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. 

Categories
Life & Philosophy

Memories reconstructed

Memory is reconstruction. We capture an image in our mind’s eye and recreate it with the code in our brain when it needs recalling.

The complexity today is that most of what we see is on screen. Our mind encodes both reality and irreality as one simultaneous existence. When humans want wings, the non-fungible tokens deliver.

As Kevin Horsley writes in Unlimited Memory, “The greatest secret of a powerful memory is to bring information to life with your endless imagination.”

The symbiosis between physical and digital bytes fuse a mirage of mind-movies. In the search for meaning, we rely on reproducing imaginary blocks in our heads.

We can always fetch for what’s in our brains, even if it’s not actually there. We can even grab thoughts out of thin air and let them permeate time and culture.

Memory is not storage. The process of recall is like a 3D model with missing pieces. We fill in the gaps with the most august imagination.

Intangible, elastic, ignored, and discarded, we barely feel memories, yet they are all we are. Our physical bodies are little more than an amalgam of flesh and blood, and our digital bodies are an array of ones and zeros.

But both are really just a patchwork of bits. The memories we hold are the most real thing about us. They are the foundation of our self-awareness.

Categories
Culture Life & Philosophy

Uniqueness is the happiness connection

Connection is the goal. Few today buy products for sheer vanity. People rather consume the story than signal their absorption into the status quo.

More and more people are embracing the weird and rejecting the standardization of tastes. Weird makes people feel happy.

Independence and beauty are what keeps happiness alive.

The flame of content runs locally. The industrialization mindset bursts from the cities, ricocheting off the siren song of bland mores.

Niches emerged as a result of intelligence — the ambition to stand out and make better. Thank the internet’s long-tail.

Prices also confuse human psychology. The suck of Amazon and Walmart are reduced prices. Pay a little extra elsewhere, and you get something different. And different is attractive.

Unique is an experience, and it lives top of mind, neither done nor dusted. No one remembers the same.

Off-the-beaten-path, the stuff that sticks changes perception. Interesting promises more variable batches.

Categories
Culture Life & Philosophy Tech

Upstaged by avatars

No artifice, no spin. Never let the online you be better than the real you. 

So many people are an inconsistent version of their digital selves. All the internet’s a stage, with each social media post performance art. 

You’d think that some people were crypto billionaires or New York Times bestsellers based on their Instagram stories. After all, they control the narrative — strategically dropping each piece of content to garner more attention. 

They say that if you want to be a successful business person, dress like one. There is nothing wrong with acting like whom you aspire to be. 

But if you expect one to embrace your online avatar in real life without having the face-to-face consistency to back it up, good luck getting where you want to go. 

Big egos are insecure. Aspirations mean nothing without doing the work. 

Business is more than just ties, spreadsheets, and numbers. Writing is more than just visual speech. Your identity expands beyond your Tik Tok profile, where fifteen minutes of fame seems to go on for an eternity. You, celeb, you. 

There is no second life. There is one life. The eyes never age, just as they never lie. No one likes to be persuaded and then duped. 

To derive the most authenticity from life, engineer a digital persona that aligns with your natural desires, wants, and needs. This way, there is no inner conflict between who you are and who you wish to be. 

Categories
Arts Creativity Productivity & Work

Creativity is a game of inches

It comes as no surprise that lousy work begets good work — the more one creates, the more they have to play with. 

People mistakenly believe that successful artists excelled all along. In reality, what the viewer sees are remarkable stories told by people who decided never to give up

The internet is a great liberator because it allows anyone can show their work. Of course, that doesn’t guarantee anyone’s going to see it. 

It’s nearly impossible to stand out when everyone’s an Instagram photographer. The world’s drowning in jpegs that all look alike, punctuated by countless candy-colored apps begging for attention. 

It’s no surprise that artists do their best work while toiling in obscurity. They may emulate conventions at first, but starved of significance, the creator begs to be different. 

It takes a lot of time and a ton of practice to develop both good taste and a unique craft. 

When we create for ourselves, rage into our work, the world becomes our oyster. “It is a joy to be hidden, and a disaster not to be found,” once said English pediatrician and psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott. 

From stylization to originality, cultivating talent unfolds slowly into a game of inches. The only guarantee is the willingness to try repeatedly for a breakthrough.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Politics & Society

Beyond logic, beyond greed

Beyond logic, stuck on wishful thinking, bias, and irrationality — it’s no wonder the world divides into tribes.

The internet allows us to handpick the information we want and spit it back out to like-minded folks who amplify it.

The curator — the finder and organizer of information — shares as much power as the creator or influential leader.

Still, it’s usually the few who predetermine fate for the rest of society.

But we need the non-expert, outsider, the fans to dissect what’s fundamentally sound and flawed. Does the product fit the spirit of the times or is it chasing the pennies? Greed has its limits.

Playing with feelings of passion and anger offers richer routes to the truth. The plebeians present a muscular calm to the trying circumstances of big-league shallowness.

The commoner wants everything to feel authentic because it’s all they know. They are happy with their nonupgraded experience, as it is they who also decide which pieces of work and art have lasting value.

Fail to act on knowledge, and the moment dissipates. By forging ahead, the symptoms remain under control.

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.