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Turning problems into opportunities

Opportunities and problems go together, often masked as one of the same. It’s your perspective that determines how well you exploit this dialectic.

It’s always easier to play the role of a pessimist. Bad thoughts are typically stickier than good ones. Optimism is harder to produce.

However, when you look at your challenges with a pragmatic lens, you realize there’s hope.

There will inevitably be some wins along the way, even if they’re incremental. After all, the Chinese word for crisis combines the characters for danger and opportunity.

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”

Willliam James

The mind quickly identifies fake and forced positive thoughts. It also catches you from falling into a morass of negativity.

When you run away from a problem because the amygdala has told you to play it safe, you pass the opportunity by.

Dancing with the tension between thought and action motivates the search for solutions. He who hesitates caused by the dizziness of anxiety — a type of failure in advance — is sure to be lost.

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Life & Philosophy

The geometry of thought

We comprehend in all shapes and sizes.

What’s worthwhile inside is not what we’re told to know but we can intuit.

Nothing carries with it explanatory information, only stories as solidified, validated, and retold by others.

Unlabeled, we bask in memes and coherent narratives.

That is why we must negotiate unfamiliar situations with alternatives.

Seeing the other side means doing it differently and albeit, more effectively.

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Life & Philosophy

The mind is a kite

The gravitational force of paradoxes always flies the mind in different directions, it the unconquerable stick of our intentions.  #amwriting #poetry gif
via giphy

Think about a purple cow, a rainbow-striped zebra, or a dog driving a pick-up truck. Now try to jettison those images from your mind.

Mull over why you’re happy and you may cease feeling so.

The process of getting stuck and unstuck originates from the same internal wiring. The unexpected unwanted variable always stings with a force of awareness. Now try this:

Here’s an interesting trick to try: let your arm dangle but continue to think about swinging it in a controlled way without actually doing it. You will notice that your arm does not dangle as freely. You really do have to let the associated mind states go, a trick many uptight people never learn, which makes them poor learners overall. If you can’t let go, an instructional process cannot take over.

Why We Slouch by Venkatesh Rao

The gravitational force of paradoxes always flies the mind in different directions, it the unconquerable stick of our intentions.

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Creativity

Memory is not the enemy of creativity

Great find by Alan Jacobs from the book The Craft of Thought by Mary Carruthers, where it’s pointed out that medieval culture emphasized memorization as means of innovation.

The orator’s “art of memory” was not an art of recitation and reiteration but an art of invention, an art that made it possible for a person to act competently within the “arena” of debate (a favorite commonplace), to respond to interruptions and questions, or to dilate upon the ideas that momentarily occurred to him, without becoming hopelessly distracted, or losing his place in the scheme of his basic speech. That was the elementary good of having an “artificial memory.” …

I repeat: the goal of rhetorical mnemotechnical craft was not to give students a prodigious memory for all the information they might be asked to repeat in an examination, but to give an orator the means and wherewithal to invent his material, both beforehand and — crucially — on the spot. Memoria is most usefully thought of as a compositional art. The arts of memory are among the arts of thinking, especially involved with fostering the qualities we now revere as “imagination” and “creativity.”

Perhaps rote memoritization isn’t so bad as it seems, assuming its foundation leads on to creative forms of thinking.

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Creativity Life & Philosophy

Stimulate the imagination

Presence is about more than chasing mindfulness. It’s also about pulling intelligence from the heart.

It is possible to know something before asking how you know it. You don’t analyze a morning breeze; it feels like an extension of the imagination.

Think less, not more, to unlock the unconscious and get out of your own head. Maintain your curiosity about everyday things to help you escape the routine. Noticing stimulates itself.

Categories
Creativity Life & Philosophy Psychology

Thin Slices of Anxiety

The troubled mind can turn doubters into doers. Anxiety is a tool for action, prompting us to do something about our nagging worries. The longer we wait to tackle anxiety, the more uneasy we get.

Anxiety creates a fear that doesn’t exist. Yet we can be assured that there will always be some sort of change.

Read more on Anxiety