It’s useful, of course, that we can communicate instantaneously, with almost no friction or cost. But humans are not network routers. Just because it’s possible for us to send and receive messages incessantly through our waking hours doesn’t mean that it is a sustainable way to exist. Technologies serve us best when we deploy their new efficiencies with intention, with an aim to improve the human condition. We shouldn’t banish e-mail, but we can no longer allow it to be used in such a way that guarantees our misery.
“But when I say meditation, I don’t mean sitting there and watching your breath or chanting a mantra. I mean self-examination, and meditation is a great way to do that self-therapy. It’s sitting there with your thoughts.”
By Calm’s logic — which is shared by many app makers — we will never untether from our devices, using them for labor, connecting, community interactions, outsourcing errands. Now we reach for them to comfort us when we are anxious — even though they are often the primary source of that anxiety.
Wellness, the way our culture chooses to define it, has become synonymous with productivity and self-optimization. But wellness isn’t something that can be downloaded and consumed, even if the constellations of sun-drenched photos on your Instagram feed indicate otherwise.
Love makes it possible for us to stop strategizing. Love makes it seem like some piece of us could escape commodification. Love flips our pockets inside out, messes up our hair. Love says: don’t do the things that are prestigious. Move towards what tugs at the deepest parts of you, little dreams “between the shadow and the soul.”
During what psychologists call “flow states,” where one is completely immersed and absorbed in a mental or physical act, people often report an altered sense of time, place, and self. It’s a transportive and pleasurable experience that people seek to achieve, and that neuroscience is now seeking to understand. A great example of flow state is found in many improvised art forms, from music to acting to comedy to poetry, also known as “spontaneous creativity.” Improvisation is a highly complex form of creative behavior that justly inspires our awe and admiration. The ability to improvise requires cognitive flexibility, divergent thinking and discipline-specific skills, and it improves with training.
Avoiding app bloat - There is a conception that WeChat is an all-in-one app. However, Allen knows there is a limit to how much a single app or tool can hold. To avoid an over-bloated app, he recently announced that WeChat is expanding to revolve around different standalone apps.
A person’s world used to be how far they can walk, but now it is the breadth (and the quality) of information they acquire,” because “what you see & read determines what kind of person you are and the thoughts you’ll have.
Do I love writing? I don’t know. It’s what I do every chance I get—before class, after class, during class, when I can’t sleep, when I should sleep but my fingers continue to type, type, type away. But it feels more like a panicked regurgitation than a practiced art form. I read my own work and am always dissatisfied. I worry that I’ve been writing in the same manner for the last five years; I don’t know whether that’s a sign of stagnation or just the cultivation of my “voice.”
Honesty is different from openness. In our world today every secret can be instantly shared—in the guise of letting you knowing me better I could post pictures of my breakfast, do kpop dance covers in TikTok-viral leggings I bought off Amazon, share my runs on Strava, take off my clothes on Onlyfans or play video games from my bedroom. The paradox of modernity is that you can share your entire life and still not have said anything that matters to you. Exposure can be, but often isn’t, the same thing as intimacy.
All good ideas have one thing in common. They can be better. Ideas, by design, are meant to fulfill themselves. That’s also what separates them from random thoughts. A thought doesn’t have to grow. It is like a wave that touched your feet and went back to mother ocean. An idea hopes to be a tsunami: there is no going back. So, if you have a good idea, try to make it great. Don’t be complacent.
It's not that unprestigious types of work are good per se. But when you find yourself drawn to some kind of work despite its current lack of prestige, it's a sign both that there's something real to be discovered there, and that you have the right kind of motives. Impure motives are a big danger for the ambitious. If anything is going to lead you astray, it will be the desire to impress people. So while working on things that aren't prestigious doesn't guarantee you're on the right track, it at least guarantees you're not on the most common type of wrong one.
I now understand that people will always judge you and that rejection is inevitable. If you’re trying to do something difficult, you need to be strong enough to weather rejection again and again. The only way you can make decisions that are in line with your own values is if you can shrug these moments off: if you have an internal compass that isn’t swayed by the need to please everyone else.
The funny thing is that writing kind of reminds me of love. Dating is also a process of doing and redoing, trying to find the right person and the right relationship. Even if you stay with the same person you have to revise the relationship over and over. Just like writing, it only works if you make meaningful changes.
In the corporate world, there is tiny money and then there is big money. A majority of the people in the world fall in the first category. Only a minority gets to taste the latter. This is so because of a very simple construct in place: it’s not what you do, it’s how you do it. The question hasn’t been the want of will or the lack of skill. The arithmetic here is rather convoluted; so complex that only an excel sheet can hide its inaccuracies. To raise above the rest, you’ll have to prove that you are already the best. Being better won’t be enough. You are the product first and foremost. Sell hard. Sell well. Such is the intensity here, your only way forward is upward. And that’s why corporations pays you big — not for what you did but what you can do.
Who you pay respect to with your time is your call. And there is no obeisance more sacred than attention. When you consume content by a particular person, it doesn’t matter whether you like or dislike that person, the content creator had already won. If you didn’t understand this equation earlier, please welcome to the Information Age.
Constant exposure to information makes you knowledgeful, not knowledgeable. The distinction between the two can be lost on social media. One of the many reasons this could happen has something to do with our lack of attention. Before we could fully acknowledge that we were living in the Information Age, we quickly moved into the OverInformation Age. Too little, too fast. As of today, people are more likely to conclude than to read. Studying is painful, pontificating is a lot easier. Nobody in particular is to be blamed for these worrying trends. We aren’t getting dumber. Just like we aren’t getting smarter either. We are just passing through the motions of behavioural change. That’s all.
Being a non-materialistic person who enjoys wearing old shoes and older t-shirts, I’ve concluded that the greatest gift you can give somebody is your ear. Listen without interrupting. Hold them when need be but more importantly, appreciate their presence in your life. When you do so, you internalize the fact that time is the most incredible of all gifts.
Culture is almost always improved not by what the masses want tomorrow, but by what a small and dedicated group of people are willing to commit to for the long run. “People like us do things like this” is the recipe for culture.
If you look, I think you’ll find that wherever information is exchanged – wherever there are products, companies, careers, politics, knowledge, education, and culture – you will find that the best story wins. Great ideas explained poorly can go nowhere while old or wrong ideas told compellingly can ignite a revolution. Morgan Freeman can narrate a grocery list and bring people to tears, while an inarticulate scientist might cure disease and go unnoticed.