Categories
Creativity Life & Philosophy

Less is best

We achieve breakthroughs because of restraints, not because of endless options.

There’s a reason we feel satisfied when someone removes the cashews at a party; it eliminates the temptation to snack on them.

Our willpower is generally weak. And a surfeit of choice further aggravates self-control problems. Even worse, we transmit vices to others.

When we have a limited offer or altogether remove what we can use, eat, etc., we’re more cautious in our entire approach.

Constriction is a life-enhancing passport to better decision making, a challenge of a challenge that forces us to cope with what we already have.

Less is best, and more. Everything else appears as a nice-to-have pleasant surprise.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

Quieter times

The covid crisis reminds us that time is precious. It untethers us from the plague of 24/7 always-on work culture and permits more pockets of free time to do whatever we want: make dinner, spend more time with family, explore a side interest. 

The pandemic gives us our time back. Working from home saves us from the extra hours put into commuting and face-to-face meetings. It also increases our productivity, as we can shape our surroundings and get comfortable in ways that enable intense focus and absorption. 

Electronic communication’s invisibility cloak allows people more time to think in silence rather than countdown the clock in useless meetings and brainstorm sessions. Being outside the office disconnects us from the suasion of group-think and overall herd mentality. 

Never underestimate the power of pause and the power of independent, reflective thought. Thinking alone is not just an idea producer; it’s also an intrinsic motivator. When we find meaning in our work and enforce our own decision rights, we become richer workers. 

The ‘black swan’ Covid-19 catastrophe — entirely unpredictable and damaging (2.69M deaths as of March 19, 2021) — offers the chance to eliminate the inefficiencies (e.g., going to an office five days/week) driving us all insane. For better or worse, we connect through wires

Time is invaluable, in some ways more important than money. We have to work now, live life now, and do our best for ourselves and others. In such quieter yet anxious moments, we realize that there’s no need for dumping problems on tomorrow.  

Categories
Culture Life & Philosophy

The number of combinations

To make anything is to change perception, as every viewer arrives at an interpretation based on the accumulation of experience.

Even twins see things differently.

People are lean, mean, interpreting machines. Even more, they recreate themselves as they go along. There is no blueprint — perspective is elastic.

We create as one, we view as another. There is no formula for invention when there’s a prebuilt audience of understanding. The act of pioneering is a shrewd guess, for what comes back are numerous and diverse combinations of ideas.

There are outliers among the creators, curators, and consumers. Should one narrow down their perception to appease the other, culture would implode.

The chaos of miscellany, as in any nature, is what keeps art organic.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

Aging with energy

We are constantly searching for a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Why are we even here — to suck the land dry? 

We force meaning into the world with the hope that an outer stimulus ricochets back to accentuate the pulse. 

We risk everything to feel something, encouraged by the mechanisms of error. 

Life is an experiment. First, we act, then we deduce, making sense of the world by categorizing our reactions to it. The never-ending to-do list forces humans into overdrive. 

Evolution is more than about survival. It’s also about the resistance to boredom. “All man’s miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone,” wrote Blaise Pascal

We push ourselves to stay interested and excited. We pay the costs for playing it too safe and overthinking. What a pity it is when we leave it too late!  

We deploy attention to the endless opportunities and challenges ahead — and then we wonder why we’re exhausted. How does one keep going? 

The race between our need to mature while remaining child-like explorers is an extant struggle. The mind hears what it wants while the body takes it personally. 

The flow becomes more effortful with age, yet the knowledge comes easier. With the extra push, we go far further than we could imagine. 

Categories
Culture Life & Philosophy Psychology

No preferences

Presets are active, combatant, and not easily contained. The true believer builds their own alleyways that offer no escape. Who are they to play God?

Thus we must loosen our grip on preferences and explore neutrality, never clinging to any belief with absolute conviction.

Parochialism is a blind spot. Shrouded by significance, we deplete the energy to see out other options.

Yet, neutrals see bridges where others see voids. The open remain unstuck, privy to ideas and new knowledge.

The enclosure is already so tight, browbeaten by popular messages. But thinking about the possibility of being neither right nor wrong shifts attention toward a beautiful constraint. Strong opinions loosely held can go a long way to fortify a premium tension. We seek confidence, not a certainty.

As we toggle between abstract and the specific, what we seek is more practical. Rightness already floats around in the head as we compel ourselves to embrace the unconscious.

Openness offers a rare opportunity to climb out of the box, to go one way, then the other. It understands that that’s how some things happen in the world, standing at the edge of possibility.

Categories
Life & Philosophy

The all-important gaze

Stuck in a default state of distractedness, we look away for the next magnetic clue.

As the gaze proceeds, a sense of familiarity comes to our aid to help us navigate our way in the world.

But most of what we perceive is just noise, impeding both our short-term goals and long-term moon shots.

We often fall victim to the fickleness of attention, especially in a virtual reality environment. The screen dominates our lives. 

However, we can remain sensitive to context while continuing to stare at the world and our model.

Most middle-aged people freak out about their mortality when they realize that they’re entertaining themselves into inanition. The brain falsely justifies how we spend our time.

Meanwhile, the cosmic forces in the universe are awaiting our participation. Don’t give up. Turned on, we can see opportunities and realize them. 

Wake up and look outside the immediate window of attention. Our spatial memory is ready for action, awaiting the soul’s evolution. 

Categories
Arts Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

Imagining life without work

Some people are obsessed with work. It defines them, gives them a structure. Without work, they’d sail away at the mercy of the waves and get lost at sea.

But technology facilitates creativity. The accountant becomes a music producer at night, a photographer, or YouTuber on the weekend. He or she identifies more as being an artist than a professional who crunches numbers. Their online persona seeks some greater truth beyond the work, more aligned with who they want to be. 

Everyone wants to pursue something meaningful. We want to do something that matters while working hard without working hard. As the musician Brian Eno reminds us, “Try not to get a job.” 

Whether it’s the day job or an artist, work is supposed to reflect our life philosophies. Most jobs, though, are solutions to a practical problem: we need the cash to live. The money fact keeps man awake at the clarion call of labor.  

The pressure to blend work and life results from our obsession with careerism in a twenty-four-seven hyperconnected world. So what would we do with all that free time if we didn’t work? 

We’d just do stuff rather than getting stuck in a career. We’d read, hang out with friends and family, watch and play sports, and listen to music. It would be like all the activities we’ve immersed in during the extra free time of COVID lockdown, minus all the social distancing and depression. The future of work would look less like a vocation and more like an extended vacation.

Will we be ok when the robots take over and the concept of labor fades away? Will making art suffice? We’re born off balance. It’s how we dance with the uncertain future that shapes who we are.

Categories
Life & Philosophy

Be wary of advice

The fallacy of giving advice is that what works for one person rarely works for another.

Advice is unique and personal, a collection of warnings we tell ourselves about how to avoid past mistakes, synthesized and abridged for a recipient.

“Unsolicited advice is the junk mail of life.”

Bernard Williams

The best advice we can give someone is to encourage them to develop their own opinions of the world. Our experiences are neither guides nor answers; everyone deserves the freedom to their own way.

Categories
Life & Philosophy

The art of delay

You can’t make Bitcoin go up just as you can’t coax a train out of a tunnel.

Good things take time and a lot of patience. 

If you ever get tired of waiting, do something else instead. You could try to relax your tight face a bit or distract yourself into another project. 

Remember, the goal is to achieve long-term serotonin over dopamine’s quick-hit. 

It’s a beautiful endeavor to hold back and observe, waiting to witness the ultimate revelation. 

Sometimes the trick to succeeding in the future is to bet on doing nothing at all. Commit to stillness, becoming the architect of your persistence. 

The waiter builds up satisfaction over time, bringing one comfortably close to playing the long-game. 

Patience is a form of action. The ability to delay gratification and follow through on a plan will forever be underrated.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Poetry Uncategorized

Facing opposites

We want to reduce the stress in our lives, yet we keep piling on the number of things we need to do. We travel arms wide open into a tidal wave of responsibilities.

We want to restrict the data tech companies collect from us, yet we swipe right at consent—all terms, all conditions, in favor of the Leviathan.

We want all the benefits of social media—influence, and fame—while maintaining our privacy.  

We want to think we’re a curious bunch, open to a world unknown, yet act like novices at the ways of seeing. What is new leads somewhere new, absent the spot.

We meditate to detach the mind from surfeit consciousness when merely going for a walk, doing the dishes, or shooting hoops produces the same relaxing effect. With little effort, the neuronal spike train intensifies in voltage.

We want to believe and remain certain without bravado. Little do we know that uncertainty is natural, confidence is artificial. 

Opposite to everything, without opposition to anything. Whatever one says is true, the reverse is equally valid

Categories
Culture Life & Philosophy Poetry

The business of living

The temptation to linger in maximum comfort — life isn’t a warm shower, you know.

One typically extends a staycation at the sight of pleasure or during a pandemic, displeasure.

People are adaptable, prepared to extend or narrow their comfort zone in various situations.

They’ll even attend to simultaneous entertainments if it means they can get on with the business of living.

Moving across the stream, pinging into and around rocks, life thrives when you stop looking for happiness and absorb all the scars—reality bites.

Where there is joy is pain and lots of courage in between.