30 July 2015

Food For Thought // #15

Personal picture 2013

As a consequence of a slow two-week vacation (understand, without much travel), I have read and discovered many new sources of learning, inspiration and thought. Here is a little best-of, in case you have a bit of time for light or insightful reads this summer.

Note: Lin has kindly invited me to answer her questions within her "women who work" series of articles. You can check it out here, and thanks again to Lin for the opportunity!

On Minimalist Beauty - Misinterpreting the Beauty Around Us

I do feel it is important to present your best self to the world, and I also feel that our quality of life should feel radiant.  Yet when our best self and beautiful life always gears around something we do not currently have, I am certain we must be feeding the wrong intention.

With this quote above, the article caught my attention from the start - I do feel that we should present our best self to the world, and that our quality of life should feel radiant. But how much of this goal leads to believing false promises and buying new, all-powerful items? In this post, Dawn Michelle goes over other ways to feel like our best self, which she learned thanks to simple living.

I’ve noticed that I have to seriously watch myself when I see that the beauty I’m observing becomes just like any other advertisement.  Instead I’d love to take the perspective of viewing what I see as if I were in a museum.  

Now that is a valuable piece of advice: looking at the beauty of inspiration sources (instagram, pinterest, blogs, even advertisements, to the extreme) as if we were looking at art in a museum, rather than making it an object of temptation.

On Medium: Why I left Facebook

This one is a good complementary article to the short update I wrote on social media recently. How long are we really spending going through our facebook wall, clicking on these "the 15 best pictures of..", or presenting carefully curated photos and profile updates?

"Besides love, time is perhaps the most valuable thing we have."

 This society says "time is money", but time is more valuable than money, it is the one resource we can never get back, the one resource that makes us who we are, depending on how we spend it.

Besides the time point, I like how this article goes into the toxic side of social media, the "comparing our behind the scenes with other people's highlight reel" thing that destroys our self esteem. Definitely a valuable read to think on some serious digital editing.

As far as I'm concerned, I'm still using facebook, mainly as a contact book of sorts, especially for friends from all around the world whom I met in Japan for example. It is also a good tool to organize small events with friends and keep the guests updated. I also have a little page for the blog, to share my article updates, but also inspirations and articles worth reading.
But I almsot never update my own feed - other than to share the same inspirational articles - and rarely update personal pictures or status anymore. Nor do I read much of my feed, and this article made me want to use facebook even less often than before.

By Mark Manson: 10 life lessons I learned in my 20s

This is the kind of article that reminds me of this TED talk about the defining decade or why 30 isn't the new 20. Perhaps I'm drawn to these as I am slowly walking towards my own 3-0 and having a major identity crisis of late (as in "why is this that I'm almost 30 and didn't even finish one novel, despite having started dozens of them over the past 20 years?").

You may be interested in this article if you are at the crossroads of your life, whether by circumstances (finishing school for example), or by personal questioning. That's the kind of article I'd like to have read when I was in my early 20s, but it's still very informative for older readers. (And I have the 30s version for you in the next Food for Thought post).

In our instant gratification culture, it’s easy to forget that most personal change does not occur as a single static event in time, but rather as a long, gradual evolution where we’re hardly aware of it as it’s happening.

That is something I wish I was told when I was 20. Of course I was taught about getting a nice diploma for my future career and such, but take writing as an example. I never really made many small steps toward being a renowned writer because it seemed impossible. I wish someone had told me: "keep writing now, it will start small and shitty, but that's what gets you to your first novel in ten years, perhaps your first published work in twenty, etc.". When we begin at life, some things appear so big and unsurmountable, we tend to forget we can get there, in time, step by step.

When you are young, your greatest asset is not your talent, not your ideas, not your experience, but your time.

Also a valuable lesson: we arrive in life thinking we are so great - at least this "generation Y" that has been uplifted by family all our childhood. We think the world is waiting for us but it isn't; we are green, inexperienced, clumsy. But we do have the time to fail, learn, and get better, if only we dedicate our energy to try, again, and again. I will go back to my writing metaphore here, but Elizabeth Gilbert said she had sent dozens of papers to publishing houses by the time she was 25, and all were rejected. I'm 29, and I have participated to 2 short story contests, and that's it.

I'm not going to detail all 10 lessons in that article, the point of the food for thought is for you to go and read it. Bottom line is: he's got good ideas going in there, worth thinking about however old you are now.

On The Financial Diet - The Minimalist Pixie Dream Girl: Who she is and why I hate her

This article dates back a little but I only came across it recently and I thought I might share it with you. It is quite in line with the questioning I currently have about my simplicity journey - how easy it is to get stuck to this imagery floating around the minimalist idea these days on the Internet, and how to each find our own way instead of striving for some unachievable perfection that does nothing but make us feel inadequate.

[...] Minimalist Pixie Dream Girl is all an illusion, albeit one that looks incredibly enticing when it pops up on your Tumblr dashboard. But remember that its only purpose in this world is to make you feel inadequate in every category, from beauty to home decor to lifestyle.

I find it quite ironic to get stuck in that kind of aspiration while to me, the simplicity journey is supposed to be about shedding the layers of society conditioning and insecurities and perfect images of media and advertising and shoulds and musts to find ourselves. Yet this image of minimalism is enticing. A fun article that also lands home for me, and perhaps for some of you too.

That's it for today's Food for Thought post. In the end, it was quite long, perhaps I should share fewer articles in the future. I hope you like perusing through these reads that inspired me. If you have inspiring articles of your own please do share, I am ever curious to read more about these...

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