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Happiness is doing shit

Create meaningfulness. Doing something together that matters is more powerful than artificially creating happiness.

Happiness is in the endeavor, the action and learning from failure. Achievement marks the end of happiness but signals a restart.

Happiness happens when we stop chasing it and instead let it come. Dreams bloom in the back of the mind.

Happiness is freedom from restraint. Self-expression is impression unchained.

Happiness can also be disguised as ignorance. Some people thrive because they don’t know any better. So be it.

For the most part, happiness is staying creatively motivated; just doing shit to thwart worry and to achieve inner peace.

(as seen on Medium)

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Where Orwell got it wrong

If we don’t trust the Turkish government’s account of events in the streets of Istanbul, we can turn for the truth to thousands of cellphone videos or tweets from the people themselves. SMS, Twitter and Facebook have become the means for citizens to organize resistance to abusive government power, and for the rest of the world to witness it. No wonder Prime Minister Erdogan recently declared Twitter and its ilk “the worst menace to society.”

Those at the top are always detached from the truth.

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The opportunity for Slow Media

Sites like Medium are professionalizing the blog format, giving long-form new prominence.  Quality over quantity, more context and permanence. 

As pieces of timely information become ever cheaper, deeper, more contextualized information becomes more powerful and valuable. Thanks to the networked power and immediacy of the Internet, we have almost perfected the “horizontal” approach to the distribution and consumption of media. Every person with an Internet connection now has a place to go to find news as it breaks. We are only just beginning, however, to realize the Internet’s power as a promoter of longform content, a recognition that is helping to drive the rise of micropublishing, a movement that emphasizes the quality of the publishing environment over timeliness, and one that eschews the primacy of the pageview.

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A New Way to Consume TV

I cut the cable cord years ago, only to bring it back briefly for my wife before I cut it again.

I realized that all I watched were sports which could be streamed online or watched in my apartment’s social room or at a friend’s house.

But as life gets busier I’ve taken further reductions to viewership. Now I just read Twitter to follow most games, catching the tweeted out highlights on YouTube or GIFs published by Buzzfeed a few minutes after the event happens. Coincidentally, Twitter is looking to monetize this emerging behavior with the media outlets.

Twitter is the perfect merger of radio and TV. It’s the primary screen plus listening tool. TV isn’t even background noise anymore.

I’m more and more digesting news in headlines, bit-sized media snacks, and reading or watching long-form when I’m really interested. TV consumption is just faster this way so I can focus on doing what I think is more important stuff, like writing this.

Keep on, moving on.

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Borrow my phone, borrow my life

People break their phones, lose their phones, and run out of power. It happens to everybody at least once.

When you’re the person that asks to borrow someone else’s phone on the train to make a call, you feel the their fear. Why would they trust a stranger with their phone, the hard drive storing their life?

The Smartphone is even more personal than a laptop or home computer. It holds just about everything. Allowing an unknown person to borrow it even for a minute is a quick judgement call. Trust your gut.

Of course, a lot goes into that gut decision. How familiar are you with that person? How did they behave before they asked to borrow your phone? Are they wearing a suit, jeans, or rags? Do they speak English? Does ethnicity impact your decision?

Everyone decides before they decide.. Knowledge and experience predict your bias. The only variables are understanding and guilt. Are we too quick to deny helping or are we too stupid and empathetic to give in only to be duped?

Thieves are just hackers that don’t know how to code. Yet their piracy is equally damaging and disruptive. Getting a new phone is like rebuilding a new life. It’s a lot of work even if most of your information is backed up in the cloud.

Be careful what you agree to. Saying “No” is not a copout; it’s just a way of playing it safe. Saying “Yes” is risky but potentially more satisfying. Helping makes anyone feel good.

Pity the fool for having any true feelings.

(Read more from the Train Diaries collection on Medium)

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Remain Skeptical

“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Doubt on purpose.  Doubt in order to jump start different thinking and experiment, rising above the ordinary.

Narrow-mindedness is accepting things by default. Life requires diversity which begets progress.

Nevertheless, skepticism is only one step one in redefining existence.

Thinking different is a cop-out if there’s no creative work to back it up.

Skeptics are as equally as responsible as conformists.  They have to convert questioning into viable action. Naturally, the next is doing the work.

It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. – Scott Belsky

The biggest hurdle in any creative process though is communicating it effectively and converting the work into sales. Creativity is one part making and equal part commerce.

Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art. – Andy Warhol

If your work matters, then it’ll probably matter to others as you convince them to share your labor of love.

In summary, here are the steps to maximizing skepticism:

  1. Think Different.
  2. Take positive, creative action.
  3. Communicate effectively.
  4. Sell your idea/art.

Uniqueness is a prompt for action, not an excuse to sit back and mock what’s already been done.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things the matter. – Martin Luther King Jr.

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McDonald’s Theory

via giphy

I use a trick with co-workers when we’re trying to decide where to eat for lunch and no one has any ideas. I recommend McDonald’s.

I call it the McDonald’s Theory: people are inspired to come up with good ideas to ward off bad ones.

Deduction is a pathway to decision-making.

In order to define what you want, it helps to know what you really dislike first. Acknowledging the antithesis is a smart way to jumpstart creative thinking around practicable alternatives.

Decide, then deduce; even when you need reassurance.

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Inclusivity

I love it when those with a significant following express exactly how I feel so the word reaches a much broader audience.

Fred Wilson did this today expressing similar frustration with exclusive sites like Branch, Sbvtle, and Medium.

If you haven’t heard of these sites, they are the latest blogging platforms. While beautifully designed, the sites are controlled, permitting only significant contributors inside in attempt to dictate the conversation.

I’ve requested to be part of all three and have only been accepted to Branch. Side note: My little brother is still awaiting his Branch invite and because of this experience, will probably never come back.

Furthermore, even when you get into Branch, you have to be invited to a group conversation. I was ok with that in the beginning but have recently found it annoying. I shouldn’t have to give the community owner a one sentence preview before I get approved to speak. Quora does just fine with open comments. Those with the best opinion/insight get voted up.

I hope Fred’s post get these blogging platforms to change their minds and be more open. We need to keep the web an open democracy.