No one is normal

No one is normal

The environment that we live in intends to become a part of our mind. But there’s always a mismatch between who we know we are and what others expect us to be.

Human beings are intricate. No one individual is alike. Mimetic thinking makes us feel worse, not better in the long-run.

Conforming is like trying to stuff positive thinking down our throats — it just doesn’t work. Nor does medicating us out of our creative urges.

seth godin we are all weird book cover

“It’s human nature to be weird, but also human to be lonely. This conflict between fitting in and standing out is at the core of who we are.” 

Seth Godin, We are all Weird (Amazon)

What does work is the freedom of expression and the celebration of uniqueness. Sure, we are binder by rules and law, but when it comes to taste, we should feel free to do whatever we want.

The internet proves that normal is boring. It is the so-called weird at the edges that are forming niches and making stuff happen.

PS. The ‘No one is normal' tote bag comes courtesy of The School of Life gift shop. You can also snag more stuff on their Amazon page.  

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Do heart-work

“Those who work much do not work hard,” wrote Henry David Thoreau in The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, 1837–1861./Do heart-work

“Those who work much do not work hard,” wrote Henry David Thoreau in The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, 1837–1861 (Amazon).

Hard work pays off. Much of what we achieve in life is the result of persistence. That's why everyone encourages each other never to give up. 

But on the flip side, work can also be a labor of love. There are jobs that we'd do for free. 

So as the days pass in working, working all the time, double-check to make sure that you're heart is in the labor too. Heart work is a support system for your life.

“The work of the eyes is done. Go now and do the heart-work on the images imprisoned within you.”

Rainer Maria Rilke

gif by Libby Vanderploeg

Near and far

If you have something to look forward to, even if it's an exaggerated goal, it'll push you to find the right focus. Near and far are more attached than you think. #gif #philosophy #life

The basis for life is all interpretation, an internal chatter that either zaps positive momentum or dwells on negativity and drains the well.

For starters, your attitude should weave together what optimizes you rather than than conflicts. For example, instead of looking at your day job as a means of necessary survival, try to find how it bends toward your expectations.

If you have something to look forward to, even if it's an exaggerated goal, it'll push you to find the right focus. Near and far are more attached than you think.

gif via @abjahanbin

A guide to art

Art is the ability to get lost and navigate by the gut.

Art is teachable but its answers require no education at all.

Art is the act of perpetual innovation.

Art is expression on canvass, a business product, a speech, and countless other remarkable creations.

Art is controlled randomness, a collection of disparate things.

Art is a messy mastery of movement and environment.

Art is fun, a playful and professional act.

Art is a wave of endless inspiration.

Art is both free and commercial.

Art is deliberate work, sweat and tears. Failure to acceptance is a long process.

Art is ultimately undefinable. But when you see it, you know it.

gif via

Wear Space is a cubicle for your face

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Panasonic is developing blinders for your face so you can preserve a “personal psychological space.” The company debuted the item dubbed Wear Space last year at SXSW in Austin. Writes the product website:

As open offices and digital nomads are on the rise, workers are finding it ever more important to have personal space where they can focus. WEAR SPACE instantly creates this kind of personal space – it’s as simple as putting on an article of clothing. The device can be adjusted based on the level of concentration you desire, so it adapts to the various situations you’ll find yourself in.

The device also comes with Bluetooth headphones just in case you want to shun the world, office, or coffee shop out even more.

While these look like ridiculous racehorse blinkers, they could actually be remarkable. Until then, I'll stick to my scientifically optimized music to help me focus.

A coherent me

The story we tell ourselves works to combat the harsh reality of Monday mornings.

We buck the reassurance of controlled variables for the sake of a cloudy destiny.

Stuck and predictable. We stop beating the heart to our own drum.

Instead of chasing our dreams, we ride the coattails of others.

We become a cog that seeks to please rather than to push.

How we align our attention, to the duty or to the clusters of individual freedom, is what determines our self-worth.

The story we tell ourselves works to combat the harsh reality of Monday mornings.

We buck the reassurance of controlled variables for the sake of a cloudy destiny.

Self-scrutiny is the thief of joy

What do you for a living? It's either the first or last question you want to answer at a dinner party.

Any time you have to open up about a personal topic it burns the lips.

Comparisons are natural, contentedness is artificial. Everyone acts happy but they always want what they don't have.

If you earn $50,000 a year, you want $100,000. If you're stuck in a cubicle, you want to work from the beach. If you're single, you want a partner.

The opposite is true: just switch the latter with the desire for more time, a stable job, and more privacy.

Life is a game riddled with paradoxes. This realization should elucidate what truly motivates you.

Your level of happiness depends on your ability to appreciate what you got multiplied by a personal projection of where you want to go.

Self-scrutiny is a therefore a type of theft.

Creativity is a game of inches

It comes as no surprise that bad work begets good work — the more you create, the more you have to play with.

People mistakenly believe that successful artists excelled all along. But what you see as the viewer is mostly the result of trial and error.

What I enjoy about the internet is that you can show your work. Anyone can put their art out into the world and get immediate feedback, even if the latter is crickets. Dead silence may inspire you to be more expressive, in some cases, intensely provocative.

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

It takes a lot of time and a ton of practice to recreate what you consider good taste. It also takes a lot of courage to be one of the crazy ones trying something new. But the artist can't combat convention until they master the basics first.

From emulation to originality, the entire creative process seems to happen slowly and shimmers when it thinks you're ready. Until then, cultivating talent is a game of inches.

Risky indecision

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In the absence of ideas, we're lost floating at sea.

Weighed down in idea debt, a lack of action can have the same debilitating effect.

Interia is the purported enemy. Just write the truest sentence already.

What works better is facing fear and proceeding right into it.

Keep your eyes on the prize and spend your time wisely, for the latter is never under your control.

Remain undecided at your own risk. Faith knows that even the wrong ideas fail successfully.

Creativity is a fancy version of productivity

People confuse busyness with productivity. Answering emails all day is mostly a waste of time, as is instant messaging co-workers. Doing something — typing into little boxes all day — fulfills the human desire to feel useful.

Similarly, people often perceive what artists do is an unnecessary use of time. But creativity is a fancy version of productivity.

When it comes to painting, songwriting, and any other artistic vocations, nothing gets wasted. Scraps and shitty rough drafts lead to the best answer.

Sensible work gets us paid. Yet, when we photograph everything, we look at nothing. Without propelling the imagination and putting work on the canvass, we are just waiting for the next rebound under the basketball hoop rather than looking how to score.

‘Intention without action is an insult to those who expect the best from you’

Andy Andrews, The Noticer

Despite popular belief to the contrary, there is absolutely no power in intention. The seagull may intend to fly away, may decide to do so, may talk with the other seagulls about how wonderful it is to fly, but until the seagull flaps his wings and takes to the air, he is still on the dock. There's no difference between that gull and all the others. Likewise, there is no difference in the person who intends to do things differently and the one who never thinks about it in the first place. Intention without action is an insult to those who expect the best from you.

— Andy Andrews, The Noticer

The only reassurance you need

We treat fame and social media status like currency. We presuppose that anonymity or a lack of engagement trivializes what we do.

Even worse, we let TV and Instagram determine our self-worth.

But what and who matters is rarely popular. No one wants to pull back the curtain and see the sweat and tears of a Van Gogh, who toiled in obscurity his entire living life. He never knew publicity.

Even if you've achieved some level of recognition, what you consider your best work will almost always contrast with the public perception.

At the end of the day, humans want to feel necessary. They want to commit themselves to a worthy discipline, whether's it's expressed through art or driving an Uber to support the art or vice versa.

It's a canard to think that fame predetermines whether your matter or not. The most important things in your life are provided by the most anonymous people.

Fame is fake stimuli. If you feel like your work matters, that's the only placebo you need.

Impatient with action, patient with results

Impatient with action, patient with results.

Taking consistent, small steps, each day turns thousands of drips into a bucket of water.

But it’s not so much the practice that matters. It is the execution.

Shooting the basketball with improper form every day is not going to help come game time. The fundamentals for adaptability go missing.

The mice who run the same track each time to get a pellet may miss the more appetizing snack on the detour.

The purpose of continued work is to reveal new opportunities. The beam of attention we direct at the world corresponds to what we receive in return.

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