Faith can move mountains

“There is a positive correlation between the fear of death and the sense of unlived life,” writes Oliver Burkeman in The Antidote (Amazon).

Futuring is a tough business. We toggle between our present number of choices along with desires and goals that reinforce the prioritization of time.

Knowing that we can’t do it all, most people reach for what’s most immediately accessible and end up regretting about what could be. They stifle themselves in exchange for feeling ‘safe.'

For others, death compels action. Their gut instinct refuses to accept standing still and succumb to mediocrity. Yet, their expedition may incorrectly rest in jealousy, a fear of missing out, rather than chasing a purpose.

Faith in the unseen

Our vocation chooses us. We grade our impact by how much we cling to that sense of priority rather than chasing other people’s dreams.

In reality, there is nothing out there that will make us fulfilled forever. But the attempt to cultivate happiness by pursuing what's meaningful remains a noble attempt to maximize our time on Earth.

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The effect of expectation

The placebo creates a ceremony of expectation. It builds off novelty and reinvigorates confidence in the possibility of recovery.

We all fall victim to the soft mental implantation of a placebo, the oldest medicine in the world. One simple belief kickstarts a chemical revolution. But in reality, the answer just needed to be poked from dormancy.

Reawakened, the inner narrative thrives on hedonic editing.

We certify the belief in our internal storage. Over time, it gains credibility and records the transaction on the human block chain of the genetic code. Truth happens to the idea

If at first, we expect, then we can succeed. It is faith that moves mountains.

Assume everything and nothing

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We suffer from a surfeit of choice. Stuck in indecision, we end up doing nothing at all. Perhaps intertia is the best solution in these dizzying times. Instead of forcing the issue, we let nature take its course.

But more often than not, life doesn't move unless we do. It begs for action and a subsequent reaction. Even more, in doing, we realize how much more is invisible.

Passivity and dynamism coexist

Surrounded by a morass of distraction machines, it's no wonder we permit the frustration of ‘what's next' chip away at our patience. “Patience is the key to joy,” wrote Rumi.

Staring into nature's green space may not solve our problem, but it will help us think expansively. We can assume that the best answer lies beyond us. That is until we realize that the answer cramped inside us all along.

The wait never means never if we never get tired of waiting it out right now.

The search continues.

Blinded by closeness

You can’t make anything in the forest stand still. It is in constant flux, whether that’s in seasons, wildfires, or in the territory marking of a killer bear.

Nature is fickle. It calls for preparedness and a broad scope.

“You can’t see the forest for the trees.”

One must not only have a plan in trekking the forest also but remain on guard. As the saying goes, “You can’t see the forest for the trees.”

Proximity can be blinding. Looking at the individual trees clouds the big picture just as the donut hole takes your eyes off the whole donut.

Linearity isn’t as important as a deliberate wandering, with eyes open to the vastness of seeing.

Let the forest speak.

The pointlessness of constant self-grading

The pointlessness of constant self-grading #mindfulness #anxiety #selfawareness #mindfullliving
  • Five-star ratings
  • Gallup polls
  • Followers and social media ‘clout'

We obsess with gauging the temperature of our present reputation. The numbers are public, ticking up or down like stock prices.

The internet is the grandest stage of them all where we endeavor to present our best self. We strive to prove our self-worth, using likes and follows to pepper our egos.

A reputation is never finished. There's always one more person to attract and appease.

Yet, the perpetual chase of approval remains illusory. There is no need to install an elaborate series of checks and balances on fame's usefulness.

Our mood, needless the temperament of others, is as fickle as the weather.

Vigorous grading is not good for the person, nor the whole.

The froth is coming off

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With the right instructions, the unfamiliar becomes manageable.

We follow the recipe with the hope that the convoluted reality seeps away into the froth.

Yet, had we followed our instincts we may not have gotten stuck in the first place.

If we don't take Google Maps with a grain of salt, we will find ourselves submerged under water.

Knowledge is visceral. The rest is streaming.

Newsletter: ‘Feel the burn’

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Hi Friends, the Marines have a saying: ‘pain is weakness leaving the body.' Read about embracing pain in David Cain's piece below. In the spirit of ‘everything is a remix,' check out the amazing animation an artist recreated from the MET. Think robots are a 21st-century creation? Peep the video about François Junod's work in making automatons. Check out all the digs below.

Interesting Digs

The Art of Enjoying The BurnThe Marines have a saying: ‘pain is weakness leaving the body.' Progress hurts. But “that intensity can energize the work once you stop seeing it as undesirable,” writes blogger David Cain. Think long-term and embrace the pain.

Banksy returns to New York. The iconic street artist Banksy is back in New York, the first time since his month-long residency back in 2013. He kicked off his visit with a mural dedicated to the imprisonment of Turkish artist and journalist Zehra Dogan, who’s watercolor painting protests the continued destruction of Kurdish territory by the Turkish military.

The Young and Brash of Tech Grow a Bit Older, and Wiser. Tech entrepreneurs are coming to realize their moral responsibility to the addictive tools that they built. Rather ironically, this piece predates the Cambridge Analytica fiasco.

Thought of the week

“Every great advance in knowledge has involved the rejection of authority.”

— Thomas Henry Huxley


Other Recommendations

Art

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Since starting a year ago, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art has made 400,000 of its images free to download and remix. The project immediately empowered the likes of software developer and designer Simone Seagle. She downloaded a 1920s print from abstract Russian artist Vasily Kandinsky called Violett.

Art II

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When mixed media artist Jimmy Swift traveled to India in March 2015, he saw a jagged rock on the beach. He immediately knew what to do with it. “When I first saw this rock it looked like a perfect place for a great white. It’s truly amazing how mother nature can carve out such a perfect shape.”

Video

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As craftsman François Junod points out in the video, “the oldest known automatons date back to the Egyptians.” They gained popularity as entertainment for royalty in the 18th century. WATCH: The Magic of Making Machines


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The burn of discontent

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Everything starts and ends from the burn of discontent.

We all have an inkling for something, a dormant enthusiasm, waiting to erupt so we can pour our hearts into it.

But the wait is killer. Toiling in anonymity while practicing in mediocrity needs a special kind of patience.

The resistance can only win at our own capitulation. The work is all that matters. Self-promotion is a form of confidence.

We must seek the respect we deserve

No one is going to announce our emergence. All we can ask for is consistency. The only talisman is the heart and head work.


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Newsletter: ‘Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny’

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Image via The Guardian

Hi Friends, we lost the brilliant physicist Stephen Hawking this week but his work and spirit will linger on forever. If you're stuck in a creative rut, give Seth Godin's new podcast a listen. For Picasso fans, the Tate Modern has a new exhibit showcasing the artist's work in his ‘years of wonders.' Check out all links below.

Interesting Digs

RIP Stephen Hawking: ‘Quiet people have the loudest minds’. Stephen Hawking was a visionary physicist who explored the universe and explained black holes. Born on the 300th anniversary of Galileo’s death, and dying on Einstein's birthday, the universe teed Hawkings up to be a genius. But he was also a natural comedian, he took life lightly, someone we could all learn the wrinkles from. “Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny,” Hawkings told The New York Times in 2004 interview. He also said that “people who boast about their IQ are losers.”

No such thing (as writer’s block). Writer’s block appears to be the work of the evil. It wants us to quit and hide in shame instead of “dancing with the amygdala” as Seth Godin pleads on the very subject in his new podcast. In reality, no one gets talker’s block just as a plumber never get’s plumber’s block. Stuckness is a work of fiction. Here are my notes.

Study: On Twitter, false news travels faster than true stories. Blame the humans, not the machines. According to research done by data scientists at MIT, it is humans, not bots, which disseminate false news. False news spreads faster than real news because people on Twitter are more likely to retweet novelty.

Thought of the week

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”

— Stephen Hawking


Other Recommendations

Art

picasso #art #artist #painting

Picasso was perhaps best known for his practice of public journaling via painting. “My work is my diary. I have painted my autobiography,” he said. The Tate Modern has a collection of paintings of Picasso's work through the formative years.

Video

London-based STUDIO AKA animated Icelandic electronica composer Jóhann Jóhannsson’s hauntingly beautiful tune ‘A Song For Europa’ from the 2016 album release, Orpheé. WATCH: Jóhann Jóhannsson – A Song For Europa

Tangible

51ba7q+Zk+L._SY355_What people often forget in the age of digitization is that analog — writing your notes down on paper — is more likely to make them stick. Check out the technique of the Scanmarker Air Pen Scanner.


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I spend hours each day digging the web for interesting gems and remixing them here. If you enjoy reading wellsbaum.blog, please consider becoming a patron or making a donation. You can also contribute as little as $1 below with just a couple clicks. Thank you.

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Fearing a loss of mind

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gif via Fool's Gold

There are very few moments in the day when we pause. Instead, we latch onto the sugary obsession of tech and its distractions, awaiting the next shock of dopamine.

But we can have tea with ourselves, going through what our worries and wishes are in the quest for ever-fleeting presence.

Man is more versatile than a machine. Robots are one-trick ponies unable to combine disciplines, like doing the dishes or driving to work, all the while contemplating the color blue. Yet, we too become blinded by linear thinking.

We confuse busyness with productivity. We falsely believe that money brings wisdom while in reality, it cultivates hubris. Humans are smart, agile, but fragile thinkers.

The search for meaning starts with a face-to-face conversation with ourselves to bring life back to our senses. Thinking about thinking verifies that the noise in our head is more than just alive.

Picasso: Art as a form of diary

picasso #art #artist #painting
Photo by Cecil Beaton 1933 © The Cecil Beaton Archive at Sotheby's

Art is where our mind's eye merges with reality to create a theater inside our head, resulting in the form of a diary. This was especially true for Pablo Picasso.

Picasso was perhaps best known for his practice of public journaling via painting. “My work is my diary. I have painted my autobiography,” he said.

Picasso grasped his inner thoughts and projected them on canvass. His art gave us a peek inside his head, such as his relationship with partner Marie-Thérèse Walter in his formative years.

picasso tate modern #museum #art
‘The Dream’ (1932) Private collection © Succession Picasso/DACS London

Art is therapy

Art is an instrument for coping, part mental therapy part expression. Bottling his thoughts without letting them go would've driven Picasso insane. Whether it is painting, writing, or playing sports, we exercise our bodies to verify that we're still alive.

As Picasso and so many other artists illustrate, self-expression has a real and irresistible pulse.


Newsletter: Strong opinions, loosely held

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Hi Friends, if you're looking for some motivational fuel I recommend watching the interview with Henry Rollins below. If you missed watching the Francis Bacon video in last week's newsletter, I've highlighted it again here because it's too good to miss.

Interesting Digs

Henry Rollins: The One Decision that Changed My Life Forever. Success is an accumulation of little efforts that build on top of a grateful perspective, a practice of modesty that keeps you doing what you’re doing. Says Rollins in the video: “I don’t have talent. I have tenacity. I have discipline. I have Focus. I know, without any delusion, where I come from & where I can go back to.”

Why We Still Use “Horsepower”.  In the 1770s, James Watt demonstrated that his steam engine invention was more powerful — he wisely used the marketing metaphor ‘horsepower' — than the work of multiple horses which were used to drive the malt crushing mill. I love this piece of insight from the author: “Humans now worry about replacement by machines, but horses have already experienced this and for them it may well have been a good thing.”

Notes on Being Very Tall. Nicholas Kulish is 6 foot 8 inches. Towering about the average American height of 5 foot 8, society is simply not built for him. “Why do we bob and weave around the New York City subway in a strange dance?” His observations about tallness are hilarious and beautiful.

Thought of the week

“Be confident, not certain”

Eleanor Roosevelt (i.e. strong opinions, loosely held)


Other Recommendations

Art

From the 16th to 18th century, Leonardo da Vinci’s grotesque sketches from the High Renaissance period in 1493 were his most emulated and celebrated works of art. Wrote art historian Kenneth Clark: ‘For three centuries they were [seen as] the most typical of his works. Today we find them disgusting, or at best wearisome.’

The beauty is in its strangeness. Why did we ever lose our taste in monstrosities?

Video

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Francis Bacon painted ghostly, violent images. Some say he emptied his darkest thoughts on canvass, mostly as a manifestation of his relationship with his sadistic lover, Peter Lacey.

Bacon cultivated a sense of darkness that gave his paintings an “edgy atmosphere…gambling everything on the next brush stroke.” Says Bacon in the video: “We do with our life what we can and then we die. If someone is aware of that, perhaps it comes out in their work.”

> WATCH Francis Bacon: A Brush with Violence

Tangible

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Ember is a smart coffee cup controlled via an app that maintains set temperature for your tea or coffee. It keeps your cup warm if you happen to get distracted or have to run off to a meeting.

While still a bit pricey at $80, it's on my wish list. You can snag one on Amazon.

 

Henry Rollins: The One Decision that Changed My Life Forever

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Talent is overrated. Hard work, discipline, grit, and consistency are attributes that increase your chances of getting what you want.

Luck is a matter of being specific about your goals and two, putting yourself in a position for good things to happen. It is the accumulation of small and steady risks that make the biggest difference and change your life.

For Henry Rollins, that meant taking a bus from DC up to New York to see his favorite band, only to go on stage and sing with them. To his surprise, they called him back later for an audition and became the band's lead singer. In other words, he caught his lucky break and escaped a life of minimum wage jobs.

Some people get lucky by default. Their network leads them into opportunities because of the sheer dazzle of their last name. For others, hitting the jackpot it is the result of striving to achieve a very specific effort and finding those luck circles that help you make it happen.

Luck draws on the law of magnetism

Luck may be a random phenomenon but it works like a magnet, gravitating toward those hungry enough to take chances.

Success is an accumulation of little efforts that build on top of a grateful perspective, a practice of modesty that keeps you doing what you're doing. Says Rollins:

“I don't have talent. I have tenacity. I have discipline. I have Focus. I know, without any delusion, where I come from & where I can go back to.”

gif via the ngb

Are you an egg person or an onion person?

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Introverts are egg people. They’re not hiding anything (per say), they are mostly reserved. And once they start to get comfortable, they are as open and talkative as anybody else. “Don't think of introversion as something that needs to be cured,” writes Susan Cain in her book [easyazon_link keywords=”Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking” locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking[/easyazon_link].

Extroverts, on the other hand, are onion people. They contain so many layers of bombast that it’s hard to know when they are being authentic, showy, or just spewing flotsam. Yet, extroverts are most likely to be leaders because they talk loud and carry a big stick.

George Mason economics professor and Oxford humanities associates Robin Hanson sums up the egg and onion divergence:

I’ve sometimes been tempted to classify people as egg people and onion people. Onion people have layer after layer after layer. You peel it back, and there’s still more layers. You don’t really know what’s underneath. Whereas egg people, there’s a shell, and you get through it, and you see what’s on the inside.

Are ambiverts egg or onion people?

Ambiverts are more like salad people, easy to digest and mix in with all types of other folks and scenarios. They’re adaptable like a chameleon depending on whatever social situation they’re in.

We all contain multitudes. But it is the mouth that separates us apart, with different levels of signaling.

Words are the original memes, for which some things are still best unshared and unsaid. Sometimes silence does all the messy talking, reveals all that needs to be conveyed. As [easyazon_link keywords=”Susan Cain” locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]Susan Cain[/easyazon_link] puts it: “We have two ears and one mouth and we should use them proportionally.”

Newsletter: ‘If you can wait and not be tired by waiting’

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gif by Richard Chance

I was reminded this week to ‘keep the patience’ by rereading Rudyard Kipling’s poem entitled “If”. Good things take time.

In the meantime, below are some articles and some other digs I stumbled upon this week that I think you’ll find interesting.

Interesting Digs

Francis Bacon: A Brush with Violence. Francis Bacon was a mystery man who tugged at the most morose moments in his life, leaving the characters in his paintings look as if they are literally gasping for air.

Children struggle to hold pencils due to too much tech, doctors say. According to doctors, you can blame tech for children’s inability to hold pencils. Apparently all that screen time is doing nothing to strengthen their thumb, index, and middle fingers which work together to form one’s basic writing technique.

Robin Hanson On Signaling And Self-Deception. Introverts are egg people, not onion people. “I’ve sometimes been tempted to classify people as egg people and onion people. Onion people have layer after layer after layer. You peel it back, and there’s still more layers. You don’t really know what’s underneath. Whereas egg people, there’s a shell, and you get through it, and you see what’s on the inside.”

Thought of the week

“I go in and start working, I’m not sure where I’m going — if I knew where I was going, I wouldn’t do it.”

Frank Gehry


Other Recommendations

Artwork

I'm blown away by the artwork from illustrator Mochi on her Tumblr page. The gif below is called Pouring rain with the sun setting is blissful.

http://mochipanko.tumblr.com/post/124096842688/ah-pouring-rain-with-the-sun-setting-is-blissful

 

Video

What would the world look like if everyone was guaranteed a basic income? For musician Brian Eno, that society would put a lot more emphasis on time well spent.

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“Try not to get a job. Try to leave yourself in a position where you do the things you want to do with your time and where you take maximum advantage of wherever your possibilities are.”

> WATCH

Books

linchpin

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin: “A brilliant author or businesswoman or senator or software engineer is brilliant only in tiny bursts. The rest of the time, they’re doing work that most any trained person could do.

It might take a lot of tinkering or low-level work or domain knowledge for that brilliance to be evoked, but from the outside, it appears that the art is created in a moment, not in tiny increments.”

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