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Creativity Productivity & Work

It’s never too late to do something incredible

Everything good takes time.

We have to get comfortable with the idea that the work worth doing almost always never comes to fruition immediately.

Our craft is also likely to be misunderstood for long periods. There will be periods of self-doubt and chapters of confusion, all signals that the muse wants us to keep going.

If we’re 100% certain about where we’re headed, then we need a little more nuance and complexity in our life.

Being vulnerable and taking on challenges fuel aliveness, preventing one from getting too satisfied with results.

As the Japanese artist Hokusai said:

“Until the age of 70, nothing I drew was worthy of notice. At 110, every dot and every stroke will be as though alive.”

Hokusai

If we work on something long enough, it should look just as simple and confounding as when we first found it.

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Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

‘The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now’

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“The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now,” goes the old saying.

Waiting to start almost always means never.

The work in the head of a perfectionist will never match the reality it takes to get there, a path fraught with failure and mistakes.

But you have permission to error. In fact, your best work is simply an accumulation of trials. Time melts the mess.

Play the long game

Behind every tree is a seed that kickstarts it all. What you do today, right now, sets you up for a chance of bloom tomorrow.

I’ll leave you with this from Teena Selig’s book What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20.

There was once a man named Goldberg who wanted nothing more than to be rich. So each day he went the synagogue and prayed to God to win the lottery. This went on for days, weeks, months, and years, but Goldberg never won. Eventually, Goldberg was at his wit’s end. Praying to God, he said, “You have really let me down.” Suddenly the silence was broken and God responded in a booming voice, “Goldberg, you’ve got to help me out here. You could at least buy a ticket!”

Teena Selig
Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work Psychology

Pursue the irrational mind to get what you want

You have to be a little irrational to get what you want. If you’re too practical, you may curb your chances from the start.

The whole point is to at least give the moon at least a shot, not because you’ll achieve exactly to your wishes but because you’ll be motivated to keep pushing forward.

A Couple staring at a full moon
Dream big (via tw)

Playing in the NBA is a pipe dream for most of us. But by playing basketball you may acquire the leadership and motivation to move on to coaching or take what you learned and apply it to something else like another sport, job, or side project.

The whole point is to build up enough confidence to take action, to persist a little bit, but also to identify your strengths and see new opportunities. Your job is to find the gaps and build up the courage to fill them in.

You have to be somewhat unrealistic to give anything a go; otherwise, you’ll hesitate and hold back. You’re just shooting to make a point to yourself that anything is possible if you believe in the unbelievable.

It pays to be ignorant.

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Creativity Productivity & Work

The problem with maths

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Image via Roman Mager
You have three options when you get stuck: keep going, give it a break, or quit.

Being stuck is part of making progress. The real problem though is that we often interpret stuckness as a failure. Having a bad experience undermines the enjoyment of doing. It convinces us to switch subjects to something newer and achievable.

Mathematics is one of those discouraging topics that gets left behind as we age. We lose patience with math’s rules and exactitude–the answer is either right or wrong. But it’s not as rote as it seems. Says famed mathematician Andrew Wiles: “it’s extremely creative. We’re coming up with some completely unexpected patterns, either in our reasoning or in the results.”

Math, just as playing sports, writing and other crafts, takes persistence. Maintaining excitement and having faith in the process are the keys to sticking it out.

“Yes, you don’t understand [something at the moment] but you have faith that over time you will understand — you have to go through this. It’s like training in sport. If you want to run fast, you have to train. Anything where you’re trying to do something new, you have to go through this difficult period. It’s not something to be frightened of. Everybody goes through it.” — Andrew Wiles

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Hits x Misses

Hits keep you motivated. Success reinforces positive thinking and propels action. But so too does a good whiff.

You can’t hit a home run every time. That stuff only exists in video games on cheat mode.

Failure teaches perspective. Perspective expands awareness and makes it ok to slip up every once in a while.

What really makes the difference is your attitude. How do you stay focused when all you do is miss?

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I always give the same advice. I say, Do it the hard way, and you’ll always feel good about yourself.

Phillip Levine
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Uncategorized

Climbing Another Peak

The high of the climb, the grind, the risk, unshakeable self-confidence and persistence. Energy thrives when there’s no quit.

But do you really want to climb Everest again? Knowing the amount of work involved can be mentally exhausting. Not to mention that you have to expend just as much energy and focus as you do climbing up to climb down.

When thrill exceeds stage fright, it’s still may be wise to gut check your ambition, to give up this time around. Just because you were successful the first time doesn’t mean you’ll be successful again. But success may not even be the point, since you really don’t need success to be confident anyway.

By all means, do it again because you enjoy the process. The longer you wait between intervals, the harder it gets to repeat. Rest equals success only when you’re truly done doing the work.

How high will you climb?