Productivity & Work

Accept compliments but do not inhale

When it comes to compliments, you accept them but you do not inhale.

Kudos is as ephemeral as a Facebook like. Congratulations acknowledge your existence and provide a dopamine boost. But they can also turn the ego into an enemy. Praise takes no responsibility for the passion and head work at play.

Like Darwin’s finches, we are always evolving. There is no constant, especially in a rapidly advancing world that imposes frequent variables.

Rather than seeking external validation, you should chase out your interests. Passion not only helps bring excitement to the job, but it also makes you antifragile — it’s impossible to beat someone who expects to keep going despite hosannas and hurdles.

“In the long run, we find what we expect. We shall be fortunate then if we expect great things.”

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Hold the exhale for as long as you can. It is in breathing out, you protect against the toxins that try to get in. Just remember to pace yourself as you breathe.

Life & Philosophy Poetry Politics & Society

Stuck in our own heads

Inattentive, we let the details slip right through our heads.

We are in a state of continuous partial attention, whipped around by facts, fake news, hyperbole, and reality.

The foreign invaders monopolize our “private” profiles and manipulate the entire public sphere into tribes that all think and see alike.

We turn a blind eye to the pleasant rhythm of dissent while also marching to the beat of our own drum.

To stop admiring our own words and lookalikes, and to start interrogating our own ideas.


The 5-3-2 rule of social media. In other words, create as much as you consume.
The 5-3-2 rule of social media. In other words, create as much as you consume.


Self-congratulatory Tweets as Link Bait

A tweet usually goes like this:

“Hey, I just read this great article and watched this captivating YouTube video and now you must see them too.” Tweet.

Your Tweet may even include a key quote or highlight from that piece of content. Same difference.

But unless you’re an influencer, the tweet is topical (based on a trending hashtag) or contextually relevant to your audience, no one is going to click the link. And that’s where provocative copy comes in.

The tweet has to have an engaging headline in order to get people to click. Naturally, this leads to a lot of link bait to shitty articles. Avid Twitter users know when to click and when to ignore certain Tweets. Link bait often leads to unfollows.

Twitter users are more wary than ever before of their streams. The perpetual influx of noise means they are judicious with the Tweets they actually engage with.

There’s nothing wrong in sharing something you think others would also find interesting. But do it because it’ll help shape their perspective, not to show off that you just completed your one article for the day. Try to share only the good stuff.


Please Stop Complaining About How Busy You Are

When everyone around us is “slammed,” it’s easy to feel guilty if we’re not slaving away on a never-ending treadmill of toil. By trying to compete about it, we’re only adding to that pool of water everyone seems to be constantly “treading” in. And all this complaining is having serious effects on our mental health.

Everyone is busy inside and outside the office at different times. We shouldn’t feel the need to make ourselves more busy and tired just so we can feel the same way.

You can answer emails and attend meetings all day along and still not get anywhere. We should celebrate time management and quality of work rather than living up to fatigue. We still need energy to enjoy life.


Moving Beyond Baseball

I played baseball as a kid. It was fun because I was good at it, not necessarily because I loved the sport.

As I got older, basketball and soccer became my main games. They were fast paced and less interruptive. There was just way more movement than baseball.

I attended the Yankees game last night merely to reconfirm my bias: baseball is boring.

Fred Wilson wrote an article this week observing the increased interest in soccer. He credited the growth to video games although I pointed out that it was much more than that.

I also think the pace of baseball doesn’t match up well with the speed at which we move now. The Internet sets the expectation for instant entertainment and delivery; something baseball fails to offer.

The baseball stadium tries hard to keep fans interested during games. They show trivia on the board and display dancing fans in their seats. Music plays in between batters, innings, and outs so you don’t fall asleep.

Baseball is truly America’s past time. It no longer stimulates widespread interest because it doesn’t move the way Americans move today. Cheaters like Alex Rodriguez certainly don’t help the game either.

Maybe I’m an army of one but baseball really fails to meet the current speed of entertainment. Football is getting bad as well with an ad every possession.

I don’t think soccer is ever going to take over America because it’s still carrying baggage as a European sport. America didn’t create it. Basketball, on the other hand which is virtually the hand version of soccer, will remain popular.

Maybe it’s just me because I’m getting older and looking for new interests (cricket or rugby any good?) or baseball does indeed just suck.


The elevator paradox

Practically every elevator has a camera yet everybody still messes around.

People do things on elevators they wouldn’t ordinarily do in public, such as picking their nose or smooching aggressively. Every action goes on record.

What is it about elevators that makes one feel private while acknowledging Orwellian presence?

My only guess is that elevators feel like traps. Because people can’t go anywhere and know they’re being watched anyway they do whatever they want.

Instead of installing discipline, elevator cameras ignite rebelliousness. People show similar insouciance to the NSA’s invasion of online privacy. The fear of being watched just compels users to fight the system and act with no restraints.

Most people just want to get on with the business of living. They’ll tug back when Big Brother encroaches. Like any animal, the smaller the cage the bigger the desire for absolute freedom.

Leave us alone and let us be or don’t; we’ll act freely anyway.

art via giphy


Email Malaise

Email makes you feel like you’re accomplishing something but you’re really not. It’s a game that never ends, a painful image of line by line Unreads in bold.

Gmail does the best job at assisting email management. I like the new tab feature that categories email by type. It’s also easy to create filters in Gmail so you receive less spam.

But email is email despite design and functionality improvements. The Mailbox app intends to revolutionize email with it’s added to do list feature. But I want to spend less time in the maw of email, not more.

Email behavior only worsens with Smartphones as people email-text each other. I’m guilty of this as I got rid of text messaging not only to save $20/month but also because people are just as fast to respond via email.

Email is in a weird communications spot between instant messaging via apps like Snapchat, general text messages or iMessages, messages sent via social networks, and well, calling someone the old fashion way. You have to use the platform you think your recipient is most likely to respond quickest or slowest, depending on your level of urgency.

Email is generally the slowest way to guarantee a response since most people find it unmanageable.

Email is unmanageable for the most part. It’s almost as bad as opening up junk snail mail. Unfortunately, email is the mainstay of digital communication, kind of like Facebook is the hub of social networking. Corporations also live on email since there’s no other viable widely adoptable alternative.

Maybe we should just turn off email time to time and get some work done. This may anger other people waiting for a response but at least you’ll have attempted to achieve something meaningful outside the dreadful inbox.


Wasting Tree Sweat

I see newspapers thrown into the recycling bin every day at Grand Central. At one point, the bin had a purpose and made perfect sense: ‘let’s save trees by putting tree sweat back into more newspaper production.’ It was the complete 360.

The newspaper recycling bin today is simply outdated and contradictory. Why would you force someone to save something that’s already been saved by the digitization of paper in a Kindle?

The recycling sign should tell newspaper readers to go digital, because you can’t kill trees that have been preventively saved. After all, trees create the oxygen we need to breathe. We could not exist as people and read as readers without trees.