What if the four distracted Beatles never looked up during the Abbey Road album shoot?
This cartoon presents a funny, modern-day interpretation of the iconic The Beatles Abbey Road album cover. The only thing missing, besides Paul McCartney’s shoes, is the Abbey Road zebra-crossing. Chances are the driver also works for Uber.
“We have such a high-quality camera with us all the time. But it becomes irrelevant if you can’t actually enjoy the photographs you’ve taken. Even 30 years ago there was always a box somewhere containing hundreds and hundreds of photographs. So this isn’t a new problem. What is a new problem is the sheer degree, the colossal volume of memories that we have recorded, and as important as the recording is the way of enjoying what you’ve recorded, and I think that’s something that’s just an ongoing experiment, and it’s an ongoing creative project for us.”
Smartphones make it too easy to capture and even easier to consume photos. Given the profundity of images, we don’t spend enough time reviewing them.
To quote Om Malik: “We have come to a point in society where we are all taking too many photos and spending very little time looking at them.”
The age of abundance combined with undeterred distraction poses an interesting creative problem that’s more complicated than storing boxes of photos in the attic, never to be seen again.
Whether it’s trying surfing or playing the guitar when’s the last time you did something out of pure joy?
In this Instagram-edited era where everyone gets their own stage, people only like to do things they’re good at. The thought goes: ‘if I can’t share it and show my best self, why do it?’
The aim for perfection limits the urge to enjoy hobbies for hobbies sake. As the author Tim Wu notes:
“But there’s a deeper reason, I’ve come to think, that so many people don’t have hobbies: We’re afraid of being bad at them. Or rather, we are intimidated by the expectation — itself a hallmark of our intensely public, performative age — that we must actually be skilled at what we do in our free time.”
The comedian never knows how their material will reciprocate until they get on stage and try their material. The jazz musician tweaks their tempo to test audience reaction. The writer publishes a first chapter of the book for feedback. In terms of professional life, showing your work is critical. But as a hobbyist, you don’t need reassurance. Again, writes Wu:
“Lost here is the gentle pursuit of a modest competence, the doing of something just because you enjoy it, not because you are good at it.”
Playing is natural, reception is artificial. It is hobbies that feed the soul with pure goodness. Showcasing the hobby is not necessary, but if so, neither is acing it.
Hobbies shouldn’t feel like work. They are a process to enjoy.
“The physical universe is basically playful. There is no necessity for it whatsoever. It isn’t going anywhere. It doesn’t have a destination that it ought to arrive at. But it is best understood by its analogy to music. Because music as an art form is essentially playful. We say you play the piano, you don’t work the piano.”
Luxury today and tomorrow will be defined by the ability to disconnect, to live a secret life where there’s no need to stay constantly connected for the sole purpose of a future job or fear of missing out.
Social media is a poor insurance policy. Except disconnecting is not the goal — moderation is.
An excess of anything will make you sick, your eyes roll and stomach turn. The culprits: beer, candy, coffee, tv, and screen opiates.
Drunk and unconscious, the dopamine on loop — you aren’t meant to pursue hedonism all the time. You need time to restore some willpower.
The connective power of the internet is uncanny. Mobile tech is too good to be true. But we don’t need to be a millionaire to stem its negative impact.
The key to unlocking hashtag heaven is to take a deliberate break every once in a while. Leave your phone behind or you’ll unconsciously use it.
Conventional wisdom says that we should emphasize speed over power. After all, he who runs the fastest wins the race.
But life is a marathon, not a sprint. Malcolm Gladwell once said proper books should take at least two years to write.
“We need to be a little bit more tortoise-y and a little less hare-ish.”
The era of ‘move fast and break things’ has led to a poor product. Once the darling of Silicon Valley, Facebook transformed a nemesis of democracy for permitting fake news to spread between echo chambers and the darkest of tribes.
What if instead of rushing to the finish and shipping clickbait disguised as a morally inferior product, we thought through the ramifications of greed-inspired releases. The reality is that a good consumer-friendly product takes time to build.
Testing and learning are indispensable. The extra time also allows ideas to simmer, attract feedback, and make revisions while moving forward in progression.
The principle of do small things, slowly is best illustrated in the video below. The aim is consistency and experience, not the 100-meter dash.
We demand privacy yet admit ourselves to the culture of exposure. But rather than celebrating our uniqueness, we publish the same things everybody else does: selfies, food porn, and bullet journal snapshots.
The one benefit to seeing other people’s stories is the reinforcement of FOMO (fear of missing out). The unlived life taunts one into action. In such a way, FOMO can represent a positive form of encouragement. It gets off our screens and into the real world.
Life’s richest data emerges from lived experiences rather than the pixels on a screen. Exposure carves us into beings rather than lemmings of technology’s manipulative desires.
Inspired by adventure, we pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and explore more of the parts unknown.
There it was, crushing the human will. It was the antithesis to my Kindle Jenner, a screen of sanctity for focus and learning.
The lite brite is an attention thief. Like a fresh bag of Skittles, it begs you to consume your favorite colors first.
The rainbow hue of Instagram may be the shiniest of them all. Beautiful photos have a smell, as love does.
On the go or at home, there is no sanctuary. The barrage of dopamine erases all head consciousness. Enter wonderland.
The only escape is Gmail, that insignificant other who instills a feeling of control. Yet, it too is goose chase to unproductivity.
The internet never ends. Like a perpetual wave of Hokusai-like talons, buffering into the collective consciousness. Altered attention, altered thoughts, altered beliefs, forever planted at the altar of distraction.
The goal is to be good at more than one thing. Everyone should be versatile.
But sometimes it is better to narrow yourself to expand. Instead of doing everything, you focus on doing one thing well. And the rest gets better as a result.
Take social networking for example. It’s a misperception that one has to be on all networks, sharing all the time. So you take shortcuts. After publishing a new blog post, you automatically share it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Google+.
Frictionless broadcasting may work for those who already have an acquired audience. But for the startup or entrepreneur — they will need to work harder to get attention. And the best way to do that is to pick one network and double-down.
Focusing on Twitter, for instance, may allow you to write concise tweets, insert captivating media, and include vanity links. Focusing on Instagram may allow you to include the niche hashtags related to the post that gives the image an extra boost.
Single-tasking on one marketing channel takes a strategy. Publishing is deliberate and methodical, the community engagement well-intentioned.
Less is more. The pattern of interactions will bleed into other outlets. Unlike the feather, you’ll be the wind directing all the controls.