Categories
Psychology

The paradox of thought 

Thoughts are just thoughts. They are neither good nor bad. But it's difficult to resist judging them. It seems that the harder you try to get rid of a bad thought, the worse it gets.

Thoughts are just thoughts. They are neither good nor bad. But it’s difficult to resist judging them. It seems that the harder you try to get rid of a bad thought, the worse it gets.

The key to battling negativity is accepting it. This paradox allows you to step aside from the worry and view it at face value. You can also use ‘Socratic questioning‘ to enhance your reframing; instead of berating yourself, act like you’re the one offering advice to an anxious friend.

Another tactic for conquering gloomy thinking is asking what purpose it serves. All the stress induced by politics — results you have no control over — accomplish nothing.

If you’re still stuck and need to get outside your head, meditate or do some breathing exercises. Tara Brach also has some excellent guided meditations.

When I want to escape the monkey mind, I turn on the app Focus@Will. It not only calms me down but helps me get into a productive flow.

In summary, there are four tactics for warding off pessimism:

  1. Accept the thought no matter how ridiculous or scary it is
  2. Gain perspective by using the Socratic questioning method
  3. Ask if the thinking helps you accomplish anything useful
  4. Breathe in and out, or whatever practice relaxes the mind

PS. Keep this in mind. Said cognitive psychologist Amos Tversky: “when you are a pessimist and the bad thing happens, you live it twice. Once when you worry about it, and the second time when it happens.”

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Categories
Culture

A tyranny of taste

markus-spiske-78531


Movie critics, wine connoisseurs, jazz heads — these expert analysts set the standard for what’s good, bad, and kitsch.

But what’s popular is social. Trends are the result of the wisdom of crowds. The problem with the masses though is they’re usually wrong. Marketing serves them repetition.

Taste is a property of the mind. It’s individualistic. You can’t impose it. We relinquish our individuality when we outsource our taste to tastemakers and crowds.

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Categories
Social Media Tech

Twitter’s soul decay

Rumor has it that no one–neither Microsoft, Disney, Salesforce, nor Google–wants to acquire Twitter. The common fear though is that the ‘media company’ as we know it today is going to change regardless of its new owner.

While it’s not clear how Twitter would disappear, or how your profile would renew, some of Twitter’s longest and most passionate users like Navneet Alang, find it hard to imagine a life without looking through the lens of the blue bird. Below are some of the highlights from his think-piece on the cultural and neurocognitive impact of Twitter.

On tweeting daily into the empty box:

Twitter has colonized my mind. Almost every day for just under a decade, I have checked the site, have tweeted, retweeted, been subtweeted. My mental map is the frontier surrendered, and Twitter is the empire. To become occupied by a social network is to internalize its gaze.

On tweeting out loud and developing an audience:

But a decade on, I still find myself thinking in the terms of Twitter: how each absurd, mundane happening in my life might be framed so as to be alluring to my audience, a potential employer, a date, or new friend. I still always carry my followers with me. In fact, I can’t get rid of them. They are like a ghostly companion, ever at my side. It isn’t just my tweets that have changed, but the way in which I relate to reality.

On the external impact of Twitter and other social networks:

We are always being reconfigured from the outside in. Just as the book shaped thought in a particular way, so too do the many facets of digital, each in their own way.

We might be nearing the death of Twitter but not the extinction of our inherent publicness–people still want to be influencers, celebrities, curators, and content DJs including myself. Twitter fulfills the natural urge to share and be reshared. It’s too culturally important to lose, despite all the nastiness, bullying, and offensive material, especially during this election.

Why doesn’t Facebook acquire Twitter and replace its tardy trends with live, real-time Twitter-fueled relevancy? It appears that everything good ends up in the walls of Facebook. Twitter’s plateau could spell the end of its elasticity as an open social network, proving that what matters isn’t always popular.

Categories
Creativity Productivity & Work

Listening to see

If you sharpen your listening, you can sharpen your vision. Try this: pick a sound to focus–the train passing, a nearby conversation, birds chirping–and you’ll feel start feeling more observant too.

You may notice how the light bounces off the train’s windows, the talkative woman’s curly red hair or untied shoe, or the health of tree limb hosting a bird’s nest.

The art of noticing starts with your ears and expands to other sensory areas. When you hone in on the sonic waves, everything else becomes transparent–it’s like watching an IMAX movie.

Listening is seeing on purpose. If you listen to your breath during mindfulness meditation, your mind calms down and creates a quiet zone for focus. Silence is a great canvass for your thoughts.

If you use your ears, your brain seems to work as well. Using one of the senses triggers the whole system like walking does in helping jog the mind. Make sense of the world, several senses at a time.

Categories
Newsletter

The 100% Rule, Ai Weiwei on Beijing surveillance, the California Typewriter, new tunes from Joy Orbison, and more

Pick of the week:  In 2009, former Yale professor and best-selling author William Deresiewicz addressed West Point cadets on the meaning of solitude and leadership.Read on…For tracks of the week, scroll down 🔻 


Arts & Culture

Ai Weiwei on Beijing Surveillance

One of the key traits of any artist is to protect against and take advantage of the contradictions. It goes back to what F. Scott Fitzgerald said about intelligence: “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” In this video, Chinese dissident/artist Ai Weiwei explains why he calls Beijing his home.

“I wouldn’t think Beijing’s a prison for me. But Beijing is definitely a prison for freedom of speech.”

Trekking the Shikoku henro, Japan’s oldest pilgrimage route

Financial Times writer Barney Jopson went on the Shikoku pilgrimage in Japan, a route founded and dedicated to commemorate the original 750-mile trek of Buddhist monk Kobo Daishi. Also known as Kūkai, Daishi returned from studying in China in the late 7th century AD to help import Buddhism in Japan. Jopson biked the route but given the age of many of the participants, most prefer to travel by bus while others walk.

“There are no definitive counts but each year between 80,000 and 140,000 pilgrims — known as o-henro — are estimated to travel at least part of the route. According to one survey, around 60 per cent of them are over the age of 60. The vast majority speed around on air-conditioned bus tours but a hardy band of 2,000-5,000 are estimated to do it on foot, usually completing the circuit in 40-50 days.”


Philosophy & Productivity

Solitude and Leadership

A lot of people think thinkers can’t be leaders. But that’s exactly what leadership is: thinking. The leader of a group takes what they read and hear internally and externally and originates his/her own thought. They speak for themselves. As former Yale professor and best-selling author William Deresiewicz said in his 2009 speech to West Point cadets:

“If you want others to follow, learn to be alone with your thoughts.”

The 100% Rule

Half-ass efforts produce half-ass results. The same goes for 99 percent effort. If you don’t commit 100 percent to whatever it is–quitting smoking, writing a book, taking photography seriously–it’s going to fall to the wayside.

“99 per cent is a b*tch. 100 per cent is a breeze.” Jack Canfield, The Success Principles


Social Media & Technology

Clack-clack: California Typewriter, the movie

“Keep ’em typing!” says Kenneth Alexander, a typewriter repairer with over forty years of experience. He works for California Typewriter in San Francisco, one of the last surviving typewriter repair shop in the United States.

“If you want to concentrate, if you want to write in your own mind, write with a typewriter. You see the words hit the paper. There’s no distractions.”

‘That time when I…’

One of the ways mobile behavior has changed is that instead of sharing stuff at the moment, we edit and share it later with a caption like “That time I…”. According to Washington Post journalist Britt Peterson, the phrase, and its various iterations (“that time when,” “that moment when,” etc.) create immediate intimacy with your followers which is why it works so well for celebrities, who may not want to reveal their present location for obvious privacy concerns.

“That time I” works in real time to make readers feel like they’re part of an in-group, creating collective nostalgia for events that just took place. In some way, it’s a neat linguistic trick.”


New Music

  1. Tycho – Epoch
  2. CO/R – Bells, Walking
  3. Scntst – OTD (Break Mix)
  4. Lenzman – Don’t Let Me Go
  5. Kirk Knight – Young Ones
  6. Motion Graphics – Brass Mechanics
  7. Ash Walker Music – Dark Hour
  8. COMBAT! – Jacaranda
  9. Sam Gellaitry – Life
  10. Mood Tatooed – Outsider

> Listen

If you're an artist, photographer, writer, etc., I highly recommend creating your own blog and publishing something new every day (read my post on how to set up a FREE blog on Wordpress).

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Categories
Arts Creativity Newsletter Social Media Tech

“When the brain is listening to music, it lights up like a Christmas tree.” | WellsBaum.com Digest

1. This too can be yours: Why ‘AirSpace Style’ is making all places look the same

“Digital platforms like Foursquare are producing “a harmonization of tastes” across the world”

2. The obsession with Kate Bush, explained

“I don’t believe in god, but if I did, [Kate Bush’s] music would be my Bible.”

3. This professor describes the future educated person

“In the online world the only thing you’re the master of is your collection, your archive, and how you use it, how you remix it. We become digital archivists, collecting and cataloging things.”

4. Avoid making backup plans

“For some people, not making a backup plan might indeed be beneficial in helping them put their best effort forward”

5.  Music is a performance-enhancement drug

“When the brain is listening to music, it lights up like a Christmas tree.”

6. Google Photos frees up phone space automatically

“It’ll delete your photos off your phone after syncing them to the cloud so you don’t have get that 16GB iPhone nightmare that says “storage is full.”

7. Do we have to be sad to be creative?

“Using econometrics, he calculates that a 9.3 percent increase in negative emotions leads to a 6.3 percent increase in works created in the following year. ”

8. How teens and hipsters stain the resurgence of Vinyl

“I have vinyls in my room but it’s more for decor, I don’t actually play them”

9.  How libraries stay current in the digital age

“a modern public library can be a place of exploration, play, performance and creativity, as well as of contemplation, reading and research.”

10. Lance Wyman reveals his creative process in unreleased “designlogs

“The reason I started keeping log books,’ says Wyman, ‘was that I wanted a record of what I was doing. It’s my way of keeping in touch with the complexity of the design projects that I’m working on.”

New Music


1. Combat – Jacaranda
2. Elementz of Noise – Clock
3. Minor Science – Naturally Spineless
4. The South East Grind – Secret
5. BadBadNotGood – In Your Eyes
Listen to Episode 98 | Tunes of the Week

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If you're a WRITER or aspiring blogger, I highly recommend creating your own blog and publishing something new every day (read my post on how to set up a FREE blog on Wordpress).

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