“What I do tomorrow will be the best thing I’ve ever done.”
“What I do tomorrow will be the best thing I’ve ever done.”
“Nothing pains some people more than having to think.”
— Martin Luther King Jr.
Hard work is heart work is head work. To think in solitude is scarce in a world where your first opinion is always someone else’s.
We can increase our chances of consciousness if we decide to live with intention and go beyond the robot.
Homo sapiens pretend to be wise men and proclaim that their knowledge and expertise are right. They are certain that they can tame the monkey mind. But we all have a tendency to be ‘blind to our blindness.’
Perhaps the most human characteristic is doubt, admitting to the vulnerabilities of our own mental software. We are broken machines.
If reality is a game, points go to the people that embrace discomfort, struggling to cope with the admission of their ignorance and dying in search of the truth.
Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
From journalling to brainstorming to blogging, there’s nothing more magical than getting all notes, ideas, and emotional experiences down on paper.
In the case of Pennebraker’s Writing Rules, it instructs us to write about our recent or past emotional experiences for twenty minutes a day, for three days straight.
Writing out our anxieties is a tool to cope with their pervasiveness. It opens up the pathway to better accept ourselves.
The image above appears in Susan David’s Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life
“Evolution depends on the existence of high-fidelity copying but not perfect copying, since mutations (copying errors) are the ultimate source of all novelty.”
It’s the imperfections that round out the edges and sustain life. But most of it’s luck.
Good fortune rewards those who not only get the longer beak but ride out the wave of their mutation in order to advance.
Nostalgia didn’t always have a positive tone. In fact, before the 20th century, the word was used in the pejorative sense.
Nostalgia in those days was a technical term used and discussed primarily by specialists. In the twentieth century, however, the word has become fully demedicalized. It now means little more than a sentimental attachment to a lost or past era, a fuzzy feeling about a soft-focus earlier time, and is more often used of an advertising campaign, a film or a memory of childhood than with regard to any strong sense of its etymology, “pain about homecoming”.
Today, people use the word nostalgia to look back on happier times, perhaps a slower one.
Nostalgia seems now to mark out a particular type of attention. If you call something “nostalgic”, you are suggesting that it evokes a memory of a former pleasure, a bitter-sweet recognition of the passing of time, or a sense of a lost era. To be nostalgic oneself is to experience those (possibly quietly melancholic) pleasures. It would be odd, indeed insulting, to describe the return of a concentration camp victim to Auschwitz as nostalgic.
Fantasizing about a simpler, pre-Internet world is a nostalgic reaction to rapid digital change. We’re all stuck in the whirlwind of 24/7 breaking news on social media that makes everything feel so immediate we can’t prioritize the important.
We can’t even appreciate the moment. The present is quickly consumed and forgotten. The next iteration of nostalgia may become synonymous with experience, a world that was devoid of distorted facts and where events meant something.
“The meaning of life is always a fictional story created by us humans.”
We’ll always be chasing the butterfly in our mind’s eye.
Even when we’re not watching each other, we’re still paying attention. It’s called ambient awareness, and it happens in real life and on social media.
When two strangers sit together, they immediately make snap observations, not necessarily about the coffee stain on the other person’s shirt or one’s unkempt hair but on each other’s general appearance.
“Although people surreptitiously noticed all kinds of details about each other — clothing, personality, mood — we found that people were convinced that the other person wasn’t watching them much, if at all.”
We are loosely spying on each other because the brain is in constant judgment mode. Even when you think you’re not noticing, you’re noticing. We are all unintended watchers.
The Metropolitan Museum only showcases ten percent of its owned pieces at any given time. The rest of the art is stored somewhere else waiting to be picked and featured.
“A physical museum is itself a sort of data set — an aggregation of the micro in order to glimpse the macro.”
We all have a surfeit inventory of things we’d like to show: our talents, our Instagram and SnapChat selfies, our love for others. But they can’t all be on display at once.
Like a museum, we have to curate our display while also growing our collection. The timing, packaging, and place for revealing of our greatest attributes and emotions are stories of their own.
Like museum art pieces, personalities also require curation. It’s impossible to show all your cards at once; pick a few from the archive and make the storytelling as compelling as possible.
“Single escalators have a higher capacity than double escalators, because passengers don’t dither trying to work out which escalator to take.”
— Jack May
The hare makes mistakes for speeding through the process. The tortoise doesn’t finish things frequently enough.
But who do you think makes the better end-product? Someone who ships quickly or someone who pokes away at their work? Author Malcolm Gladwell thinks that it takes at least two years to write a proper book, recommending that writers even shelve their manuscript for six months and come back to it to make more edits.
“We need to be a little bit more tortoise-y and a little less hare-ish.”
— Malcolm Gladwell, On Speed And Power
When it comes to code, it may be beneficial to move fast and break things. You can always release a software patch to resolve an issue. But there should be ever more reward for postponing gratification to make deeper work that results in greater quality.
If you do small things, slowly, they’ll add up to something timeless. The rapid pace of production tends to burn out just as quickly.
In 2011, he designed this cover for me for a compilation I put together to support the earthquake relief efforts in Japan. At the time, he was designing album covers for the likes of Flying Lotus and other underground beat makers on the Brainfeeder label. I’m still so grateful for his contribution.
Doing the work is easier said than done, as author Steven Pressfield can attest. But an hour a day keeps the resistance away. Here’s to the next decade of working on your craft Mike!
The only way to allay doubt is to do. We must face our biggest fears. Perhaps the only thing holding back J.K. Rowling from success was her fear of public speaking — she did it anyway.
Public speaking. I agreed to read live at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in the belief that it would either kill or cure me. https://t.co/I9rohBaHrU
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) December 7, 2016
It’s most often the exact thing we’re scared of is exactly the thing we should be doing. It takes courage to persist with tension that wants us to simply give up.
Accept doubt for what it is – it’s there to make you practice and force your confidence. It takes some getting used to.
The trick is not to get rid of the doubt but rather play with it, feel its presence and relax into it. The approach is a bit delusional but no more faulty than doubt in the first place.