Be open to change

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You are elastic, not stagnant.

“A caterpillar who seeks to know himself would never become a butterfly.”

— André Gide

You may not be a morning person now. But you might be when you have kids.

You may not think of yourself as a meditator, but after listening to Tara Brach, you may become hooked.

You may have loved drinking chocolate milk and eating fruity pebbles as a kid. But do you still consume them as an adult?

You may order an espresso each morning until someone introduces to you the Americano or flat white.

And so forth…


You’re made to change, in small and significant ways. To think who you are today is final is nonsense, an illusion that falsely imagines the end of your own history.

“We all think that who we are now is the finished product: we will be the same in five, 10, 20 years. But, as these psychologists found, this is completely delusional – our preferences and values will be very different already in the not-so-distant future.”

Perhaps instead we should ‘practice becoming,’ as Kurt Vonnegut so wisely encouraged.

Want to be happier and more fulfilled in life? Learn to be open to change

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How to practice effectively

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Everything is practice. Practice is everything. “Practice is the repetition of an action with the goal of improvement.”

Biologically speaking, practice strengthens the neural tissue, specifically the fatty substance myelin which enhances the runway for brains to communicate effectively with the muscles.

The 10,000-hour rule of deliberate practice doesn’t necessarily guarantee improvement. The training needs to be effective. Below are four tips for ensuring that quality meets quantity.

Tips on how to practice effectively

1 — Focus on the task at hand. Minimize distractions like TV and social media. Put your smartphone on airplane mode or throw your phone into the ocean.

2 — Start out slowly and then increase the speed of repetition. Raising the pace builds up the likeliness of performing the task correctly.

3 — Practice frequently with allotted breaks. Professionals practice 50 – 60 hours per week.

4 — Practice in your brain by reinforcing the skill with your imagination.

Google Photos uses facial recognition to identify your dogs and cats

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Photo by Wells Baum

If you’re looking for the best photo-backup service, look no further than Google Photos. Not only does it free up phone space, it creates gifs, adds filters, and stitches images together for you using the magic of artificial intelligence. In the age of image surfeit, Google Photos has been a blessing in disguise, helping people decide what to post or share with friends and family. But today’s news is by far my favorite.

Using its human face identification technology, Google can now detect individual cats and dogs instead of bunching all the animals together. It can even narrow results down to a specific breed. You can also search by or  emojis.

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It’s about time pets got some recognition. See what I did there 😉

We forget the mundane and remember the weird

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We tend to forget the mundane and remain loyal to the weird. What’s uninteresting remains unremembered. What peers into the mind eye’s with a little humor and exaggeration is the stuff that sticks.

Too ordinary becomes unextraordinary, not silly enough to make a significant dent.

Try not thinking about a purple cow, rainbow-striped zebra, or dog driving a pick-up truck. Now try to forget it 😉

You have to fake sleep to get to sleep. See! It’s the weird that binds.

“I See What You Mean” bear sculpture by Lawrence Argent

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“I See What You Mean” Denver Convention Center (Argent Studios)

“I’m not interested in creating an object of decoration; that’s not what I do. My task is to create something that fits the surrounding or the area. If it were to be removed, you would miss it.”

Public art can shape its surroundings. But the same piece won’t work everywhere, as sculptor Lawrence Argent noted: “That bear was designed for Denver. It belongs in that particular place.’ The sculpture addresses this city, this life.”

He also installed a giant panda in Chengdu, China, the “C’era Una Volta” in San Francisco, and a 56-foot long ‘leaping’ rabbit in the Sacramento airport

Obituary: Lawrence Argent, Sculptor Who Was Big on Whimsy, Dies at 60

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Scales aquatic 🐟

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All photos by Wells Baum

The logic of aquariums, as with zoos, is the logic of conservation: individual animals must sacrifice their freedom so that the species as a whole can be protected.

Plenty of its creatures seem delighted to be there, as far as one can tell, and others seem perfectly unaware of where they are. No doubt many of these animals live longer and healthier lives than they would in the ocean.

Excerpts from What Is It Like To Be An Octopus?

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A Night at The Garden

On February 20, 1939, 20,000 gathered at Madison Square Garden in New York City to celebrate the rise of Nazism.

Film producer Marshall Curry worked with an archivist to pull together the clips of footage to tell a cohesive story. Not surprisingly, it looks eerily similar to today’s events with some Americans succumbing to such evil. Said Curry:

 They attack the press, using sarcasm and humor. They tell their followers that they are the true Americans (or Germans or Spartans or…). And they encourage their followers to “take their country back” from whatever minority group has ruined it.

History is a GIF loop.

‘It doesn’t scale’

Photo by Wells Baum

If everything was mass-producible, there wouldn’t be any reason to march to the beat of a different drum.

It’s hard to stand small in the urge of mainstream’s BIG success.

Given a choice, people would prefer to be liked by everybody. Like a magnet, fame attracts money.

But most of the time we don’t have any other option but to scale to a micro market.

Just because it doesn’t scale — whatever ‘it’ is (a business, an idea, etc.) doesn’t mean it’s not special. Size can ruin things.

Remember the tenet: What matters isn’t always popular.

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gif by Wells Baum

Newsletter: The ‘nudge’ theory and why planning backward is better than planning ahead

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Hi all! This week’s focus is productivity. Below is a list of inspirational links to help us step outside the robot and think differently about our work habits. Plus, peep the new tune from Harlem based singer-songwriter Lynette Williams after the jump.

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Pretending to be Batman helps kids stay on task. Good advice for adults and kids alike. The magic of acting like someone else helps us ignore the distractions that get in our way. “It is important to note that pretending to be another character had large effects on children’s perseverance.

The pleasure/happiness gap. We have two choices: the taking of short-term dopamine or the giving of long-term serotonin. We become what we choose.

Planning ahead is good, but planning backward is better. Start with the end-goal in in mind and then work backward. The key to goal-setting is to ‘imagine hypothetical goal achievement’ to create the feeling that you’re already making progress.

The flaws a Nobel Prize-winning economist wants you to know about yourself. The ‘nudge’ removes the barriers to decision-making by pre-selecting how one should save their money or what to eat.

Kazuo Ishiguro: how I wrote The Remains of the Day in four weeks. Nobel Prize-winning British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro talks about how he completed Remains of the Day in 4 weeks using a hack he called a ‘Crash.’

I would, for a four-week period, ruthlessly clear my diary and go on what we somewhat mysteriously called a “Crash”. During the Crash, I would do nothing but write from 9am to 10.30pm, Monday through Saturday.

Thought of the week

“I have no idea. People who boast about their IQ are losers.”

Stephen Hawking


musical vitamins

New track on loop

Lynette Williams – Light (2017)

Digging in the crates

Aim – The Girl Who Fell Through The Ice (2002)

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!

Wells Baum (@bombtune)

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Your support goes a long way: for every contributed dollar, I can keep the blog running and continue to provide you interesting links.

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Words still matter 


There was a moment when marketers thought words didn’t matter, that the future was speaking through images.

But then everybody’s images started looking the same. The Instagram feed looked like a giant pile of sameness where anyone could be a photographer and upload a beautiful picture.

Snapchat then ushered in the video game and all of a sudden, copycats followed. Facebook’s algorithm started to favor video. Instagram introduced Stories and Live. People could share their thoughts without a keyboard.


But if there’s anything Twitter shows us, words matter more than ever. The US president and the ‘rocket man’ tease nuclear war. While images and video are propaganda, it is words that beget action; they are volatile, easily copy-pasted and bent into echo chambers to paint fraudulent stories of intent.

If we want to awe someone, we choose static and moving images. But if we ‘re going to poke someone, we select text.

Words are game changers. Not only do they provide context to an empty visual, but they also control the inner-narrative that ultimately influences external decisions. Choose them with care.

Low brain activities

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  • TV
  • YouTube
  • Social media

People enjoy low brain activities because it gives them the option to unthink. Whether it’s movies or endless Instagram scrolling, the images are there telling us what to think.

Reading or listening to music, on the other hand, may take your mind places. As Ray Bradbury once put it, books create a ‘theater inside your head.’

When you pursue the answers out of passiveness, the mind takes a seat. Idleness is ok in moderation.

No one’s waiting for you to get off the couch and exercise your imagination. The door to exceptional wonder is open at all times.