Working on time

Some extracurricular projects have kept me busy, and I let writing slip by the wayside for about a week. Now back to a normal schedule, or at least some semblance of it. My plans going forward will have me writing ninety minutes a day, every day.

Additionally, I’ve been playing around in some coding languages and, as it’s been a long time since I had done any coding at all, the learning curve has been a bit steep. Those two projects, plus the usual miscellany I find myself involved in, will make up the bulk of my “workload.”

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More of the links that I don’t get time to share enough of. One of these weeks I’ll codify (at least somewhat) my method of sharing the things I find online, in the world, and elsewhere. For now…

Refilling the well

Inspiration isn’t something that can be emptied. Sure, we can feel blocked at times. But in reality, it’s just our own self getting in our way.

There’s no real trick to finding inspiration. One study suggests that focusing on a non-mentally demanding task can free up the subconscious to do its work. It’s why showers often bring good ideas, and thinking of a question before going to sleep can net you an answer upon waking.

Another good practice is to experience the ideas of others. I’m torn by what Seneca says about reading – “Be careful, however, that there is no element of discursiveness and desultoriness about this reading you refer to, this reading of many different authors and books of every description. You should be extending your stay among writers whose genius is unquestionable, deriving constant nourishment from them if you wish to gain anything from your reading that will find a lasting place in your mind. To be everywhere is to be nowhere. People who spend their whole life traveling abroad end up having plenty of places where they can find hospitality but no real friendships. The same must needs be the case with people who never set about acquiring an intimate acquaintanceship with any one great writer, but skip from one to another, paying flying vists to them all.” (italics for my emphasis)

I do see the value of spending time reading one author’s work and digesting it, not just glancing over it. This rumination could be akin to what Cal Newport calls deep work.

However, it’s also good to gain perspectives from many sources, especially when looking to pull from your own source of creativity. Gaining a multitude of ideas is how the well is filled.

That brand of yours

Building a brand is easy, assuming you have one unified interest. But, what if you’re someone who likes to dabble in many fields, to try new things?

The tech mogul who wants to improve healthcare. The reknowned actress campaigning for social justice. Or the one holding down a job while doing anything creative on the side.

The most important thing is just to stick with it.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison

The visibility ethics

Early in the pandemic, shortly after Congress approved trillions of dollars in aid for individuals and businesses suffering from job losses and decreased revenue, companies such as Shake Shack and Ruth’s Chris Steak House received millions under the Paycheck Protection Program. Of course, they were instantly lambasted, given the size of their organizations.

However, the purpose of any corporation is to increase value to stakeholders. Under that very broad understanding of the purpose – to make money – it would be counterintuitive to not apply for that additional revenue. 

This is an issue that is seen, again and again, currently playing out on Facebook, in Disneyland, and likely the nation.

Facebook has the choice of whether to do more to curb hate speech or to keep a more hands-off approach in the hopes of driving more revenue. Now that advertisers such as Starbucks are pulling out of Facebook (and other social media), the loss-of-revenue could become a very real driver for organizational change.

Similarly, Disney is pushing to reopen its parks here in the US. Now, we are arguably facing more of a health crisis now with spiking numbers than when we initially started shutting down back in March. Because, now, there’s little to no talk about shutting down again.

The company is dedicated to increasing revenue. If everyone else is open, why would a company self-censure itself? That could mean losses of revenue. Yet employees in Disneyland are striking against the reopening over health concerns. 

While there are businesses out there who will do the right thing at the cost of losing business, there are others who will do the accepted thing in the hopes of earning revenue. Sometimes, it’s expensive to do the right thing.

Back again, a year ago

One year ago, I was just back in the lower 48. Now I’m back again from Alaska, only several weeks removed.

Last year, after my visit, I knew that I wanted to return. I’m glad that I was able to. Now being back this time, it’s like the world fundamentally shifted.

I think it feels like that for most people right now. I, like many, are left wondering: when will it be back to normal?

The philosophy of art

“Philosophy of art, the study of the nature of art, including concepts such as interpretation, representation and expression, and form. It is closely related to aesthetics, the philosophical study of beauty and taste.”

Most of what we experience in the world is the after-effect of creation. It’s interpretation, it’s criticism, and it’s opinion. True creation is born of nothing but the imagination, and it fuels the next iteration of philosophical study.

Whether art can be defined as one thing or another is a question not agreed upon in philosophical studies. What we do know is that art has the ability to change lives, often for the better. It is thought-provoking and quite often innovative. 

The world is better for art, and art shines a light on the world that lets us see, even in the dark. 

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  • Meditation at home, for relaxation, resetting, and releasing.
  • Computer-driven policing can lead to false positives
  • Neural mapping by researchers at MIT leading to innovations in computer chip technology.
  • Moment’s streaming Film Festival on Sunday, June 28.
  • New podcast to listen to: Land of the Giants, from Recode by Vox. Some inconsistent delivery over the past year, but I can completely understand that. Good for learning about the five tech giants.

Gauging success

The metrics for success can sometimes leave us bogged down, rather than letting us focus on the important points.

I know one thing I often consider is that success is gained in the completion of a project. The important thing for me, then, is to make sure that I’m following through on actionable items and seeing the end result.

Others measure success differently, so it’s important to be honest with yourself when determining how you want to view the success or failure of something you’re working on.