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Life & Philosophy

Turning problems into opportunities

Opportunities and problems go together, often masked as one of the same. It’s your perspective that determines how well you exploit this dialectic.

It’s always easier to play the role of a pessimist. Bad thoughts are typically stickier than good ones. Optimism is harder to produce.

However, when you look at your challenges with a pragmatic lens, you realize there’s hope.

There will inevitably be some wins along the way, even if they’re incremental. After all, the Chinese word for crisis combines the characters for danger and opportunity.

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”

William James

The mind quickly identifies fake and forced positive thoughts. It also catches you from falling into a morass of negativity.

When you run away from a problem because the amygdala has told you to play it safe, you pass the opportunity by.

Dancing with the tension between thought and action motivates the search for solutions. He who hesitates caused by the dizziness of anxiety — a type of failure in advance — is sure to be lost.

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Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

The power of choice

Choice rattles decision-making. People don’t like choice, they flinch. They’d rather someone else stear their lives for them.

But given no choice, we’d lack all creativity.

Templates help streamline choice. College is a template for starting a career. Doctors have no choice but to attend medical school if they want to sustain the profession.

Some parents pre-arrange marriage for their kids. Outsourcing choice reduces the uncertainty of making irrational decisions about the future.

Head choice versus heart choice

Life seeks a secure design. It convinces us that we have no choice but to follow precedent.

When choices are abundant, we tend to make the safest decision rather than the one we know is right within our heart.

The power of choice, of course, is to deviate from the string of presets. Once we make the bold choice to choose for ourselves rather than yield to circumstance, we instantly get richer.

Becoming responsible for our life and choices means dancing with the unknown. We select our own outcome and determine our own course of action.

Life is a series of chapters built on the freedom to make bets about our future.

To choose is happiness.

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Arts Creativity

Make culture, don’t just consume it

Consumption is a conduit to creativity.

Reading and curation inspire us to reproduce our thoughts and ideas to others.

The problem is, most people eat the news for entertainment’s sake.

Scrolling through Facebook and Instagram are passive experiences, doing more to keep us in our seat rather than encouraging us to get out of it.

A sedentary mind is a wasted one.

We must be proactive in structuring our systemic consumption habits.

Creativity should be the upshot of things we like and aspire to.

Developing a rhythm of productive output stimulates a flagging sense of information control. The consumer who lacks a purpose to make something of value builds neither satiation nor fire.

Feeling compelled to do something with what we see, we turn desire into a real-world creation.

When we contribute to the culture, we open up a new Pandora’s Box.

Humans consume ideas, remix them, and create culture. The history of contribution demands no right answer.

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Life & Philosophy

Continual uncertainty

Uncertainty begs for attention. Anxiety thrives off inaction.

Born naked, we get sucked into the vortex of other peoples expectations.

Rather, we must learn how to follow our intuition and embrace the unknown.

There’s nothing wrong with abstraction. The goal should be to resolve tension by amplifying it.

Once we numb the fear, we ultimately let go and tread where we need to.

Uncertainty is the central component of success.

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Productivity & Work

Doing more begets more productivity

Busy people get more done. Having multiple priorities creates a state of flow.

Hesitation is a preventative form of worry. The chronic overthinker pays the toll of inertia and then frets about the lack of time to get things done.

The most productive days are those in which we go immediately into action, en medias res, with a to-do list baked in our head.

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”

Bruce Lee 

Of course, busyness is not a badge to wear either.

If we’re going to chase something, it better be something we enjoy. Passion helps empower the grit and absolve the grind.

Doing meaningful work centers us. But for that, we must also take responsibility and choose to do the work every day.

The doing starts before we’re ready. After all, the doing is why there’s knowing.

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Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

More than just a pipe dream

Dreams come and go but leave the loftiest impressions.

How is it that something can leave such a big imprint but rarely create a reality of the same intensity?

Accruing likes are rarely a good barometer of progress. The only validation of advancement is the grade you give yourself behind closed doors.

Imagination is one thing; dreams are another. The latter needs some hustle muscle. Life requires that you dream with the brain awake.

Visualization starts the heart and manifests the dream. Nothing is more lucid than real action itself.

Beyond ridiculous — that’s the point. Have the courage to deserve it. More than apparition is a hail mary come true.

Whatever musters both desire and fear, do that!

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Life & Philosophy

Seeking ignorance amid uncertainty

Curiosity is a powerful tool. It makes us question our surroundings and compels us to ask why things work the way they do. It kicks the mind into exploration.

But the addition of courage takes curiosity a step further; it tries to fill the void through hands-on experimentation. These small tests are fuel for failure in disguise as they convert ignorance into knowledge.

The greater challenge, therefore, is the audacity to continue guessing. Even when something gets discovered, it opens up a whole new can of ignorance.

It’s what I don’t know that stimulates me.

Toni Morrison, 1983

The learning never stops if the asking never stops. The more we know, the more we desire to know.

gif via Francis Amisola

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

Work x “Work”

There are two types of work:

  1. Work that you do for fun
  2. Work that pays the bills

The first is sexy and fuels your creativity. These are typically side projects that you wish would one day turn into a long-term job that pays the bills.

The second type of work is the one you do to live. These are your standard projects and office jobs that support a commercial company. They’re not sexy but they’re reassuring and provide enough cash flow to do more creative work.

The difference between the sexy and the dependable types of work is what Hugh MacLeod calls the Sex and Cash Theory.

There’s always friction to create stuff that matters, at least to you, versus creating stuff that maintains someone else’s bottom line. Both nonetheless complement each other as an influence of skills. It’s all practice, anyway.

The end-goal for all creators is the fusion of sex and cash, to get paid for doing what you love. But even that sometimes runs its course. Whatever you end up doing, at work or on the side, make it a good one!

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

The young/old dynamic

gif by Feliks Tomasz Konczakowski

Younger people are generally more obsessed and driven. Older folks are generally more accepting of the status quo, albeit through jadedness rather than experience.

The juniors depend on the adults to help guide them through operational jungles. The seniors lean on younger folks to remain naive and use their lofty dreams to gather raw material. There’s no need to medicate the starlets out of their creative urges–they will figure out the harsh realities of survival later when they have to earn a paycheck.

The young and the old, the old and the young. The symbiotic relationship between generations breathes new elements of innovation, wisdom, and cynicism into the palette of life.

It is best to keep the dynamism moving, all believing, betting, and guessing what comes next.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

Create your own luck

Luck is magic. But magic tricks take preparation.

There’s a lot of work into making it look easy. It’s no surprise that the best things happen to people that are ready to welcome and execute opportunities.

If you’ve been lucky, you know immediately or not whether you deserve it. Even the meek recognize a moment of earned fortune.

Luck is preparedness

Beginner’s luck only happens in cards. The practice is non-negotiable. Diligence increases your chances of success.

So the experienced photographer is adept at capturing the key shot. The persistent scientist stumbles upon synchronicities between different compounds. Eureka moments are a myth to the dedicated.

Keep your eyes on the prize. Know when to focus down like a hedgehog and expose yourself to as many diverse experiences as possible like a fox.

Put in the effort and you’ll learn how to manufacture your own luck if it doesn’t already meet your halfway.