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
Arts Creativity Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

Reborn ideas

Life arises out of nonlife, developing as a consequence of the random workings of nature. 

Similarly, creativity arises out of noncreativity. Concepts are non-existent without chance execution. All ideas are dead ideas until further movement. 

Yet, it is procrastination that brings some of our best work to the forefront. Clarity emerges during idle times — thoughts coalesce in the shower, taking a walk, playing with the kids. 

Focusing on something entirely different helps break down the blindness caused by closeupness. Eureka moments are therefore myth; instead, we toil and stumble toward realization. 

The shadow that lies between focus and disconnection compels our actions.

Layer by layer, we keep stacking resources and exploring ways to curl the mind, and then we take periods of rest to examine the forest for the trees. 

Categories
Creativity Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

The boss of time

Time is more important than money, yet time is money. So the clock (exported by the East India Company) emerged as a system for streamlining global trade. 

He who obeys the hour, minute, and second is a slave of time. Nature moves toward continuous variation regardless of tick-tocks, adhering to the sun, water, seasons, and the moon — the mother of all things. 

For humans, the standardization of time enforces discipline. 

Alarm clocks, closing bells, factory openings, Black Friday: there is no escaping the tyranny of the clock for the economic initiative. 

It takes time to make time. Yet, time reminds us that we don’t have forever. 

So we stay engaged and do the work now, knowing that tomorrow may not come.  

It’s time to create something worthwhile. It’s time to face the resistance and make a difference.   

Time may be boss, but we’re the boss of time. And we mean the business of living. 

Categories
Life & Philosophy Poetry

The space between our ears

The space between our ears, where what we know or think we know, contrasts the reality of what we should see.

For some people, mental chatter precedes vision. The ignorant always risk being blindsided. They are the opposite of a child, turning a blind eye to the openness that foments growth.

As adults, we stop asking ‘why’ at the most fundamental level. We refuse to sacrifice the comfort of hardened beliefs even if they turn out to be lies.

If reality is unexciting and too sober, that’s also why it works. It keeps us grounded in the facts.

Truth lies beyond the blind spots. Exploration and exposure to challenging questions are the way.

Curiosity helps convert people into life-long tourists.

We don’t always hear and see what we want. The space between our ears which encompasses the head and brain shell could do for perspective and better listening.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

Ideas often come indirectly

We know our ideas indirectly. 

We all take our influences, deconstruct them, and build new concepts from those bricks. 

Growth results from experimentation. Then we improvise and make more things happen. 

We can’t possibly see the value in what we’re doing without bold execution, first and foremost. 

We produce, constrain, keeping what’s valuable while going beyond convenience. 

The tools help shape our thinking along the way. For example, pencils, computers, and artificial intelligence serve as aids augmenting the mind. 

Pity we don’t play more with what we have. It’s all there at our disposal. There is no ceiling to inventiveness. 

Yet, most of us play the role of consumer, making up stories about our tools rather than bending them during practice. 

As part of the creative community, we market to the makers. As a result, innovation spreads to fixation, as others replicate the madness into their own productions. 

Ideas, tools, culture — they all reveal what we’re like inside. They make meaning and spread indefinitely. 

Categories
Life & Philosophy

Into the unknown

More than a bystander, we want to have skin in the game. The sidelines are for wimps.

We crave a challenge, knowing that microchips can only solve so much.

So we read and learn more, whittling down ignorance while becoming more curious.

And then we make a bold decision, knowing all too well that what’s important is usually the most neglected.

We neither search for certainty nor distract ourselves from the cause.

Instead, alone and idealistic, we put beliefs into practice and await the unpredictable. With no guarantees, possibilities are infinite.

Making progress reveals a sensation of strangeness. The slightest improvement is a built-in check upon the barriers we set ourselves.

We swaddle into fear’s arms, knowing that we may not get what we want. But at least we tried.

Never an angry young man nor an old one. Rather serious, disciplined, and honorable. We’re far better off wandering freely with the compromise of failure than itching with regret.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Tech

What are you to me?

Mirroring reality may be the expectation of technology, but that is not its purpose. Its purpose is to synchronize our real-life identity with our online presence while still differentiating the two worlds. 

One shouldn’t have to think about which territory they’re in: digital or physical reality. Actions and reactions should be all the same. 

But the medium is the message. 

We contain multitudes — we are more dynamic and potentially more conversant or expressive online through text than in person, and sometimes, the other way around. 

When we hide behind avatars, we can be whoever we want. People enjoy seeing visual variety just as they do candy-colored apps. But sooner or later, playing make-pretend catches up just as trolls eventually get caught.

Minus the invisibility cloak of the blockchain, the internet strips us of all anonymity. 

People crave digital truth serum. If we sense a false consciousness, the actor gets called out. Half-truths may harvest attention, but lies kill it just as fast. This is still a universe that double-checks veracity. Facts never expire.  

Honesty is the only metric that can be trusted in our tiny backwater of the vast web.

Categories
Productivity & Work

The unfinished symphony

The mind moves toward more interesting, attractive things, but especially to those things undone. What is it about the staying power of an unfinished symphony? 

The Zeigarnik effect says that we remember open tasks more so than completed ones. So we disregard the information we crammed in the night before just following the test. On the other hand, we hold on to any knowledge that may pay dividends in the future.  

Work makes an indelible impression. The writer never stops writing; the painter never stops painting; the doctor never stops attending to patients. The professional always thinks about the ongoing job despite the completion of any task. There’s always something to toil on next. 

The worker persists if only to think things through. What’s actionable stays top of mind. What’s unactionable remains forgettable. Everyone needs a challenge of a challenge to feel alive. 

Making meaning removes meaning. The environment pulls our attention toward a finish while directing our emotions toward the incomplete. The craft is never finished, merely refreshed.   

Labor — if we can call it that — begets a burning desire to be excellent and takes on the all-important freedom to fail. Professionals ride a power wave of intrinsic motivation with the ultimate result redefined. 

Categories
Life & Philosophy

Learn and burn

The writing is on the wall. Error simply makes it visible to us. 

Unfortunately, it takes years of personal experience and burns to understand the flames one can’t see. 

We seek refuge during the time of a correction, knowing all too well the blunders made. 

Why were we so blinded to see them in the beginning? All we had to do was take a pause and wait. Instead, we suffered for the most fragile, irrational exuberance and took the fall.  

Even worse than the immediate loss is the knee-jerk reactions that light the cycle of rumination. Trying to fix troubling thoughts backfires — any additional fodder exacerbates the dizziness of anxiety.   

But the clock keeps ticking; life goes on. Learning to live with mistakes is part of the process. Knowing what we know now, shall we dare repeat such slips again? 

Regret builds out of the pain. Yet, the next time won’t be any different. 

We suffer the errors to build up courage and perseverance. 

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

Effort: The great harvester of attention

Attraction retains a gravitational pull. What maintains attention determines the going.

The extra push acts as both a need and a vocation. What’s complete ages rapidly — it’s better to follow a direction than reach a destination.

Motivation runs fickle, cycling through ebb and flow. Grit, on the other hand, is the true game-changer. When combined with an elastic mindset, it offers impressive persistence to change out of our control.

Laziness and confusion exist in dehydrated behavioral states, an excuse to suck in the most boring parts of our lives. How, then, do we make feelings of aliveness stick?

Excitement, dreams — all life is there written for the harvest. Effort releases the uncertainty valve and compounds under the intact sky.

Practice is everything, in principle, as it builds a future very much worth getting to. But if we can’t enjoy small celebrations along the way, it’s time to refocus our attention.

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.