My mind has been more on the creative process lately.
While it can feel that way now, we are not helpless. As humans we solve problems, we invent, we coordinate, and we generate a thing from no-thing.
We invent makeshift respirators, non-electrical pumps, new methods, technologies, and we share them with others. This creative process is what builds wealth for us as humans.
And sometimes the problems we solve are emotional.
And sometimes the problems we solve are psychological.
We solve these problems with new technologies as well, as John Vervaeke likes to call them, "Pyscho-technologies."
And so the most powerful gift we have is our creativity. That ability to think about a problem and come up with something new to solve it.
You can do this all on your own, but you can also do it with others.
You could go for a walk… no music, no podcast, no phone calls, and just think.
You can just think up an idea, or a solution, or something to share. And more often than not when you give yourself true space ideas will come to you. And you can work them out in your head and work through them if you continue to let that flow.
Yesterday I took the afternoon off to brainstorm with myself. I went on a walk, and I used Otter.ai to record my thinking. Anytime I felt I had worked out a note worth sharing I could just speak it out loud (I was wearing Airpods) and Otter transcribes and records the speech.
Most people probably thought I was on the phone.
It's both fun and fruitful to brainstorm with other people, too, but I would think about doing it with yourself.
You'd be amazed at how many ideas are there, and how you can work through them if you just put in the focus…
If it feels awkward or weird pretend you're on the phone and telling someone about your ideas, invent the other person in the brainstorm and you can even hear there ideas and replies.
I've been asked to put together a list of some of my favorite books and to share them with you. Choosing books is difficult, because reading a book is very personal, and much of the benefit comes from reading them at the right time, in the right place in your life. And context matters, so what you pull from a book changes based on the context of your life and what you're thinking about most. So I'll share a convincing sentence or two about why I liked certain books or what I took from them. But I would tell you just grab the books you're most drawn to at the time. Don't listen to popularity but instead go on themes.
Pick out books that you feel like contain the right next lesson or the right building block for your progress.
1. The Icarus Deception –
I read this book when I realized the type of work that I wanted to do was non-conventional. And this book is, I believe, the best treatise on what it feels like to be an artist or want to do something different. It will speak to you if you're in that struggle.
2. Choose Yourself –
This book came to me at the right time right after some larger failures. Right when I didn't know what to do next. As the title suggests, it's a great call to action about not waiting for others to "pick you" to do the things you want but instead to choose yourself repeatedly and build healthy practices that help you get where you hope to go.
3. The Alchemist –
This one is on all of the lists, but its beauty is in the story of the journey of a young wandering boy who goes on an adventure. This one is playful and reads like a Disney movie, but it is full of simple deep truths about trusting your intuition. Paulo Cuelo told himself as a child that he would be the most famous author on the planet, and he did it
4. Autobiography of a Spiritually Incorrect Mystic –
Most people know Osho from the Netflix documentary "Wild Wild Country." I haven't seen it, but I can only imagine. Osho was a true rebel. He's written hundreds of books, and I've read probably 8-10 of them. This one is the story of what a truly rebellious soul looks like. He is unconventional at every turn and I was in awe of that. This book taught me much about that, but it also taught me that almost all that arrives to us through culture is somewhat skewed from reality. I realized that reading a book written by someone helps you know them better than watching a movie constructed years later. Not that he wasn't crazy, but that you can understand part of the crazy.
If you want to follow up with another book, check out the "The Search" for the 12 Bulls of Zen he also wrote.
5. Just Kids –
This is one of the most beautifully written books I've ever read. It's written by Patti Smith from her time growing up in the '60s and '70s in New York City. It's a book about friendship and relationships, and her prose comes from notebooks she wrote at that time. It's moving and I would recommend it on audio!
There are so many other books worth recommending, and there are so many stories to read. I guess the only other thing I'll mention is that it's ok to pick up and toss books. It's ok to read stories and books like blog posts, you don't have to read the whole thing. I only read ~20% of the full book of anything I read, and if I make it to the end it was a great book. There are science books in my list, books about astronomy, books about copywriting and investing, books about technology, books about building a cabin.
Reach for whatever speaks to you next.