Tag future

A Mind Forever Voyaging I.

One of the challenges I’m facing now is assessing where to focus my creative and intellectual energy, both in the short and long-term.

While this statement makes it appear I am absent of direction, this is incorrect. My journey over the past four years, documented within Territories and Incubator, has ultimately established a new operating foundation for my personal and professional lives.  On the flip side, this increased awareness has also introduced some level of uncertainty with respect to the next course of action.

Over the course of my career, I’ve tended to use the phrase “foundation” as a way for me to maintain a high sense of humility and to continuously reset a logical “starting point” so that I can advance with greater depth and efficacy.

Looking at this phrase from an alternative perspective, while a foundation is essential for continuous growth, remaining at this foundation can be potentially limiting.

I use the word “limiting” to describe several things.

The first is that one’s future is largely based upon one’s belief system.  If you choose to believe that you are always operating at a “foundation” level, it’s unlikely that you’ll also see that you have moved well beyond this foundation and are capable of much more.

The second is that building a foundation that spans beyond the norm (i.e. a foundation exhibiting greater breadth vs. depth within any particular topic) allows one to operate in many areas, but can ultimately limit one’s potential along any one particular path.

I’ve reached a point in my career where I’ve labeled myself a “solutions builder” first and foremost, followed immediately by “designer” and “technologist;” the latter two ranked in no particular order.  I am comfortable with this self-imposed labeling right now, but question its long-term validity.

The challenge that I am facing now is determining where I fit within a fabricated specialization/generalization spectrum, and whether that placement is the best fit for long-term success.

What do I truly wish to become and how do I get there?

The White Flag.

After much consideration, I resigned from my job of twelve years nearly two weeks ago.

There are many who would question such a decision given that I don’t have another opportunity lined up, and I’m also not 100% certain what, or where, that opportunity might be.  I just knew that this was the right thing to do and the right time to do it.

For someone who has historically placed logic above all else, admittedly many who hear this news are taken aback.  Unfortunately, after what I’ve experienced over the past five years, I’ve learned that life has other plans regardless of what you may have wanted to happen.

Thus, I’ve stopped trying to make any real long-term plans and to accept whatever comes into my life.  I don’t look years into the future; right now, I operate on a day-to-day basis (that’s 24 hours), perhaps because I don’t have any other choice.

I recently read an excerpt from a business text published by the Harvard Business Review where the author describes the attitudes of POWs during the Vietnam War.  Those who believed they would be in that situation forever fared much better than those who believed they would be released within a certain period of time; the former group’s ability to accept their current circumstances increased their resiliency.

When things aren’t “working,” I think it’s natural to envision a time when things will be working again.  Interestingly, it’s a mistake to think this way.

Since 2006, thoughts of a “better future” have centered on a relationship that no longer exists.  More recent situations have involved my career and where I live: “This will get better in a few months …” or “I’m only going to live here for a short while …”

Anger and frustration at what “should have been” becomes draining and meaningless in time, but difficult to relinquish all the same.  Unfortunately, these same feelings erode one’s resilience, and it’s a downward spiral from there.

Based upon my experience, I think one’s ability to “weather the storm” requires resilience, and surprisingly a pessimistic attitude (i.e. things may never change, but eventually everything ends).  The ability to “live life” centers around the ability to “fail quickly” (i.e. perseverance) and a strong sense of one’s self / purpose.  Everything else is supplementary, and should be considered a “bonus” because nothing in life, and no one, is guaranteed.


Alone Together I: MDS Robot “Nexi”

One of the books that I am reading now is called “Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other” by Sherry Turkle.  The book is divided into two parts – the first focusing on the relationship dynamic between robots and people and the second on recent developments such as Facebook, Twitter and the like.

Over the past several years, I’ve realized (particularly in the workplace) that more and more people are turning towards technology and less to each other.  I am reading this book because I am just a victim to this unfortunate trend and I am at a point where I can’t afford to stay the course any longer.

This fact doesn’t lessen my interest in the subject as there is a great deal of psychology embedded within this topic that warrants understanding.

I’ll share more thoughts about this book as I progress further.  In the meantime, here is a video of a robot (not from this text) that exemplifies the lure of a robot as a potential replacement or stand-in for another human being:

[youtube width=440 height=278 style=”text-align:right”]aQS2zxmrrrA[/youtube]

The Dream.

I woke up the other morning realizing that I have had a fairly consistent dream over the past several years.  While i can’t completely understand the associated timing, I am starting to understand the meaning of the dream.

First, let me share some brief background.

With very few exceptions, I have always considered myself to be a good student.  I love to learn and school has always been a place of pure enjoyment for me.

Ironically enough, I was never interested in my English classes.  I completed my assignments, read the books and participated in class, but frankly I was never enthusiastic about being there.

Not surprisingly, my dream involves my time spent in this class – or, more accurately, my time not spent in this class.  For some reason or another, I either chose not to attend class or I simply decided that the assignments could be left until the end of the semester.

As the dream progresses, the semester eventually comes to a close, and you can imagine my emotional state as I quickly realize that I haven’t done anything and I am left wondering how I am ultimately going to succeed in a class in which I really haven’t participated.  The realization of potential failure turns the “dream” into a nightmare.

Fortunately, the dream always seems to end with me successfully completing the class although it also omits the details regarding how.

As with anything in life, this dream is subject to interpretation.  My interpretation of this dream is that I may be associating success with the existence of a plan. This dream seems to tell me that I can still be successful without one.

Right now, I really have no other choice but to believe.

“You are here”

What if I left my job, packed my belongings, electronically disconnected, boarded a plane, explored the places I have always wanted to see … and then started again?

I recently received a copy of Timothy Butler’s book “Getting Unstuck – How Dead Ends Become New Paths.”  While I have only started reading it, the first chapter highlighted a few interesting passages that are worth repeating here.

Remaining Stuck: “… we are afraid of the dark.  We want to move in the sunshine, walk along familiar streets, and have experiences that are sure to give us pleasure.  We want to feel that most of life can be planned that we have a reasonable chance of avoiding pain.  The idea of staying with things just as they are, without a plan, of suspending our model of how things work, puts us at a frontier of unknowing, which is to say at a place that is “dark” to our previous conception of things, to our plan for ourselves and our notion of how everything works.  We avoid this dim frontier, and so we stay stuck.”

False Reasoning: “Sometimes we can’t help seeing impasse as failure, rather as a necessary crisis in the service of larger creative movement.  There is a danger of internalizing the experience of impasse as evidence of personal deficiency, as a statement about our self-worth. This can be painful.  We may need the help of a friend, coach, or counselor to reflect the reality of the situation back to us and remind us that this is a tough time and not a statement about who we are in the core of our being.”















AcD: ION Arcadia I (Early Prototype)

This is another (science-fiction) concept focusing primarily on composition and scale.  You’ll see this theme fairly often as I find it fascinating!  This concept is a spacecraft that is used primarily for human transport.  If under attack, the ship can actually break apart on its own and then regroup into a single entity once the intruder has departed.  The ship can also hover while on land and does not require explicit landing gear (as shown below).

This craft is part of a larger “ION” world I have been thinking about over the past several weeks and thus, I decided to create an early-stage logo to reflect this new environment.

To see the original renders and full set, please visit my digital illustration site at Ink.

AcD: Lost Souls

It’s amazing what you can do with such a simple scene such as the one I’ve created here.  Again, in these examples it’s about the composition and the “look” rather than a heavy emphasis on the underlying models.  I call this series “Lost Souls” as it is about the vast cityscape and the isolation of the individuals who remain here.  I always hesitate to alter the name of my creations as I like to stick with the name that I start with.

Interestingly enough, this scene probably would not have worked if I did not include smaller references of the woman within the scene.  The key is to utilize familiar elements, such as this person, elsewhere in the scene to suggest a sense of scale.

Can you locate the human in the second piece?  If not, check out the original here.

7: Concept Vehicle – Initial Sketches

Right now I’m unsure how many sketches I’ll post on a daily basis, but here are a few from day 1.  Prismacolor pencil is, I think, the best way to get some initial ideas on paper; doing a similar exercise in digital just isn’t the same.

As you can see here, I’m leaning towards a vertically-oriented cockpit and am exploring the use of various power / transmission mechanisms.  (Click on the images below to enlarge)

(Click on the above image to enlarge)

Key Ingredients for Success.

(from “Learned Optimism” by Martin Seligman)

Electronica Genius.

I recently acquired Joris Voorn’s 2008 mix – “Balance” – on double CD.  In short, the compilation is simply a masterpiece of electronica and well-crafted mixes.

Joris’ introduction pretty much says it all:

“The process of making these mixes has been more like painting with sound rather than performing a traditional DJ-mix.

“As you can see, I have used a lot of tracks.  My intention while working on these mixes, however, has not been a simple case of ‘more is more’ – some of the tracks have been reduced to portions as small as a 2-bar loop, or are just a break or an intro.

“The process was inspired and inspiring, and although this Balance project is over, it has created many new leads and ideas for future works.

“I hope that people will enjoy the results.  Some listeners will be surprised by what they hear, but I believe I’ve pushed my boundaries in not only a technical way but – even more so – in a musical and artistic way as well.”