Category: The Issues

Why Group Projects Are Cumbersome & Unnecessary

Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of a man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man.


And now the forces marshaled around the concept of the group have declared a war of extermination on the preciousness, the mind of man. By disparagement, by starvation, by repressions, forced direction, and the stunning hammerblows of conditioning, the free, roving mind is being pursued, roped, blunted, drugged. It is a sad suicidal course our species seems to have taken.


And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about. I can understand why a system built on a pattern must try to destroy the free mind, for this is one thing which can by inspection destroy such a system. Surely I can understand this, and I hate it and I will fight against it to preserve the one thing that separates us from the uncreative beasts. If the glory can be killed, we are lost.


– John Steinbeck

East of Eden

 

Triple Down on Your Strengths and Stop Complaining

Good life/career advice from Gary Vaynerchuk (investor in Uber, Snapchat, Venmo, et al). Stop bitching, get to work, and if you’re lucky enough to be good at what you like, you’re in a unique and fortunate position. Capitalize on it.

(If you aren’t a fan of cursing, feel free to loosen your grip and relax for 109 seconds while you watch this.)

Full podcast link here. Worth the time.

Love Cliches to Wow That Special Someone This Valentine’s Day

This V-Day, ditch the old standards and try one of my modern love lines instead:

  • “I love you like white millennials love ‘Regulate’ by Warren G Feat. Nate Dogg.”
  • “I love you like moms loved Oprah in the nineties.”
  • “I love you like progressives love Beyonce.”
  • “I love you like white girls love Ellen.”
  • “I love you as much as Trump supporters love saying ‘it’s not a permanent ban.'”
  • “Life with you is so much better, similar to how each film would be better with the inclusion of Tom Hanks.”
  • “I hope our time apart always goes as quickly as the MLB offseason. Pitchers and catchers report soon.”
  • “I love you like Texans love Texas.”
  • “I love you as much as non-Texans hate Texas.”
  • “Quitting you is harder than quitting Facebook.”

 

What Anxiety Feels Like

I’m going to tell you a story.

Last night I had probably the worst bout of anxiety of my lifetime. If not the worst, definitely top five. In the grand scheme, it wasn’t a huge deal, because I was at home, safe and alone with my wife, so all I had to do was lie down and ride it out. It was also self-inflicted; I did some things I know can cause it, and knowing full and well I was putting myself at risk, I went ahead and did them anyway. So that part was my fault, and it was stupid, and I won’t do it again.

But lying there in bed, hoping and praying that the madness would just release me long enough to close my eyes and go to sleep, I had one lucid thought:

Nobody knows what this is like.

Now, that’s not totally true. A lot of people deal with anxiety/depression/panic disorders, and while it’s impossible to know that anyone is feeling the exact same thing you feel inside your own head—it can feel pretty lonely in that locked room—chances are good I’m not the only one on earth who’s experienced these very feelings. But every time you have an attack like this, it feels like you’re the only one it’s ever happened to, because it’s terrifying, and it’s odd to think that others are going through these same things and not talking about them.

Because that’s the thing; we don’t talk about them. I’ve gone most of my life without mentioning this to anyone, and just recently have I begun confiding in my closest friends and family members. There are two reasons for this:

  1. It’s embarrassing. I don’t know why, but the idea that my brain does things to me that I can’t control, and these things can be awfully scary, isn’t something I like to share. It makes me feel weak, and crazy.
  2. It’s extremely hard to explain. The words we use for this stuff—anxiety, panic, etc.—do a terrible job summarizing what you actually feel. When I hear “anxiety,” I think, “oh that person must be worried about something.” At least I did, before this shit started happening to me.

30

I’m 30 now, the age I was always meant to be. This seems like a good time to write a post with some subheads of conclusions I’ve reached in three decades. Luckily, I have subheads AND conclusions, though I reserve the right to modify both.

1. The work is its own reward.

For me, “the work” is writing. (Also sometimes photography, and frequently video editing, but in this particular instance, I’m mostly talking about writing.) For you, it might be something else. Woodworking, perhaps. Or design. Or maybe it’s writing. Regardless, in any creative endeavor, it’s easy to get caught up in the end result.

What will I do with this?

Will anyone buy this?

Will I ever finish this?

For me, these thoughts have been often prevalent. What’s the point of it all, anyway? Money? Acknowledgement? Surely the work must have a concrete, tangible, validating end result to make it worthwhile, yes?

Through a fair amount of seeking, I’ve found the answer to be, “not really.” These things are nice, yes, and we need the occasional sprinkling of them to keep motivation (I do, anyway). But the truth is, the real reward is just the work itself. Not even the final product, but just the work. The process of sitting down to write, or firing up the space heater in the garage and getting into a hunk of pine (or ash? Oak? Whatever you people use). The process. The challenge. The act of engaging, of concentrating, of working through it. Of consciously tuning out distractions and giving the time to yourself to do your work. This is the gift. The cathartic, unique, independent practice of doing your work. And, when it’s over, of having done the work.

That’s where the reward lies. And, whatever the medium, that’s the reason we started doing it the first place. The purpose is the work, and the work is the purpose.

(For more on this, I highly recommend Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. Right up there with any book on craft/process. Motivating, enlightening, and an easy read.)

The One Thing I’ve Read That Actually Explains the Trump Thing

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It’s Not About Red And Blue States–It’s About The Country Vs. The City

I posted this to Facebook, but I’m putting it here, too, because this is by far the best thing I’ve read in attempting to explain how the Donald infiltrated American politics. Kudos to friend of the Lodge Zach Barnett for bringing it to my attention.

How Half Of America Lost Its F**king Mind. Via Cracked.

Yes. Freaking Cracked. It took the guy from Cracked Magazine to examine this in an honest way. God help us all.

Here’s why it’s good: