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.

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Belief + Doubt = Sanity

BARBARA KRUGER: BELIEF+DOUBT
Belief+Doubt by Barbara Kruger

We dump our problems on tomorrow because we can’t handle the anxiety of today.

Time keeps moving on its way, unimpeded. We’ve already lost.

Yet there’s still a sense that one day, we’ll snatch time and ride the wave of an opportunity to change society.

‘Belief + Doubt = Sanity’

All we can do is show up to the world, not hide behind in its shadows. ‘Excellence is the next five minutes,’ and then the next five minutes after. And so on, with unparalleled lightness.

Attitude is the most rational day to day decision. Only then can we go on a critical run.

The froth is coming off

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With the right instructions, the unfamiliar becomes manageable.

We follow the recipe with the hope that the convoluted reality seeps away into the froth.

Yet, had we followed our instincts we may not have gotten stuck in the first place.

If we don’t take Google Maps with a grain of salt, we will find ourselves submerged under water.

Knowledge is visceral. The rest is streaming.

A still inchoate creator

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The blank page doesn’t write itself. It stares at you, pleading for you to quit and move on to something else.

Those who persist pace themselves into unfamiliar territory. A big bang does no artist any good. What matters is not the end result, but pushing through in a gradual approach.

Creators strive for long-term serotonin over the short-shock dopamine.

They’re the ones that embrace vulnerability. They dance with fear while building up the bicep of the brain. Confidence speaks as if it were alone, dying to go public.

The barrier lies within the self. It tries to impede greater personal growth. You are your own worst enemy of nuclear insignificance.

To wait in the ambiguous middle while everyone else flies by on the racetrack of certainty.

“You have to do the work now, because you don’t have forever.” — Spike JonzeClick To Tweet

Doing the work is a conscious anxiety-ridden habit, but it can run with it like a GIF loop. Chances are if you did it yesterday you can do it again today.

The race to patience is on. It’s settling that’s the problem.

The body is a heavy bear

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The body is a heavy bear.

The mind is a heavy stone.

We can’t duck our own presence, nor avoid our own answers. We know what we have to do. Anticipation enlivens us.

Anxiety validates our heart space.

Fight or flight, we are free to think as tenants of Earth, renting its oxygen. As Kipling wrote, ‘Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it.’

We cultivate our existence. We chase fear and endure pain to feel more alive.

The show goes on, whether we show up or not.

The space between our ears

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The space between our ears, where what we know or think we know contrasts the reality of what we should see.

We are the opposite of a child, turning a blind eye to the openness that foments growth. As adults, we stop asking why at the most fundamental level.

Stuck in a cobweb of exciting lies, unable to dust away the boredom of truth. Reality is too sober, but that’s also why it works. It keeps us grounded in the facts.

Fearing a loss of mind

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gif via Fool’s Gold

There are very few moments in the day when we pause. Instead, we latch onto the sugary obsession of tech and its distractions, awaiting the next shock of dopamine.

But we can have tea with ourselves, going through what our worries and wishes are in the quest for ever-fleeting presence.

Man is more versatile than a machine. Robots are one-trick ponies unable to combine disciplines, like doing the dishes or driving to work, all the while contemplating the color blue. Yet, we too become blinded by linear thinking.

We confuse busyness with productivity. We falsely believe that money brings wisdom while in reality, it cultivates hubris. Humans are smart, agile, but fragile thinkers.

The search for meaning starts with a face-to-face conversation with ourselves to bring life back to our senses. Thinking about thinking verifies that the noise in our head is more than just alive.


Henry Rollins: The One Decision that Changed My Life Forever

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Talent is overrated. Hard work, discipline, grit, and consistency are attributes that increase your chances of getting what you want.

Luck is a matter of being specific about your goals and two, putting yourself in a position for good things to happen. It is the accumulation of small and steady risks that make the biggest difference and change your life.

For Henry Rollins, that meant taking a bus from DC up to New York to see his favorite band, only to go on stage and sing with them. To his surprise, they called him back later for an audition and became the band’s lead singer. In other words, he caught his lucky break and escaped a life of minimum wage jobs.

Some people get lucky by default. Their network leads them into opportunities because of the sheer dazzle of their last name. For others, hitting the jackpot it is the result of striving to achieve a very specific effort and finding those luck circles that help you make it happen.

Luck draws on the law of magnetism

Luck may be a random phenomenon but it works like a magnet, gravitating toward those hungry enough to take chances.

Success is an accumulation of little efforts that build on top of a grateful perspective, a practice of modesty that keeps you doing what you’re doing. Says Rollins:

“I don’t have talent. I have tenacity. I have discipline. I have Focus. I know, without any delusion, where I come from & where I can go back to.”

 

Who will curate the curators?

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gif by Carl Johanson

Who will curate the curators, influence the influencers, or teach the teachers?

Those who marinate the world with their point of view assume their rightness. But the signaler too must too look back in the mirror and reimagine themselves.

The true expert sees reality at arm’s length, merely touching what they know, always learning from others.

Everything we do is a false start

Fragility becomes a strength in the hunt for gathering strings of ideas. Gazing into space, the clusters of stars flash with an impulse that branches forward from moment to moment.

We do best to gut-check each other, with history whispering in our ear.

A shared stimulation keeps the world more interesting and encourages us to make small bets. We need good ideas to resume going upward as a whole.

 

‘Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it’

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If you are thinking in absolutes, the fickle world will shake you.

Uncertainty is what keeps you on our toes, never in a standstill.

Predictable patterns try to lull you to sleep.

You compel yourself to ride with the pendulum.

Comfort meets chaos with patience and confidence.

If you need reassurance, read Rudyard Kipling’s 1895 poem, “If”:

If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs…

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting…

If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim…

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you…

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it.

‘To be or not to be. That’s not really a question’

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Photo by Stefano Pollio

“To be or not to be. That’s not really a question,” quipped film director Jean-Luc Godard back to Shakespeare’s most famous line.

To be is rather a false start. We think that success breeds confidence, but it’s actually the little lessons along the way that build up our future.

Struggle makes us human

Similarly, it is our impairments that deem to weaken us that actually but end up making us stronger. As we overcompensate for our flaws, we excel in creating our own unique survival methods that are almost impossible to replicate.

Humans should march slowly, unattached to the cult of action, tolerant to their defects.

Said Malcolm Gladwell: “A lot of what is beautiful and powerful in the world arises out of adversity. We benefit from those kind of things,” but “we wouldn’t wish them on each other.”

We are all underdogs in something, a compromise that gets us out of bed in the morning and back to work.

Curiosity is not neutral

Life can be a string of unnoticeable moments.

That’s why we compel our eyes to see.

The secret to paying attention is being inquisitive.

Not just asking questions, but seeking a different perspective.

People act like each other on the surface but deep down they are unique. They know how to intuitively think for themselves.

It is impression that cages the person. It is expression that unleashes the individual.

The courage of our convictions opens the gate to opportunity, allowing for more information to pass through.

Curiosity is not neutral

Once the switch is turned, the entire world becomes our oyster.

A reminder about life from a poem by Roger Key:

“Hokusai says Look carefully.

He says pay attention, notice.

He says keep looking, stay curious.

He says there is no end to seeing.

He says Look forward to getting old.

He says keep changing,

you just get more of who you really are.

Worrying is a waste of time. Greet your anxiety instead.

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gif via Jason Clarke

It is human nature to ponder anxieties that do not exist.

The mind is a fabrication machine, developing worries before they deserve any attention. Wrote Carlos Castaneda in Journey to Ixtlan“To worry is to become accessible… And once you worry, you cling to anything out of desperation; and once you cling you are bound to get exhausted or to exhaust whoever or whatever you are clinging to.”

The only way to assuage the nerves is to focus on what’s in front of you, to do the work regardless of the way you feel. Progress happens to the relaxed.


Don’t worry before it’s time

Writes Eric Barker on his life advice blog:

You’re not your brain; you’re the CEO of your brain. You can’t control everything that goes on in “Mind, Inc.” But you can decide which projects get funded with your attention and action. So when a worry is nagging at you, step back and ask: “Is this useful?”

As a survival mechanism, anxiety pushes us to take action — the most basic fear is that we need to eat and have a place to sleep for the night. But anxiety is also a thinking problem that needs to be neutralized by greeting it at the door where it appears wearing the same costume as it did before.

Everything is going to be alright, just like it was yesterday.

Go another click

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Ask more questions, not because you want to be right but because you’re naturally curious and want to know more about the spaces inside, not the exterior of opinion. Wrote René Magritte: “Everything we see hides another thing; we always want to see what is hidden by what we see.

Every thought has one that precedes it. Opinions can be traced back to what you’ve seen, heard, or read in an effort to confirm bias. But loosen the emotional grip of sidedness. Said physicist Richard Feynman, “You must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.”


Have strong opinions, weakly held

It is not necessary to be confident in order to act. “Rightness,” wrote author Louis Menand, “will be, in effect, the compliment you give to the outcome of your deliberations.” Your gut instincts remain plastic. Dealing with conflict and uncertainty is what makes us human and non-robotic.

Going deeper provides more questions than answers. Curiosity stimulates the will for discovery. Things tend to only make sense in reverse.

Stuck on autopilot

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Do you ever ask what happened to the day that just past?

We often carry on throughout the day without thinking about our actions.

We tune out of our existence, and we turn into robots, competent without comprehension. Said writer and philosopher Colin Wilson: “The more I allow the robot to take over my life—that is, the more I live passively—the less real I feel.”

On the flip side, one can also be too mystic, excessively absorbed into the occult.

Reality is too sober

There are some things worth being awake for and others being drunk on habit. Even the routine — doing the dishes, going for a walk — can excite the deepest thinking. Meanwhile, overthinking like anxiously driving a car stresses one into accidents. Thinking how to run will trip you up.

If you can learn how to flow forward, the world becomes less sober and gamelike.

Chaos and the cosmos goad unpredictability and order, a pendulum that hangs in the balance only by staying awake while being at peace.

We can only control the whims of the market if we control our own attention, values, and beliefs.

Yet, we let go. We enroll in life, maybe even live a little.