Categories
Life & Philosophy Poetry

Mind over matter, what’s the matter with your mind?

Sí, se puede. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Trying is a passport to freedom. You can do it, contrary to your negative internal dialogue. Mindset is everything. As is practice.

Showing up consistently matters, and reflects in the quality of the work.

Mind over matter, what’s the matter with your mind?

Discipline = Freedom

Discipline equals freedom — now that’s a bumper sticker!

Guess, what? Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.

You’ve clamored all your life for excellence, only to realize that motivation was obstruction. There is no need to be certain.

Discomfort persists in your keyboard of consciousness, a type of continuous inward revolution.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

Underseen, often overlooked

Height, skin color, your shoes — People are always trying to prejudge each other’s possibilities in the context of their surroundings.

But the old adage rings true: Never judge a book by its cover.

The good news for the last pick in the draft is that there’s only upside.

For one, underdog status builds up a voltage of motivation.

Psychologically, the forgotten ones are already drafting their own blueprints. With a chip on their shoulder, they already have material to hone: to prove the doubters wrong.

Never question the invisibility cloak of work ethic, practice, and skill.

The star that emerges is rarely the one that we’re all expecting.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

Inspiration is a myth

All the inspiration exists and is equally distributed.

But the ubiquity of motivational quotes and rags to riches biographies can be sheer fodder. Instead of doing the work, we get caught in the cycle of disattention.

The role of the artist is the create a reality for themselves. We can’t expect to copy and paste someone else’s experience as our own.

Inspirational quotes exist to help is reflect, rewind, and then compel us to push us along. Our mood board is a visual impetus, not an excuse to procrastinate.

The environment is continually changing, with a priori information overwriting the old ways of doing things.

We can always expect our path to be messy, but with the right mentality, our bodies and minds equally resilient.

Scouring the internet for a hit of motivational dopamine is only temporary. It’s the perspiration that has to be permanent.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work Uncategorized

Growing one block of reality at a time

We take one step forward and two steps back. Effort never guarantees success but it always ensures learning.

All great things happen because of discomfort. If we can persist through the pain and develop patience, there’s usually a rainbow waiting for us at the other end.

But whatever we’re chasing needs to give us purpose. Purpose drives passion which in turn makes it easier to persist through all the CRAP: criticism, rejection assholes, and pressure.

Whenever any that goal gets less sticky, perhaps it’s time to pivot or take more risks.

Toggling between the predictable and unpredictable makes us feel more alive.

Pour one out for the emotional journey of creating anything great.

Categories
Arts Creativity Productivity & Work Writing

A still inchoate creator

The blank page doesn’t write itself. It stares at you, pleading for you to quit and move on to something else.

Those who persist pace themselves into unfamiliar territory. A big bang does no artist any good. What matters is not the end result, but pushing through in a gradual approach.

Slow and steady wins the race

Creators strive for long-term serotonin over the short-shock dopamine.

They’re the ones that embrace vulnerability. They dance with fear while building up the bicep of the brain. Confidence speaks as if it were alone, dying to go public.

The barrier lies within the self. It tries to impede greater personal growth. You are your own worst enemy of nuclear insignificance.

To wait in the ambiguous middle while everyone else flies by on the racetrack of certainty.

You have to do the work now, because you don’t have forever.

Spike Jonze

Doing the work is a conscious anxiety-ridden habit, but it can run with it like a GIF loop. Chances are if you did it yesterday you can do it again today.

The race to patience is on. It’s settling that’s the problem.

gif by Sharon Liu

Categories
Arts Creativity

Tools for Titans

What’s the device that unlocks you? Is it the camera, a pen, or a paintbrush?

Creativity is a passport to freedom. We combine divergent tools to strengthen the entire arsenal.

The running conversation in your head is to focus on one thing — photographers speak through photos, writers only write, cartoonists draw, etc.

“We become what we behold,” Marshall McLuhan said, “We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.”

Tools for Titans
Photo: Bill Robertson

In exploring different widgets we collect different sources, drawing analogies across a variety of subjects.

Said the Greek poet Archilochus: “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” All the hedgehog knows how to do is protect itself with its spines. But the fox is more elastic — it can adapt to different conditions that enhance its chances to survive.

The palette expands in so far as we want it to. Once we learn to live with the possibilities we can stem the discomfort.

Categories
Life & Philosophy

The big picture view

An animation of girl lying down dreaming in the sand

Everything is a work in progress. From your health to relationships, to making art, the finish line remains elusive because we’re always preserving the status quo or making things better. Even democracy is a work in progress.

En Media Res — That’s Latin for being in the middle of the action. If inertia is the enemy of action, then we can’t afford to sit the good life out.

What’s your modus operandi? What’re your criteria for a successful future? Is there an ethos you’re trying to build for yourself over the next few years?

To stay on track, you need to set goals. Not the ones that invoke jealousy, make you unhappy, enforce you to keep up with others. Chase goals that inspire a way of life, benefit those around you, help develop a sense of purpose, and inspire you to say hell yes despite the burn!

Live by choice, not by chance. Taking control allows one to stay connected to the big picture view. Hold on to your ideas and ideals on how the experience should be and never be afraid to see it through.

Categories
Creativity Productivity & Work

Give yourself permission to build 

Motivation ebbs and flows. It is fickle and short-lasting.

So we can’t wait for the muse to compel us to work. As Chuck Close said, “inspiration is for amateurs.”

However, what we can do is develop a passion for something and use it to solidify our grit. Having a little excitement helps us push through crap (criticism, rejection, assholes, and pressure).

If pertinacity and practice are a powerful combination, then discipline is true freedom. We are nothing without planned intent.

The fight is already there. The rest is permission, one that we can only give ourselves.

Categories
Creativity Productivity & Work Writing

If you’re struggling to get started, do it badly

“Work finally begins when the fear of doing nothing exceeds the fear of doing it badly.”

Alain de Botton

Perfection is the antithesis of inspiration — it prevents you from getting started.

The trick to getting going is to do it badly. That’s right: Be intentionally messy.

Producing crap isn’t the end-goal. The point of taking small actions is to create enough momentum to feel like we’re winning.

What sustains persistence are small improvements. You’re looking to go from one pushup a day to two the next week. You’re trying to walk five thousand steps a day before graduating to six thousand.

You’ll need to write one-hundred words day after day before developing the muscle to get down two-hundred words on a consistent basis. By the way, there is no such thing as writer’s block!

Do small things to get started — no matter how poorly — to avoid second-guessing yourself and to prime the motivational pump.

Categories
Productivity & Work

How to keep the good, going

A gif of dog moving head in circles
gif by @sherchle

What goes up must come down. Complacency eventually turns into panic. Once the stream of contentedness kicks in, progress stymies. The will to compete and improve wanes. Expectations which set the tone of achievement, fall at the wayside.

Motivation is a wonder drug. As Brian Eno said, “Everything good comes from enthusiasm.” The urge to improve and inject meaning onto the world protects against a mediocre existence. Once we feel inspired, the tendency is to do as much as we can for as long as we can.

To keep it going, we have to protect against two things: burnout and lost excitement. Overburdening the nervous system with the next-task is a precondition for indifference. If we want the care to go on, we require sanity checks like rest, disconnection, and breaking patterns.

Once the spirit dips and the automaton sets in, a recharge is mandatory. To prevent spinning out of control, we seek to re-energize by inciting alertness. Once we notice that was there was there all along, salient for human eyes, we realize we’re on the road to recovery.

“Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.”

Henry David Thoreau

The dip is a sign to move on, to start again before we’re ready. The thrill of beginning again and riding the wave of opportunity keeps the good going. Long-term accomplishment is never luck but the result of the flame of hard work.