Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

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2018 is almost here. If you’re like most people, you’re looking to start fresh in the new year.

Start small

When it comes to starting new habits, people aim too high. The trick is lowering the barrier to success to make it feel like you’re winning.

That could mean one push-up or walking at least five minutes until you’re ready to extend your goal. Exercise happens to be one of the ‘keystone habits‘ that unleashes other positive changes like eating healthier or making your bed.

Step by step, habits undermine the resistance to help you do even more.

If you’re still struggling to get started, do it badly. There’s no shame in imperfection if it helps get you closer to the pellets.

Change is first and foremost a decision. It’s the results that happen slowly.

Life & Philosophy Poetry Productivity & Work

There is no formula

There is no formula
Photo by Wells Baum

If you knew how your life would end up, would you want to know?

Some of us want to skip to the finish line, fast-forward to the end of our own movie. Some of want to follow the herd and loop around the racetrack in predictable mediocrity because it feels safe. Others prefer to embrace life’s uncertainty with healthy doses of optimism and doubt.

We already know what calls us. Vocation chooses us; we must follow that instinct and see it where it leads.

Patience is a means to progress. Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor should we skip it to run to Paris. Life ebbs and flows, like a sine wave.

Fragility and ignorance are strengths; they ensure we don’t skip any steps along the way. As John Berger wrote, “You can plan events, but if they go according to your plan they are not events.”

Like a planted seed, we are stuck in the roots of imagination with everywhere to go. The maze, frustratingly fascinating, goads a search for meaning. Lost and found is precisely the point.

Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work Quotes

John Berger: ‘You can plan events, but if they go according to your plan they are not events’


“You can plan events, but if they go according to your plan they are not events.”

John Berger

Poetry Productivity & Work

Writing a faithful future

Try as you may, but the world won’t bend to your preferences. You can’t slow down the pace of technology and revert to a world of analog.

The tide of AI is coming faster than you think; you will have to use your unique human creativity and abstract thinking to work with robots at your disposal. People will be managers of the future, coming up with ideas that the machines will execute on their behalf.

Society may put more trust in machines than individuals over time, but it’ll be short-lasting. Faith tempts to fizzle amid the ascendancy of cyborgs.

As B.F. Skinner wrote in 1969: “The real question is not whether machines think but whether men do.”

The real question is not whether machines think but whether men do.

B.F. Skinner

Right now humans write the future, for better and for worse, a kind of blissful tragedy.

When everyone and everything is conscious automata, no one will be quite sure what faith even is. Reckless, the candle burns at both ends.

Productivity & Work Psychology

Thinking less to do more

via giphy

Rhythm builds thoughtlessness. The work becomes more natural out of mechanical motion, doing without thinking.

Employees can’t make one hundred sandwiches in a couple hours without silencing the monkey mind. The process of unthinking begets a chorus of action.

Similarly, we can’t dribble a basketball nor soccer ball effectively while focusing on the mechanics of the perfect touch. The gears of cognition get in the way of flow.

Habits are bicep curls for the brain

Good habits strengthen human software, primarily if we aim to do something consistently. Like brushing our teeth, it’s the repetitive locomotion that undermines inertia and compels one to keep connecting the chain.

We can get used to being productive.


Creativity Productivity & Work Psychology Science

The undivided mind

Science, Wonder, Art #art #creativity

Wonder sits at the intersection of science and art. Combining the two disciplines is what fueled Leonard Da Vinci’s creative genius. The imagination needs time to daydream and gather string, letting the unconscious connect the dots between disparate things.

Said author Walter Isaacson on the artist in his new book Leonardo da Vinci, “procrastinating like Leonardo requires work: It involves gathering all the possible facts and ideas, and only after that allowing the various ingredients to simmer.”

“I roamed the countryside searching for answers to things I did not understand. Why shells existed on the tops of mountains along with the imprints of coral and plants and seaweed usually found in the sea. Why the thunder lasts a longer time than that which causes it, and why immediately on its creation the lightning becomes visible to the eye while thunder requires time to travel. How the various circles of water form around the spot which has been struck by a stone, and why a bird sustains itself in the air. These questions and other strange phenomena engage my thought throughout my life.”

Leonardo da Vinci

Curiosity unites both art and science to help realize the improbable.

Image via The Imaginary Foundation