Creation Over Consumption

The human brain doesn’t learn based on consumption, it learns through creation.
– Jim Kwik

Writing for me is the best way I know of thoroughly learning anything. Writing to me is taking a concept that you understand on the surface and molding it into your own words. I realized this fact months ago by starting this blog. However, for whatever reason I stopped.

Why? The reasons seemed to change depending on my current mood when I asked myself. The blunt truth is I rationalized not doing it. It was the election, not knowing what to say, not having energy etc. When I originally started, my goal was simple: improve my writing and continue the chain so I would have a body of work to look back on. I really don’t have a good reason why I stopped. The only explanation that makes sense now is that I didn’t see the benefits at the time anymore. It became a burden. It felt like homework. I told myself “I thought I was done with homework years ago.” There is nothing worse than feeling like a once joyous activity is now homework. Even if intellectually we know something is good, when it feels like a burden and we forget why we’re doing it, we will abandon it. Our feelings toward something morph and change, and we often struggle figuring out why. Some reasons this may happen are simply with the passage of time or because of the new uses of technology. We are so overwhelmed in our lives, things are constantly changing that we don’t associate our own reasons for doing the things we once loved.

So I’ve had enough, I’m picking it back up. I’m giving it a shot, one additional push. This is my peripeteia. And I have to credit a friend for it, because sometimes that what’s we were missing—someone to show us how much we used to enjoy something and how we could gain from doing it again. Simple, right? Yes and no. She told me I had until Friday to post, and it is Friday evening as I squeeze this out. I fought every reason why I shouldn’t do it, but I gave her my word; so here it is. It may not be the quality I want, but the act of doing is so much more important.

Asking Better Questions: What I Learned During My Hiatus

In the time I’ve been away, one thing I’ve learned that has had a powerful effect on me is asking better questions. More specifically, asking empowering questions. So instead of asking “Why haven’t I written in awhile?” a better question would be simply “what is exciting in my life that I want to write about?” When I realized my questions weren’t as empowering as they could be, I stole and modified an idea I heard from James Altucher. His suggestion for coming up with better ideas is all about building up the brain strength by practicing writing ideas and in essence becoming better at idea generation. I’ve taken it one step further and said before coming up with ideas, come up with great questions.

A core belief that has shaped my personal and professional destiny is that if I continue to ask any question, I will receive an answer. All we need to do is to create a better question, and we’ll get a better answer. A metaphor I sometimes use is that life is just a Jeopardy! game; all the answers are there—all you have to do is come up with the right questions to win. – Anthony Robbins

So I’ve been replacing my morning journaling with my own morning power questions session. What questions do you think could empower you to pick something up you have been putting off? What can you gain from writing those questions down? What could that do for you if you started it now?

The Art of Fighting the Good Fight

The art of fighting the good fight.

As of this writing, this video has been seen 20,738,716 times. How many of these viewers do you think actually took his advice? How many are really “doing it” & taking on the world? Maybe 1%? We often find reasons that stop us, various roadblocks keeping us stationary. What we believe someone thinks, what we believe about ourselves or even the idea that this magical moment in the future will come and we’ll be ready then. This moment isn’t coming…

A “writer” wrote into Polly at the New York Mag asking Should I Just Give Up On My Writing?

The whole idea of “breaking through” is such a crock of shit. If you do nothing else, build a religion around this one fact. Beyond the ability to feed yourself, it doesn’t fucking matter if a million people love you or five people do. It doesn’t matter if you’re 25 or 75. You cannot pollute your life with this fixation. You can feel relevant, you can imagine that you somehow matter in the larger scheme of things, you can commit to being a force in the world, without hitting some arbitrary high score or crossing some imaginary threshold of popularity…. You can’t try to “reach” some imagined mob of dipshits, molding your work to match their dipshitty tastes. Be a lovely odd duck instead, one who hardly notices if people are booing or cheering.

The Innovator’s Playground

The media today often focuses on the narrative of how fast things are moving. There are countless examples; here and here are two examples.

In my opinion, this narrative is harmful. Not because it isn’t important to analyze the speed of change and innovation, but the story repeatedly carries a tone that pushes fear on us. I’m left asking “what does it matter how fast the progression of change is if that knowledge creates a fear of movement and leads to inaction?”

With the proliferation and constant bombardment of information from the media, fear of change is more pronounced in our psyche.

Let’s not focus on the progression of innovation causing jobs to be lost and people being “left behind.” The more important issue is how do we embrace it? How de we understand it better? Embody change and live it out to its fullest? How do we make sure we are ready for the next big thing, and not get caught up in how things were?

The world is indifferent to how you believe it functions today or how it did so yesterday. It is especially indifferent to your attachment to this feeling.

There are countless examples of people and companies being blindsided and left behind because of a lack of understanding of this idea. On the other hand, those companies and individuals that understand it are the huge winners.

Travis Kalanick has a term for this dichotomy and how to work around it. He calls it the Innovator’s Playground:

“When conventional wisdom thinks the answer is over there, and you believe the answer is over here, the largest distance between the two, I call the innovator’s playground. Now, you better be right, because conventional wisdom can be correct. But if you are right, and there is a huge distance between the two, that is where innovators and entrepreneurs find all the value and opportunity. Sometimes its really confusing to know what really is reality and what is perception.”

Humans (and all living things for that matter) have lived in constant change. Even so, our bodies and minds want some level of normalcy. We need it because our body strives for homeostasis. Predictability equals survival.

Surviving and thriving are two different things. Don’t confuse the two.

“The one who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The one who walks alone is likely to find themselves in places no one has ever been.” – Albert Einstein