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Writing

Everything goes in the queue

The queue is more of a scrapbook than a notebook. It’s a hopper of brain farts and observations brewing in all formats: text, images, video, and sound. It’s…

  • Where ideas get stored and intermix
  • Where content molds and takes shape
  • Where visions incubate until the timing is ripe
  • Where some concepts never the day of light

Your goal is to never let the queue go empty. You should always keep refreshing it with new content to help you sustain your thinking presence. The dull, the interesting, the ephemeral; it all goes into the Tumblr bin to age marvelously.

“I’m not writing it down to remember it later, I’m writing it down to remember it now.

Field Notes

Take copious notes and frequently revisit them. In generating novelty, you’ll always be two steps ahead.

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Categories
Creativity Life & Philosophy

About those light bulb moments

gif by @benny-box

Ideas spawn as soon as you stop thinking about them, and only after you experimented and done your research. After the work’s been done, the best thing you can do is allow your ideas to bake. Sleep on them. Turn your focus to something else while your brain connects all the neurons and turns them into thoughts.

Turning off your brain is just as important as turning it on. Ideas emerge when you stop thinking and step away from the work. If you can’t step away from the day to day, you’ll never let the mind wander into different things that may offer the missing piece to your solution.

When you let go of thinking and do nothing on purpose, thinking finds you. It finds you in the shower, in the gym, or in the car. Eureka! Therefore, persist with careful patience and take caution of the frantic always-on obsession with 21st-century internet buzz.

How to ideate:

  1. Pick an idea.
  2. Put in some work. Experiment.
  3. Let your brain sit on your experience and connect the dots.

For some people, letting go of an idea is just a stepping stone to the next one. It’s rare for anyone to succeed in capturing their first and exact intent.

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Categories
Creativity Productivity & Work

Back of the envelope…for starters ✍️✉️

gif by Neil Sanders

It doesn’t matter where or how an idea emerges. What matters is that the concept exists somewhere on paper, a napkin, an envelope, a Tweet, or a blog post.

We can’t begin to assess and dissect our thoughts unless we can see its basic framework and bones visually.

I’m not writing it down to remember it later, I’m writing it down to remember it now.

Field Notes

It is an inherent response to draw what’s already in the mind — it is another to attack the stimulus and make it come to fruition.

Jack Dorsey sketched Twitter out on a napkin. Hugh MacLeod started drawing cartoons on the back of business cards.

Jack Dorsey’s original sketch for “twttr”

There isn’t a perfect time, place, nor medium to write out our ideas. But it has to get recorded somewhere as a sketch, an iPhone note, or as a sticky as the first step toward execution.

The heart to start is easier said than done. The trick is to avoid the perils of thinking too logically in the beginning. All ideas exist in rough draft before we can test, tweak, market, and sell the idea to see it actually works.

The struggle for answers and subsequent failures is where all the learning takes place.

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Productivity & Work

Ready, rock steady

gif via Reddit

The more you work the more you make, at least it appears that way. But Søren Kierkegaard thought wiser:

“Of all ridiculous things the most ridiculous seems to me, to be busy — to be a man who is brisk about his food and his work.”

Søren Kierkegaard

Henry Miller also disdained to overwork:

“I’ve found that it isn’t necessary to work that much. It’s bad, in fact. You drain the reservoir.”

Henry Miller

More work may beget more money but also creates more stress, which may negatively impact productivity. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break or a vacation and letting the mind run on its own.

Even during those dull moments your mind is working, jettisoning the bad ideas and retaining the good ones much like a washing machine. This process intensifies during sleep.

Pace your work. Focus and relax once in a while and allow the brain to sort out the connections. Slow and steady wins the race.

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Categories
Culture Productivity & Work Tech

Does automation make us less human?

How much of our thought process do we want to relinquish to artificial intelligence?

Even Gmail’s auto-replies takes the burden out of typing in two-word responses with pre-populated text likes “yes, great,” “sounds good,” or “awesome.” Soon enough the computers will be the only ones conversing and high-fiving each other.

Just as the painter imitates the features of nature, algorithms emulate human memes. The problem is the tendency to abuse these recipes to avoid thinking altogether. Bathing in such idleness set the precedent for laggard times.

Without thought and action, our memories will starve. When we type, we produce pixels on a screen. Auto-reply forfeits the experience of being there. But such detachment may not be as harmful as we think. 

The symbiosis of man and machine begs for innovation. AI may free up cognition for other more intensive tasks. In other words, having a dependable personal assistant may compel us to do even more great work. 

The only fear of AI is complete human dependence. We need elements of crazy to keep creating. We’ll die off as soon as we stop winging it.

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Categories
Culture People Psychology Tech

What does it mean to be me?

Sociologist Erving Goffman believed that all human interaction was a theatrical performance. In his most famous book The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life , Goffman called his analysis the study of  “Dramaturgy.”

Dramaturgical analysis is the idea that we present an edited version of our selves when we meet others in person.

All the internet’s a stage

The internet, of course, adds a new layer of complexity to Goffman’s perspective. If social media is edited real life, then our dramaturgical action is the physical extension of it. We are no less authentic online than we are in person.

Goffman’s theory builds on American sociologist Charles Cooley’s ‘The Looking Glass Self’ theory. In 1902, he contextualized the individual:

“I imagine your mind, and especially what your mind thinks about my mind, and what your mind thinks about what my mind thinks about your mind.”

Keep in mind that people didn’t even think of themselves as individuals before the spread of mirrors in the 15th century.

We juggle identities online and off but each of us has a fixed character. It is our friends and family members and Google that know our truest self.

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If you're an artist, photographer, writer, etc., I highly recommend creating your own blog and publishing something new every day (read my post on how to set up a FREE blog on Wordpress).