Starting the process, dancing with maintenance

The room of our mind decorates itself with doubt. Anxiety is a thinking problem, a challenge to contain the inner narrative that bears the footprints of our decisions. 

Extreme self-belief and passion offer the antidotes to quitting. Immersed from the start, we dance with persistence when times get difficult. 

Evolution is an imaginative process. As we gain exposure to the world, it becomes our oyster for exploration and experimentation. 

Each creator finds their own problems and lets their identity roll. We build and sustain a system of habits to avoid wandering about in the fog. We do, however, remain changeable as we mine for secrets of the interior self. 

But it’s not just the drive to begin. Finishing matters most. The world is a better place for those that ship projects out the door. Artists need feedback. “Another flaw in human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance,” once said Kurt Vonnegut.

So which is more difficult — the start or the maintenance? Both are equally important as an emphasis of action

What spreads, rarely sticks

All problems and their subsequent solutions are social.

The good thing about solutions is that they’re typically social-proof and benefit from the network effect: What works for one person multiplies as commonality gets shared with the next, like a vaccine.

The simplest form of information exchange is language. Words are memes. And memes can be rebranded and copy-pasted, and in some cases, rendered outdated. It was Dunkin’ Donuts that made the word “doughnut” extinct.

Physical nature begs for optimization. The city, like an anthill, is one big shared experience, a marketplace for swapping ideas. Residencies, streets, bridges — all spawned from tiny cells into a collective pinnacle of innovation. Of course, the infrastructure is far from ideal. As Ellen Ullman wrote, “We build our computer (systems) the way we build our cities: over time, without a plan, on top of ruins.”

At the root of every solitary puzzle is a chance to do our best, graduate from the individual vision, and gravitate toward some collective high where the concept gets received and adopted.

The lone genius is a myth. Behind every wizard lies a team of influencers. There are no geniuses without gleaning from the wisdom of crowds. The innovator’s role is to observe trends, spot the blind spots and introduce new possibilities.

When the crazy ones propose anything novel, they beg for the neighborhood’s attention. It is the external reaction, the possibility of adoption, that excites the misunderstood maker.

Thinking, doing, and building all require a form of starting and maintenance to ensure longevity. ‘Build it, and they will come’ is, therefore, a canard. A product’s existence depends on the strength of usability, marketing, and overall spreadability.

The Lindy effect says if a book is around a decade, it’ll last for another 50 years. Ideas and products are at the mercy of banter and eyeballs. Whatever gets shared continues to stick around in the public narrative conscience.

Propaganda is the nastiest version of exposure. It creates a mind virus that becomes blind to the facets of good worth keeping. Fascism is how the kindest people can quickly become immune to evil.

Thankfully, plurality wins. In open societies, it means the best ideas usually pan out without canceling out the advantages of alternative solutions.

There will always be outliers who stand on the edge, trying to make a difference.

Everything optimized

We try to optimize time like we try to manipulate the weather—craving proficiency, we come prepared.   

But we are the tools of our tools. In this pre-metaverse world, humans can only control so much.

The clock, indeed a fabrication of man, keeps on ticking. Meanwhile, the weather remains fickle. Nature confounds the rules of predictability; chaos thrives on terra firma but stays fixed in the cosmos. 

We are the recipients and would-be benefactors of cloud-based demands. The human mental model looks for new ways to expand its portfolio for survival and consumption. 

Ingenuity cracks open a never-ending energy source. Science and technology may advance our thinking yet trap us in a condition of discontent. As with time, we’re always striving for more.  

Relaxed while working

The synchronicities tend to happen in our most relaxed moments, not when we’re stressing out about work or life.

Bothersome thoughts place a block on our ability to connect disparate ideas. So too does a tense face.

Anxiety undermines attention, and with it, additional perspective.

Our capacity to retain information expands upon the pace of the barest effort. Unmoored from the monkey mind, we grant the synapses a passport to the freedom of concentrated thought.

In a state of flow, nothing is left wanting. The pen can hardly keep up with the bicycle of impressions peddling through our heads.

When awake on our passions, we’re always running to a place where we catch onto things. The answers may be tentative and impractical, but at least they’re exciting.

The corrosive side of ambition

The corrosive side of ambition draws us into an unending hole of dissatisfaction. Competition, whether within the inner self or with other’s attrits the soul.

No one wants mediocrity. But they do want less stress. We operate best in flow, a process of thinking without thinking, where the mind matches the thoughts of the pen.

There will always be moments to strive. Persistence comes easy at the grandeur of individual vision. We want more without the risk of overkill.

But patience is also a form of action. Enough is enough. We build momentum and preserve enough creative energy to do it all over again tomorrow.

Known and strange things

Exploration augments the senses. Within the pursuit of strangeness lies one important truth: we prefer the unknown.  

Can you imagine if the world stopped innovating, where everyone just decided that they’d seen it all! Yet even history compels us to repeat new mistakes

Discovery pushes us forward slowly. There’s a limit to all the novel information we can consume. We need time to process the research.  

If we stay with problems long enough, letting them simmer in the subconscious, the conclusions tend to draw themselves. All the while, expect years to go by misunderstood. 

Human memory connects the dots over time as lucidity restores a type of balance. The others finally catch up to our train of thought.

Chasing down both known and strange things was a calling all along.

A vocation of old and new

Everyone harbors an undeniable vocation that starts when we’re kids.

Playing in the NBA, winning a Grammy or an Oscar — most aspirations are pipe dreams. But the characteristics we build in pursuing those far-fetched fantasies such as confidence, persistence, result from facing all the anxieties and fears that arise from such honest confrontation.

When we feel incompetent, we channel grit elsewhere toward something that feels more intuitive and enjoyable. Like a magnet, we’re drawn to what comes naturally.

A writer who draws. A bicyclist who runs and swims. A photographer who rock climbs. The former is who we are and what the market demands, even if the latter is what we prefer. Neither trade guarantees success nor fame because all reward is in the doing.

While sometimes feeling detached, the intuitive self invites us to travel down the road of uncertainty until we find an occupation that feels just about right — where ambition and talent intersect, where passion overlaps with our skills.

There is beauty in constraint, what bounds focuses the mind.

Until we can identify our strengths, we jump from lily-pad to lily-pad like frogs. We ultimately return to the one that feels like home.

Having the courage to follow who we are rather than live up to somebody else’s expectations is a blessing, not a glitch.

Stop making new mistakes

History teaches us our mistakes. What it doesn’t teach us is how to avoid repeating them. Because we just make new ones. 

The past, present, and future are GIF loops. We are condemned to err all over again, slightly different than before. Yet, we keep testing our limits, believing that we can reach the mirage. Possibilities gnaw and tug at us with the utmost vigor. 

After all, boredom is the mind-killer!

So we undermine the cognitive toolkit. “Yeah, but this time is different” becomes the thinker’s venom. 

But the upshot is almost always the same. The cinema inside our heads fails to project into reality.

We can’t coax a train out of a tunnel. We can’t use positive psychology to make a Bitcoin “moon” to a million bucks (at least not yet).

Thoughts rarely mirror reality. 

So instead of a self-wound, we stay grounded. The discipline of non-action helps recenter the exaggerated narratives in our heads. Stare at the ants and clouds instead. 

Evolutionary parameters

We evolve from the art of spontaneity. 

The future is an extension of the present. We respond to the demands of the moment with ingenuity, not suave perfection.  

Humans harbor the same creative impulses: to survive, express, and question the status quo.  

In the 14th century, we wore pointed medieval shoes. Today, we’re wearing Nike, Prada, etc., with an assortment of shoes split by occasion. Fashion is cyclical but intense, to which the ebb and flow converge into dynamic designs. 

Often along comes the elemental strangeness of the individual. We must give the weird space to explore their unique curiosity.

Outsiders set the evolutionary parameters. The misfits, changed agents, make the crowd more malleable. Society strives off the plurality of ideas. 

People, too, are part of nature and combining multiple perspectives augment the mental model. 

Since change is the only constant, we live in beta. 

Busy living with doubt

The painful past, the anxious future, the joyful present — to be alive in any mood requires that we hop over the indifference threshold. 

The more we feel negative emotions, the more we care. The caring fever remains scarce even when others don’t.  

The fool ignores their own peril and remains stuck in a state of monotonous myopia. Reality bites hard.  

The Self remains what it is — natural behavior and creative output are things we can’t change. But doubt is what keeps the identity plastic. Tightening is a response to fear.

Feel the fear and do it anyway.

Uncertainty compels us to live. If beliefs, like knives and forks, are tools for living, then the only reassurance we need is the faith to keep going

We acknowledge the tentacles of past pain. We fret about the uncontrollable future. We dance in the present. We are too concerned with the “business of living” to worry about what comes next. 

Take the plunge. 

Predictably unpredictable

All outcomes are predictably unpredictable.

There is no such thing as chance, with most things in life predetermined at the outset of infancy. Free will, the so-called author of our choices, presents constraints.

What happens when the amygdala, the brain’s seat of emotions, chooses for us? Instinct overrides self-control. We manufacture great urges in a state of perpetual wonder.

Thinking doesn’t wander freely. 

People live in a simulation, where even the slightest guesswork constrains the believer into a particular worldview.

Freedom is artificial. We’re rooted in what’s at stake. 

Powering off

Dreaming exudes clarity. Only when our mind is in a state of utter relaxation do the disparate parts coalesce. 

Yet, the era of self-thought and free will is nearing the end. Unable to sleep, we slump into the distraction of rectangular glows before drowning in information overload. The algorithms ensure we never think for ourselves. 

The digital world enslaves our attention rather than liberates our thinking. It also weakens the patience muscle. 

Ideas, fantasies, theories — one can’t innovate nor begin the next one without a state of rest. 

Inaction is a form of action. 

Disconnecting is a thinking tool, one that is undervalued and deprioritized by the hustle. It reminds people of their purpose to create value rather than acting as passive consumers. 

The only hassle is making time to think to see the reality of things. And God knows how painful self-reflection is for many.