Gary Bacon

How to Survive Melancholy: Play

Anxiety tends to result in a negative feedback loop.

Having anxiety on an issue, which causes more anxiety for having anxiety, and then thoughts spiral from there.

In her book Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert says,

Find something to do— anything, even a different sort of creative work altogether— just to take your mind off your anxiety and pressure.

Going for a walk, taking a new class, or even trying a new hobby can alleviate pressure.

Search Your Own Facebook Posts

For the Desktop version of Facebook go to:
https://www.facebook.com/[yourprofilename]/allactivity

Or click in the top right menu and choose Activity Log:

Activity Log

On the next page, you’ll see the following:

Facebook Profile Search

At the top right from where it says “Activity Feed” is a smaller search field. This will allow you to search any previous post that you’ve made on Facebook in the past.

This is a great way to find old posts quickly.

Do it tired. Do it anyway.

One of the stories that really stuck out at me in the book Flourish, by Martin E. P. Seligman, was that of how snipers are trained by the government.

It can take about twenty-four hours for a sniper to get into position. And then it can take another thirty-six hours to get off the shot. This means that snipers often haven’t slept for two days before they shoot. They’re dead tired.

Instead of medication to keep them awake, he goes on to say,

…you keep them up for three days and have them practice shooting when they are dead tired. That is, you teach snipers to deal with the negative state they’re in: to function well even in the presence of fatigue.

When you are feeling tired, push ahead. Do it anyway. Do it tired.

You may be surprised to realize that this too is temporary. It ebbs and flows. Don’t give in.

Gratitude and Memory Loss

Recently I completed the book Flourish, by Martin E. P. Seligman, which was recommended by a friend. The author explains what well-being really is, based on decades of study.

He describes gratitude in the following manner:

Gratitude can make your life happier and more satisfying. When we feel gratitude, we benefit from the pleasant memory of a positive event in our life. Also, when we express our gratitude to others, we strengthen our relationship with them.

In a second exercise to express gratitude, he prescribes the following:

We instruct the students to write down daily three good things that happened each day for a week. The three things can be small in importance (“ I answered a really hard question right in language arts today”) or big (“ The guy I’ve liked for months asked me out!!!”).

Next to each positive event, they write about one of the following: “Why did this good thing happen?” “What does this mean to you?” “How can you have more of this good thing in the future?”

I’ve been doing this now for a month. At the end of every day, I open Evernote, and create a new note titled “Gratitude [Date]”. At first, this proved to be rather difficult.

However, the more I practiced it, the more I became mindful of it during the day. I would find myself pulling up Evernote on my phone and jotting down something I’m grateful for — in the moment.

It conditioned me, in a great way, to continually be mindful of the positive in life.

One morning on the way into work, halfway to the door, I realized that I had forgotten my badge in the car. Normally I would grumble and say something like, “Ugh. I forgot my stupid badge again.”

However, this time, I caught myself. I said internally, “I’m sorry, brain. Thank you for reminding me that I left my badge in the car. I did remember. I didn’t forget.” Immediately, I relaxed and felt at ease. Any sense of anger or irritation washed away.

That’s when it hit me. This had happened in other circumstances.

I was creating, at a sub-conscious level, anxiety about forgetting.
This then fed back in and perpetuated feelings of anxiety.
That anxiety made it difficult to retrieve the information.

It took some practice to catch myself again when this would happen. However, the lapse between “forgetting” and then recall grew shorter. As I relaxed, mindfully thanked my brain for remembering, recall became easier.

Grandbeing® V4.0 Bluetooth Earbuds

At the time of this writing, it’s been two weeks since I purchased the Grandbeing® V4.0 Bluetooth Earbuds. I’ve been using them for listening to audiobooks whenever I have pockets of free time. 15 minutes here and 15 minutes there really does add up.

Even though it is so small and comfortable, it stays in place for me. There are times that it is hard to tell it is even there.

It has the latest bluetooth V4.0 chipset, steady signal and lower power consumption. It has a wireless transmission distance of up to 33 feet. It also contains the CVC 6.0 noise-canceling technology which allows you to talk clearly in a noisy environment.

Creative Doesn’t Mean Being an Entrepreneur

Being creative and making Art is one of the most satisfying feelings that I experience.

However, having to create or own a business, draft up the perfect plan, and all, just before you can “get started” can be putting the cart before the horse. You don’t need to be an entrepreneur to be a maker.

Enjoy making jewelry by hand? Great. Make it for you. Don’t feel as if you have to set up shop on Etsy just because you are good at it. “But my friends all suggest I should!”

Make it for you.
No pressure.
Just make it.

Over time, if you find that it’s right, a business will grow around your Art. It will shift from being something you do in your free time to something that can sustain you.

However, if you try to start something a business for the sake of starting a business, it won’t grow. It’s like trying to chase love. You have to be a whole person first. As with finding your niche, you have to scratch your own itch first.

Businesses give structure to something bigger than you. Once your Art grows bigger than you, then it is time to give it the means to grow; the framework.

In the mean time, enjoy creating.

A Sure Bet

“Most artists are gamblers; they are impulsive people who don’t plan ahead.” This concept has been in the forefront of my mind for months now. The discovery was made in a conversation with my brother. We’ve seen this first hand in a few “serial entrepreneurs” that we’ve known. Start an idea, run with it for a little bit, and then let it drop or die off. Repeat.

I’ve done this myself.

I used to think this was a negative trait.

It’s not “having an unfinished idea” that is negative.
It’s not risk that is negative.
It’s not the notion of gambling that is negative.

In her book Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert speaks of a painter friend who also pointed out that most artists are gamblers. He made note of this on why art students get degrees. However, this can apply to any project or endeavour. He says,

Gambling is a dangerous habit. But whenever you make art, you’re always gambling. You’re rolling the dice on the slim odds that your investment of time, energy, and resources now might pay off later in a big way— that somebody might buy your work, and that you might become successful.

Elizabeth Gilbert continues this thought by saying…

My Top Apps of 2015

Inspired by this post from M.G. Siegler, I’m taking a look at the apps that I used the most in 2015. I’ll also make note of the apps that have been replaced by another app in the same category.

Apps that I use the most

  • Fantastical – Updated the app for both iPhone and Mac.
  • Simple – great bank.
  • Robinhood – no fee stock trading app.
  • Apple Music – sadly the convenience killed the Rdio star.
  • Lark – conversational health app for food logging and exercise. This has potential.
  • Swarm – gamification is back!
  • Facebook + Messenger + Groups
  • Tweetbot – still my favorite twitter app.
  • Trello – organizes my life.
  • Slack – best work collaboration tool. Period.
  • Evernote – long term note storage and information collection.
  • Simplenote – easy note taking. Use it for everything.

Pushing the Needle Forward

The biggest lesson I’ve learned in my life is to be authentic, not fill the void with a sense of false self-worth. Not to say, “Look at me. I do good things. See I’m great at what I do! Right? Tell me how wonderful I am, please.”

Instead, I say: “I’m enjoying this journey, right now. I’m putting my heart and soul into this. I take the initiative. I care.”

As Seth Godin says, “Initiative is scarce.”

Overachievers place so much stress on themselves. I know, I am one. I continue to work on it.

There are times when I forget, and then I have to remind myself to be present, mindful of what’s going on, and not let the worry of pleasing others consume the happiness in me.

Instead, acknowledge that drive and use it as motivation to keep pushing the needle forward. One step at a time.

Tribes or the Inspiration of Life

The Internet has made it so much easier to find people just like us. The slightly odd, wonderful, and a taste that is as unique as our fingerprint.

Before, media dictated the standard in preferences: music, fashion, culture, food, etc; People followed in step. There was an illusion of choice, but it was dictated by a few.

That world tries to hang on to its heritage. The shadow of it still exists.

We live in truly special time.

Create. Share your art. Express yourself. Find others that spark your interest. Collaborate. Be inspired. Inspire others. It is a beautiful cycle.

Holding a firm grip onto information, your ideas, and insights only hurt you. Set them free. Share. Only by letting go, can something grow.

Many times it will grow bigger than yourself.