Do You Know How To Think?
Creative Sparks #23
Lots of reflecting about thinking today. Something we think we all do from day to day, but are we doing it correctly? Eye-opening.
7 stories I felt like sharing on this week
1. Crimes of Grindelwald: A case of too little and too much by Lavanya Lakshmi Narayanan
The trials of being a Potter fan in the ‘Crimes of Grindelwald’ era
Should we be hating Crimes of Grindelwald or patiently wait for the franchise to redeem itself?
This beautifully written review of the latest Harry Potter movie sums up my thoughts on the Fantastic Beasts series — it feels like a half-hearted attempt to extend the Harry Potter universe beyond what is necessary.
Sometimes, creators need to know when to let the legacy of your previous material go instead of stubbornly holding on.
2. Zen Stories For A Calm, Clear & Open Mind by Niklas Göke
I like the approach Niklas Göke takes here to impart life lessons here. Rather than beating them over our head with a “you should do this” approach, he takes a more nuanced approach by using stories and parables to illustrate points while writing his thoughts next to them.
3. How To Think by Shane Parrish
How To Think
Sebastian Garcia made a mistake but he couldn't figure it out. At the 2011 National Junior High Chess Championship he…
A riveting story from the game of chess and life lessons on how to think.
At first, I wondered; why am I reading an article on how to think? I am reading and processing language and I am converting thought to the written word, hence I am thinking, correct?
Two of the most important executive functions are cognitive flexibility and cognitive self-control. Cognitive flexibility is the ability to see alternative solutions to problems, to think outside the box, to negotiate unfamiliar situations. Cognitive self-control is the ability to inhibit an instinctive or habitual response and substitute a more effective, less obvious one.
Slow down. Think more. Our first responses or ideas aren’t necessarily our best ones.
4. Subtract by Derek Sivers
Subtract | Derek Sivers
Derek Sivers: Life can be improved by adding, or by subtracting. The world pushes us to add, because that benefits…
I loved this piece for a few reasons:
- The idea expressed: Focus by eliminating everything non-essential (subtract)
- How the idea is expressed: It’s crystal-clear, and super easy-to visualize with the example below:
Imagine a horizontal line, with 0 on the left and 20 on the right. I want to be in the middle, at 10. But I’m at 17.
“What can I add to get to 10? I tried adding 8 but that didn’t work. Maybe 3 would help. I should go all-out and add 50.”
No amount of adding will get me where I want to be.
- It's length. You can easily read it in a minute, but the idea is no less impactful.
5. Rush’s Geddy Lee Talks Massive New Bass Book, Meeting John Paul Jones by Rolling Stone
I loved this interview as a perfect description of how creative obsessions are nurtured and the power of storytelling to make even the driest of subjects come alive.
In this interview with Rolling Stone, Rush’s bassist’s Geddy Lee perfectly illustrates how seeds for creative projects sprout — to answer a question that’s kept him up at night.
What started this whole crazy thing of collecting these things was a curiosity about why my ’72 Jazz Bass sounded the way it did. For years I had trouble matching that sound — I couldn’t find a back-up for it that was equal. You ask yourself why. That’s the question that pervades the book, especially in the Fender chapter: “Why do these things sound the way they do?”
He also faced another problem; how do you make the bass; an instrument inaccessible to the layman interesting? How do you make them come to life?
“How do you bring these pieces of wood and plastic and metal to life? You show the people who played them.” That led me on two directions: stock photographs going back to the period that show the people that I listened to holding these instruments; through my memories and nostalgia we have a connection between that instrument, the time it was made, and the bands in England or the U.S. that were playing them. The other thing is talking to people who played them or collected them and can bring more insight than I can possibly bring in my seven-, eight-year experience collecting.”
6. These 7 Unusual Tips Will Explode Your Writing Skills (If You’re Willing to Try Them) by Sarah Cy
These 7 Unusual Tips Will Explode Your Writing Skills (If You’re Willing to Try Them)
“To be successful, you must be willing to do the things today others won’t do in order to have the things tomorrow…
Writing is one of my focuses in 2019 and Sarah Cy here has collected a few methods here to apply deliberate practice to your writing. Looking forward to putting them into play throughout the year!
7. No, I Will Not Watch Your “Free” Webinar by Zulie Rane
No, I Will Not Watch Your “Free” Webinar
Here’s the breakdown of every single “influencer” webinar you’ll ever watch, and how it’s supposed to convince you to…
Zulie Rane here has captured the ‘breathtaking formula’ Internet influencers use to get hapless people like us to watch their ‘free’ webinar.
The way she breaks down each step of the process is stunning. Having been around the Instagram block and signed up for multiple free webinars myself, I recognize this formula in action.
Books I’m Reading:
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich: I seem to be on a Russian history spree lately. One Day can be credited as one of the pieces of literature that contributed to the break up of the Soviet Union. Openly critical of Stalin and the gulag labor camps, it is a critical look at the perils of communism and the harrowing conditions of a labor camp back in the day.