unfolding thoughts

I recollect reading somewhere that if we need to bring about changes in our lives, the first step would be to change our thoughts about our life.

“Unfolding Thoughts” – Original fine art from The Border of a Mind Studios.

If you would like to change your life, you must first change the way you think about your life. Thoughts are not just thoughts. They are bridges and doors and entryways and foundations. They magnetize and repel. They can build a house and tear it down. They can energize momentum, or keep you idling within your own little world forever. Thoughts are investments, and they are decisions. The mind will generate an endless series of options-some inspiring, and others terrifying and so you must choose. You must choose what you will return to, what you will believe in, what you will place weight on. Because thoughts create feeling, and feeling creates desire, and desire creates action, and action creates reward, and reward creates more desire, and before you know it, a thought became the torch that led you down the path that is your life. If you would like to change your life, you must first change the way you think about your life. There never was another way.

writing magic.

Writing and the connection achieved by it sometimes have a transformative effect that’s often magical. It’s often how you discover your true tribe.

Illustrated by The Border Of a Mind Studios

“Writing, if nothing else, is a bridge between two people, a bridge made of language. And language belongs to all of us. If I enjoy a poem, that just means I am recognizing within it something of myself, something I must already possess. Therefore, to love a poem is to love a part of myself revealed to me by another person…I really believe that writing is the closest thing we have to true magic. Where else, but in words, can we discover each other out of thin air?”

― Ocean Vuong

Maker’s time

When you read something that absolutely resonates with what we have to express, that’s an aha moment. Now, I’m in such a pleasant disposition after reading a good essay and I thought of putting down my thoughts on it. Lately, I came across some very interesting essays by Paul Graham. I know that in this world of lesser attention spans, most of us are reluctant to use our time for long format reads. But let me tell you, these are very insightful. One of the essays that I’d like to specifically mention here goes with the title: Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s schedule

In this essay, he outlines the schedule of two types of people – Makers and Managers. ” Maker ” refers to somebody who’s engaged in creative work. “Makers” can be painters, musicians, technical engineers, programmers, writers, etc. The other type of schedule is of the “Manager” who’s in some cases “bosses” or somebody who’s on manager schedule.
He writes it really well in articulating the kind of “mindset” that makers and managers work. Makers and Manager both work in different frames of minds and have different concepts of conceiving time. He explains it in the context of having meetings by explaining how time is considered from the point of view of a maker and a manager. He explains this point as below

“Maker’s Time” Visual Stories

There are two types of schedule, which I’ll call the manager’s schedule and the maker’s schedule. The manager’s schedule is for bosses. It’s embodied in the traditional appointment book, with each day cut into one-hour intervals. You can block off several hours for a single task if you need to, but by default you change what you’re doing every hour.

When you use time that way, it’s merely a practical problem to meet with someone. Find an open slot in your schedule, book them, and you’re done.

Most powerful people are on the manager’s schedule. It’s the schedule of command. But there’s another way of using time that’s common among people who make things, like programmers and writers. They generally prefer to use time in units of half a day at least. You can’t write or program well in units of an hour. That’s barely enough time to get started.

Quoted from “Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule”, Essay by Paul Graham

You see, he absolutely nails it on the point on explaining this aspect. Managers on handling the logistics and time frames of activities of makers often consider and use time differently. Makers (Examples- painters, musicians, technical engineers, programmers, writers, etc) on the other hand require deep engagement in their work and normally work on a different frame of mind requiring content creation / technical problem solving, etc. The day for managers are divided into pieces for meetings, calls, follow up emails, and other administrative tasks. Makers are looking for large portions of uninterrupted and unscheduled time to do any sort of creative work they’re engaged in. He explains this difference in the context of meetings as a good example that’s relatable to a lot of people.

One reason programmers dislike meetings so much is that they’re on a different type of schedule from other people. Meetings cost them more.
When you’re operating on the maker’s schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in. Plus you have to remember to go to the meeting. That’s no problem for someone on the manager’s schedule. There’s always something coming on the next hour; the only question is what. But when someone on the maker’s schedule has a meeting, they have to think about it.
For someone on the maker’s schedule, having a meeting is like throwing an exception. It doesn’t merely cause you to switch from one task to another; it changes the mode in which you work.

Quoted from “Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule”, Essay by Paul Graham

I’m sure that he has a very broad understanding such that he’s able to understand the difference very clearly. He further writes

I find one meeting can sometimes affect a whole day. A meeting commonly blows at least half a day, by breaking up a morning or afternoon. But in addition there’s sometimes a cascading effect. If I know the afternoon is going to be broken up, I’m slightly less likely to start something ambitious in the morning. I know this may sound oversensitive, but if you’re a maker, think of your own case. Don’t your spirits rise at the thought of having an entire day free to work, with no appointments at all? Well, that means your spirits are correspondingly depressed when you don’t. And ambitious projects are by definition close to the limits of your capacity. A small decrease in morale is enough to kill them off.
Each type of schedule works fine by itself. Problems arise when they meet. Since most powerful people operate on the manager’s schedule, they’re in a position to make everyone resonate at their frequency if they want to. But the smarter ones restrain themselves if they know that some of the people working for them need long chunks of time to work in.

Quoted from “Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule”, Essay by Paul Graham

The essay glides over to other aspects on advising startups and other companies to have a more understanding work culture by educating people on the difference in which makers and managers work. One thing he points out in the later part of the essay is that “When you’re operating on the manager’s schedule you can do something you’d never want to do on the maker’s: you can have speculative meetings. You can meet someone just to get to know one another. If you have an empty slot in your schedule, why not? Maybe it will turn out you can help one another in some way“. He jokingly refers to the distinctive language of “grab a coffee” commonly used as a means of proposing these speculative meetings.
These speculative meetings cost terribly for a maker in terms of his time. The fine thin line between blowing our schedules and offending people is the way to steer the way ahead. It’s a very narrow line and often I find that makers are often the ones willing to compromise.

I would technically fall in the category of a maker by its description. I’m a mechanical design engineer by profession. I work on concept designing of engineering products, develop structural calculations to back up an engineering concept & its engineering intent and use, working with teams to develop sketches and engineering drawings sufficient for prototyping a product and also work extensively on costing a product & obviously this includes costing a lot of its internal sub-assemblies. Often at times, I do engage in engineering simulations to evaluate the efficiency of a designed component without prototyping or manufacturing. I can absolutely relate when the essay speaks of the way the maker outlines his time of efficient work. Of course, a maker would definitely get questions like “When do you think you can finish this? , “When would you get this done? “, ” At what date you can complete this work?” etc. A cohesive understanding of all parties and being considerate, understanding, and gentle is what matters in achieving a common goal. You may be falling into either one of these types and probably this could give some insight on the frame of mind in which time is conceived by different people. I hope you found this interesting. Happy to know your thoughts.

Some of my other articles that I’d like to link here if you’d like to skim through
Small Businesses – Lines of Thought
Instilling Compassionate Prudence

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wander

A photograph of the author respiring fresh air in the jungles of Attapadi. Photographed by Amjad

“A person does not grow from the ground like a vine or a tree, one is not part of a plot of land. Mankind has legs so it can wander.”
― Roman Payne, The Wanderess

One of my long time read is the beautiful blog Notes from the Road. It’s written by Erik Gauger and it is an excellent road travel writing blog. I love the aesthetics and the overall way in which content is articulated on this page. Not sure if this would change in the future, but it looks stunning! What I like the most is his philosophy of travel writing at the core. If we read online, pure travel writing is a treasure to find out. My dad was a forest officer and may be due to the opportunities that I had with him to visit some of the most remote hill stations in South India, I am very much enticed by travel narratives when done well. Erik has done a wonderful job in narrating his travels and as he himself writes on his website,

“At Notes from the Road, I try to stay grounded in my original vision for what travel blogging can be: independent, visual, personal. Travel writing has never been about hotels and reviews. It is, and always has been, about ideas, people, and faraway places.”
Erik Gauger , author of Notes from the Road

Another example of how beautiful things can get when somebody puts his heart and soul into what he does.

metaphor of sun

I photographed this with Netta from the Andaman Islands. What I like the most about this photograph is how the sun rising is spreading its light across everything. From the soothings waves to the rocks to the pebbles, we see its light on everything. This resonates with a theme that I read recently.  On a particular note, the example of sun is provided where the sun encompasses numberless things with its light. It says that a comprehensive outlook is required to behold the sun itself in the totality of its light. For the sun not to be forgotten, its manifestation is displayed on every shining object by its reflection. Further I read that all lustrous objects have a refleciton of sun’s attributes such as its light, heat and the seven colors in its light  (From the Words). The sun’s attributes is encompassing all things facing it. The same allegory is extended to divine mercy we find around us in several manifestations and specifically in man’s mirror like essence. From the food on our table, to the clothes we wear to our comforts, there’re manifestations of divine mercy everywhere.

perceiving time | ponder series

I couldn’t write for the past few days due to my frame of mind, not in the beautiful space I need to be in, to put my heart into what I do. Today, I’m planning to write about the perception of time and some contemplation on some of my recent thoughts on this theme. Welcome to another slice of our Ponder Series. You won’t be bored with a long read while we explore together on the wonders of time and its perception.

The perception of time and its intricacies are keys to several extraordinary secrets about the world we live in. A baby does not come out in a moment, but takes almost 9 months. A seed could have become a huge oak in a day, but it takes hundreds of years. We don’t eat the fruit on the same day that we plant a tree. Fruits of labor may not be seen right away. All things take time. There are certain things that cannot be fast-tracked. We often wonder about the magic of time and how it’s perceived.

In a wonderful article with regards to time on the brain, George Musser writes,

“It’s not that our memory is a glitchy wetware version of computer flash memory; it’s that the computer metaphor just doesn’t apply. Roediger said we store only bits and pieces of what happened—a smattering of impressions we weave together into feels like a seamless narrative. When we retrieve a memory, we also rewrite it, so that the next time we go to remember it, we don’t retrieve the original memory but the last one we recollected. So, each time we tell a story, we embellish it, while remaining genuinely convinced of the veracity of our memories.”

This is very profound. What we know and perceive as “past” is really a smattering of impressions we weave together as the author articulates it. All the experiences, events happening truly runs as “stories” in our minds and we only have impressions of them as they pass us. When you read an article on my website, for example, that’s a story weaved in your mind when you think about it later. We “perceive” time by usually comparing a “story” or a “moment” with a previously known moment or event if we think about it. When you’re reading this blog on your phone or on your computer screen, just clap your hands once and you’ll hear a sound. If you clap once again, you’ll hear another sound. Now, we call this interval between these two claps “time” by thinking that there’s an interval between them. When you clap the hands for the second time, the first clap sound you heard is only nothing more than a memory that’s formed in your mind, sort of like an imagination. You see, this comparison of moments and events and correlating with each other is what we perceive as time in our lives.

Before reading this post, let’s say you came to the room that you’re in now from a different room and let’s say you sat on the couch/chair or on the bed that you’re in now and once you sit and read what you’re reading now,  the images of how you came to the room before opening this website are now only information in your memory. That’s how we perceive time. Hence, the perception of time is heavily tied and if not only tied to the sequence of memories and stories running in our brains. It’s sort of like a movie being loaded with us being the actors in that play. Without these correlations of memories, there wouldn’t be any perception of time. I turned 32 recently. I determine it so because I have my mind being accumulated with memories and events related to those 32 years. If my memories do not exist, then I wouldn’t have any clue of a so-called “preceding period” and would only be having an experience of the single moment in which I’m living. In case if you haven’t thought about it before, pause for a moment and ponder on this reality.

Reels are being played in our brains and stories and perceptions are weaved on and on. That’s a true wonder only for minds who think about them. Deep thought is the key to gratitude.  Thank you for reading. I’m planning to write some other chapters on the same theme. It’s actually one of my favorite topic that I can write on and on with a hot cup of tea. Do write your thoughts to me.

Some of the chapters from the Ponder Series that you can read on :

> Ornate Blossoms
> Visual Narrative – Ponder Series
Reflecting on Shadows
Stumble over Pebbles
Ethereal Quality | Petals
Golden Ratio
Vision – Pondering on the intricacies
Ruminating on Bird Nests
Living Embellishments
Pondering on Birds 
Perceptions

If you are reading this series for the first time, have a look at the intent post.

 

realizing roots.


Illustrated by: The Border Of a Mind.

There are many intricacies that often stay in the realm of thoughts that is yearning our awe. Think of the trees with their branches spreading through the air and producing fruits. With the ease of them growing and diverging into the air, their roots also spread and diverge through hard rock and earth beneath. Seeds and grains bear huge trees within them. Thinking casually about them takes into a realm of an unexceptional everyday sight.  At the same time, pondering deeply lifts this curtain of blindness from our eyes and opens the windows of realization that these are indeed spectacular miracles. There’s kind of a solace on realizing that everything, be it a new leaf forming, an old leaf tumbling down the branches, things happening to us beyond our plans are under a divine command. Realizing bounties is key to a state of remembrance, gratitude, and reflection, the key themes that I’ve thought of today. The illustration you see in inspired from an image in my mind around a cottage garden in Ooty, South India.

reliant traveler of the desert

A slice of photographic memory from a desert goes well with a story that I read recently.

“Someone who makes a journey through the deserts of Arabia has to travel in the name of a tribal chief and enter under his protection, for in this way he may be saved from the assaults of bandits and secure his needs. On his own, he will perish in the face of innumerable enemies and needs. And so, two men went on such a journey and entered the desert. One of them was modest and humble, the other proud and conceited. The humble man assumed the name of a tribal chief, while the proud man did not. The first traveled safely wherever he went. If he encountered bandits, he said: “I am traveling in the name of such-and-such tribal leader,” and they did not molest him. If he came to some tents, he was treated respectfully due to the name. But the proud man suffered indescribable calamities throughout his journey. He both trembled before everything and begged from everything. He was abased and became an object of scorn.

My proud soul! You are the traveler, and this world is a desert. Your impotence and poverty have no limit, and your enemies and needs are endless. Since it is thus, takes the name of the Pre-Eternal Ruler and Post-Eternal Lord of the desert and be saved from begging before the whole universe and trembling before every event.”
– Excerpt From The First Word, “The Words, The Treatise of Light,” Bediuzzaman.

mind magnet

I have read somewhere that mind is akin to a magnet in a certain sense.  It’s concomitant of the thoughts espoused within. If we put our thoughts about blessings,  the mind tends to attract and discover blessings and their deeper meanings. In the same manner,  channeling thoughts of problems would bewitch and attract problems and restlessness. Nurturing and cultivating good thoughts would help in assuming a positive and optimistic frame of mind. That’s a lifetime of learning. Remember the humble life illustration?

Being calm about everything allows your mind to find solutions. Calmness is also a state of trust. Instead of overthinking and overreacting, you just surrender for that moment and allow yourself to receive guidance for what doesn’t make sense – Idil


I’ve personally felt that the strength of calmness is often derived from a trust in the divine timing of events happening and not harboring or apprehending any internal dissent or distress in the way certain things are in the way they’re supposed to be and in accepting certain aspects on the way they are. I believe that’s a quality that’s to be built up with time and experiences and everyone would have different journeys. God bless.

intangible

This resonates well with my take on it. Remember when we talked about the vision? I had written that this space is a virtual studio of arts, ideas and minds built on the idea of embellishment of childish curiosity that we’re born with and to manifest it through fine writings, arts, visuals, and moving images. You cannot touch this space, but if you have been reading me, this humble space, which we call “The Border of a Mind” is in your memory, in an intangible realm of your mind. Keep reading and I’d put my heart and soul in curating this garden of ideas. God bless : )

“The unreal is more powerful than the real. Because nothing is as perfect as you can imagine it. Because its only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on. If you can change the way people think. The way they see themselves. The way they see the world. You can change the way people live their lives. That’s the only lasting thing you can create.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Choke

illustration based on a portrait taken by dear friend M.H.P