Featured

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.”

Luis Suarez
WordPress.com

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

The strength of signal

Everything to everyone is like nothing to nobody.

Imagine owning all the music in the world — such profundity reveals nothing about your interests or your identity. Unless of course, you’re passing on knowledge about the items in the arsenal.

The internet too is the greatest copy-paste machine of all-time. Technology augments communication and connection. But what does all the information mean without chopping it into genres and niches?

Making sense of your interests and surroundings depends on the rigidity of your signal strength. The ability to collect artifacts and sift through the noise to present a packaged story is the rarest skill of them all.

Cut information into pieces and give it way. What happens next is up to the magic of the network.

On making life’s biggest decisions

ross-findon-303091.jpg

When it comes to decision-making, first you decide, then you deduce. Of course, life's biggest decisions such as marriage or a career change are some of the hardest decisions to make because the fear is that they won't work out. The bigger the risk, the greater the hesitation.

‘This might not work.'

People like to play it safe. It's easier to adopt the status quo than playing the long game and facing the fear of uncertainty. Chance is risky. Change is scary.

We're so scared of making a change that we outsource our decisions to other people. In other words, we seek their permission. Not surprisingly, our family members and peers recommend circling the race track rather than pursuing the labyrinth of self-discovery. Warns financial advisor and essayist/sketcher Carl Richards for the New York Times:

“People expect you to stay how you are, to maintain the status quo, to stay the course. And if you get bogged down looking for that affirmation to make a change, you may never make it.”

All believing is betting

People that do risk change — on their volition or because of a coin toss — usually end up thinking the best of it. When we change, we grow.

“Based on the results of tossing over 20,000 virtual coins, the study found that people were happier after making a major change, whether they did it because the coin forced their hand or because they decided on their own.”

The only person we need permission from is ourselves. Indecision is a decision, albeit, the wrong one. Still unsure? Here's your permission slip.

“Whatever it is, you now have permission to do it.”

Read Hesitant to Make That Big Life Change, Permission Granted 

Stan Lee offers this advice to creators

Stan Lee

When Marvel Comics icon Stan Lee pitched his idea of a superhero called Spiderman, the executives laughed him off.

They said no one liked spiders, teenagers only made good sidekicks, and no one was interested in a superhero with personal problems.

But it being the magazine's last issue, Stan Lee got his chance to put Spiderman on the cover and sales boomed. The rest is history.

So Stan offers this advice for all creators alike.

“If you have an idea that you genuinely think is great, don’t let some idiot talk you out of it.” 

Stan Lee

So give yourself permission to build. Push through CRAP– criticism, rejection, assholes, and pressure.

Navigating tension

Some amount of tension is healthy. The ability to hold two opposing ideas simultaneously often yields a new idea, containing elements of each.

The tension between art and commerce encourages a blend of innovation that prevents the pitfalls of being tied to labor. We are not our jobs, no matter how tied employment is to identity.

Toggling between effort and acceptance unlocks a more dynamic human. Like a hand plunged into cold water, our fingerprints express themselves at unbending stiffness.

The synthesis of oppositional forces one to navigate the tension, ensuring that the odds help form a new whole.

Self-control is the centerpiece that gives us a shot at embracing the dialectic.

gif by @boglio

Mirrored Ceilings at Zhongshuge bookstores, China

Zhongshuge is a bookstore chain in China. Each of its stores leverages mirrors in its architectural design to give a kaleidoscope effect to the space’s interior.

The location in the city of Chongqing features a ceiling mirror that provides an optical illusion of intertwined staircases while also magnifying the size of the room.

Designed by architecture firm X+Living — these spaces are mind-boggling for readers and viewers alike. Can you imagine if JK Rowling wrote her next book in one of these inception-like wonders?

Zhongshuge bookstores

Creativity: A way of thinking and doing

A girl with creativity twirling a ball with her mind

Creativity is a game of trial and error. The only thing under one’s control is the willingness to experiment.

But being a creator doesn’t just happen. You must compel yourself to see in order to mix and match disparate things and tap into imaginative conclusions.

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.”

Albert Einstein

The right brain needs constant firing in order to facilitate new ideas. In fact, it's the schooling that tries to steal its thunder. However, the synthesis of zero to one thinking and practicality makes for good business.

Creativity is free to practice. With an open mind and the right tools — even if it's just a napkin and pen — anyone can recreate a theater inside their head.

art by @thekinardist

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.

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.”

A gif of a record spinning with a brain on the vinyl
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see the disclosure for more info.

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!

Pick your focus channel to hear a sample

Music = neurological focus power

“Music is part of being human,” Oliver Sacks wrote in Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain. 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 and 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.

Thinking about questions

Gif of book turning with question marks inside it
via giphy

The more absurd questions, the better.

It’s as if people hold back their inquisitiveness to avoid the pedestal of ridicule. Shying away from raising your hand backlashes over time. Playing it safe merely postpones fear, submerging us into a habit of permanent hesitation that flinches instead of flourishes.

The infinitely curious never left school as an efficient automaton — they entered life as a creative enforcer.

A true explorer of the world calls on themselves to challenge the status quo if only to understand why certain conditions and fixed truths exist in the first place.

Questions are triggers for experiences. It is the inertia of others that presents an opportunity to keep pushing forward.