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.

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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.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Poetry Psychology

The reeducation of emotion

At peace with the thinking, not always with the thought. The lizard brain generates emotions that are not immediately subject to reason.

Emotion-action often leads to undesirable behavior, independently of our control and without our understanding.

Therefore, it’s of the highest importance to recognize the issue at hand.

Intelligence restrains the worst of our emotions and potential wrong actions. We aim for a reserved response.

Stoic in our appeal, we successfully pause. We even set aside time or reflection. Listening closely with an intense examination, we stem the tide of self-destruction.

Quick on our feet, even quicker in perspective. Don’t meet rudeness with rudeness — there are many failed attempts along the way.

Emotional intelligence is a skill that fortifies holistic thinking and tames collisions of thought.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Psychology

Brain on fire

Like putty, we can reshape the brain. The mind is elastic, not stagnant. We can birth new neurons until the day we die. 

Yet, we live on with the assumption of slow decay, where aging is a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

While most of what happens in the world is a consequence of natural, universal laws, there’s no stopping the expectation for improvement. We have to demand progress in all realms of life (biological, personal, relational, etc.) even if it means we have to fake it.

There is, of course, no reason to brainwash ourselves with motivational quotes and self-help books that try to shut our eyes to reality.  

Lest we dump problems on tomorrow, we can change today. Experience teaches us to move on with new knowledge. 

Positive psychology demands a different mode of experience. Happiness shall not be forced, but knowing it’s up to us to foster satisfaction compels us to act with just a bit more hope.

Categories
Arts Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

Tighter the brief, the deeper the craft

Once we commit to a creative project, we make choices within it. We narrow down everything into a tight brief so we can build something conclusive.

The frames in place help guide our unconscious decisions. There’s no blur between what we’re making and what we want to make. 

Slowly but surely, we commit to a process despite all the doubt. We gather a proper stream of blood flow and breathing, focusing free-flowing talent into a concentrated effort.  

Distracting opportunities have to die for the most important craft to live. 

We don’t need more of anything; instead, we play with what we already have. We hunker down on the front lines and figure out how to shape our materials. Boredom is welcome, as it provides the opportunity we need to have the next big idea. 

And once the art is out there, it’s out there. We try not to take feedback personally — not to repress or ignore negativity — but to acknowledge we shipped! 

How we perceive our work is more important than how others look at it. Society is either too polite or doesn’t care. Passion, care, sticktuitiveness — these traits are leverage. 

Categories
Culture Life & Philosophy

The capacity to act differently

Reactive, rarely trying to get ahead. Missiles of external stimuli successfully impede all proactivity. The mind needs psychological conditioning to strengthen itself against constant connectivity; we shouldn’t have to swat flies to maintain voluntary attention. 

Two things drive sticktuitiveness: purpose and enjoyment. A living thing sets its attention and energy while fending off destruction. We seek to align with our plans, not the objectives of others. 

No one purchases our imagination and instills expectations. Play comes naturally, as does thinking differently.  

Ambition is never so rigid that it drives a flight or fight response — we need to stay as loose as a goose. So we view reality like it’s the first time. 

A child-like curiosity helps keep the world new and exciting. We gather new approaches and anticipate fresh ideas when we stand on our toes. 

The capacity to act is a strange one — it requires decisiveness and bravery. The last thing we want to be is a fraud. 

Categories
Creativity Life & Philosophy

Less is best

We achieve breakthroughs because of restraints, not because of endless options.

There’s a reason we feel satisfied when someone removes the cashews at a party; it eliminates the temptation to snack on them.

Our willpower is generally weak. And a surfeit of choice further aggravates self-control problems. Even worse, we transmit vices to others.

When we have a limited offer or altogether remove what we can use, eat, etc., we’re more cautious in our entire approach.

Constriction is a life-enhancing passport to better decision making, a challenge of a challenge that forces us to cope with what we already have.

Less is best, and more. Everything else appears as a nice-to-have pleasant surprise.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

Working backward

We all know what we want. Our main challenge is in getting there. 

If we take our end-destination in mind and outline the steps to reach it by working backward, the goal suddenly becomes less intimidating.

The only way to “control” the future is to steady our mentality and take immediate action. Making progress requires both urgency and patience with the process. 

Mastering each step fortifies the fundamentals and strengthens our “why.” Knowing our purpose helps push us through temporary and unforeseen hurdles.

Greatness is scarce because so few people want to endure struggle. Failure is integral to the process of learning.  

There are power and magic in practice. Only the indolent think they can perfect the work in theory — all talk, zero execution. 

The art of pertinacity demands that we keep going — it may be the bravest thing we ever do. 

Get the pen and paper out. Feel compelled to identify what we want and map out the road it takes to get there. 

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

Quieter times

The covid crisis reminds us that time is precious. It untethers us from the plague of 24/7 always-on work culture and permits more pockets of free time to do whatever we want: make dinner, spend more time with family, explore a side interest. 

The pandemic gives us our time back. Working from home saves us from the extra hours put into commuting and face-to-face meetings. It also increases our productivity, as we can shape our surroundings and get comfortable in ways that enable intense focus and absorption. 

Electronic communication’s invisibility cloak allows people more time to think in silence rather than countdown the clock in useless meetings and brainstorm sessions. Being outside the office disconnects us from the suasion of group-think and overall herd mentality. 

Never underestimate the power of pause and the power of independent, reflective thought. Thinking alone is not just an idea producer; it’s also an intrinsic motivator. When we find meaning in our work and enforce our own decision rights, we become richer workers. 

The ‘black swan’ Covid-19 catastrophe — entirely unpredictable and damaging (2.69M deaths as of March 19, 2021) — offers the chance to eliminate the inefficiencies (e.g., going to an office five days/week) driving us all insane. For better or worse, we connect through wires

Time is invaluable, in some ways more important than money. We have to work now, live life now, and do our best for ourselves and others. In such quieter yet anxious moments, we realize that there’s no need for dumping problems on tomorrow.