Categories
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
Culture Life & Philosophy

Blind to blindness

Blind to the obvious and blind to blindness — we run around the world with a default state of myopia in our heads. What happens to us and what we imagine feeds off the preferential ways we observe and learn. 

Even names make the invisible visible. We tend to prejudge someone’s possibilities by the familiarity of their name. We make the mistake of isolating the name from the life of the name. Ignorance is refusing to judge by character alone.

Self-selection and self-reinforcement place a block on change. Meanwhile, the speculator remains open to learning new combinations about themselves and others. Internal and external elasticity is the tenor of the times. 

Uniqueness is the best way to grab someone’s attention—failure to stir up curiosity in the viewer results in an invisibility cloak. Sameness is for sheep; it rounds off the edges and destroys the interesting. 

We don’t have to be or see a purple cow to act like one. What keeps us awake inside and out is the difference we seek. This plurality depends, though, on others picking up these vibrations. 

Separate but together, the universe punishes fixed perspectives and celebrates vastness. Evolution is a property of the mind. 

Categories
Arts Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

Artists are scavengers and tweakers

Artists are scavengers, modern-day hunters of information. And they pluck inspiration from everywhere: people, places, and things. 

They even gather resources through error. Mishearings, misspellings, and mistakes are idea producers. 

The creative process is two-fold. Ideas bloom, and then they require execution and management. The producer thinks about them, reads about them, talks about them, and ultimately acts on them. What emerges is something fresh and original.

Artists are continually developing novel techniques, ways of seeing, thinking, being, and diligently applying those efforts from various tools onto the canvass. 

The painter studies the way light falls on an object; the sculptor manipulates a hunk of marble to carve a figure; the poet converts a banal phrase into a haiku; the photographer reveals an obscure item plain eyes miss; the musician observes how a note lingers and uses it to create a melody that fits the song’s mood.

No matter what medium is involved, the creative process is the same. It starts with experimentation, struggles with tweaks, and ends with precision.  

The best artists study, learn, practice, and perfect the skills they need to imagine and design. Creativity is impossible without attention and effort.   

The never-ending search to consume and build something unpredictable keeps life interesting. Like nature, art is not static and remains subject to change. 

Categories
Life & Philosophy

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 complexity today is that most of what we see is on screen. Our mind encodes both reality and irreality as one simultaneous existence. When humans want wings, the non-fungible tokens deliver.

As Kevin Horsley writes in Unlimited Memory, “The greatest secret of a powerful memory is to bring information to life with your endless imagination.”

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 heads.

We can always fetch for what’s in our brains, even if it’s not actually there. We can even grab thoughts out of thin air and let them permeate time and culture.

Memory is not storage. The process of recall is like a 3D model with missing pieces. We fill in the gaps with the most august imagination.

Intangible, elastic, ignored, and discarded, we barely feel memories, yet they are all we are. Our physical bodies are little more than an amalgam of flesh and blood, and our digital bodies are an array of ones and zeros.

But both are really just a patchwork of bits. The memories we hold are the most real thing about us. They are the foundation of our self-awareness.

Categories
Culture Life & Philosophy

Uniqueness is the happiness connection

Connection is the goal. Few today buy products for sheer vanity. People rather consume the story than signal their absorption into the status quo.

More and more people are embracing the weird and rejecting the standardization of tastes. Weird makes people feel happy.

Independence and beauty are what keeps happiness alive.

The flame of content runs locally. The industrialization mindset bursts from the cities, ricocheting off the siren song of bland mores.

Niches emerged as a result of intelligence — the ambition to stand out and make better. Thank the internet’s long-tail.

Prices also confuse human psychology. The suck of Amazon and Walmart are reduced prices. Pay a little extra elsewhere, and you get something different. And different is attractive.

Unique is an experience, and it lives top of mind, neither done nor dusted. No one remembers the same.

Off-the-beaten-path, the stuff that sticks changes perception. Interesting promises more variable batches.

Categories
Culture Life & Philosophy Tech

Upstaged by avatars

No artifice, no spin. Never let the online you be better than the real you. 

So many people are an inconsistent version of their digital selves. All the internet’s a stage, with each social media post performance art. 

You’d think that some people were crypto billionaires or New York Times bestsellers based on their Instagram stories. After all, they control the narrative — strategically dropping each piece of content to garner more attention. 

They say that if you want to be a successful business person, dress like one. There is nothing wrong with acting like whom you aspire to be. 

But if you expect one to embrace your online avatar in real life without having the face-to-face consistency to back it up, good luck getting where you want to go. 

Big egos are insecure. Aspirations mean nothing without doing the work. 

Business is more than just ties, spreadsheets, and numbers. Writing is more than just visual speech. Your identity expands beyond your Tik Tok profile, where fifteen minutes of fame seems to go on for an eternity. You, celeb, you. 

There is no second life. There is one life. The eyes never age, just as they never lie. No one likes to be persuaded and then duped. 

To derive the most authenticity from life, engineer a digital persona that aligns with your natural desires, wants, and needs. This way, there is no inner conflict between who you are and who you wish to be. 

Categories
Arts Creativity Productivity & Work

Creativity is a game of inches

It comes as no surprise that lousy work begets good work — the more one creates, the more they have to play with. 

People mistakenly believe that successful artists excelled all along. In reality, what the viewer sees are remarkable stories told by people who decided never to give up

The internet is a great liberator because it allows anyone can show their work. Of course, that doesn’t guarantee anyone’s going to see it. 

It’s nearly impossible to stand out when everyone’s an Instagram photographer. The world’s drowning in jpegs that all look alike, punctuated by countless candy-colored apps begging for attention. 

It’s no surprise that artists do their best work while toiling in obscurity. They may emulate conventions at first, but starved of significance, the creator begs to be different. 

It takes a lot of time and a ton of practice to develop both good taste and a unique craft. 

When we create for ourselves, rage into our work, the world becomes our oyster. “It is a joy to be hidden, and a disaster not to be found,” once said English pediatrician and psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott. 

From stylization to originality, cultivating talent unfolds slowly into a game of inches. The only guarantee is the willingness to try repeatedly for a breakthrough.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Politics & Society

Beyond logic, beyond greed

Beyond logic, stuck on wishful thinking, bias, and irrationality — it’s no wonder the world divides into tribes.

The internet allows us to handpick the information we want and spit it back out to like-minded folks who amplify it.

The curator — the finder and organizer of information — shares as much power as the creator or influential leader.

Still, it’s usually the few who predetermine fate for the rest of society.

But we need the non-expert, outsider, the fans to dissect what’s fundamentally sound and flawed. Does the product fit the spirit of the times or is it chasing the pennies? Greed has its limits.

Playing with feelings of passion and anger offers richer routes to the truth. The plebeians present a muscular calm to the trying circumstances of big-league shallowness.

The commoner wants everything to feel authentic because it’s all they know. They are happy with their nonupgraded experience, as it is they who also decide which pieces of work and art have lasting value.

Fail to act on knowledge, and the moment dissipates. By forging ahead, the symptoms remain under control.

Categories
Life & Philosophy

Identity unknown

To get in line with who we are, not who we wish to be—frazzled but unfazed, going toward a calling that meets our attention with true honesty.

Age crystallizes identity as if each living day leads us down the path to greater self-awareness.

Being awake does it for us, and as we do, we proceed and ask for forgiveness afterward. Humans are imperfect judges of the present, but learning produces mistakes. And the correct answer is a mere accumulation of errors.

We maintain voluntary attention and keep going–now. Self-control is everything.

The cure for restlessness is aliveness, and along with being open-minded and curious, pinches luck our way.

We need no label, just a pulse, to avoid being pigeonholed and balkanized by society’s conformist ambitions. With clenched fists, we punch through categories and wander toward our dreams.

Categories
Creativity Life & Philosophy

Head to head

Two people live inside our heads, one left-brained and analytical and the other right-brained and more free-flowing and creative. Together, the two opposing cognitive forces work in harmony.

There’s also a part of the brain that spaces out and permits the subconscious to connect the dots. The mind works like a dishwasher amidst sleep and daydreaming, cleaning out toxins during times of rest. 

The mind’s left-right dichotomy provides a double-helping of self-narration. Certitude leads to extremes that preclude the emergence of infinite variety. Multiplicity makes one dizzy, a toss of abstractions.  

The quest for fact and the art of spontaneity is a tussle between who we are and where we want to go. Cognitively busy, all we can do is listen to ourselves and deploy the headwork that’s needed most.

Categories
Life & Philosophy

Humans contain attitude

Humans contain attitude. We can turn a positive or negative attitude off and on like a faucet. But more often than not, we get stuck on one outlook more than the other.

And both postures backfire.

Tell someone to think positive, and the ‘try’ yields a negative outcome. In fact, the harder we try to inculcate a system of upbeat attitudes based on motivational hardiness, the more it becomes a vapid motivational platitude.

Tell someone to think negatively, and they’re more likely to concoct a more darkly artful perception.

The tension between the two opposing life forces is at the heart of who we are.

The hyper-aware neurotic struggles with the think positive-negative dialectic as a first-alarm system; the genius accepts the role paradoxes play in the broader lookout of personal and world complexity. Instead of letting the mind tug the awareness, they put one foot in front of the other and get on with it.

The focus on external reality keeps the philosopher grounded. Humans need more than theory to wander freely; they need instruments to cope with the real and serious possibility of a failed imagination.

Life never happens how we wish to see it. That would be too easy. If the daily experience weren’t such a mess, we’d get lulled into the abyss of complacency. And nothing exciting nor challenging would ever happen.

A type of neutrality is needed to insulate both the positive and negative thinker from the ravages of anxiety.