writing/creating something every week
I like to walk away from a week feeling that I've (1) either learned something new - about a subject or about myself (2) and produced some creative output. This doesn't have to be a published blog post, but at least putting some words to a written draft is enough. it's fun, and I love making more artifacts for me to look back upon :)
I'm still figuring out the right mixture of this, but I want my time to be split between exploring & having conversations, balanced with times of solitude, creativity, and synthesizing all that I've learned. I find that talking to people about what I'm working on helps me figure out my blindspots and keeps me in the right headspace, and consistently having alone time also helps spark my creative output. It's actually good to be bored.
Neel Nanda has a blogpost here where he calls his Sunday afternoons "afternoons of whimsy" and dedicates that time for pure play, exploration, and working on projects he's passionate about. I like to carve out a weekend morning completely dedicated to looking at interesting things on are.na or spending a morning at a cafe writing.
One of my consistent beefs with the Internet is that so many of us participate in self-mythmaking. We’re all conspiring to make ourselves seem more impressive. The overall effect is to disempower readers, who conclude that they’re just not made of the same stuff. I promise you: it’s all bullshit and nearly everyone you pedestalize as brilliant is a normal person that has their own share of flaws, anxieties, and unproductive phases. I’ve lived with a lot of outwardly impressive people, and honestly a lot of my self-belief simply comes from seeing them struggle too.
Pursuing an original or impactful career requires a ton of energy and creativity. You can coerce that energy out of yourself for as long as 10 years, but eventually you’ll burn out. The only sustainable path is to follow the gradient of aliveness, if it’s accessible. If it’s not, focus on making yourself unambiguously useful to the world. In both cases you have to have faith that the process will bring you somewhere interesting, even if you can’t see it clearly in advance. And it’s normal to be indecisive for a while. Each of my two career pivots were preceded by a year of working up the courage and conviction I needed to take the leap of faith.
following the gradient of aliveness unlocks vast stores of energy and creativity that you simply can’t sustainably access from a place of self-coercion.
Why Greatness Cannot Be Planned: The Myth of the Objective" is a book by Kenneth O. Stanley and Joel Lehman that challenges the conventional belief in setting specific objectives as the path to achieving greatness. Instead, the authors argue that greatness often arises from exploration, serendipity, and the pursuit of novelty. They introduce the concept of "novelty search," an algorithmic approach that values open-ended creativity and the discovery of new possibilities over predefined goals. The book emphasizes the limitations of rigid objectives, advocates for embracing the unknown, and provides examples from various fields to illustrate how transformative breakthroughs often occur through unexpected paths and serendipitous discoveries.
My advice to the person suffering from lack of time and from apathy is this: Seek out each day as many as possible of the small joys, and thriftily save up the larger, more demanding pleasures for holidays and appropriate hours. It is the small joys first of all that are granted us for recreation, for daily relief and disburdenment, not the great ones.
BY TONY HOAGLAND
Don’t take it personal, they said;
but I did, I took it all quite personal—
the breeze and the river and the color of the fields;
the price of grapefruit and stamps,
the wet hair of women in the rain—
And I cursed what hurt me
and I praised what gave me joy,
the most simple-minded of possible responses.
The government reminded me of my father,
with its deafness and its laws,
and the weather reminded me of my mom,
with her tropical squalls.
Enjoy it while you can, they said of Happiness
Think first, they said of Talk
Get over it, they said
at the School of Broken Hearts
but I couldn’t and I didn’t and I don’t
believe in the clean break;
I believe in the compound fracture
served with a sauce of dirty regret,
I believe in saying it all
and taking it all back
and saying it again for good measure
while the air fills up with I’m-Sorries
like wheeling birds
and the trees look seasick in the wind.
Oh life! Can you blame me
for making a scene?
You were that yellow caboose, the moon
disappearing over a ridge of cloud.
I was the dog, chained in some fool’s backyard;
barking and barking:
trying to convince everything else
to take it personal too.
I refuse to be one thing. I’m two things, three things, a hundred things at once, and I’ll be a hundred different things tomorrow. I don’t want the convenience of being collapsed, defined, optimized for legibility. I want to be aerated, blobby, and porous. I want to be the sea around an archipelago, a society of islands harboring uncountable species. I want to be a distributed self, an assembly that assembles with others, that refuses — or more appropriately, exceeds — hyper-rational, neocolonial frameworks, hierarchies, and ways of seeing.
You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.