The back is a bit sore after trying to lift a 65kg book…

Kylie received her new Art Edition Annie Leibovitz book yesterday. This one in a thousand signed collection of Annie Leibovitz best photography is not only large and visually stunning…  it’s also a back breaker at 65kg.

The power and the glory by Annie Leibovitz is limited to a total of 10,000 signed and numbered copies, this book is available as Collector’s Edition (No. 1,001–10,000) and also as Art Edition (No. 1–1,000) with a fine art print, signed by Annie Leibovitz, and the full set of all four dust jackets. Both editions come with a tripod book stand designed by Marc Newson and was brought into New Zealand by Andrew Maben at Novel Books on Jervois Road in Herne Bay.

 

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More info on this beautiful work of art…

The power and the glory – Annie Leibovitz

A little Annie Leibovitz update from Mariko at Artsy.net.
Mariko has been working on Artsy’s new Annie Leibovitz page, which can be found here at www.artsy.net/artist/annie-leibovitz

Mariko says…

The newly designed page includes her bio, over 50 of her works, exclusive articles about her, as well as her up-to-date exhibitions – it’s a unique Annie Leibovitz resource.

Thanks for the link Mariko.

Why Apple’s New Font Won’t Work On Your Desktop

Star typeface designer Tobias Frere-Jones explains the challenges of using Helvetica Neue as an operating system font.

For the first time ever, Apple is ditching Lucida Grande as the OS X system font in favor of Helvetica Neue, which also happens to be the iOS system font. For an operating system that’s used by 80 million people, that’s no small thing. Will it make reading on desktop computers easier? Harder?

DESPITE ITS GRAND REPUTATION, HELVETICA CAN’T DO EVERYTHING.

We asked Tobias Frere-Jones, the famed typeface designer who has worked with some of the world’s best publications and design shops, to offer his insights on what this change means for consumers. In his view, Apple might have made a mistake. Here, he highlights some of the challenges of deploying Helvetica Neue onto an OS abundant with small type and devices where non-Retina displays are still the norm:

Apple’s desktop and mobile operating systems have been gradually converging for some time. So it was inevitable that one typographic palette would displace the other. With OS X 10.10, Mac desktops will sport Helvetica everywhere. But I had really hoped it would be the other way around, with the iPhone taking a lesson from the desktop, and adopt Lucida Grande. Check the lock screen on your iPhone. You’ll see Helvetica there, a half-inch tall or larger, and it looks good. Problem is, there aren’t many other places where it looks as good.

Despite its grand reputation, Helvetica can’t do everything. It works well in big sizes, but it can be really weak in small sizes. Shapes like ‘C’ and ‘S’ curl back into themselves, leaving tight “apertures”–the channels of white between a letter’s interior and exterior. So each shape halts the eye again and again, rather than ushering it along the line. The lowercase ‘e,’ the most common letter in English and many other languages, takes an especially unobliging form. These and other letters can be a pixel away from being some other letter, and we’re left to deal with flickers of doubt as we read.

Lucida Grande presents open apertures, inviting the eye to move along sideways through the text. It has worked really well–for years, and for good reason. For any text, but particularly in interfaces, our eyes need typefaces that cooperate rather than resist. A super-sharp Retina Display might help, but the real issue is the human eye, and I haven’t heard of any upgrades on the way.

Seeing as Helvetica Neue was not universally well-received on the iPhone, it will be curious to see how Mac users react this fall when OS X Yosemite goes live. Until then, maybe try and get your eyes in peak working order.

Total Lockdown

What’s worse than a stolen bike? Finding out that you don’t have enough fare to get home! The Transit Bicycle Lock and Carrier system will ensure that no one will steal your precious cycle and get you home safe and sound. The carrier is an added bonus! Hit the jump to know how it works.

 
transit2 transit3 transit4 transit5

Aston Martin logo evolution

Founded in 1913 by Robert Bamford and Lionel Martin as ‘Bamford & Martin Ltd.’

Aston Hill Climb

1914 saw the birth of the name ‘Aston Martin’ following one of Lionel Martin’s successful runs at the Aston Hill Climb in Buckinghamshire, England.

Aston Martin logo 1921
1921-1926

Financial problems plagued the company over the next decade with the business forced to close in 1925 only to be rescued by a group of investors in 1926, forming ‘Aston Martin Motors Ltd.’

One year later, the AM monogram was replaced with the iconic Aston Martin wings.

Aston Martin logo 1927
1927

Aston Martin logo 1930
1930

Aston Martin logo 1932
1932

Aston Martin logo 1939
1939

1947 saw the dawn of the ‘David Brown era’ as the business was acquired by the English industrialist.

Aston Martin logo 1950
1950

Frequently acclaimed as the most beautiful car in the world, the Aston Martin DB5 entered production in 1963.

The following year saw the birth of a relationship that has left an indelible mark on popular culture, as the DB5 was chosen to be James Bond’s car of choice in the classic film ‘Goldfinger.’

Aston Martin DB5 in Goldfinger

Aston Martin logo 1971
1971

Despite the development of an iconic product range, the 1970s saw a change in ownership for Aston Martin as ‘Company Developments Ltd’ took over the firm in 1972.

Aston Martin logo 1972
1972

Aston Martin logo 1984
1984

After two more ownership changes, the iconic ‘DB’ moniker was resurrected in 1993 with the introduction of the DB7 at a new production facility at Wykham Mill, Bloxham. The same year saw Ford Motor Company increase their holding to take full control of the business.

Aston Martin DB7

The company was presented with the Queen’s Award for Export in 1998, recognising the contribution of the firm to the UK economy.

Aston Martin’s new global headquarters in Gaydon, Warwickshire opened in 2003 — the first purpose-built facility in the company’s history.

Aston Martin headquarters

Aston Martin logo 2003
2003-current

Aston Martin badge
Photo via Car and Driver

Source: Aston Martin.

A Logo for London, by David Lawrence

A Logo for London by David Lawrence and published by Laurence King in October 2013 celebrates one of the most recognisable and iconic symbols in transport history.

Beautifully illustrated with vintage posters, photographs, and other graphic material from the London Transport Museum archives, the book features previously unpublished inventive uses of the bar and circle.

Away from transportation, the simplicity of a bar and circle and the red and blue colours have been attractive to commerce, and many brands have echoed the London Transport symbol, deliberately or otherwise. Cars were produced in Japan under the Datsun brand name from 1932-3; the company later changed its worldwide car marque to Nissan. Its device is based on the Japanese flag, with its red solar disc. Martini Vermouth, created by Martini & Rossi in Turin, Italy, registered their bar and ball trademark in 1929, reproducing it in a variety of colours according to product. The red, white and blue variety of the Martini logo is now also associated with sponsorship of motor racing. The British Robbialac Paint Company established a brand in India which used a direct copy of the red-and-blue bulls-eye. In west London, Job’s Dairy suppliers used the symbol in the 1930s, while a bar-and-circle motif marked publicity issued by the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA).

There are still trademarks in Greece which directly resemble the red-and-blue Underground logo; one for FAGE (founded 1926) can be seen on Total dairy products in food shops around the world.

a-logo-for-london-01

Cool Movie Posters

The Last Exorcism

The Last Exorcism

World War Z

World War Z

Man of Steel

Man of Steel

The Conjuring

The Conjuring

42

42

X Men – Days of Future Past

X Men – Days of Future Past

Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3

Making Good Design Decisions

Reposted from Prismatic Blog

There’s a popular misconception that NASA spent millions in a failed attempt to create a space pen while the Russians just used pencils. The implication is that good design is simple in the sense that it is simplistic or obvious.

Simple design is often simple for the user but complicated for the creator. They really do use pens in space. It turns out pencils don’t perform well in space because wood and lead shavings in a zero-gravity, oxygen-rich environment can be dangerous for both fire and as debris. The true story of the space pen is that it was not a failure, wasn’t designed by NASA, and wasn’t even designed for space. The space pens’ design goals were ink that wasn’t exposed to air so it wouldn’t dry up, didn’t rely on gravity so it wouldn’t leak, and could write underwater and function at temperatures ranging from -30 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. The pen turned out to also be well-designed for space and was renamed to the space pen.

“The secret to the space pen is in the cartridge. It is a hermetically sealed tube containing thixotropic ink, pressurized nitrogen gas, and a tungsten carbide ballpoint tip. During development, Fisher found that while the pressurized cartridge successfully pushed ink out the tip of the pen, it also successfully leaked uncontrollably. Rather than redesign the cartridge, Fisher redesigned the ink. He developed a thixotropic ink that is a gel at rest, but turns into a liquid under pressure. Sort of like toothpaste. With this new, thicker ink, the pen didn’t leak and would only write when pressure was applied to the ballpoint. Success.” –smithsonianmag

Simple solutions to tricky design problems are often non-obvious, like redesigning ink to work with a pressurized cartridge. Finding such unconventional solutions is normally a messy process of exploration and tradeoffs. We found it impossible to follow the same preprogrammed design process for every design problem. We developed a clear system for making good decisions that keeps things organized and facilitates design critique without imposing a sequence of steps other than defining goals first. This approach could be interesting to other teams looking to make deliberate goal-driven design decisions.

Goals

Design is the process of creating a solution that balances the goals of both the user and the creator. User goals include both tasks people need to get done and psychological wants. Creator goals include qualitative and quantitative goals that we call “design” and “data” goals, respectively. Explicitly stating and balancing these different goals is the most important part of design. Without goals, you’re not aiming correctly, so you have very little chance of hitting the target.

For example, the user goals for our recent home feed redesign were finding relevant content, catching up with all your interests in one feed, clear scanability, the right amount of preview content, better sharing, and a sense of being on top of things and not missing out. We derived these user goals from product metrics and user studies. Our design goals included making stories engaging and fun, and designing a modular, scalable, responsive system. We also wanted to allow expanding to new types of story units in the future, and make the product more fun, understandable and interactive. The data goals included increasing the number of story actions / DAU by X%, increasing session duration, and increasing cohort retention on a session/session or week/week basis.

Inputs

Inputs refer to information we view as valid for informing design decisions; we use product vision, analysis, metrics, user studies and implementation considerations. Even an assumption is a valid input into a decision, as longs as it’s explicitly stated. Agreeing on which inputs are valid and how to use them leads to productive problem solving discussions about information rather than fruitless arguments based on weakly informed personal opinions.

Each input should be regarded as having inherent strengths and weaknesses that can be used in conjunction to triangulate on good decisions. Metrics offer insight into what users are doing, and user studies can help you see why they’re doing it. Incorporating product vision helps us to focus investing our time on problems that align with the vision. Analysis gives us a sense of what prior information is available for us to work from. Technical constraints make sure we’re being realistic and pragmatic about the changes we want to make. Assumptions can simplify the decision making process and allow us to debug when they’re made explicit.

Vision

Vision can be broadly defined as planning the future with imagination or wisdom. Visionaries are often described by others as ‘seeing the future’ but describe themselves as ‘seeing connections’ or ‘being curious.’

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.” – Steve Jobs

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein

In design, we talk about ‘taste,’ ‘product sense’ or ‘instinct.’ What often seems like a gut reaction, is really just slow, ongoing design synthesis playing out in your head – driven by curiosity, and fueled by accumulated knowledge and data. You’re likely to do better solving problems when you have deep knowledge of implementation details and accumulated observation, customer studies, market awareness, research.

“Designing a product is keeping 5,000 things in your brain, these concepts, and fitting them all together in new ways; kind of continuing to push to fit them together in new and different ways to get what you want, and every day you discover something new, that is a new problem or a new opportunity, to fit these things together a little differently.” – Steve Jobs

We think of intuition not as a magical ability but just a lot of accumulated curiosity, thought, and experimentation. Looking at intuition in this way means we can explain the reasoning behind our intuitions if we think about it. For example, it’s ok to say ‘that feels weird’ during a design critique, but then you have to be able to reason through why you feel that way. This ability to explain why you think something ‘feels weird’ rather than just saying it feels weird is the difference between the designer getting useful feedback and conjecture based on emotion.

Analysis

Analysis is the collection of information related to a specific problem that allows you to understand the range of possible solutions. We look for solutions the market has been exposed to, what solutions are performing the best in the market, and whether there are existing standards in the market. You can also find case studies and research or analyze flows across related apps that are tackling the problem.

Working with established design standards is an issue that comes up often in analysis. If you are going to break an established standard, you need to ask yourself if you have a good reason. If the interaction in question is core to the value of your product, breaking a pattern may make sense. However, if it’s tangential to the core value, it’s probably not worth it. For example, when we were designing navigation on the Prismatic iOS app, we followed a standard bottom navigation model, after analysis of navigation in popular social networking apps. We decided to focus our efforts innovating on other areas of the design.

Product Metrics

Metrics improve design by helping you track real user behavior. Important feedback loops measure the effectiveness of design and help you prioritize how you invest your time.

When re-designing the home feed of our web product, we were considering moving to a list view vs. our gridview in order to be responsive and easily accommodate multiple devices. However, before investing a significant amount of time in designing a list view, we wanted to ensure our engagement numbers would be the same or better than for the gridview. To do so, we hacked together a list view and tested it on 20% of users, paying close attention to their interactions with the stories on their feed. The metrics below gave us the confidence we needed that a list redesign would likely be effective. We discuss this process in more detail in our list beats grid post.

MetricIncrease on List vs. Grid
Likes2.97
Dislikes3.08
Interest Follow2.18
Save2.72
Share2.67
Comment4.54
Average Visit Duration1.54

User Studies

User studies provide insight into user behavior that metrics cannot – metrics tell us the “what”, and user studies tell us the “why”. Metrics can’t tell you how exactly to improve a design, only whether your design is better or worse than another.

We conduct both qualitative and quantitative studies, selecting the method appropriate for the information we need. These include surveys, in-person interviews, remote usability studies, card sorting, etc. We’re always combining methods as we iterate on our design process.

We recently conducted an in-person study showing people mocks of our feed redesign to understand whether people could easily distinguish the boundaries between stories. After the study, we found three story units in particular were prone to confusion. We generated a number of different variations that we thought could solve this issue. The number of variations and audience diversity we wanted to test with meant that in-person testing wasn’t feasible, so we used Mechanical Turk to run a remote test. Throughout this process we used both qualitative and quantitative studies to give us insight into user behavior. We describe this process in more in detail in our Usability Testing for Detailed Design Using Mechanical Turk post.

Implementation Considerations

Implementation considerations are important inputs both in terms of opening up and constraining possibilities. This makes it important for design and engineering to work together in the design process from defining goals onward. Both design and engineering can be the source of new possibilities, or constraints due to technical complexity or the estimated cost-benefit of solving the problem in a certain way.

When we began exploring redesigning the grid view to be a list, we wanted to create a plan that allowed us to validate this direction as cheaply as possible before going all in on resdesigning a responsive list across all screen sizes. Design and engineering paired to see if it would be possible to hack up a list view on top of the existing grid view, by just merging the grid cells.

So we took this:

And hacked this together from the existing code:

Within a day, this small incremental list view redesign gave us sufficient evidence that investing in this path was a good move. This is a great example of how design and engineering working together in clever ways when taking implementation considerations into account.

Assumptions

Assumptions are important for the simplification and speed of the design process. Explicit assumptions encourage better reasoning and more informed debates. On the other hand, unstated assumptions often lead to unproductive arguments. Explicit assumptions are helpful when you lack information or are worried it is too time consuming or expensive to get it. In this case, assume your best guess, write it down, and move on. Either plan how you’ll merge in the information you need to get to validate or invalidate that assumption, or just see if the assumption will motivate someone who strongly doubts the assumption to help get the information you need.

When we redesigned the Prismatic home feed this year we assumed bigger images would generally be better. We didn’t have data to back this up outside of observing that many successful products seem to have better results with a bigger focus on images, and we’d heard a couple of anecdotal numbers from friends that work at some other major internet companies. We agreed to move on with bigger photos, because we can measure the impact of photo size on engagement later when we do a more systematic exploration of information density in the feed.

Plan

After we’ve agreed on a good set of goals and gathered the inputs we need to inform decisions, we start planning the design. We explore the space of solutions and test a bunch of ideas as opposed to trying to design the single best solution. It helps us focus on decomposing the problem into smaller problems and make sure we’re always thinking about design solutions as hypotheses that we aim to test and learn from, rather than trying to design the ‘right solution.’

This focus ensures that we are thinking about how to separate the most difficult, uncertain, or valuable parts of a design problem that we can iterate on in isolation from other parts of the design that are not as important. Planning design is where we get into a lot of reasoning about the sequence of work and what ships when. We’ll normally kick off a design by working on the goals and inputs a bit, and then jump into the plan while we are still gathering many of the inputs. In this way, we’ll be able to send the goals, inputs and very early thinking to others for review while we’re still working on wires. The benefit is that we can get team alignment up front, rather than hear disagreement about goals or fundamental direction two weeks into a design when we’re reviewing polished pixels. We aim for the granularity of the reviews to match up with the granularity of design at the time of the review – so we’re reviewing goals at the beginning and pixels at the end.

Once we’re going from the early design goals and inputs to getting started, we go through a process of sketching/ideation based on what we know so far. Wireframing, visual structure and pixel details all begin while we’re gathering inputs and filling in all the reasoning for the design plan. Throughout all of these steps, we’re continuously referencing the goals and inputs to make sure we’re reasoning clearly with good information and focusing on the right problems, both in filling in wires, structure, and pixels, and in terms of filling in our design plan.

Group sketching

We often kick off a new direction as a team with short sketching sprints to generate ideas as broadly as we can. We do a few 10–15 minute sketching sessions with rounds of discussion in between. The goal is generating as many ideas as we can, exploring divergent themes and covering as broad a territory as possible. We ignore constraints to ensure we’re going as broad as we can. During the discussion between each sketching sprint, someone takes notes, including noting the best concepts in each round of discussion. Then, we discuss them all as a group and narrow down to a few options we want to wireframe.

Wireframes

After we choose a few directions that best satisfy our goals, we start to explore them in wireframe fidelity for each option. We explore visual layout structure using mock text and images, and without meticulous pixel detail. We also use the goals and inputs to reason about which directions seem to be working better and spend more time iterating there.

We’re big fans of ‘exploration maps’ – infinite canvas artboards in Sketch. When we’re in this stage of exploration, we simply take the artboard we’re designing in and copy it to the right as we iterate, leaving a quick note about the reasoning behind each step. This way, we can see a clear line of reasoning as to why certain elements are styled a certain way or why they’re placed where they are.

Visual system

After a round of wireframe critique with design and engineering, we start setting up the visual libraries we’ll need to explore our options at a detailed pixel level. We set up the grid, start setting up type size and scale and gather any design patterns we’ve previously designed that apply to the design we’re working on. We value reuse over redesign – we always try to use existing UI elements from other places in the product, not only for consistency, but for ease of implementation. As we’re narrowing in on the details we bring in front-end engineers to talk more in-depth about how to implement the design.

Pixel Detail

We use Sketch for both wireframe explorations and pixel detail, which saves us some unnecessary translation time. During detailed design, we use the same approach of multiple artboards to document separate flows as we do during exploration. For example, we’ll often evaluate a wide range of settings for type size, spacing, or color. All the same goals, inputs and reasoning apply here, because the concepts all have to manifest in pixels and stylistic changes can have a massive impact on the direct manifestation of the design goals.

We also practice what we call ‘universal design’; designing for all supported screen sizes at once. A separate Sketch file uses multiples artboards to show how a screen will change responsively for each supported screen size range.

Conclusion

Making great design decisions is difficult because you are marrying the creative process with the logical process of reasoning through the goals, inputs, and plan.

One of the greatest challenges is allowing both the creative and the logical processes to work together and play to the strengths of each. If the design team is excited, instincts can run wild ahead of defining goals or collecting inputs. This can be OK, but it’s important to be careful that the creative and logical parts of the design process work together in steps. If you take too many steps before evaluating against the goals, you can end up in a state where there are mistakes designed upon mistakes, and you have to throw away a lot of work. Often something appears to be a good decision when focusing on one goal, but then breaks down when looking at another goal. It’s also easy to let logical data-driven decision making disrupt ideation. Sometimes precise goals and data doesn’t help you to ideate your way to a good starting point and the logical process of choosing needs to be fed by the creative process to generate designs to choose from.

It’s important to go with the flow and allow flexibility in the design process, but at the same time ensure that we are avoiding the extremes of either allowing logic and data to block the creative process, or allowing the creative process to go too far without being grounded in logic and data. We’ve had a lot of success with the flexibility of the ‘Goals, Inputs, Plan’ model for making decisions, rather than adhering to a rigid step by step design processes. This approach gives us the flexibility to take different paths to problem solving, while at the same time still each following an agreed upon system for making decisions. This has resulted in consistently better decision making, fewer opinion-driven arguments, better design critiques, and more uninterrupted ‘flow state’ work. Objectively, we’re making the numbers go up and subjectively, the design team feels better about the work.

7 Reasons Why You Will Never Do Anything Amazing With Your Life

Raymmar Tirado in Life LearningRead original article @ Raymmar.com

 

 A unique perspective on what it takes to succeed.

Yeah that’s right; you heard me… I’m talking to you… I’m calling you out.

I’m looking you in the eyes, (ok well, not really since you are probably reading this article, but figuratively, I am burning a cyclops type hole in your face right now) and telling you that you don’t stand a chance.

I’m telling you that if you can read this article, look through this list and not claim it as your own, then you should be a little worried.

Actually, you should be very worried. You should drop everything and immediately question your existence on earth. You should find a mirror, look yourself in the eyes, raise your hand and slap yourself in the face.

Got it? Now repeat that until you come to your senses and continue reading whenever you’re ready.

I’m Talkin’ ‘Bout Street Skills Son!

I’m not talking about the: study hard, party light, graduate top-of-your-class skills.

I’m not even talking about the: slack-off, skip class, smoke weed, drink and party but still graduate, skill-set your $50,000+ diploma has lead you to believe you have.

“I’m talking ’bout, step out your door, make some moves, and get-some-shit-done, kind of skills! Some, move out your mama’s house, quit your job — say “fuck the world” — and then actually go do it, kind of skills”.

The kind of skills you develop in the real world, outside the bubble of your parents protection or the ideological indoctrination that has overwhelmed our entire educational system.

Skills that can be had by anyone willing to pay the price to get them. Skills that are quickly becoming extinct.

I’m talking about skills that cannot be taught in a classroom or in a textbook. Skills you can only learn by doing; by learning how to fly after jumping off the cliff.

Skills that can only be developed when you find your true self. When you put yourself on the line or otherwise expose yourself to the possibility of failure.

The skills you can only develop when you are willing to risk it all in order to do that one amazing thing.

Skills that up until now, you thought you had.

“Basically, what I am trying to tell you is that, in this game called life, you don’t stand a chance…

1: Because You Have Not Failed Enough

Because you are comfortable in your mediocrity; because you choose not to try.

Because it is easier to talk about learning that new (programming?) language as opposed to actually learning it.

Because you think everything is too hard or too complicated so you will just “sit this one out”, or maybe you’ll, “do-it-tomorrow”!

Because you hate your job but won’t get a new one; because it is easy to reject rejection.

Because while you’re sitting around failing to try, I am out there trying to fail, challenging myself, learning new things and failing as fast as possible.

Because as I fail, I learn, and then adjust my course to make sure my path is always forward. Like the process of annealing steel, I’ve been through the fire and pounded into shape. The shape of a sword with polished edges and a razor sharp blade that will cut you in half if you are not equally hardened.

 

2: Because You Care What Others Think About You

Because you have to fit in.

Because you believe that being different is only cool if you’re different in the same way that other people are different.

Because you are afraid to embrace your true self for fear of how the world will see you. You think that because you judge others, this means that those people must, in-turn, be judging you.

Because you care more about the stuff you have as opposed to the things you’ve done.

Because while you’re out spending your money on new outfits, new cars, overpriced meals or nights at the bar, I’ll be investing in myself. And while you try to fit in with the world I’ll make the world fit in with me.

Because I will recklessly abandon all insecurities and expose my true self to the world. I will become immune to the impact of your opinion and stand naked in a crowd of ideas; comfortable in knowing that while you married the mundane I explored the exceptional.

 

3: Because You Think You Are Smarter Than You Are

Because you did what everyone else did; you studied what they studied and read what they read.

Because you learned what you had to learn in order to pass their tests and you think that makes you smart.

Because you think learning is only something people do in schools.

Because while you were away at college, I was studying life; because instead of learning about the world in a classroom I went out and learned it by living.

Because I know more than any piece of paper you could ever frame from a university. Because smart is not what you learn, it’s how you live.

Because I might not have a degree but I challenge you to find a topic that I can’t talk to you about cohesively.

Because I could pass your tests if I had to, but you couldn’t stand for a single second in the face of the tests that life has thrown me. Tests that are not graded on a bell curve or by percentages; tests that are graded by one simple stipulation: survival!

 

4: Because You Don’t Read

Because you read the things you are required to read or nothing at all.

Because you think history is boring and philosophy is stupid.

Because you would rather sit and watch “E!” or “MTV” instead of exploring something new, instead of diving head first, into the brain of another man in an attempt to better understand the world around you.

Because you refuse to acknowledge that all the power in the world comes from the words of those that lived before us. That anything you desire can be had by searching through the multitude of words that are available to us now more abundantly than ever before.

Because you are probably not reading this article even though you know you should.

Because the people that are reading this already know these things.

Because you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.

 

5: Because You Lack Curiosity

Because you get your news from copy-cat members of the state-controlled media.

Because you are unwilling to ask this simple question… “What if it’s all a lie?”, and accept the possibility that maybe it is; that just maybe, the methods of mass media are under direct orders to: keep you distracted.

Because you call me a know-it-all but refuse to call yourself a know-nothing-at-all.

Because I thirst for knowledge, regardless the topic.

Because while you’re busy playing Candy Crush, or Megalopolis, I am reading about string theory and quantum mechanics.

Because while you waste your time with Tosh.o I am learning how to edit video, build websites and design mobile apps.

Because if we were to go heads-up in a debate, I would crush you. I would make it a point to defeat my own argument; from every imaginable angle; in order to understand everything you might be able to use against me.

Because I would dedicate myself to understanding both sides of the argument so thoroughly that I could argue your side for you and win; even after having just handed you a defeat in the same debate.

 

6: Because You Don’t Ask Enough Questions

Because you do not question authority.

Because you don’t question yourself.

Because you don’t understand the power of properly placed questioning in life, respectful disagreements and standing up for what you know to be right in the face of someone telling you otherwise. Unable to question reality; stuck in a self imposed survival strategy within a matrix-style monotony.

Because I know that you will give me all the information I need to destroy you by letting you talk.

Because I study human behaviors and you ignore everyone but yourself.

Because I watch how you say the things you say just as closely as I listen to what you say; and you say way too much!

Because control comes, not from spewing your ignorance like some incurable case of logorrhea, but from properly structuring the context of your questions.

Because I study the premise of your argument and destroy it from the ground level before you even get a chance to establish your ideas.

 

7: Because You Can’t Handle The Truth

Because you refuse to admit that you don’t even know the things you don’t know.

Because there isn’t an article online that would make up for all the time you have wasted in life.

Because even if I told you everything could be different tomorrow you would wait until then to begin doing anything about it.

Because even when you think I’m not, I’m aware of my surroundings.

Because you think that since I have not acknowledged you, it means that I have not seen you.

Because, you walk around with your head up your ass, oblivious to the world around you. Blissfully ignorant of the reality that sits so close to your face that if you stuck your tongue out, just once, you would taste it and realize how delicious the truth actually is.

Because you would become an instant addict. Unable to pull yourself from the teat of truth. Finally able to understand your lack of understanding, and then you would see; then you would know that the only thing holding you back from doing something truly amazing, is you.

 

Read more like this at Raymmar.com

Wow! Just had the most amazing therapeutic massage

Wow! Just had the most amazing therapeutic massage from Pauline Inwood who is a Masseuse Extraordinaire at The Elements Medi Spa in Hinemoa St, Birkenhead. Pauline gave me a fantastic hour long massage that included reflexology… it was absolute bliss. I then had a great night’s sleep and the following morning was one of the best gym workouts ever.

“Thank you Pauline, you are indeed blessed with magic fingers”.

7 Habits of Incredibly Happy People

by Gregory Ciotti. Reposted from 99u.com

While happiness is defined by the individual, I’ve always felt it foolish to declare that nothing can be learned from observing the happiness of others.

In our day-to-day lives it is easy to miss the forest for the trees and look over some of the smaller, simpler things that can disproportionally affect our happiness levels. Luckily, we can go off more than just our intuition; there are lots of studies that aim for finding the right behavior that leads to a happier life. Below, we take a look at some of the more actionable advice.

1. Be Busy, But Not Rushed
Research shows that being “rushed” puts you on the fast track to being miserable. On the other hand, many studies suggest that having nothing to do can also take its toll, bad news for those who subscribe to the Office Space dream of doing nothing.

The porridge is just right when you’re living a productive life at a comfortable pace. Meaning: you should be expanding your comfort zone often, but not so much that you feel overwhelmed. Easier said than done, but certainly an ideal to strive towards.

Feeling like you’re doing busywork is often the result of saying “Yes” to things you are not absolutely excited about. Be sure to say “No” to things that don’t make you say, “Hell yeah!” We all have obligations, but a comfortable pace can only be found by a person willing to say no to most things, and who’s able to say “Yes” to the right things.

You should be expanding your comfort zone often, but not so much that you feel overwhelmed.

2. Have 5 Close Relationships
Having a few close relationships keeps people happier when they’re young, and has even been shown to help us live longer, with a higher quality of life. True friends really are worth their weight in gold. But why five relationships? This seemed to be an acceptable average from a variety of studies. Take this excerpt from the book Finding Flow:

National surveys find that when someone claims to have 5 or more friends with whom they can discuss important problems, they are 60 percent more likely to say that they are ‘very happy’.

The number isn’t the important aspect here, it is the effort you put into your relationships that matters. Studies show that even the best relationships dissolve over time; a closeness with someone is something you need to continually earn, never treat it as a given. Every time you connect with those close to you, you further strengthen those bonds and give yourself a little boost of happiness at the same time. The data show that checking in around every two weeks is the sweet spot for very close friends.

3. Don’t Tie Your Happiness to External Events

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. —C.S. Lewis

Self-esteem is a tricky beast. It’s certainly good for confidence, but a variety of research suggests that self-esteem that is bound to external success can be quite fickle. For example, certain students who tied their self-esteem to their grades experienced small boosts when they received a grad school acceptance letter, but harsh drops in self-esteem when they were rejected.

Tying your happiness to external events can also lead to behavior which avoids failure as a defensive measure. Think of all the times you tell yourself, “It doesn’t matter that I failed, because I wasn’t even trying.” The key may be, as C.S. Lewis suggests, to instead think of yourself less, thus avoiding the trap of tying your self-worth to external signals.

4. Exercise
Yup, no verbose headline here, because there is no getting around it: no matter how much you hate exercise, it will make you feel better if you stick with it. Body image improves when you exercise (even if results don’t right away). And eventually, you should start seeing that “exercise high” once you’re able to pass the initial hump: The release of endorphins has an addictive effect, and more exercise is needed to achieve the same level of euphoria over time.

So make it one of your regular habits. It does not matter which activity you choose, there’s bound to be at least one physical activity you can stomach.

5. Embrace Discomfort for Mastery
Happy people generally have something known as a “signature strength” — At least one thing they’ve become proficient at, even if the learning process made them uncomfortable.

Research has suggested that mastering a skill may be just as stressful as you might think. Researchers found that although the process of becoming proficient at something took its toll on people in the form of stress, participants reported that these same activities made them feel happy and satisfied when they looked back on their day as a whole.

As the cartoon Adventure Time famously said, “Suckin’ at something is the first step to being sorta good at something,” and it’s true, struggle is the evidence of progress. The rewards of becoming great at something far outweigh the short-term discomfort that is caused earning your stripes.

Struggle is the evidence of progress.

 

6. Spend More Money on Experiences
Truly happy people are very proficient with what they spend on physical things, opting instead to spend much of their money on experiences. “Experiential purchases” tend to make us happier, at least according to the research. In fact, a variety of research shows that most people are far happier when buying experiences vs. buying material goods.

Here are some reasons why this might be, according to the literature:

  1. Experiences improve over time. Aging like a fine wine, great experiences trump physical items, which often wear off quickly (“Ugh, my phone is so old!”). Experiences can be relieved for years
  2. People revisit experiences more often. Research shows that experiences are recalled more often than material purchases. You are more likely to remember your first hiking trip over your first pair of hiking boots (although you do need to make that purchase, or you’ll have some sore feet!)
  3. Experiences are more unique. Most people try to deny, but we humans are constantly comparing ourselves to one another. Comparisons can often make us unhappy, but experiences are often immune to this as they are unique to us. Nobody in the world will have the exact experience you had with your wife on that trip to Italy.
  4. We adapt slowly to experiences. Consumer research shows that experiences take longer to “get used to.” Have you ever felt really energized, refreshed, or just different after coming back from a great show/dinner/vacation? It is harder to replicate that feeling with material purchases.
  5. Experiences are social. Human beings are social animals. Did you know that true solitary confinement is often classified as “cruel and usual” punishment due to the detrimental effects it can have on the mind? Experiences get us out of our comfort zone, out of our house, and perhaps involved in those close relationships we need to be happy.

7. Don’t Ignore Your Itches
This one is more anecdotal than scientific, but perhaps most important.

When the Guardian asked a hospice nurse for the Top 5 Regrets of the Dying, one of the most common answers was that people regretted not being true to their dreams:

This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

As they say, there are seven days in the week, and “someday” isn’t one of them.

The Principle of Priority

“The Principle of Priority states (a) you must know the difference between what is urgent and what is important, and (b) you must do what’s important first.”

Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

A great article and a few thoughts from Scott McDowell of 99u.com about prioritising our workflow in today’s world of “present shock” where everything is happening so fast it may as well be one big now!

Read the full article here…