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Life

  • This Staff Pick hit me right in the feelers.

    It’s a short film from Joan Bosch (he/him), a Spanish filmmaker “based between Madrid and Barcelona.” From the short film’s description on Vimeo:

    “(Life) While Traveling” is a short film about the way we look to the world when we travel. It’s about colors, shapes, textures and details that surrounds us every day, but we only realize when we are far from home.

    Gorgeous, emotional, and even a tad nostalgic. Really motivates me to take stock of what we have here, on Earth. Joan really hit me in the feelers on this one. Enjoy.

  • From The Farnam Street Blog:

    The long game is the opposite of the short game, it means paying a small price today to make tomorrow’s tomorrow easier. If we can do this long enough to see the results, it feeds on itself. From the outside, the long game looks pretty boring:

    • Saving money and investing it for tomorrow
    • Leaving the party early to go get some sleep
    • Investing time in your relationship today so you have a foundation when something happens
    • Doing your homework before you go out to play
    • Going to the gym rather than watching Netflix

    The author closes with excellent food for thought:

    In everything you do, you’re either playing a short term or long term game. You can’t opt out and you can’t play a long-term game in everything, you need to pick what matters to you. But in everything you do time amplifies the difference between long and short-term games. The question you need to think about is when and where to play a long-term game. A good place to start is with things that compound: knowledge, relationships, and finances.

  • For the uninitiated, from 1982 to 2015 David Letterman played host to the Late Night with David Letterman. That’s 32 years. A long commitment to say the least. Most productions like these take the summers off, but apart from a short summer reprieve — running a continuous late-night series like Letterman took some real work. Taking stock of your labors can take many forms:

    For artists, it’s their sketchbooks.

    Writers, it’s their notebooks.

    Readers, it’s their libraries.

    For others, their Retweets? Their Github contributions?

    For Letterman, it was his paper cups.

    These paper monuments keep us going I suppose. Ephemeral things — a growing glory like that ivy plant in your apartment. Something to ponder.

  • From 2010 through 2013, Carlos Slim Helú held the title as the wealthiest man on Earth. Briefly overtaking Bill Gates title was a big deal at the time. Slim has a storied career. He grew his wealth investing in wide variety of Mexican industries when no one else would: construction, soft drink companies, printing, real estate, bottling and among other things, mining.

    The title of wealthiest person alive, as of writing this, is currently and unsurprisingly, Jeff Bezos.

    Slim’s website, available in English (y en español), is a bit dated but has some real nuggets. He once penned a letter to students (of university) regarding a variety of topics. From privilege, overcoming strife, risks, responsibility and success. It’s easy to dismiss words from monumentally entrepreneurs, but Slim is a expressively thankful, sagacious and dense like iron. It’s a beautiful read.

    The entirety of his letter, for posterity:

    Carlos Slim, in a letter to the university community, gives advise to the most outstanding students on what, in his opinión, are the most important things in life.

    Mexico City, June 1994

    I write to you this letter in order to share some of my life experiences, hoping it will contribute to your education, your way of thinking and living, your emotional well-being, your sense of responsibility to yourselves and to others, your maturity, and above all, to your happiness, which should be the result of your daily existence.

    You are privileged within society due to your talents and efforts, and for the best reason, your own worth.
    Success is not about doing things well or even very well, or being acknowledged by others. It is not an external opinion, but rather an internal status. It is the harmony between the soul and your emotions, which requires love, family, friendship, authenticity and integrity.

    To be as exceptional as you are is a privilege, but it also entails many risks that can have an impact on values that are much more important than professional, economic, social or political “success”. Emotional strength and stability are in the interior life, and in avoiding emotions that erode the soul such as envy, jealousy, arrogance, lust, selfishness, vengeance, greed and laziness, which are a poison that is ingested little by little.

    When you give, do not expect to receive. “Fragrance clings to the hand that gives the rose,” says a Chinese proverb. Do not allow negative feelings and emotions to control your mind. Emotional harm does not come from others; it is conceived and developed within ourselves.

    Do not mix up your values or betray your principles. Life’s road is very long, but it is traveled fast. Live the present intensely and fully, do not let the past be a burden, and let the future be an incentive. Each person forges his or her own destiny and it may influence reality. Do not ignore it.

    Live with positive feelings and emotions such as love, friendship, loyalty, courage, joy, good humor, enthusiasm, peace, serenity, patience, trust, tolerance, prudence and responsibility. Do not allow their opposites to invade your soul, may they pass quickly from your mind, do not allow them to stay there, banish them. You will make mistakes many times, it is normal and human; but try to make them small, then accept, correct and forget them. Do not be obsessed by them; heaven and hell are within us. What is most valuable in life does not cost anything but is very precious: love, friendship, nature and what man has been able to achieve with it; the forms, colors, sounds, smells that we perceive with our senses can only be appreciated when we are emotionally awake.

    Live without fear and guilt; fear is the worst feeling men can have, it weakens them, inhibits action and depresses them. Guilt is a tremendous burden in our lives, the way we think and act. Guilt and fear make the present difficult and obstruct the future. To fight them, let us have good sense and accept ourselves as we are, with our realities, our merits and our sorrows.

    Staying occupied displaces preoccupation and problems, and when we face our problems, they disappear. Thus, they make us stronger every day. We should learn from failure, and successes should be silent incentives. Act always as your conscience dictates, because it never lies. Fear and guilt will then be minimal. Do not block yourself in, do not ruin your life, live it with intelligence, with soul and senses aware and on the alert; get to know their manifestations and train yourselves to appreciate and enjoy life.

    Work well done is not only a responsibility to yourselves and society; it is also an emotional need.

    At the end we depart with nothing, we leave behind only our work, family and friends, and, perhaps, a positive influence which we have planted.

    My very best wishes,
    Carlos Slim Helú

  • Our Patch of Dirt

    In cosmological terms, we exist as an exception to the rule. The rule (as far as we know as I’m writing this at least), is their is no life beyond Earth. But somehow, billions of years ago, by shear dumb luck, soupy primordial proteins assembled amidst the backdrop of chaos. They wiggled themselves into a fortressed heap of snot and somehow managed to morph into complex multi-cellular systems. All of this, happening slowly over epochs of time, across an ever-changing and unfamiliar landscape — on a patch of dirt and water whirling through icy-cold space.

    It’s amazing stuff. We take it for granted so often. We really are lucky to be here. This morning as I was commuting to work, I was reminded of just how crazy it is we’re here — like doing things, working and living under one roof on this humid lump of soil. Needless to say, I went down the rabbit-hole on the web and found some great reading about Abiogenesis, life on Earth and other topics I wanted to share:

    Even further reading:

    • A Nihilists Guide to Meaning [Melting Asphalt]
    • Empty half the Earth of its humans. It’s the only way to save the planet. [The Guardian]
  • First off, these are personal suggestions that have worked for me. But honestly none of these will help you if your significant other is not motivated to make it work. A relationship is a two-way street and these tips operate on that premise. 👏

    1. Make lots of plans together. Future plans, way-way-out-in-the-future plans, virtual plans, travel plans, holiday plans, hypothetical plans. Basically just plan stuff together. Give each other a thread to hold on to.
    2. It takes a lot of work to keep each other informed. You’ver weekend plans, what’s going on in your town, their city, their job stuff or your job drama, what you had for lunch, what your plans are for dinner, etc. It can quickly drain you. Especially in the beginning of it all. I try to do all my informing verbally, and reserver texting for changes to the plan or spur of the moment plans. This keeps the line of communication less congested with back-and-forth texting which can really take it out of you.
    3. Social inclusion is pretty much physically impossible. Digital inclusion, on the other hand is possible. If you made plans to go out on a Friday night, while your SO decided to stay in — keep you phone nearby and keep an open line of communication via texting. Nobody likes feeling left out.
    4. Digital dates can be fun too. Between apps like Skype, Rabbit and FaceTime couples can get food together, talk over some coffee, or Netflix together again!
    5. Surprise each other! Realistically, surprise flights take lots of time, planning and can cost a boat-load. Apps like AmazonUrbanStems, and UberEats offer a cheaper alternative to the surprise visit.
    6. Writing to each other is fun, but mailing things is even better. I also highly recommend not sending each other things over USPS. UPS or FedEx only. I’ve had nothing but terrible experience with the US Postal Service. Use them as a last resort.
    7. Pick up a new hobby. People like to make things. It’s good for the soul I think. I chose videography. I spend an enormous amount of time making things for the web. So I chose a hobby that sits just outside of that realm and decided to start a You’veTube channel. Hobbies keep us busy, preoccupied, and challenge the brain, and your partner will be proud no matter what you create or pickup as a hobby.
    8. Cook more. Depression and sadness can creep in at any moment during a long-distance relationship. Mitigate that by eating better and exploring new food groups!
    9. Doing new things can be really exhausting, but since you’ve both transitioned into a long-distance relationship, it means you’re both willing to explore something new. Each of you should try out new things, meet new people, and make sure to share that experience with your SO. Sharing the experience will help eachother grow closer over storytelling. This will give each of you something to talk about on the late night phone calls.
    10. Lastly, go run. Running gets your heartrate up, great for your heart, it’s cathartic, and can improve your mood. If you start feeling down, and miss each other badly, nothing will get your mind off of things like a brisk run. I find it to be very meditative to go run and clear my mind after a long day at the office.

     

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  • Several years ago, I made the mistake of snoozing my alarm clock one too many times. I was running late for my 8:00am Typography II class. I didn’t know it yet, but it was the last time I’d ever be late to a class. I was in a rut. I was rude and callused in my critiques. I pretended to fit into the classes, and I thought I was a fraud. I would join the chorus of students who groaned at the idea of doing more than 100 thumbnails of sketches. I was quietly becoming one of the pessimists and didn’t even know it.

    I ultimately landed a ‘D’ in the Type course and was told that if was to remain in the program, I was to re-take Typography II next year. With no promise of even making the senior cut of the highly competitive Communication Design program at the University of North Texas (and bills mounting), I decided to say to hell with it and left the program. A world of sorrow and pessimism left me, I shed my sophist skin and bootstrapped my life back together.

    I began pursuing my other interests in life. I began reading more about science and film, and began entrepreneurial pursuits and even began freelancing design and illustration work in my free-time. While doing all this, I also reviewed a lot of sites and here are some of the Top Ten reviews site. All in all it was a great change. I decided to finish college in a less-rigid program in the visual arts, and began to focus on computer sciences. Ultimately, I got extremely interested in web development and built a few websites.

    Looking back, I’m a happier person and better for choosing my own adventure. I tend to recall that year of my life as the best, worst thing that ever happened to me. I owe so much to my friends, mentors and co-workers who believed in my ideas, work and words. Even in the face of such an embarrassing failure, all was well. I don’t have to tell you twice about how much failures suck. But they happen. The next time you mess up, consider finding the silver-lining before you tear yourself apart.

    I was inspired to share my story after I read Linda Eliasen’s post on why she quit her job at Dropbox. Our time is limited. Don’t waste it living someone else’s life.