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Archive for March, 2010

versatility

as a minimalist the idea is to possess little, and give more. hence the quality of possessions is critical, you have more money free to ensure what litle “stuff” you do buy is of quality. no matter how you slice it you have things that you need as necessities. so in a way those things that you have should be “versatile.”  good decision making is a must as well. i hope to give you an idea of what i mean through a lesson my dad taught me when i was just a boy.

the lesson


my dad was always a good cook, and as a boy i admired how he a man could go from working with cattle to working in the kitchen, doing what was percieved then and sadly still now as woman’s work. one evening as he was preparing supper i asked to learn to cook. i cannot recall exactly what he was cooking but it was definately the meal of a seasoned chef. my dad told me, “in the morning i will teach you to cook.”

the morning

a father taught his son that morning to cook an egg. why? well at the time i did not know but not only did i learn to make an egg scrambled, fried, and boiled, i also learned a great life lesson.

  1. be versatile, which means the egg can be adapted many ways. as i had more lessons in cooking i understood some of the foods that people eat in the black culture. a common theme amongst slave quarters were receiving scraps and finding ways to make meals. the manipulation of the egg is similar. and by starting with that as a foundation, i understood a key thing about cooking and about life. anything can be versatile.
  2. there’s more than one way to do something. the egg represents the fact that there is no one way of getting to a desired outcome or destination. in most cases there are far more than two ways to acheive an outcome. the egg allows you options, and it allows you to do something with flare, or just plain and simple.

my father taught me a great life lesson that morning, one which i will give back by teaching my daughter, and any kids to come after. it means a lot that a simple lesson can have so much significance. make sure the things you own are as versatile as the first meal i learned, and make sure you are thinking about every possible way you can to achieve something and even understand something that is important a key in decision making.


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wake up

when i wake up i want to start a new day, and a new view of life. i want to feel fresh, i want to feel like i can take over the world. who would not want to wake up and feel as though the day before they had climbed a montain, and yelled at the top of their lungs.

music

i embrace the day through music.“words make you think a thought. music makes you feel a feeling. a song makes you feel a thought.” -e. y. harburg

if i have a feel good morning it does not necessarily mean i start that morning with a positive upbeat song, it is anything that motivates me and makes me feel like myself. when i hear a lyric it should sound like something i would say.

“i want it all, thats why I strive for it, i know that it’s coming, i just hope that i’m alive for it.” -drake

it’s a lyric like this that makes me feel that i know myself and i am comfortable with who i am, and i can bottle that up and take over my day as one step of taking over the world. or maybe it’s something by kings of leon, “off in the night while you live it up I’m off to sleep, waging wars to shake the poet and the beat i hope it’s gonna make you notice.” those words make me feel as though all i need to do is be myself and good things will come, some one will notice.

shower

next i hop in the shower and i make it a point to make that a time for relaxation. i start to project out my dreams and my ultimate goals as if i have already achieved them. this helps me think through the short term stressful things and get to the reason behind those things, what i ultimately want in life and what is really important. after you think about that it is a good thing to also think about what you have to do that day, but only how you will successfully achieve those things. this  really puts your day in perspective.

having a good breakfast

usually my good morning will include a decent breakfast, not anything too serious, just something filling, maybe even left overs, or something like a bowl of cereal in the morning will do the trick. but if you really get a prize like the one above, it makes for a great feeling.

self-interview (yeah you heard me)

i aspire to be featured on a late night show, something like letterman, or what used to be leno. i actually think about my responses to interview questions. those answers are usually about something i just accomplished, or  simple truths about my background. this is another way of finding my center for the day, knowing exactly who i am and owning it.

the one thing i must have

out of all of these things that compile my best morning the one thing that i must have is music. it just makes me feel right, take one of the best wake up songs ever for instance, this just makes you feel like holding the world in your palm:

so what is the one thing you cannot go without in the morning:

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autodidact

i have been waiting for some time to do this post. have you ever heard the word autodidact? this word is a big part of my life, and a major reason for my rise from nothing. if you want more on my background read the soul searching article.

what is an autodidact

“i felt so inspired by what my teacher said, said i’d either be dead or be a reefer head, that’s not how adults should speak to kids….” -jay z

an autodidact is a word for a person who engages in learning without the formal structure of school. an autodidact is self-taught, and or more clearly their method of learning is self-directed.

think about the idea of learning itself. we learn all the time, everyday, and have been doing so for a very long time. the term itself was derived in ancient times from the fact that people who lived in isolation for most of their lives could still discover simple truths without any formal education.  think good will hunting, and if you have never seen good will hunting there is a trailer below, highly recommended.

having the disposition

the important thing about learning is not the actual act of learning but having a disposition for learning. as i am currently conducting a formal literature review on critical thinking, the research shows that it is more effective to measure critical thinking skills after you have measured critical thinking dispositions. learning is no different, and a disposition simply means you must be willing to learn. to what degree are you willing to learn?

are you truly open minded, truly. well no one is truly open-minded, but to what degree do you have a disposition to learn new things. having a disposition for learning will only move you forward.

how do autodidacts learn?

if you are here that is a great example of self-directed learning. it is you experiencing minimalism through someone else’s experiences that may lead you to some form of enlightenment. your learning of being a minimalist is self-directed, and therefore you are practicing a quality of being an autodidact. however being an autodidact by definition is more than just subscribing to a couple of blogs, and reading a few books. by definition let’s not forget that you must have some type of structure that would allow for retention, of a topic. you must structure your own learning to accommodate any goals or objectives you have.

it is also common for an autodidact to gain knowledge of let’s say something like agriculture not through class, but possibly going to work a farm. in the movie batman begins we see bruce wayne go into the japanese underworld to understand those criminals he wishes to influence. it’s the age old tale of the apprentice and the master, old school education. bruce wayne gets a perspective that is un-tainted and as a result fully understands what drives poverty and crime, and can therefore combat those things where they need to be combated. it is a lesson in information literacy.

information literacy

have you ever heard of someone agreeing with someone else for no good factual reason. it is probably because that person does not have a high degree of literacy when it comes to deciphering information. part of being an autodidact is opening your mind to things that you have convictions not to accept, and by doing so gaining experiences that you would not have gotten otherwise.

information literacy is always asking why, and learning how to find answers on your own. not settling with a statistic that you hear through the media, but rather researching it on your own to see why. it is also knowing how to find information, like being aware of how google’s search engine works opposed to other search engines. for a more clear definition of info literacy watch this video.

open courseware and online tutorials

in the age of the web, it is easier to access information. many prominent universities are now publishing full courses, and majors on the web. google open courseware some time. there are also credible professionals who give youtube tutorials on a variety of topics. here are a couple of resources that you can use:

khanacademy.org

ocw.mit.edu/


maybe it’s what you make it, could it be that simple (quick post)

Categories: quick post Tags:

comedy and minimalism

March 18, 2010 1 comment

“there is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.” -erma bombeck

background of comedy

comedy relates to minimalism in many ways. i don’t regard myself as a funny person naturally, nor do i outwardly make that attempt, but either way as life goes on so does comedy and so come the laughs.

you always hear the fact that there are only a few stories in literature or other avenues, and that those stories are re-told and re-invented, but there are only a few originals none the less. take an early philosopher such as aristotle for instance. aristotle in “poetics”suggested that the epic, tragedy, comedy, and the lyric were the four forms of storytelling.

aristotles lists the qualities that form good versions of the arts, and says about comedy and others, “there are, again, some arts which employ all the means above mentioned- namely, rhythm, tune, and meter.” comedy then is an art form that takes on several qualities whereas others may only hold a few.

then it is not that difficult to relate comedy to minimalism. sure the two do not completely merge with one another, but let’s look at the positive aspects of comedy, and relate thoase to minimalism.

how it relates to innovation

“always do whatever’s next.” -george carlin

the comedian as a person is someone who stands out in a crowd. if you think about it the stand up comedy profession is built on one guy in a room doing something that most people fear to their very core; public speaking. as a minimalist you do something that people fear to their very core; loss of possessions. when people fear not being financially stable what does that mean? well it probably means that they can’t afford certain “things,” and for most it means embarrassment.

see most people do not fear public speaking, they fear the potential embarrassment. now most comedians thrive on a rush of defying people’s perceptions. the crowd looks on as a person who should be in a fetal position is mastering a stage. when people think about having to live with less embarrassment set’s in. we all know minimalism is a state of mind, so as a minimalist you are mastering the stage, and you are defying people’s perceptions because you are content with less.

in terms of material the comedian is always thinking about the next thing. as the above quote from a father of his own school of comedy suggests, in order to stay on top you must always think about what is coming. a comedian could just stay up on current events, but in order to make a successful career they must write things that no other comedian in the field is thinking of. i have made several posts on innovation which explained how minimalism inspires innovation. a minimalist has a greater potential to be

how it relates to minimalism

when you think about the comedians job description it lends itself to a minimalist form of entertainment especially in stand up. the comedian is often times, especially at the beginning; the writer, producer, and performer. all of their tools are at their disposal at little cost, and their investment in their success largely begins and ends with themselves. similarly as a minimalist you accept that you are in control of your surrounding world. you are likely able to do without many things and therefore adjust to any situation because you have the tools to do so, and i’m willing to bet you can carry those tools with you everywhere you go.

becoming your own personal  comedian

“you’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” -robin williams

improvisation

a good quality to have as a minimalist and as a person is the ability to improvise which is accepting whatever comes. the ability of improv assumes that you cannot control anything but yourself. the better you get at this ability the better you will be able to predict the outcomes even those of other people, but you accept that you can never fully control or prevent certain reactions from your audiences.

timing

“my friend asked me if I wanted a frozen banana. I said ‘No, but I want a regular banana later, so… yeah.’” -mitch hedberg

allowing yourself to live without things gives you focus and gives you room for opportunity. a big part of life, and comedy is timing. when opportunity knocks…..well you know the rest. a minimalist lifestyle gives you the ability to sacrifice little to get what you want and need to prepare for the next step. the ability to move, or to accept being without a small convenience. being a minimalist allows you to work on yourself that way when an opportunity comes you can accept it fully.

being honest

“i live in a neighborhood so bad that you can get shot while getting shot.” -chris rock

any good stand up comedian merely makes health observations  and embellish them when re-telling the story. to become a minimalist is to become honest with yourself. we all have flaws, and recognizing a flaw is one of the healthiest forms of honesty. for all of your flaws you are still successful in some arena so those flaws are things to laugh at. think about the good qualities you have and embellish those to no end.


download the free soul searching article now

March 16, 2010 1 comment

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