Categories
Creativity Productivity & Work

Back of the envelope…for starters ✍️✉️

gif by Neil Sanders

It doesn’t matter where or how an idea emerges. What matters is that the concept exists somewhere on paper, a napkin, an envelope, a Tweet, or a blog post.

We can’t begin to assess and dissect our thoughts unless we can see its basic framework and bones visually.

I’m not writing it down to remember it later, I’m writing it down to remember it now.

Field Notes

It is an inherent response to draw what’s already in the mind — it is another to attack the stimulus and make it come to fruition.

Jack Dorsey sketched Twitter out on a napkin. Hugh MacLeod started drawing cartoons on the back of business cards.

Jack Dorsey’s original sketch for “twttr”

There isn’t a perfect time, place, nor medium to write out our ideas. But it has to get recorded somewhere as a sketch, an iPhone note, or as a sticky as the first step toward execution.

The heart to start is easier said than done. The trick is to avoid the perils of thinking too logically in the beginning. All ideas exist in rough draft before we can test, tweak, market, and sell the idea to see it actually works.

The struggle for answers and subsequent failures is where all the learning takes place.

Categories
Productivity & Work

Ready, rock steady

gif via Reddit

The more you work the more you make, at least it appears that way. But Søren Kierkegaard thought wiser:

“Of all ridiculous things the most ridiculous seems to me, to be busy — to be a man who is brisk about his food and his work.”

Søren Kierkegaard

Henry Miller also disdained to overwork:

“I’ve found that it isn’t necessary to work that much. It’s bad, in fact. You drain the reservoir.”

Henry Miller

More work may beget more money but also creates more stress, which may negatively impact productivity. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break or a vacation and letting the mind run on its own.

Even during those dull moments your mind is working, jettisoning the bad ideas and retaining the good ones much like a washing machine. This process intensifies during sleep.

Pace your work. Focus and relax once in a while and allow the brain to sort out the connections. Slow and steady wins the race.

Categories
Arts Creativity

Why we ship

A gif illustration of ship going over waves of water

“When we ship, we’re exposed,” writes Steven Pressfield in his book Do the Work.

Do we deliver? The professional artist ships even if they don’t believe 100% in what they make.

Why?

Because behind the cycle of perpetual creation is a signal–whether through viewer feedback or connectivity—on what to make and where to go next.

What feels like a sinking ship is a great ship sliding out of port, toward a compassless journey that is long, arduous, but despite the shakiness, inherently still. The lighthouse is always there to guide us when we get lost.

The creative process rides the water’s edges in an attempt to find the treasure in the middle—the one that promises a little peace for the risk within ourselves.

We steer the ship. But only if we choose to keep slipping out to sea, on board with the whims of the waves.

gif by @mjguzmans

Categories
Life & Philosophy

The struggle is reassuring

Vulnerability and happiness, pain and weakness. You can’t possibly expect any benefits without the paradoxes of input and output. #gif
via giphy

Vulnerability and happiness, pain and weakness. You can’t possibly expect any benefits without the paradoxes of input and output.

It’s as if people expect to play to the tune of emotion, unwilling to endure the challenges that get them there.

The ups and downs should be reassuring. We evolve because we must struggle. Without it, there’s little need for success to meet you on the other side.

Categories
Arts

A guide to art

Art is the ability to get lost and navigate by the gut.

Art is teachable but its answers require no education at all.

Art is the act of perpetual innovation.

Art is expression on canvass, a business product, a speech, and countless other remarkable creations.

Art is controlled randomness, a collection of disparate things.

Art is a messy mastery of movement and environment.

Art is fun, a playful and professional act.

Art is a wave of endless inspiration.

Art is both free and commercial.

Art is deliberate work, sweat and tears. Failure to acceptance is a long process.

Art is ultimately undefinable. But when you see it, you know it.

gif via

Categories
Arts Creativity Tech

The gutless algorithm

In today’s age, you get picked (and judged) by algorithms and your number of social media fans.

No matter your unique talent, it is the statistics that predetermine your success.

But the element of surprise is not over.

John Hammond discovered Billie Holiday, Bruce Springsteen, and Bob Dylan at the clubs. As a staunch contrarian, he looked for talent that offered a fresh and rebellious sound.

Meanwhile, the Goldman Sachs algorithmic machine incorrectly picked Germany to make the World Cup final.

Data or gut, predicting future success is impossible because everything thrives on chance.

Truth happens to an outcome.

Read The Data Or The Hunch?

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

The hidden power of less

Less isn’t necessarily better than more. However, it appears that in most scenarios that it is most often the case.

  • Less participants, more effective meetings
  • Less worry, more action
  • Less ownership, more renting
  • Less eating, more exercising
  • Less internet, more human interaction
  • Less Instagram, more non-filter
  • Less stuff, more happiness
  • Less hate, more love
  • Less cheating, more honesty
  • Less work, more play
  • Less time, more focus
  • Less wishing, more invention
  • Less global, more local
  • Less volume, more silence
  • Less driving, more carpooling
  • Less fighting, more cooperation
  • Less success, more failure
  • Less men, more wom-en
  • Less print, more trees
  • Less self, more generosity
  • Less lizard brain, more confidence
  • Less lateness, more punctuality
  • Less shipping, more digital delivery
  • Less jpegs, more studio visits
  • Less quantity, more quality
  • Less sadness, more laughter
  • Less blindness, more realism
  • Less fright, more audacity
  • Less seeing, more insight
  • Less impulse, more abstraction

If you flip these around with more preceding less (e.g. more lateness, less punctuality), they reflect a bitter insight. Presentation predetermines the prism of observation.

Categories
Culture Life & Philosophy

Going first is not as bad as you think

No one wants to take the first piece of dessert because of the chance it’s been touched. People prefer the pieces in the back. The same goes for the first milk carton at the grocery. Why grab the first one we can see presumably untouched versions inches behind?

No one wants to sit in the front of the classroom because it increases our chances of getting called on. We prefer to sit in the back, hiding like a needle in a haystack.

No one wants to be the first to dance at a gala. But everyone starts dancing as soon as one couple makes the first move. People feel more comfortable in conforming when they can blend in.

Who wants to be first? No one, typically.

No matter how much we obsess with primacy, most people fear to take that first step. People desire success, but they refuse the extra attention that comes with it.

But being first can become normal quickly. The jitters fade after we decide to dive in. We halt the mind’s exaggeration and imaginary fears.

So that piece of cake is just as fresh. Buying the first carton of milk makes it taste no different than the rest. Sitting in front of the classroom is as equitable as the back. And taking that first dance becomes a pleasant rhythm everyone else wants to mimic.

No one actually cares about standing out as much as we think!

There’s no harm in being the first to make the leap. As opportunity dries up, hesitating to the end can even be more uncomfortable.

The longer we wait, the worse it gets. In some cases, it’s better to go first and get it over with than fueling a sense of doubt.

Categories
Daily Prompts Poetry

Blinded by closeness

You can’t make anything in the forest stand still. It is in constant flux, whether that’s in seasons, wildfires, or in the territory marking of a killer bear.

Nature is fickle. It calls for preparedness and a broad scope.

“You can’t see the forest for the trees.”

One must not only have a plan in trekking the forest also but remain on guard. As the saying goes, “You can’t see the forest for the trees.”

Proximity can be blinding. Looking at the individual trees clouds the big picture just as the donut hole takes your eyes off the whole donut.

Linearity isn’t as important as a deliberate wandering, with eyes open to the vastness of seeing.

Let the forest speak.

Categories
Culture Politics & Society

Stripped of bias

Stripped of bias
Photo by Wells Baum

Mushy in the middle, stuck amid choices that cancel each other out. We all hear different things.

The pragmatist razor skins down contradictions and chooses the strongest case on both sides.

Rising above sidedness is a lofty goal, the aim of an idealist. But who’s to say one shouldn’t try?

Clinging to the past, never shaping the future. The biggest risk is doing nothing; virtuality is not a panacea for society’s ills.

No ifs, no buts.