The dark side of hacking and shortcuts

Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.    Andy Rooney The idea of “hacking” and taking “shortcuts” became a constant conversation alongside the tech startup movement. Both by people in the industry and those utilizing their tools which had and still have vulnerabilities. While hacking can be useful to fix and understand systems that are broken, also take leaps that set you up for the type of work you want to do, that same mindset can leak into places where it does not belong. Whenever I think of …

Creating from fullness while reaching after big things.

Taking on big projects can be daunting. There is a neverending list of tasks to tackle. Sometimes you can push yourself by feeling like you have to get over this hurdle or the next and you’ll arrive.  While milestone rewards are great, there is a more dangerous side when this is taken to an extreme. Many entrepreneurs motivate themselves by placing their entire lives several years into the future. Some sacrifice is great, but at what cost?  That psychology can bleed into their personal lives and leave them miserable. They put the life they want to live constantly a few years ahead even when they …

The Anchor And The Balloon

A couple years ago I had one of the most challenging relationships of my life. I had designed all this freedom into my career and was running around the world in such an unbounded way that my own actions were even a surprise to me. I’ve always been spontaneous and random and created lots of value for people through connections and transfers of distance ideas, but this was a new level of having absolutely no threads between my days. Then someone stepped into my life, who was equally unanchored and got knotted into my bit of twine. The result was …

Creating For Relevance

Imagination is a beautiful tool when mixed with the present. However, it can bring you to irrelevance and disconnection if you try to go too deep without opening your eyes to what’s around you. Looking intensely at your present moment environment for resources and inspiration is not only a fruitful actively but will bring you to life. It will help you create work that’s relevant and connected. I’ve met artists who are so isolated that their works become esoteric. They’re able to reach small groups of people on the off chance that their imaginative tirade lands on a branch that …

Working backward and working forward

The approach to creative work can feel foreign to people who are ingrained in structural thinking. Structural thinking is used for building projects like businesses and ventures that need systems and have are clearly defined end-goal.  With creative thinking, you’re constantly tapping into your intuition in the moment and the end goal is changing as you work towards it. You are working forwards and taking it one step at a time. There is little room for planning because you’d always be heading back to the drawing board and the moment will have passed. In business, you define an end-goal and …

The Brain Blender

If you do any type of creative work, you need to start thinking of your brain as a blender. What comes out in your work is a mix of what goes into your mind. More important than how fast it cycles around, or what type of granularity setting you select, is the ingredients. The ingredients are always the most critical component. Think of a case where you admire a certain type of work, and want to create something like it. The best thing you can do is immerse your brain in every facet of it. Find ingredients that are similar …

Seeing Is Editing

“Your job is to distill the essence.” William Zinsser, On Writing Well. This applies to writing and to seeing as well. Seeing is editing. You look out into the world and, mostly unconsciously, you notice a fraction of the stimulus available. The more familiar a focal point the less you notice, if anything at all. That’s why travel can be enlivening and shocking. Your brain has to spend cognition editing a new environment and deciding what to notice. When focusing on a subject, through drawing, photography, or writing you reclaim the steering wheel of your eyes. You decide what’s important …

The Art of Putting Things Out Place – Winner Of The Park

Dolores park in San Francisco is a spectacle every weekend. After the coconut rum, and magic truffles, there are dozens of people competing for attention in extravagant ways in the amphitheater-shaped lawn. A few years ago, I was sitting on a picnic blanket with my friend Nina and we came up with the term “winner of the park”. It’s a special trophy term for those who win the attention of the hundreds of people on that particular day, of which there are many competitors. On that day, the clear winner was a guy whipping the air, making a thunderous crack. …

The inner world as a source of clarity for travelers

 And as soon as I arrived in that place, I realized that none of that mattered and that, really, by being here, I would have so much more to offer my mother and my friends and my bosses. https://onbeing.org/blog/the-inner-world-is-a-great-undiscovered-terrain-pico-iyer/ I’m optimistic we are heading in the right direction. Michael Pollan’s new book will help. In a way, we are travelers now in a sea of stimulus.