my phoenix problem

i’m into re-invention, but maybe a little bit too much. i throw my all into a project and then destroy it. i’ve started and ended so many blogs that i have a mess of domains and drafts that i will likely never go through. i have so many ideas that i end up hating the old one and tossing it into the wastebasket in hopes of making something new.

this process is a little bit frustrating, because it is hard for me to develop any kind of cohesive brand because i am shapeshifting so often. as i learn this about myself (i am currently 26) i am wondering if there is a way to accommodate my shapeshifting, or if there are any common threads in the history of work that i do.

one of my favorite artists keri smith pushed an idea on me that we are allowed to reinvent ourselves at any time. i’ve taken this to heart, and as a result have created this fluid identity that is a jack of all trades and master of none. it’s a hard place to be, but i know with certainty that i would not fit in anywhere else.

it’s like another taoist idea i read – that only the sages know the value of being useless. if you don’t fit into any of the pre-carved categories that exist (in terms of career) you are then tasked with pioneering a route of your own. and, in a world of accelerating change, i am hoping that my shapeshifting and inability to settle on a path will allow me to be agile and receptive to unheard of fields.

finding your professors

we are very lucky that we have the opportunity to follow very smart people on twitter. we can follow journalists, entrepreneurs, artists, experts, amateurs, you name it. sometimes it feels like i am creating my own curriculum when i am curating my twitter and instagram feeds.

this leads me to my ongoing obsession with joi ito, the current director of the mit media lab who shares his conversations with smart friends via his podcast “joi ito’s conversations”. listening to these conversations makes me feel like i am strolling through the mit campus and having lunch with people doing cutting edge work. it is invaluable.

previously, i would have to get accepted to mit to have this kind of experience, so even have a glimpse of what was considered cutting edge. but these podcasts bring me so close to the frontier in a way that the new york times never could. primary sources, though they are sometimes difficult to fully understand, contain some of the realest information that is “crunchy”, or contain substance that usable.

since joi ito’s thoughts are so ready available, i latch onto them with dear life because it is the one place on the internet where i feel i am getting honest and relevant information. further, each of the people he talks to opens up another door for me to figure out what is possible, and what the smartest people in the room are working on.

who are your professors and mentors, and what gifts are they sharing for free online?

the things i care about

writing has been difficult because i’ve been trying to make money instead of thinking about the quality of my content. as a result, i often feel stuck and don’t know what to create, because the question i am asking myself if “what will get me paid” as opposed to “what do i want to write”. getting around this is a form of practice, and gaining momentum and confidence in the fact that i do have interesting things to say, independent of the monetary reward.

this relates to the work i do with creatives. online artists sell their work online, and sometimes it can get difficult when one is making art to sell rather than making art for the joy of it. this sounds childish, but it is not. the thing that makes a lot of art good is from the artist’s intent. and we, the people of the internet, have a strong radar for content that is fake and aimed at selling us a product rather than enriching our lives.

i wonder if i can find my home again on the internet, and start writing things that are more grounded in my interests. as a business-minded person, i sometimes forget the things i like because i am limiting myself to creating things that are profitable. This doesn’t work, and ultimately makes me unhappy. so, here, i hope to rebel against this trend in the best way possible, by practice and continuously refining the process.