Running

 

 

You know the song “Da Doo Ron Ron“? I always remembered it as being “Da Do Run Run.”

Inaccurate as a reference, but interesting as a motivational tool: Action inspires forward motion.

Do.

Then run and run.

:-)

 

Photo, “The Runner,” by Hamed Saber

 

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© 2008 Christine Taylor

Published in: on August 8, 2008 at 5:20 pm  Comments (7)  
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When Life Is Colored By a Point of View

 

 

I’ve had an interesting day. My synesthesia has been giving me troubles.

It’s not the sort of thing an aspirin will cure. Synesthesia—specifically, in my case, grapheme → color synesthesia—is a neurological phenomenon that causes people to see letters and numbers in different colors.

It’s not a “vision thing”–when I look at a page, my eyes see letters as they are. But somewhere on the way to my brain, the characters get a dye job. In general, this doesn’t interfere with my daily life. It’s fairly pleasant to have a rainbow tossing around in one’s brain, and it can work as a memory device. For example, if I want to remember a street name on the fly, I take note of its “color,” to help me recall it later.

(No, she’s not crazy. Stay with me for a minute here.)

Today, the more perverse side of synesthesia reared its head. I needed to find a certain website, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember its name. I knew that the site had a red color scheme; and without realizing it, I was trying to remember “red words” for the title. Finally, a desperate Google keyword search revealed the address I needed.

I would never have remembered it.

 

 

What’s so hard to remember about “Helium,” you ask? Well, this is how it looks in my brain:

Much as I stare at that logo, I can’t make it sink into my brain. I’ve been doing it all day, and I’m willing to bet I’ll still have a hard time remembering it tomorrow. (Thankfully, the gold version is now imprinted on my gray matter.)

I “see” certain colors assigned to letters. They’re always the same, and they often blend slightly when put together in words.

I’m finding that this color synesthesia isn’t relegated to letters and numbers alone, but also to everything associated with the characters.

The website of a friend of mine has a color scheme that’s mostly dark blue. But no matter how many times I visited, I always remembered it as purple. I think my brain just presumed it was purple, because that’s the dominant color I see when I look at her name. Another friend uses shades of rose in her sites; but that originally shocked me, because I see her name as light green!

I was always aware of this odd mental trick, but I never expected it to cause difficulties for me. Yet here I am, mixing up graphic design work and getting lost on the internet—all because of the way I look at things.

So what does the world look like through your eyes?

Whether we’re dealing with wonky color associations, or holding to a certain point of view, each of us looks at life in a different way. Sometimes our perspective enables us to contribute value to a situation; but there will be other times when what we see is not, in fact, what is really there.

In cases like that, we might find ourselves having trouble communicating, losing our way—even getting hurt, or hurting others.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from synesthesia, it’s that it can be a real challenge to change a point of view. Sometimes the brain doesn’t want to accept what’s right in front of it. But whether it’s in my reading or my everyday life, I’m eventually a lot happier if I make an effort to see things as they really are…not as I perceive them to be.

 

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© 2008 Christine Taylor

Published in: on August 7, 2008 at 7:32 pm  Comments (16)  
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Able Was I, Ere I Saw…Oooh, Shiny

 

 

Distractions. You know what they are? A mar on a panorama.

A panorama of productivity, aglow with embers of ideas that are fanned into a flame by motivation. It can be a beautiful sight—unless our attention is diverted elsewhere. Then our motivation evaporates till there’s nothing left of it. No trace, not one carton.

As a matter of fact, even on my way to type this article, I got sidetracked. My mind was filling with clear ideas, which would soon become a cohesive blog post. I opened a browser, with Google Documents as my destination. I mentally rehearsed my phrasing while the home page loaded…making sure I remembered the exact wording I wanted to use, preparing to head to GoogleDocs…and…oh…what was that headline on the home page? *Click.*

Ooh, shiny.

“Able was I, ere I saw…[Fill in the blank].”

So what zaps your momentum? Often, we don’t even realize what does it to us, even when it happens. All we know is that a few minutes ago, we were raring to go—now, we’re listening to a symphony of crickets chirping in our empty storehouse of ideas.

Zeroing in on triggers can help. For example, try filling in the blank:

“I was able to do this before I…”

…Checked social networks? Made that phone call? Folded the laundry? Some men interpret nine memos. For me, it’s handling e-mail. It’s not always a matter of wasting time in worthless activities—every item on that list is a viable task. But some tasks, by their nature, are more mind-numbing than others.

So, are we doomed to distraction?

No, it never propagates if I set a gap or prevention.

The key is in recognizing which activities fuel our motivation, and which ones drain it. Take a few days to analyze your work and thought patterns. Notice what your most productive thought-times are, and what commonly sidetracks you from putting those thoughts into action. Then reschedule the lulling tasks for another time. For instance, if managing your inbox zombifies you, then save e-mail for the hours when you could use a mental break.

And when you determine the times that your idea storehouse tends to runneth over, use self-discipline to focus on that alone. Don’t nod. Say “no” to other requirements till later. And resist the shiny.

Then enjoy the spoils of productivity. Are we not drawn onward, we few, drawn onward to new era?

I thought so.

 

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© 2008 Christine Taylor

Published in: on August 6, 2008 at 8:06 pm  Comments (9)  
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The New Media Workshop

 

Photo by Keith Burtis, Magic Woodworks

 

I used to enjoy spending time on the weekends watching “The New Yankee Workshop” with my Dad, who is a craftsman. Today I had an opportunity to see a live broadcast that reminded me of those happy memories. Except here, it’s more than woodworking—it’s also a friend bringing the social media community together through his art.

Artisan Keith Burtis is known for his beautiful woodturning work, which he showcases on his website. In crafting bowls, bottle stoppers, ornaments, and sculptures, he never fails to surprise his viewers by bringing out the hidden personality of wood.

What’s interesting about Keith is the way he blends the age-old craft of woodworking with the modern tools of the internet. He is an active member of the social media community, and recently spoke about “Creativity and the Arts” at PodCamp Boston 3. He also hosts a live woodturning show on BlogTV. Viewers can spend a fun hour watching Keith turn a hunk of wood into a collectors item, while sharing a conversation with him and others through the chat feature. And once the show is over, fans can buy Keith’s work from his MagicWoodworks Etsy shop.

This weekend, Keith is hosting an event that he calls The Woodturner’s Weekend. Through Sunday, July 27th, he will be dedicating his live broadcasts to the achievement of a special goal.

I invite you to tune in tomorrow and join the fun, as an old-world art comes to life in the hands of a new media craftsman.

I’ll see you there!

 

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© 2008 Christine Taylor

Published in: on July 26, 2008 at 9:16 pm  Comments (13)  
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A Whale of a Day

 

This was my day on Twitter:

 

 

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© 2008 Christine Taylor — Permission is granted to post this cartoon on your blog–just please link back to this post! :-)

Published in: on July 23, 2008 at 8:51 pm  Comments (6)  
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25 Words, and More

 

Here are the results of Liz Strauss’ 25 Words of Work/Life Wisdom Project! Liz put the creations into a beautiful and moving slideshow (which doesn’t seem to want to play on this blog–:-P ;-) ). The inspiration in these words is amazing.

Enjoy!

 

 

mousewords is moving to its own site soon–Subscribe here!
© 2008 Christine Taylor

Published in: on July 21, 2008 at 6:49 pm  Comments (4)  
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