Oct, 2011 (2011-10-14 08:45)
I’ve avoided the media surrounding Jobs’s death, mostly because of being busy with the changing landscape of work and family. Today I sat down and read some of the epitaphs and chronologies of his life and was a bit overcome at just how much he accomplished in 56 years.
Some compared him to a modern Leonardo da Vinci and I think it’s an apt portrayal. So in honor of Steve, I offer some of his quotes, which are truly inspirational to the creative process:
A lot of companies have chosen to downsize, and maybe that was the right thing for them. We chose a different path. Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets.
A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.
Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
And it comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We’re always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.
As individuals, people are inherently good. I have a somewhat more pessimistic view of people in groups. And I remain extremely concerned when I see what’s happening in our country, which is in many ways the luckiest place in the world. We don’t seem to be excited about making our country a better place for our kids.
Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.
Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me.
Bottom line is, I didn’t return to Apple to make a fortune. I’ve been very lucky in my life and already have one. When I was 25, my net worth was $100 million or so. I decided then that I wasn’t going to let it ruin my life. There’s no way you could ever spend it all, and I don’t view wealth as something that validates my intelligence.
But innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10:30 at night with a new idea, or because they realized something that shoots holes in how we’ve been thinking about a problem.
Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.
Aug, 2011 (2011-08-11 06:00)
Question: Do you know how old I’ll be by the time I learn to play the piano?
Answer: The same age you will be if you don’t.
The Artist’s Way — Julia Cameron
We can live our whole lives thinking about grand ideas and the wonderful things we would like to do and learn. Or we can do them.
Do you want to:
- Learn the flute or guitar?
- Be able to draw anime?
- See the world from the top of Mount Everest?
- Visit Japan?
- Publish one of your stories?
Don’t wait until life is ready for you–it never will be.
Your Challenge, if you choose to accept it: Start one today.
Aug, 2011 (2011-08-05 06:00)
What’s on the web this week?
Tracey Townsend quit her job and moved to New Zealand for a year. She learned a ton and writes some beautiful, well-analyzed prose on her experience.
3D printer makes a functional wrench (with moving parts) from a scan. Check out the amazing future (also terrifying) where machines will scan things and reproduce them.
The state of the web this summer. An eerilie accurate look at the absurdity and reality of the web’s evolution.
Chris Smith at Lifehack writes about Seven Ways to Get Started. All the things discussed here are techniques used by martial arts instructors and creative writing professors.
Jack Montgomery, a pro MMA fighter I trained with in Tahoe, wrestled Jeff Munson (Abu Dhabi Champion) at Grapplers’ Quest. Pure magic and a great honor.
Now Munson is going to do a seminar at his school; this is how connections are made my friends. Humbly step up to the challenge; leave your fears and pride at the door. Get noticed.
Ms. Rachel Gardner talks about Writing a Terrific Author Bio. Like all her advice, this is pure gold.
K.M. Weiland writes about Lying to your readers with your awesome first line. She has some great insights to share.
Aug, 2011 (2011-08-03 06:00)
I think one of the saddest fates for a person is to realize their imminent death and regret the time spent in this life.
I have said it before and I will say it again.
There is no tomorrow
Tomorrow, you wake up
you are eighty-five, in
a hospital bed
Tomorrow, he dies and
you missed your chance to say
I love you
Tomorrow is another
life without the friends you
Tomorrow is a dream
a mist that anything
can steal away
Today is your only
chance to get it right and
live that dream
–Michael Wulf, 2011
Jul, 2011 (2011-07-18 06:00)
Our lives consist of margins.
The difference between a knockout punch and glancing blow can be measured in millimeters or turning the head but a few degrees.
Our artistic pursuits exist Tuesdays and Thursdays from six to eight or Saturdays or mornings from five to six.
The time it takes to cause a fatal accident is less than a second of distraction, even after years comprising millions of seconds of diligence.
The difference between financial independence and living paycheck to paycheck starts with a few hundred dollars a month.
Some of our greatest regrets are fractions of moments: not speaking our hearts; the split-second decision that makes one forever a slave to a drug or vice.
Our most precious memories are moments or maybe even slivers of moments–a touch, an image a sunset, a kiss.
The difference between a healthy, fit body and a painful death is one tiny maligned lump in a sea of healthy cells and tissue.
The difference between mastering an art and someone who is decent at drawing is a couple hours a day three to five days a week.
We spend most of our time working, sleeping, and traveling. Our families struggle to exist in the cracks of the day between six and nine, morning and night. That is, assuming that there is no television in the home sucking up those precious hours.
We live in margins.
Jul, 2010 (2010-07-05 10:29)
Quite the question, is it not? Not an easy one to approach without squirming in the seat a bit.
These days I feel pulled in so many directions. It’s not that I haven’t always been, it’s that now I have a greater realization of this whirlpool momentum. I have a more intimate understanding of the value of an hour and the worth of a hundred dollars. I see the inexorable way in which these small details add up. I sense how the big catastrophes and successes are nothing more than accumulated decisions and moments. I see how, when viewed in reverse, they form a mammoth shape that becomes its own entity, obscuring the bits and pieces that culminated into the moment of change.
Thinking on this topic leaves me with the inevitable feeling that so much of my time is wasted. This is not because the activities I choose are not worthy of pursuit. This is not because the efforts are vain or misguided. This is because they are diluted; because the difference between a good effort, a great effort, and a masterful effort are subtle details accumulated over time. Focusing them into a single pile, if you’ll entertain the metaphor, produces a single, massive result. Dividing them over many areas gently coats the surface but never amounts to a grand outcome.
My humility would argue that this is also a fine result and that the purpose of my efforts cannot be fully understood while immersed in the moment, with only one piece of the puzzle to examine. At the same time, I understand that visibility is power and power is not merely a force of evil. Power is the authority to invoke change. Change is the opportunity (and burden) to invoke a greater purpose in oneself and those touched by my words. But without creating a theater for my work, I cannot hope to achieve any lasting influence.
Thus, my scattered efforts and interests, my many loyalties, keep me from building the pillar upon which I could stand, visible to my audience, and offer what I have to say. And perhaps this is part of the Greater Plan. Perhaps this is for the Greater Good. For who is to say that anything I would offer would be more beneficial than destructive to those who would listen? Certainly I can’t claim such wisdom, standing here with one piece of an infinite puzzle, speculating on how the picture might turn out, based on which way I turn my pegs and slots.
Jul, 2009 (2009-07-31 09:00)
Since brainstorming and outlining are such important activities for writers, I am cross-posting this article about Mind Mapping Tools from my tech blog.
Give it a peek.
Jan, 2009 (2009-01-12 09:56)
I’m on my second day of full time dvorak and it’s been hard hard hard. I loose all ability to type whenever I think hard, and music is out of the question. Bleaaargh…
Jan, 2009 (2009-01-09 08:38)
I set writing goals with Authoress today. We’ve agreed to write for at least one hour every day, or else. Or else? That’s right…
The terms for success we agreed to:
- Write, draft, or revise at least 1 hour, mon – fri
- Record progress by logging start/stop times in twitter
- If we miss a day, we agree to write an excuse free, embarrassing apology to all our twitter friends. Yarr!
Additionally, I’ve agreed to do my writing in the mornings since that’s the only way I can be sure it will get done.
We’re trying this out for the next two weeks, so be sure to cheer us on; and, be doubly sure to mock us if we slack.