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Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

What comes next

We are always becoming, making inferences about our future.

Often times, such guesses lead to mistakes. But error is the only way we can untangle the morass of uncertainty.

Effort frees the mind from the nagging question of “what if?”

“Imagine living your life without being afraid to take a risk and to explore life. You are not afraid to lose anything.”

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

In doing a voluntary act, we take responsibility for all that comes next, plus all the tension that comes with pushing forward.

The floodgates to life open when we pay attention on purpose. And then we self-assess as an antidote to so-called problems.

Without all the scars that come with risk, we’d crumble rapidly.

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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

Navigating tension

gif by @boglio

Some amount of tension is healthy.

The ability to hold two opposing ideas simultaneously often yields a new idea, containing elements of each.

The tension between art and commerce encourages a blend of innovation that prevents the pitfalls of being tied to labor. We are not our jobs, no matter how tied employment is to identity.

Toggling between effort and acceptance unlocks a more dynamic human. Like a hand plunged into cold water, our fingerprints express themselves at unbending stiffness.

The synthesis of oppositional forces compels one to navigate perceived strain, ensuring that the odds help form a new, superior whole.

Self-control is the centerpiece that gives us a shot at generating a creative resolution toward embracing the dialectic.

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Arts Life & Philosophy

The magic double-consciousness

The confluence of attention and boredom is vital to creativity.

Attention works like a gate, opening and closing at the will of perception.

We snatch what we aim for. The photographer’s eye spots patterns the same way a poet finds beauty in the mundane.

Yet, boredom offers a gateway to mind wandering. The empty mind is a trigger for connecting the disconnected, kickstarting the imagination, and firing up the ability to notice novelty in the driest of places.

The mind zig-zags between concerted effort and pause in the attempt to pick up more knowledge. Emphasizing attention over boredom over the other negates their impact. Sometimes, one has to let go to grow.

Just as we try to float, we sink. Active control requires the opposite: a calm and disengaged discipline.

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Life & Philosophy Nature

A barometer of aliveness

Consciousness — “I think therefore I exist” — is not a prerequisite for aliveness.

The non-thinking plant is still very much breathing and communicating with its brethren through an interconnectivity of roots.

Meanwhile, the overly conscious octopus contains a half a billion neurons in its arms which allow the tentacles to function independently from its nine brains.

Programmed robots, aped after humans, may develop mentally but remain devoid of physical life.

Many humans, herd-following automatons in their own right, die with the music still in them.

The barometer of aliveness depends on how dead one feels, appears, and grows.

All things were once plankton. Now, a fish out of water — some of us are lucky enough to evolve like a baby caterpillar into a restless butterfly. 

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Culture Life & Philosophy

To be nobody’s establishment

We tiptoe backward from imagination, forward from reality.

The movement toward innovation compels one to graduate beyond specialization.

Gradually recalibrated, we avoid the trimming of self.

We are nobody’s establishment.

Such pressure to mold into particular merely hardens the mood of individuality.

The Leviathan keeps happening, as does the world stringing it all together.

The stage is set to individuate individuals from the paralysis of group thought.

What’s inside us is not just subtle, it is at the epicenter of influence of what we attract and become.

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Creativity Life & Philosophy

Creating a life of constant surprises

Every blogger wants to be an author. Every Instagrammer seeks to be a photographer. Every kid that plays FIFA wants to be Leo Messi.

The path to professionalism in real life is arduous and unlikely. Success takes a lot of talent, excitement, and some luck. But at least we can use web platforms as launch pads of interest.

If you’re a writer, write. If you’re a photographer, go out and capture. If you’re a football player, play.

Make constant mistakes, with good intentions. Everything is practice.

You don’t need permission to make stuff and share it with the world

One of the greatest advantages of the Internet is the ability to share your work and get feedback. The edgier you are, the likelier you are to stand out and get noticed.

You already have a Facebook profile, so you’re already naked; no one is truly anonymous anymore.

The world doesn’t want you to challenge it. It vows to impede your curiosity with short-sightedness.

So imagine if you could just learn and do the work, staying open to new possibilities. One thing leads to the next if you’re willing to use all the colors in the palette.

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Life & Philosophy Photography

How we decode reality

We are not born with information.

The severity of an illusion lies within its shadow of a doubt. Objects as artifice are as credible as our eyes make them out to be.

The gut loves to sensationalize fear. The beating heart frustrates under the tick-tock of boredom. The mind interprets thoughts that drive reality.

What makes the external world feel real?

From the outer world to the inner state, sculpting perception is irrational but intentional as we all seek to decode reality into meaning.

What is the external world but just a bunch of code that exists in our heads, sorting out the facticity of objects?

Our impulse intends to give experience the benefit of “truth, both in matter and in mode.” We use our pragmatist razor to cut comprehensions down ruthlessly.

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Life & Philosophy

This Japanese philosophy may hold the secret to a happy work life

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that translates to “a reason for being.” It may also hold the keys to prolonging your life.

At the intersection of ikigai is having a purpose—feeling as though one is contributing to society in a positive way gives them something to live for.

Perhaps the best illustration of ikigai exists on the island of Okinawa, where some of the oldest living people in the world practice the philosophy.

While Japan’s interpretation of the ikigai is a source of value for one’s life, Westerners may use the system as a guidepost for bridging better work and life balance. If you want to better understand the meaning of the concept, consider asking these four questions:

  • What do you love?
  • What are you good at?
  • What does the world need from you?
  • What can you get paid for?
This Japanese philosophy may hold the secret to a happy work life
via giphy

As all life is an experiment, so too is your ikigai which evolves as you age. The more you feel valued, the better.

“We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.”

JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE

Learn more in the video below.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

A wave of inspiration 

Waves come in all shapes and sizes, propelled by the energy of the wind. But they keep coming, in the rhythm of a ripple, breaking in the morning after the swell.

Inspiration comes and goes like a wave. If you only worked when you felt a spark, you might work fifty days out of the year.

But if you want to keep creating, you’ll need to grind out every day, motivated or not.

A wave of inspiration 
Photography by Ray Collins

The consistency of waves

Waves show up on shores regardless of wind power. They do their work, rain or shine, ebbing and flowing with the sunlight, undulating up and down or side to side with the slightest of gusts.

Doing all your work at once will lead to a tidal wave of burnout. Instead, what you want to build up is a consistent motion.

You’ll be ill-prepared to ride the wave of opportunity if you rarely show up. Inspiration is fickle; hit the shores with commitment.