More Objects, Less Time

Has anyone else noticed the multiplying effect that objects have on our time?

The more objects we buy, the more time we spend returning, exchanging, altering, managing, maintaining, paying off, protecting and upgrading them. The time you spent finding and buying the object is (often) only a fraction of the time investment it will require long-term.

Fill your life with too many possessions and you will spend much of your life maintaining them. Soon, your possessions will own you.

Turns out, the American Dream is not as dreamy as it seems. Buy five houses and a bunch of cars and then track how much time you spend handling all of these things- the loans, leases, insurances and maintenance around them and everything inside them. The notion of owning a lot is the American Dream because it suits the economy, not the owner.

If you believe in the preciousness of time, you should pay attention to your spending habits.

Shopping is a great pass-time if you are bored and looking for things to fill time. But if you seek to use time more effectively or create more of it, you should limit your purchasing to things which will enhance the quality of your life, are necessary to you, or which have a time-saving component built into them which ultimately outweighs the time it takes to buy and maintain it.

Some food for thought I’m taking with me as I hit the malls this holiday season.

Ho-ho-ho! Aren’t I a buzz-killing grinch? 😉

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Inertia

Inertia is at play in all our lives.
This can be good or this can be bad.
If you’ve already been doing the thing you want to do, chances are inertia is working in your favor: you have momentum in the direction you want to be going. People are probably calling you to ask you to do that thing.
Outside forces are helping to push in that direction.
Things are generally working well for you.
It’s like you’re on a bike and the wind is at your back, helping you pedal.
If you’re trying to pivot, however, inertia is going to make life more difficult.
First, you have to get mind on board with this shift in direction. That requires exceptional focus. It requires you to break out of old habits. So first you must reckon with the inertia within yourself.
Then, there’s the inertia of the world around you.
Just because you’ve made up your mind to ditch your career as a singer-songwriter and start writing books, doesn’t mean the world is on the same page.
The world around remembers you as a songwriter!
People call you and ask you to do things related to writing songs!
The projects you started before will keep tempting you, even begging you to go back.
These are last vestiges of your former momentum- the world is often the last to catch up.
It’s hard to move against inertia. That’s why people so seldom change.
It will continue to be this way until you push through it and demonstrate to both yourself and to the world that you are intent on moving in a new direction.
I don’t know what really is to be done about this force in our lives, but simply recognizing that it is at play can help us brace for the hard work of changing direction.
When we make a change, everything in our lives is going to be moving against this change, until we make enough purposeful moves in a new direction to garner a new momentum.

The vulnerability of love

Ruminating further on *the idea that our deepest desire is often bundled in our darkest fears

What is it about the thing we love that make us so afraid?

Why does our love of something leave us feeling so naked and vulnerable? So much so, that we often hide from it or avoid trying the thing we want most desperately in the world?

It’s a strange phenomenon

To reach for our greatest desire, we run the greatest risk of failure.

Truly failing- not just in an external sense of the word. A deep failure that we feel in our souls.

To run the risk of failing at something we love is the most vulnerable place we can be because we expose ourselves fully to pain.

It is easier, then, to succeed (and fail) at things we don’t care that much about.

This is why we often find more success in shadow careers- that is, careers we didn’t really want, but that seemed easier than going for the career we truly wanted. It’s easy to take risks in a career that spiritually means nothing to us. But it is oh so difficult to do the thing that would bear the most meaning to our souls.

Our fear is always showing us what that thing is.

So if you’re unsure of what you want, you might ask yourself instead- what am I most afraid to do?

That, of course, is the thing you must do, above all else.

#furk

glacier-outtake

I have trouble differentiating between what is fun
and what is work

I’m told this is a problem:
“you need to learn how to unwind”
people often tell me
“you’re working all the time!”

weirdly, I don’t feel stressed out
it’s not like I’m staring at a computer all day, madly sweating, tearing my hair out
much of my work feels like fun
much of my fun feels like work

are the two mutually exclusive?

my sister set out to prove to me one day that I did indeed know how to relax:
“see. you’re reading that fiction novel! That’s relaxing!”

“Oryx and Crake. Yes, that’s fun, but it’s also work. I’m researching for my script.”

“Hmm…ok, but you watch movies.”

“Fun, but also work. I’m trying to learn about directing styles.”

“Ok- you go out and socialize. That’s obviously just fun.”

True. I know what pure relaxation is. I know what work looks like in it’s purest form. It’s pretty clear what both ends sides of the spectrum looks like.

But it’s the middle stuff I’m confused about. And that stuff seems to fill up most of my life.

Are my photo shoots fun or are they work? They’re not easy. You could hardly call standing in a glacial lagoon at 6 am a lot of fun- not to mention the 3 days of editing that follow. But no one’s making me do it. I get relatively little in return for my labor. Is this fun or work?

Ditto movies- am I watching for pleasure or research? Hard to say anymore.

Ditto every book. Every dance class. Every networking event. Every film festival.

Is there a place in the middle of these two extremes where people like me spend most of their days? Somewhere between fun and work? Furk?

….mark it down, ladies and gentlemen. You heard it here first.

When you’re working so hard it can’t be fun, but you’re funning so hard it can’t be work…you’re hard at #furk.

Apply the least amount of pressure possible

Growing up in the dance world, I spent a lot of time learning how to spin on one leg (aka: pirourette) properly.
BRITAIN-ART-DANCE-BALLET

Getting a clean double can be difficult initially, and going beyond that into triples and upwards is what sets apart the intermediates from the pros.

It requires a great deal of balance and control to execute multiple pirouettes reliably enough to choreograph them into a routine, and so you need to be sure that whatever turns you choreograph are able to perform proficiently.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever learned about turning, was the idea that very little force was needed to pirouette 2-3 times, and that our tendency was to apply too much force going into the spin, which caused us to turn too fast and loose control.

It was a counter-intuitive idea: apply less energy, and it will become easier.

Once I tried this, I was amazed at how much easier the entire endeavor became. I was suddenly able to pirouette​ beautifully and with ease, and amazingly, I was using about a quarter of the effort I had been using previously.

It’s an interesting lesson: There’s a minimal amount of force to execute a particular action. Any force amount beyond that is excessive and wasteful to your energy.

Likewise, when I started rock-climbing, I was always gripping the wall too hard, like a frightened cat, putting too much strain on my arms and consequentially making the task of scaling the wall much more difficult. Once I got better, I learned how little strength it actually required to support my body, and that by simply relaxing my arms, I made it much more probable that I would make it to the top of the route without tiring along the way.

This, I think, is one of those concepts that can be lifted and applied to almost any area in life. How can we accomplish tasks with the least amount of strain possible? Strain, of course, can also mean mental strain.

How much of the anguish you are experiencing is actually necessary? Is there a way you can execute the same actions with a minimal amount of stress?

Is it possible that you are applying too much force to something that could otherwise be easy?

converting energy

since the industrial revolution
humans have become masters of energy
from the power of steam and electricity
to oil
wind and the sun
even splitting atoms
we have learned to harness the energy of the natural world
and convert it
to do our bidding

we artists have a similar talent
we convert the energy of our emotions
into entertainment

our frustrations
our rage
our despair
and our joy
like electricity
it fuels our art
it allows us to look in on ourselves
it enables us
to step outside our individual experience
and join in a collective one
to reflect upon ourselves
art helps us contemplate our meaning in the world

as scientists work to harness energy into useful technologies
we artists work to convert our own energy into art

technology is useful
art is not
but that doesn’t mean art is worthless
art helps us remember
our reasons for innovating in the first place
for what is the point in building
if we forget what we’re doing it for?