Categories
Life & Philosophy Psychology

Busy living with doubt

The painful past, the anxious future, the joyful present — to be alive in any mood requires that we hop over the indifference threshold. 

The more we feel negative emotions, the more we care. The caring fever remains scarce even when others don’t.  

The fool ignores their own peril and remains stuck in a state of monotonous myopia. Reality bites hard.  

The Self remains what it is — natural behavior and creative output are things we can’t change. But doubt is what keeps the identity plastic. Tightening is a response to fear.

Feel the fear and do it anyway.

Uncertainty compels us to live. If beliefs, like knives and forks, are tools for living, then the only reassurance we need is the faith to keep going

We acknowledge the tentacles of past pain. We fret about the uncontrollable future. We dance in the present. We are too concerned with the “business of living” to worry about what comes next. 

Take the plunge. 

Categories
Life & Philosophy

Predictably unpredictable

All outcomes are predictably unpredictable.

There is no such thing as chance, with most things in life predetermined at the outset of infancy. Free will, the so-called author of our choices, presents constraints.

What happens when the amygdala, the brain’s seat of emotions, chooses for us? Instinct overrides self-control. We manufacture great urges in a state of perpetual wonder.

Thinking doesn’t wander freely. 

People live in a simulation, where even the slightest guesswork constrains the believer into a particular worldview.

Freedom is artificial. We’re rooted in what’s at stake. 

Categories
Life & Philosophy Tech

Powering off

Dreaming exudes clarity. Only when our mind is in a state of utter relaxation do the disparate parts coalesce. 

Yet, the era of self-thought and free will is nearing the end. Unable to sleep, we slump into the distraction of rectangular glows before drowning in information overload. The algorithms ensure we never think for ourselves. 

The digital world enslaves our attention rather than liberates our thinking. It also weakens the patience muscle. 

Ideas, fantasies, theories — one can’t innovate nor begin the next one without a state of rest. 

Inaction is a form of action. 

Disconnecting is a thinking tool, one that is undervalued and deprioritized by the hustle. It reminds people of their purpose to create value rather than acting as passive consumers. 

The only hassle is making time to think to see the reality of things. And God knows how painful self-reflection is for many. 

Categories
Arts Creativity Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

Doing it our own way

To do it our own way, for you, regardless of external interpretation and expectation.

Individuality is all we have. Character is destiny.

Sure, it’s in our DNA as social human beings to want to receive feedback on our creative outpourings. But making is therapeutic in itself.

Output is the manifestation of input. What we cultivate is a reflection of our inner narrative. And yes, a lot of it is trash, because most creative pursuits are temporary.

As they say, a good idea is an accumulation of a lot of bad ones. We aim for simplification as the most durable storage.

Being all things to all men is a foolish endeavor. We no longer chase other people’s dreams, nor our own. By running after our ideal selves, we run foul of authenticity.

We simply ride the wave of chance hurled at us, adrift on the storm-tossing sea of luck. We dance with all the uncertainties and anxieties in our work, following through even on the most unrewarding tasks.

Real makers talk as themselves, not about themselves. What matters is the creator’s point of view.

Devoid of context — it’s the viewer’s challenge to try and sense where the artist is coming from.

Complexity is the by-product of uniqueness, as people make out only what they know how to see.

Categories
Creativity Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

The boss of time

Time is more important than money, yet time is money. So the clock (exported by the East India Company) emerged as a system for streamlining global trade. 

He who obeys the hour, minute, and second is a slave of time. Nature moves toward continuous variation regardless of tick-tocks, adhering to the sun, water, seasons, and the moon — the mother of all things. 

For humans, the standardization of time enforces discipline. 

Alarm clocks, closing bells, factory openings, Black Friday: there is no escaping the tyranny of the clock for the economic initiative. 

It takes time to make time. Yet, time reminds us that we don’t have forever. 

So we stay engaged and do the work now, knowing that tomorrow may not come.  

It’s time to create something worthwhile. It’s time to face the resistance and make a difference.   

Time may be boss, but we’re the boss of time. And we mean the business of living. 

Categories
Life & Philosophy Poetry

The space between our ears

The space between our ears, where what we know or think we know, contrasts the reality of what we should see.

For some people, mental chatter precedes vision. The ignorant always risk being blindsided. They are the opposite of a child, turning a blind eye to the openness that foments growth.

As adults, we stop asking ‘why’ at the most fundamental level. We refuse to sacrifice the comfort of hardened beliefs even if they turn out to be lies.

If reality is unexciting and too sober, that’s also why it works. It keeps us grounded in the facts.

Truth lies beyond the blind spots. Exploration and exposure to challenging questions are the way.

Curiosity helps convert people into life-long tourists.

We don’t always hear and see what we want. The space between our ears which encompasses the head and brain shell could do for perspective and better listening.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

Ideas often come indirectly

We know our ideas indirectly. 

We all take our influences, deconstruct them, and build new concepts from those bricks. 

Growth results from experimentation. Then we improvise and make more things happen. 

We can’t possibly see the value in what we’re doing without bold execution, first and foremost. 

We produce, constrain, keeping what’s valuable while going beyond convenience. 

The tools help shape our thinking along the way. For example, pencils, computers, and artificial intelligence serve as aids augmenting the mind. 

Pity we don’t play more with what we have. It’s all there at our disposal. There is no ceiling to inventiveness. 

Yet, most of us play the role of consumer, making up stories about our tools rather than bending them during practice. 

As part of the creative community, we market to the makers. As a result, innovation spreads to fixation, as others replicate the madness into their own productions. 

Ideas, tools, culture — they all reveal what we’re like inside. They make meaning and spread indefinitely. 

Categories
Life & Philosophy

Into the unknown

More than a bystander, we want to have skin in the game. The sidelines are for wimps.

We crave a challenge, knowing that microchips can only solve so much.

So we read and learn more, whittling down ignorance while becoming more curious.

And then we make a bold decision, knowing all too well that what’s important is usually the most neglected.

We neither search for certainty nor distract ourselves from the cause.

Instead, alone and idealistic, we put beliefs into practice and await the unpredictable. With no guarantees, possibilities are infinite.

Making progress reveals a sensation of strangeness. The slightest improvement is a built-in check upon the barriers we set ourselves.

We swaddle into fear’s arms, knowing that we may not get what we want. But at least we tried.

Never an angry young man nor an old one. Rather serious, disciplined, and honorable. We’re far better off wandering freely with the compromise of failure than itching with regret.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Tech

What are you to me?

Mirroring reality may be the expectation of technology, but that is not its purpose. Its purpose is to synchronize our real-life identity with our online presence while still differentiating the two worlds. 

One shouldn’t have to think about which territory they’re in: digital or physical reality. Actions and reactions should be all the same. 

But the medium is the message. 

We contain multitudes — we are more dynamic and potentially more conversant or expressive online through text than in person, and sometimes, the other way around. 

When we hide behind avatars, we can be whoever we want. People enjoy seeing visual variety just as they do candy-colored apps. But sooner or later, playing make-pretend catches up just as trolls eventually get caught.

Minus the invisibility cloak of the blockchain, the internet strips us of all anonymity. 

People crave digital truth serum. If we sense a false consciousness, the actor gets called out. Half-truths may harvest attention, but lies kill it just as fast. This is still a universe that double-checks veracity. Facts never expire.  

Honesty is the only metric that can be trusted in our tiny backwater of the vast web.

Categories
Productivity & Work

The unfinished symphony

The mind moves toward more interesting, attractive things, but especially to those things undone. What is it about the staying power of an unfinished symphony? 

The Zeigarnik effect says that we remember open tasks more so than completed ones. So we disregard the information we crammed in the night before just following the test. On the other hand, we hold on to any knowledge that may pay dividends in the future.  

Work makes an indelible impression. The writer never stops writing; the painter never stops painting; the doctor never stops attending to patients. The professional always thinks about the ongoing job despite the completion of any task. There’s always something to toil on next. 

The worker persists if only to think things through. What’s actionable stays top of mind. What’s unactionable remains forgettable. Everyone needs a challenge of a challenge to feel alive. 

Making meaning removes meaning. The environment pulls our attention toward a finish while directing our emotions toward the incomplete. The craft is never finished, merely refreshed.   

Labor — if we can call it that — begets a burning desire to be excellent and takes on the all-important freedom to fail. Professionals ride a power wave of intrinsic motivation with the ultimate result redefined. 

Categories
Life & Philosophy

Learn and burn

The writing is on the wall. Error simply makes it visible to us. 

Unfortunately, it takes years of personal experience and burns to understand the flames one can’t see. 

We seek refuge during the time of a correction, knowing all too well the blunders made. 

Why were we so blinded to see them in the beginning? All we had to do was take a pause and wait. Instead, we suffered for the most fragile, irrational exuberance and took the fall.  

Even worse than the immediate loss is the knee-jerk reactions that light the cycle of rumination. Trying to fix troubling thoughts backfires — any additional fodder exacerbates the dizziness of anxiety.   

But the clock keeps ticking; life goes on. Learning to live with mistakes is part of the process. Knowing what we know now, shall we dare repeat such slips again? 

Regret builds out of the pain. Yet, the next time won’t be any different. 

We suffer the errors to build up courage and perseverance.