Andy Warhol: ‘As soon as you stop wanting something you get it’

“At the times in my life when I was feeling the most gregarious and looking for bosom friendships, I couldn’t find any takers, so that exactly when I was alone was when I felt the most like not being alone. The moment I decided I’d rather be alone and not have anyone telling me their problems, everybody I’d never even seen before in my life started running after me to tell me things I’d just decided I didn’t think it was a good idea to hear about. As soon as I became a loner in my own mind, that’s when I got what you might call a ‘following.’ As soon as you stop wanting something you get it. I’ve found that to be absolutely axiomatic.”

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Ta-Nehisi Coates on words that don’t belong to everyone

On a book tour for his lates tbook We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy, bestselling author Ta-Nehisi Coates answers a white student who asks if it’s acceptable to sing along with songs that feature the n-word.

Watch how he tees up the answer.

“For white people, I think the experience of being a hip-hop fan and not being able to use the n-word is insightful. It will give you a little peek into the world of what it means to be black. To be black, is to walk through the world and watch people doing things that you cannot do.”

‘Trust that your intuition is leading you somewhere.’

The Love Mindset

“A leaf does not resist the breeze. A goose does not resist the urge to fly down south. Is this not happiness? Is this not freedom? To access this incredible state, we need only one thing: Trust. Trust that, when you are not holding yourself together so tightly, you will not fall apart. Trust that it is more important to fulfill your authentic desires than listen to your fears. Trust that your intuition is leading you somewhere. Trust that the flow of life contains you, is bigger than you, and will take care of you—if you let it.”

 
— Vironika Tugaleva, The Love Mindset: An Unconventional Guide to Healing and Happiness

‘Every book is the wreck of a perfect idea’ ✍

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via Rebecca Hendin

“Every book is the wreck of a perfect idea,” observed novelist Iris Murdoch.

If you think you’re going to write a masterpiece, it’s already too late. It never works out that way. What you imagine in your head rarely translates to the same excitement on paper.

The best bet is to start writing and see where it goes. Writing, like photography and music, is all in the edit. It’s knowing what to keep, what to throw away, and what’s worth tweaking. As Miles Davis declared: “It’s not the notes you play, it’s the notes you don’t play.”

How are you going to know until you get it down?

When it comes to writing, you’ll never know where you’re going until you get there. So you might as well just dive into it. Perhaps writer Louis L’Amour put it best: “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”

Habit fields: Where we work impacts how we work

Where we work impacts how we work, or play. As creatures of habit, we can let certain zones remind us what to do.

Writer Jack Cheng uses a ‘distraction chair‘ at home to social network and check email while he saves focused work for the desk. Author Austin Kleon separates his desk between digital and analog.


But all habits take discipline. As soon as we start mixing tasks like skipping from Twitter to an important presentation the ‘habit field‘ loses its power as a trigger for experiences.

Whether we read from bed or write standing up, “we become what we behold,” said Marshall McLuhan, “We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.”

That tool isn’t just a computer or a notebook. It also includes the couch.

‘It is a joy to be hidden, and a disaster not to be found.’

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Photo by Wells Baum

Success bears responsibility. All of a sudden, your work and words mean something because the first time in your life people who you’ve never met are listening to you.

“It is a joy to be hidden, and a disaster not to be found.”– D.W. Winnicott

The alternative to fame is anonymity. Van Gogh gained recognition after he died. Before that, he had only sold one painting to his brother.

For some, success turns people into leaders. For others, it causes them to curl back into their shell and their echoes to faint. The spotlight curbs their creative freedom.

For the rare few, they keep on trucking and stick to the person they’ve always been. When it comes to any notoriety, self-expression should always trump impression. The latter is never the point of doing good work.

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Einstein’s theory of happiness

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Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images

In 1922, short off his Nobel prize in physics, Einstein traveled to Tokyo to deliver a 4-hour lecture at the Imperial Palace. But he also left someone an important message on happiness.

Out of tip money at his hotel, Einstein instead gave his Japanese courier a nugget of wisdom:

“A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.”

In other words, be a little more tortoise-y and a little less harish. Nearly a century later, Einstein is still reminding us to enjoy life’s process.

Einstein’s Note On Happiness, Given To Bellboy In 1922, Fetches $1.6 Million

Look, imagine, and remember

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“In order to think we must speculate with images.” — Aristotle

It’s impossible to remember anything without seeing the image in our head first. With a little effort, we can activate our brains to become conscious recorders.

But the banality of everyday life tends to dull the senses. Blind to routines which automate thinking, we float by the external world without acknowledging its subtleties. Mobile phones further exacerbate attention; some people admit that the addictiveness of the rectangular glow makes walking harder.

We must force ourselves to look for distinctiveness. No one ever forgets a purple cow or rainbow zebra, even if it’s a figment of our imagination.

Teju Cole on the flood of images in a mobile-first world

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Photo by Wells Baum

There is a photograph coming at you every few seconds, and hype is the lingua franca. It has become hard to stand still, wrapped in the glory of a single image, as the original viewers of old paintings used to do. The flood of images has increased our access to wonders and at the same time lessened our sense of wonder. We live in inescapable surfeit.

— Teju Cole, from ‘Finders Keepers’ in Known and Strange Things

Remembering Steve Jobs: ‘Stay hungry, stay foolish’ 📱

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via giphy

Steve Jobs died six years ago today. He was 56 years old. His uniqueness, unconventional leadership, and big-picture thinking will never be forgotten.

Jobs made tech fashionable. He made sure to remind us that we are the creators.

Below are some of my favorite Jobs’ quotes.

“Make something wonderful, and put it out there.”

“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.’

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people. Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.”

“When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it… Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”