Sometimes you’ll walk into Grand Central when it’s still light outside and shoot out of the exit tunnel into complete darkness.
Going from light to dark in a short period of time is like having the electricity suddenly go out. The eyes flicker to readapt to the new surroundings.
For some, the first appearance of night signals rest. Most people use this time to sleep or play with their gadgets. A few people drink to escape reality. Even fewer people spend the time to work on something meaningful.
Someone like Joseph Heller wrote Catch 22 in the evenings after work. He’d write for two or three hours a night after his job as an advertising executive doing campaigns for magazines. He was not a tortured artist. He found as much joy in his day job as writing Catch 22 at night. “I couldn’t imagine what Americans did at night when they weren’t writing novels,” Heller said.
What you do at night is the stuff you’re truly passionate about. Side projects are really the things that leave an imprint on the world.
The freedom to create always clashes with the stresses of cash. No one pays you to occupy free time. That’s why it’s ever more important to leave the light on in your head while everyone else’s brain shuts down.
Darkness sparks the brightest moments.
We all do something that contributes to someone, something, or a company. We all provide a service to each other, directly or indirectly. Someone is at least making decisions that impact the way customers interact with receiving the product from employees.
We’re all workers, separated by different types of tasks, some digital, some that require our feet to be on the ground making stuff at the factory or serving customers within the store.
At the end of the day, we have to work in order to eat and have time to play. We all have to do something in order to survive.
As mass produced laborers, which of us are leaders and which of us are lemmings? Pride is hard to come by. Making decisions from the top and doing the hard hand work below can be equally automated.
How to make a significant impact?
Planning is really a rough sketch of how you want things organized and how you wish them to go. The rest of the time you should be chipping away at your goal.
Plans jumpstart the action engine just like stretching warms you up to exercise.
Plans never pan out exactly how they were designed. They often get tweaked along the way. Flexible plans enable more opportunity while rigid plans impede pivoting.
Planning sets the general guidelines for execution. Move forward and adapt.
Part of the reason I keep this blog is to force myself to write every day, in the open and ready for criticism.
At this point, the daily ritual of blogging is like brushing my teeth; if I don’t do it I just worry about it until I do it. It’s the unscratchable itch.
“Inspiration is for amateurs.” - Andrew Zuckerman
Inspiration is futile. I’m going to ship something daily regardless, throw my words out there to see what sticks. I don’t even like the writing so much as the consistency. If I can do this, I can do just about anything else. The practice of work keeps me inspired.
I was blogging every day for years with just a few followers. And those followers were my friends. Now I’ve got a couple hundred that may or may not even be there anymore. The size of the audience doesn’t matter; I’m still hitting the publish button every 24 hours.
Do you see any ads or tagged purchase links on this site? I’m not doing this for the pennies.
Sure, a like or share from others vindicates the work, makes me feel useful. But there’s always room for more writing, more improvement and more confidence in doing more in just about anything.
I update this blog mostly for my creative self, partly for the readers, and just because I can. This blog is my microphone. You can turn it off completely or check in whenever you want. I promise that I’ll post something new every day.
Sometimes the adjacent trains zoom by so fast you can still see the other side, uninterrupted, just through two additional windows instead of one.
Passenger head silhouettes pop in an out of view rapidly, none of which look the same. The people standing up look like giants.
Perspective is whatever you want to see plus awareness. Life moves fast. It’s vital to stick to a vision unimpeded while being equally aware of your surroundings.
You have to know what’s in your way. Sometimes a hurdle is an open door to opportunity. You’ll never see other opportunities if you solely focus on your main goal. Tunnel visions blinds.
The environment is open to adherence and mutation. Nothing stands still, time always keeps moving. But everyone has the ability to stay composed and open-minded as keen students of life.
“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” - F. Scott Fitzgerald
Think about it all you want. It’s never as bad as you think.
The mind seeks certainty before occurrence. Naturally, we think of negative outcomes first.
Few people are confident in their ability to succeed. These people are either well prepared or simply overconfident, which can be equally as bad as being too pessimistic. Never fabricate your past work nor future effort.
Embrace fear, worry about the future so you’re forced to over-prepare. Preparation makes you quicker on your feet.
As soon as you feel confident enough, let go. You can’t predetermine an outcome. The only thing you can control at that moment is focus and flow. Remain steady throughout.
Interests should evolve. As a kid, it was toys. As a teenager, it was video games. In college, it was social networking and dating. As a young worker, it was a continuation of college interests minus the time.
As a settled adult, interests are now wide open. With a clean slate, you may explore new activities, re-pursue an old ambition, appreciate art.
As you grow older you take an active interest in things you thought were once boring growing up. But you’re also less likely to experiment actually doing those things. Maybe you would make a good writer or History teacher?
Experience doesn’t equate to expertise. Once people get good at something, they stop wanting to get better. You can catch up to them with time and patience.
Obviously, things come much easier if you’ve been dribbling a ball at your feet or playing the piano since you were a kid. Those skills appear innate. But you don’t have to be great to try those things. Play pickup.
You can always convert curiosity into doing. Don’t settle with full consumption and leaning on others to make stuff for you. Create things you can call your own, even if they’re shitty. Learn what it feels like to start again.
Success contains both pleasure and pain. Working hard backlashes when the gains run out. That’s when you seek success elsewhere.
Everyone wants continued progress, positive results. The problem with this sort of thinking is that is causes perpetual stress and inevitable disappointment. One can’t possibly achieve promotion all the time.
Instead, try thinking about success in terms of preventing failure. Make sure the business operates smoothly and then success may come.
You can be both a pusher of pleasure and preventer of pain at the same time. Innovation excites while maintenance relaxes.
The most amazing help goes unseen. It’s the help you never notice because it’s been going on since childhood.
You don’t realize how much Mom did for you until you’re grown up and have to do everything yourself: work, pay the bills, clean up, buy the groceries, feed the dog, negotiate the lease, make/answer all the calls, basically organize your life so nothing goes undone while ensuring that there’s always something to do. Mom never wants to see you bored.
Responsibility is hard. It’s stressful just imagining Mom taking responsibility for you, herself, and everyone else in the family including Dad.
It was never about Mom. It was always about us. Did she ever get time to herself? Mom makes me feel so selfish.
Mom still calls herself Cinderella. She’s a workhorse, constantly on the move, inspiring others to get up and go. I’m not even sure she sleeps.
Mom always encourages us to take risks and do good. She finds ways to poke us when we get lazy or lose hope.
Rarely does Mom do things for us anymore although she still sneaks money into our pockets now and again. Mom wants us to figure it out on our own and fail to succeed. There’s no learning in fear that goes untested.
Mom is plain bold. I always felt sorry for anyone that irritated Mom. They got it back good.
Mom epitomizes hard work and care. She sets the bar high for anyone to follow in her footsteps.
Every Sunday I re-read one of my own hand-written inspirational notes to get me focused for the upcoming week. The last sentence is always “Be like Mom.”
I want to be like my Mom each and every day, every way.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.
The main differences between the local and express trains are the number of stops and speed.
You can take an express train that leaves 15 minutes later than the local and still get to the same destination 5 minutes quicker.
However, seats are limited on the express train while the local has plenty available. The faster train may save you time but it may also be the least comfortable route.
In many ways, life is a perpetual decision between taking the local or taking the express train.
You can fast-track a goal and be done with it but be really stressed along the way. Or you can gradually get to your destination by slowly progressing, enjoying the process.
Everyone has to choose the path that’s right for them. Some people will mix it up depending on priorities that day or simply what’s available at the time. For instance, you may completely alter your original intention of which train to take simply because it’s running late and the other is available at that moment.
Most important is the realization that you’ve got to get on the train and just go. Once you’re on, you’re on; there’s no turning nor looking back. You have to live with your decision.
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
I had the great pleasure yesterday in seeing advertising genius Alex Bogusky talk about “How marketers are going to save the world.”
He explained how brands are the new nation-states, primarily responsible in controlling how the world works.
But capitalism is complicated. Competition creates shortcuts which leads to things like pollution and poor factory working conditions.
Cheating business as in life is also impossible to get away with. Transparency and doing good is the new currency. You’re better off calling yourself out rather than waiting “for someone else to do it to you.”
Doing the right thing is hard. Bogusky urges companies to lead consumers in a genuine way. Help people help themselves.
Bogusky buys signs from homeless people, one to give back but two to acknowledge the diversity of advertising. Some homeless people write banal help signs; others write funny, memorable ones that poke fun of current events.
The art of making money is sometimes art itself, how we choose to express ourselves.
“Marketers are at the front lines of a new capitalist revolution. Between citizen consumers and corporations.”
Nevertheless, Bogusky reminds us that transformative campaigns require lots of cash. We must resist the temptation to spend it on false impressions.
TV is a distraction from reality. So are video games, books, Internet, and social media. We consume these things mostly for entertainment but also because they allow us pass time and dream.
But the content becomes dangerous when we actually start thinking that’s how life actually works.
It turns out that life is much harder than what appears on screen. You’ve got to work for things, and so does everyone else. Every human is fallible even though the people you admire want you thinking their life is 100% glamorous.
Perfection is a script to be unfollowed. How you react to the demands of daily life determines the real person you become.
What people often overlook is that pragmatists also believe in evolution. They believe in betterment, receptive to changing their ways to improve the way of life.
Pragmatism, however, is not an excuse to cheat in order to progress although it seems practical if you can get away with it.
Pragmatism still requires the practice of fairness and adheres to the fundamentals laws of society, mostly because these laws simply work. Rules maintain the peace.
Pursuing what works is a simple philosophy that prevents stagnancy. Open-mindedness is ultimate case for self-worth. Learning, loving, having faith, and finding better ways keeps life exciting. In short, pragmatism requires positive, perpetual movement.
Good luck thinking your weird. There’s now a niche online for everybody.
Now that you’re no longer unique, the next challenge is how to stand out amongst the group.
You can stand out by finding something first, recommending an alternative perspective, stealing like an artist and mashing up what’s known to create something that looks completely new.
In a world where you’re not as different as you think, experimentation is more important than ever. Pushing evolution is your key differentiator.
People say do the hardest task first thing in the morning and the rest of the day is easy.
That may be true but sometimes you need to take care of the trifling stuff like email to develop a rhythm and get in work mode. The small actions are little achievements that unlock the confidence to attack bigger priorities.
You can only complete so much in a day anyway. Satisfaction is knowing you made a bit of progress.
There are obvious methods to maximize work productivity. But there’s no one right way to operate. Life gets in the way. So do new projects and countless other distractions. You just have to do your best to tread and ship when you can.
The work just keeps on piling up. You might as well enjoy the process and embrace busyness. You’ll be even more nervous when there’s nothing to do.