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Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

What comes next

We are always becoming, making inferences about our future.

Often times, such guesses lead to mistakes. But error is the only way we can untangle the morass of uncertainty.

Effort frees the mind from the nagging question of “what if?”

“Imagine living your life without being afraid to take a risk and to explore life. You are not afraid to lose anything.”

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

In doing a voluntary act, we take responsibility for all that comes next, plus all the tension that comes with pushing forward.

The floodgates to life open when we pay attention on purpose. And then we self-assess as an antidote to so-called problems.

Without all the scars that come with risk, we’d crumble rapidly.

Categories
Arts Productivity & Work Writing

The chorus of arrival

“The pen is the tongue of the mind,” wrote Horace.

It scribes from experience and the imagination, ricocheting from one neuron to the next.

Sometimes it takes years to write a lyric. The frustration of waiting on its arrival is the art of gathering string.

We are always chewing over something and turning out blanks of progress. The sentence is already there, dormant, waiting to bloom. The lyrics are phenomenally written, waiting to be sung!

It’s quality of the connections that make eureka-moments feel so elusive. Fragments take time to make whole.

Simple and beautiful — thoughts are not born from the recipes of artificial intelligence.

Discovery dawns on us like a spark of randomness, but only if we challenge ourselves to get to work.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

Positive thinking can make one feel worse

It’s amazing how positive, negative statements can be.

Double negatives intensify the negation so much that they cultivate positive emotions.

  • Never quit quitting
  • Never say never

Conversely, it’s amazing how negative, positive words can be. In fact, they can end up making one feel worse.

Double positives intensify positivity so much that they overstretch limitations and have deleterious effects.

Take these two motivational sayings for instance:

  • Keep pushing
  • Keep on keeping on

There is a positive correlation between how we think and what we do.

Thoughts predetermine action and willpower. The neurocognitive boost the body and mind need next is just good practice.

Categories
Creativity Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work Uncategorized Writing

It’s the indecision that’s risky

In the absence of ideas, we’re lost floating at sea.

Weighed down in idea debt, a lack of action can have the same debilitating effect.

Inertia is the purported enemy. Just write the truest sentence already.

What works better is facing fear and proceeding right into it.

We keep our eyes on the prize and spend our time wisely, for the latter is never under your control. We remain undecided and fritter the seasons away at our own risk.

Born in the morning, jolted in the afternoon, and reset in the evening.

Intensely alive with a deliberate pulse — faith knows that even the wrong ideas fail successfully.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

The power of choice

Choice rattles decision-making. People don’t like choice, they flinch. They’d rather someone else stear their lives for them.

But given no choice, we’d lack all creativity.

Templates help streamline choice. College is a template for starting a career. Doctors have no choice but to attend medical school if they want to sustain the profession.

Some parents pre-arrange marriage for their kids. Outsourcing choice reduces the uncertainty of making irrational decisions about the future.

Head choice versus heart choice

Life seeks a secure design. It convinces us that we have no choice but to follow precedent.

When choices are abundant, we tend to make the safest decision rather than the one we know is right within our heart.

The power of choice, of course, is to deviate from the string of presets. Once we make the bold choice to choose for ourselves rather than yield to circumstance, we instantly get richer.

Becoming responsible for our life and choices means dancing with the unknown. We select our own outcome and determine our own course of action.

Life is a series of chapters built on the freedom to make bets about our future.

To choose is happiness.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

Underseen, often overlooked

Height, skin color, your shoes — People are always trying to prejudge each other’s possibilities in the context of their surroundings.

But the old adage rings true: Never judge a book by its cover.

The good news for the last pick in the draft is that there’s only upside.

For one, underdog status builds up a voltage of motivation.

Psychologically, the forgotten ones are already drafting their own blueprints. With a chip on their shoulder, they already have material to hone: to prove the doubters wrong.

Never question the invisibility cloak of work ethic, practice, and skill.

The star that emerges is rarely the one that we’re all expecting.

Categories
Arts Creativity Productivity & Work Writing

Write to be misunderstood?

The write to be understood trope is itself, misunderstood.

Don’t be too specific. Keep it vague enough to goad a broader curiosity.

The details ruin everything, especially if they’re explained by a loudmouth. Revelations squash the guts of great imagination.

The best approach therefore is one that’s provocative yet tactful. Stay determined to keep the reader entertained while also giving them something to chew on.

Keep the reader guessing.

The writer is still trying to figure it out themselves.

Categories
Productivity & Work

Why you should schedule nothing (sometimes) 

We live and die by our to-do lists.

From priorities, daily activities, to short and long-term goals, the to-do list steers our purpose and directs our attention.

But then we get distracted. We lose motivation. We gravitate toward doing the other things that grab our immediate interest. These miscellaneous tasks — scrolling Instagram for instance — go outside the realm of structured procrastination.

We all know our big must complete tasks. There’s no need to write them down.

Perhaps the best call to action starts with making our bed or converting unnecessary busyness into idleness by allowing our mind to float.

It’s the unwritten habits, and the deliberate pauses in our day, that really set us up for the work we’re meant to do.

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Arts Creativity Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

The trick to staying motivated

Money and fame often serve as motivation. So too does doing good for the world. You’d think it’s impossible to be motivated every day.

But you don’t have to be 100% motivated to get stuff done. It only takes a little motivation to get started.

Fortune favors the motivated

Motivation is not a prerequisite to doing the work.

People often work even when they don’t feel like it. Whether they’re following a passion project or exercising pure grit, fortune favors the consistent.

For some like artists and athletes, the daily grind is a profession. It is through starting, action, that is both the cause and effect of motivation.

Motivation is a psychological muscle. If everyone was purely ruled by mood, they’d probably reach for a candy bar or a red bull. The right type of motivation takes looking inside yourself — intrinsic motivation — for the push forward.

Self-help blogs, books, and streams are wonderful but they only provide temporary motivation. Motivation is fickle.

The trick to getting better at any craft is through persistent practice.

Never let being extraordinary prevent you from starting. Even more, spending time thinking about how well things may go can also become also a demotivating force.

If all else fails to inspire, ask yourself whether you were really interested in the first place.

Categories
Creativity Productivity & Work

“Creativity is like breathing”

A friend once told me that creativity is like breathing. When you make stuff, you’re exhaling. But you can’t exhale forever. Eventually, you have to breathe in. Or you’ll be dead.

Matthew Inman, Cartoonist

The more you make, the more you have to play with. But the creativity flame burns out too.

Don’t be afraid to step away every once in a while to go on vacation or read a book, whatever gets you out of your own head.

It’s ok to break up the consistency.

PS. Never worry about breaking the chain — if you learn to rest, creativity always comes back.

Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal