epic historical miscalculation. A proud ignorance fails to conquer the world once again.

All one has to do tap into the inner censor and zoom out, acknowledging that the present doesn’t last forever.

Categories
Life & Philosophy

Feelings of destabilization

The glut of information can make us feel powerless. In the age of infinity, which sources are to be trusted?

For one, we can count on ourselves.

Close your eyes and throw on some headphones.

While we may tussle to calm the monkey mind, profound epiphanies arise in the blank spaces of thought.

Stillness is the release valve, deflating all external pressures and distractions.

Once alone with our thoughts, we realize the power of our own opinion. We take comfort in being left behind if it means taking our time and doing everything with intent. 

We’ll leapfrog the status quo when the time is right. 

We are an advocate of our opinion, not someone else’s. We take comfort in being left behind, misunderstood and unknown, only to leapfrog the status quo when the time is right.

Being a pioneer takes conviction. Once stable, it takes courage to show other people the way.