In terms of experience

Photo by Wells Baum
Photo by Wells Baum

You can study, analyze, and download all the information in the world but it means nothing without action.

The only true hack is the experience. The courage of your convictions, of choosing yourself, helps put the bones in the goose that stockpile many lives.

When you negotiate with your surroundings, it’s easier to treat setbacks as passing clouds. The longer one can reinvent and adapts themselves, the more exciting life’s experiment becomes.

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Andy Warhol: ‘As soon as you stop wanting something you get it’

“At the times in my life when I was feeling the most gregarious and looking for bosom friendships, I couldn’t find any takers, so that exactly when I was alone was when I felt the most like not being alone. The moment I decided I’d rather be alone and not have anyone telling me their problems, everybody I’d never even seen before in my life started running after me to tell me things I’d just decided I didn’t think it was a good idea to hear about. As soon as I became a loner in my own mind, that’s when I got what you might call a ‘following.’ As soon as you stop wanting something you get it. I’ve found that to be absolutely axiomatic.”

Einstein’s theory of happiness

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Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images

In 1922, short off his Nobel prize in physics, Einstein traveled to Tokyo to deliver a 4-hour lecture at the Imperial Palace. But he also left someone an important message on happiness.

Out of tip money at his hotel, Einstein instead gave his Japanese courier a nugget of wisdom:

“A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.”

In other words, be a little more tortoise-y and a little less harish. Nearly a century later, Einstein is still reminding us to enjoy life’s process.

Einstein’s Note On Happiness, Given To Bellboy In 1922, Fetches $1.6 Million

The banality of life on auto-pilot

Photo by Wells Baum

Some people are on automatic pilot, competent but lacking a clear consciousness. They are drunk in their own robotic behavior, blind to the process in front of them. Writes Chris Frith in Aeon Magazine:

“Most of the time our perception of conscious control is an illusion. Many neuroscientific and psychological studies confirm that the brain’s ‘automatic pilot’ is usually in the driving seat, with little or no need for ‘us’ to be aware of what’s going on.”


Perhaps reality is too sober, especially when we have thirst-quenching irreality on our handheld devices. Is life so boring we prefer to die in the banality of a ludic loop?

Life is too short to relinquish our attention to the casino of social media’s variable rewards. If perfection is the dream of man, conscious control is too scarce in nature.

To learn to live and laugh again, to slow down like the tortoise. How on earth can we be sensible and reflective humans again?

Teju Cole: ‘Three thousand photographs and three thousand doubts.’

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“Three thousand photographs and three thousand doubts.”

Teju Cole, in his new book Known and Strange Things: Essays

The more photos you take, the more words you write, the most shots you take, the more you have to play with. Quantity translates into quality over time, but it takes a lot of trial and error and a lot of time. Seeking reassurance is mostly time wasted.

Have an exaggerated sense of curiosity

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We’re all fake artists, winging it to chase our dreams while simultaneously masking our vulnerabilities.

It isn’t a thorny question of attribution. We all steal ideas from each other and recast them as our own.


But having an exaggerated sense of curiosity pays off. The cash value of policing thoughts means that we can better sew the past, present, and the future altogether.

We are one, in mind and spirit. The only drawback is fabricating the best self that meets the lofty ambitions of others.

Nothing is fake if the desire is real. All we can do is float into the canvass of our dreams.

26 letters, 26 doubts

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Photo by Wells Baum

Do we really need a plan A or plan B when there are so many other letters left in the alphabet to try out?

It doesn’t matter how many times it takes you. 26 letters, 26 doubts.

From petty arguments to politics, do we really need to be right all the time?

Rightness is a quirk in human development. Our view isn’t valid until we can suspend judgment and try to entertain another person’s thought.


Yet there is one trait that we all share: the ability to keep learning. Self-improvement is the indispensable tool outlined in Carol Dweck’s study on work performance at Stanford:

The primary takeaway from Dweck’s research is that we should never stop learning. The moment we think that we are who we are is the moment we give away our unrealized potential. The act of learning is every bit as important as what you learn. Believing that you can improve yourself and do things in the future that are beyond your current possibilities is exciting and fulfilling.

Permanency begets stagnancy, just as ignorance blindsides us down the road. Nothing is duller than a linear path to completion. Given the plasticity of a human mind, strengthening our ability to deal with uncertainty is priceless.

Not so fast 💨

gif by Miguel Porlan

We consume, drop, and run, looking forward to the next piece of music, article, or person to date.

We say we want to be successful, but we’re not willing to put in the work nor take responsibility for any hiccups along the way.

We want everything yesterday without spending the time to chew on our experiences to-date.


We can’t afford to live up to somebody else’s imposed ambitions, that which undermines the sum total of our experience.

We can’t skip any steps, go zero to 100 miles per hour and intend to remember the journey along the way.

There are no shortcuts. There’s only patience, learning from our mistakes, and the accumulation of small victories to celebrate along the way.

To continue rushing into the future is madness! The tortoise gets there just the same.

gif by Miguel Porlan

Loving Vincent: When nobody becomes a somebody 

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The world’s first oil painted feature film: Loving Vincent

Vincent Van Gogh was a nobody. He only sold one piece of art while he was alive and it was to his brother!

But that’s who we all are at the core — small sprinkles on Earth in a vast universe. If the solar eclipse was any reminder, the cosmos operate whether humans exist or not.

Sure, we like to think we’re special. The neurological software in our head makes accomplishments feel significant. But as Zat Rana puts it: “We’re nothing more than a fraction of a ripple in an infinite sea of entropy.”


Aren’t we just all bits of code blindly riding the opportunity of free will? 

Art is just one instrument for coping with such human triviality. It’s a narcotic for nobodies. But so are distractions. The sterile glow of computer screens and pocket rectangles manufacture ‘busyness.’ Human minds have succumbed to habit design, never mind TV and shopping.

Given such meaninglessness, we have no choice but to seize the day. Perhaps Van Gogh was right, the real thrill of life is showing through our work what a nobody has in their heart.

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Artists painted 62,000 frames to pay homage to Vincent

Kurt Vonnegut: ‘Music is, to me, proof of the existence of God.’

Kurt Vonnegut: 'Music is, to me, proof of the existence of God.'

“Music is, to me, proof of the existence of God. It is so extraordinarily full of magic, and in tough times of my life I can listen to music and it makes such a difference.”

Kurt Vonnegut

You can hear Kurt Vonnegut repeat this quote in the beginning of 1 Giant Leap track ‘Daphne’ below. You might feel a slight prickle the skin.

The Lazy Guru’s Guide to Life

9780316348706_p0_v3_s1200x630 What if we could be, or at least feel like we were on vacation all the time?

That vibe is at the core of Laurence Shorter’s new book The Lazy Guru’s Guide to Life, a book he wrote by being bored out of his mind.

Instead of practicing mindfulness and meditation, Shorter took 3 months off let his brain just wander, taking walks and unplugging from the internet, just waiting until an idea struck him. That idea was drawing.

Since releasing his book, he’s developed some core tenets that are central to his philosophy of living in relaxation mode.

“To live life not just in pursuit of our dreams, but as if we have already achieved them. To put it plainly, I am declaring myself on permanent vacation: relaxed, at ease, creative — always.

In his manifesto, he outlines three ways to help inculcate the feeling of doneness.

1. Don’t try to fix things

2. If you can’t be bothered with something, there’s always a good reason

3. Give yourself space

As I wrote a few months ago, we try too hard. We push ourselves for no reason other than to live up to the habit of always being on. As Shorter puts it, “We live in a world obsessed by action and success. And in a world hooked on action, the only way to be different is to stop.”

We need to be more like the tortoise rather than the hare. It’s not for lack of care, but in slowing down, disconnecting, and not letting the small things eat away at us, we’re able to liberate our sense of fulfillment and unleash our creative thinking selves.

 

6 tips for a healthy life

gif by Amro Arida

105-year-old Japanese doctor Shigeaki Hinohara shared his six tips for a healthy life before he passed away in July.

‘6 tips for a healthy life’ (in summary):

  1. Retire late (very late)

  2. Watch your weight

  3. Have fun

  4. Share what you know

  5. Don’t worry about material possessions

  6. Take the stairs

In other words, keep your brain active and the curiosity engine running, don’t eat crap or in excess, relax and let go, educate and inspire, try to be minimalist, and move around often.

The mind is the kite and the heart is the string. The body and mind work in symphony. Practice what you preach.