Music

Takin’ it easy on the Eagles

So I was recently planning to include the Eagles in a recent post as an example of a band that stagnated and got tiresome.

While looking for a “bad” song to include in the post, Take It Easy came up. I was shocked to find the lyrics clever, relatable, and even to have some solid mental health advice.

So the Eagles have escaped my derision and even get their own post. This song is basically saying “stop ruminating, give yourself a break, and take a stand when you have to.”

Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy.

Lighten up while you still can
Don’t even try to understand
Just find a place to take your stand
And take it easy.

Also, just for fun, here is a quick summary of the women on his mind in the song. πŸ˜†

Want to own meWant to stone meSays she’s a friend of mine
421
Women

I still think the Eagles stagnated, but they had a great run in 1970’s. When this song came out, country-rock was not yet tiresome. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

As a completely unnecessary aside, Steve Martin can tell you why it’s officially “Eagles” and not “The Eagles”.

Quotes · You

“What a man can be, he must be.”

Good ol’ Abraham Maslow, the American psychologist who gave us a pyramid and a hammer, is at it again with some pretty sensible insights.

This time he’s riffing on Aristotle’s function argument about what the heck we’re even doing here. Basically, we’re here to be useful.

A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be. This need we may call self-actualization.

(Apparently he was an old-school fan of the “he/him/man” pronoun. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ)

It’s one thing to find your purpose — and those who do so should consider themselves fortunate. But the real trick is to actually do something about it.

It refers to man’s desire for self-fulfillment, namely, to the tendency for him to become actually in what he is potentially: to become everything that one is capable of becoming.

Thank you for the reminder, Mazzy. Can I call you that? Because here’s another Mazzy who found her purpose.

Quotes · You

“If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

This Abraham Maslow fellow doesn’t just have a pyramid, he also has a hammer. Here is the popular phrasing of Maslow’s Hammer.

If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Maybe Maslow

I love this saying. People often “hammer away” at something the wrong way, wasting time and failing to learn a new skill.

It’s easy to make this mistake.

As a software engineer, I’ve seen this 1000 times. “Well, we have a bunch of web servers, and we need a mobile app, so… let’s make our mobile app using web tech!” At first, it seems to make sense. But you end up with a crappy app, lots of extra work, and maybe even some unhappy developers who leave because they care about their career too much. They want to use Xcode because that’s a great tool for making apps.

(But beware, Xcode could become your next hammer. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ)

Books · You

Super Summary: Think Like a Monk

I accidentally subscribed to this visual book insights app called Lucid. It promised “Read faster. Remember more.” so I had to try it. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Neglecting to cancel my free trial (oops!), I now have a full year of this service, so I might as well get the most out of it.

So this is my first “super summary” (a summary of the summary) for books I find interesting. You can see if you’re interested in reading the real thing. (audiobook | “book” book).

Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty

πŸ‘‰ Luckily, we can take some useful lessons from monks without actually being Christian or abstinent. 😜

The monk mentality

Via Lucid

A monk has an inward focus and moves past pain and anxiety, leading to a happier and more meaningful life.

A monk focuses on core issues, long-term vision, and strives to find meaning. This is in contrast to a “monkey” mind, which is distracted, overwhelmed, and focusing on temporary fixes.

Identity and meaning

Via Lucid

Our core values define who we are and the meaning of our life. Our values should come from within rather than from other people’s influence.

We need to figure out what we’re all about so that we can focus our priorities and goals.

πŸ‘‰ This fits with some things the Savvy Psychologist said about values and meaning.

Dealing with negativity

πŸ‘‰ This section reminds me of the idea that people’s criticism often says more about themselves than the person they are criticizing. 🧐

If you think of others negatively, you think of yourself negatively.

To break this cycle: identity your negative thoughts towards others, stop, and reframe them in a more empathetic, specific, and helpful way.

If you think of others more positively, you think of yourself more positively and make better choices.

Conquering Fear

Via Lucid

πŸ‘‰ I like this section because I learned a while back that decisions driven by fear generally do not turn out well. 😱

Identify your deepest underlying fears. Acknowledge these fears and embrace them.

Then detach from your fears to make smart, independent, intentional choices.

Positive routines

πŸ‘‰ Despite this book calling for an early morning routine, I’m personally finding a relaxing nighttime routine especially useful. 😴

Wake up early to give yourself time to have a positive boost to your day. Use this time to be grateful, read & learn, meditate, and exercise.

Get to bed early and plan how you will conquer the next day.

The battle in your mind

Via Lucid

πŸ‘‰ I love this section because of the wolf analogy. 🀩

In each of our minds are two wolves battling with each other for control. One wolf is consumed by fear, anger, insecurity, and ego. The other is driven by love, kindness, humility, and positivity.

You can feed one of them (yes the good one!) by giving it your time and energy.

This internal battle is normal, and we should view it as external to us. Use meditation to observe your mind and better understand what might be triggering any negative thoughts.

Reframe negative thoughts in a positive way, changing problems and fears into positive actions.

creativity

“Creativity is not a talent. It is a way of operating.”

John Cleese gave this speech back in the 1990’s about creativity. Apparently he was a bit of a student of the topic. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

His main point was that creativity is not something that you have or don’t have. And it is not related to traditional intelligence.

Creativity is a mood – an open, curious, and playful way of operating. He calls this playful, creative state “open mode”, whereas we normally go through life in “closed mode”, basically trying to get stuff done.

To be fully effective, a creative person needs to juggle both modes well. After all, you’ve got to find the creative flow and keep your projects on track to actually get sh*t done.

(Thoughtfully subtitled in German πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ). Full version of the speech here.

This creative “open mode” is subconscious and requires de-focusing in a way. In other words, you can’t force creative breakthroughs. It is in this relaxed open mode where the creative magic happens. You just need to allow yourself the time and other factors to let yourself be creative.

This is the extraordinary thing about creativity: If just you keep your mind resting against the subject in a friendly but persistent way, sooner or later you will get a reward from your unconscious.

One reason I liked improv class was that it forces you into this open, playful mode (even when you are terrified).

Hopefully, when creativity is applied consistently over time, then great things can happen. πŸ€“

creativity · You

Genius Happens When You’re Not Thinking

I love the idea that your brain makes its most interesting breakthroughs and connections when you’re not actively thinking. It is well stated in this article.

πŸ‘‰ Your Unconscious Mind Is a Supercomputer. Use It to Achieve Breakthroughs.

With really interesting problems, you usually don’t need to think harder. You need to relax and let you mind do its thing while you sleep or do errands. That is when genius strikes. ⚑️

Creativity is all about making interesting connections. Albert Einstein called it “combination play.”

In my experience, this unconscious combo play is important for figuring out what do to and not so much how to do it. Once the what is clear in your mind, it can be followed by all the conscious thinking and hard work to get it done. Unfortunately, that part does not happen in your sleep. πŸ˜‰

As a side note, there is also a beautiful space when your mind is so immediate and present that is simply doesn’t have time to think. This is what I like about improv. And also baseball.

You can’t think and hit at the same time.

Yogi Berra (maybe)
You

The Smarter You Become, the Less You Speak (Keanu Reeves Edition)

With Keanu Reeves as an example, this post explores the power of being purposefully quiet.

πŸ‘‰ Be Aware of the Quiet Ones like Keanu Reeves β€” They Are the Ones That Actually Make You Think

Quiet people make you think.
Thinking brings clarity.
Thinking can lead to change.

I actually didn’t know Keanu had this side to him. But it is helpful to be reminded by a Hollywood star of all people that being quite and thoughtful is a good thing.

Being quiet: brings people closer, breeds curiosity, interrupts the pattern, and allows time for reflection.

Not bad, Keanu. Maybe he is the cooler, calmer alter-ego to Russell Brand?

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