Amateurish Thoughts

Just because I paid for this particular online space seems to be the wrongest motivation to write and post.

I’ve been aware of not posting anything here in the past two months. It should have strongly nudged me to open my OneNote and type like a mad man to fulfill my blogging goals for 2014.

But no.

This back-from-hiatus entry wasn’t about pinning down my apparent lack of follow-through. But since the topic will inevitably touch that, I’ll be intentional about it.

I’m actually writing this because of that one single prompt I’ve had while browsing through the blog.

Inspiration is for amateurs.

I roughly remember what it means: that people who are pros on their respective fields or who have gained success in whatever path do not believe in overnight transformation. They rely on their daily routines to produce meaningful, quality work – not solely on inspiration.

Here’s what Chuck Close, an American photorealist, said about creative blocks and inspiration:

Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work. And the belief that things will grow out of the activity itself and that you will — through work — bump into other possibilities and kick open other doors that you would never have dreamt of if you were just sitting around looking for a great ‘art idea’. And the belief that process, in a sense, is liberating and that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every day. Today, you know what you’ll do, you could be doing what you were doing yesterday, and tomorrow you are gonna do what you did today, and at least for a certain period of time you can just work. If you hang in there, you will get somewhere.

This piece of wisdom perfectly syncs with two things I’ve learnt from a talk recently: the power of dreaming and being intentional about it.

Dreams are powerful in the sense that these possess capacity to change people. That is, if the dreamer willfully submits himself to that dream, allows challenges ahead to shape him (for the better), and shares lessons learned with others who have started or are still pursuing their dreams. Part of that is becoming intentional. The dreamer must be aware of his day-to-day decisions in reaching that goal or dream – and he holds prerogative to choose what’s relevant.

If coupled with a strong intention, dreams mold people bigger than who they are today.

I have a dream just like many people. I want to become an educator – to share knowledge with the future generation, allow them to see and analyse different perspectives, and contribute to their development in little ways. It’s grand, noble, and humbling at the same time, but I can’t seem to find the right approach to steer myself towards that dream.

Admittedly I’m still an amateur, with an over-reliance on spur-of-the-moment drive.

I waste time waiting or looking for an ideal time and space to read materials and specialise on my chosen field. I refuse to seize the most ideal moments when I need to. I stop trying when things don’t seem ideal. My habits remain the same. I neglect networking with key individuals to hear their thoughts and experiences. Consequently inspiration goes down the drain.

Then one day I’ll feel inspired again – and the cycle repeats.

A quick hacking of daily habits must be what it takes to end the vicious loop – and to always be intentional on doing them, not just on knowing what they are.

With that said, I’m going to sleep now. I shouldn’t be sleeping this early every single day.


Related Article: Chuck Close on Creativity, Work Ethic, and Problem-Solving vs. Problem-Creating



La Liga: Matchday 22 Mini-Thoughts

I almost thought of a double celebration in Madrid.

Barcelona already lost on Saturday against Valencia. And I was hoping for an Atlético win and a possible second-place finish for Real Madrid.

Everything seemed to be going well for Los Blancos with Jesé hitting the net at 65′. Amazingly the youngster has scored on the most important matches of the season – and clearly he’s the future of this team Ancelotti should be taking care of.

But alas, a late substitution from Athletic (Ibai Gómez) settled the game at one point a piece. See link featuring the equaliser – scored in just less than a minute after substitution!


And the more controversial thing? Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off!

Whatever he did does not seem to deserve that card. Bias aside, wasn’t Cristiano the one pushed by Gurpegi here? But as always there are bad calls for or against Madrid anyway, some can just be quite decisive depending on the timing.

Even so, a point is still a point. At least we’re tied with Barça, and Real Madrid are slowly creeping in as a real contender for the Spanish cup.

It’s good to see Atlético on top of the league for the first time since 1996. And honestly, even if my allegiance remains on the other side of the capital, I feel that Atlético will win this season.

For more highlights, here’s the link from 101GreatGoals.

Tune Porn #1: ‘The City’ by The 1975

Out of the need to maximise the benefits of having a smartphone-data plan bundle, I considered streaming music over 8tracks on a regular basis.

I love my play list, mind you. It has a sizable range of genre, from pop, indie folk, trance, and even Asian pop – which somehow reflects my randomness.

However, 8tracks can be more advantageous for people who want a ‘flow’ in their listening experience. People in general have the tendency to flood music players with several genres. And if a certain song has already set the mood, say ‘Play Hard’ by David Guetta, clearly a Josh Groban track on queue would spoil the day.

And that’s what 8tracks addresses – by allowing the user to tailor-fit current mood with a specific genre.

So one Friday I decided to use the service and this song by The 1975 got stuck in my head.

It dawned on me that I’ve heard this over the radio a few months back.

I won’t pretend that I’m a big fan of indie rock, but this kind of tune suits me anytime of the day. The song  is catchy enough and doesn’t break my eardrums with the unnecessary growling and percussion.

The accent must be something I need to get used to. Matthew Healy eats his words on some lines and it’s quite annoying for someone like me who doesn’t pick up lyrics unless I read them.

Based on initial research (thanks to Wikipedia), the album was produced by Mike Crossey, who previously collaborated with Arctic Monkeys and Foals. That’s a pretty appealing combination especially that ‘My Number’ went nonstop on my built-in music player for about a week or two.

Perhaps I’ll just stick with The 1975 in the coming days.