Music to My Ears

Music affects the emotional centers of our brains, sometimes leaving deep grooves we can reference in the future to feel how we felt when we first heard it. Music works like language does to communicate with the listener - basically sound and dynamics - and even synch with others.

From the Greater Good on why we love music:

“If I’m a performer and you’re a listener, and what I’m playing really moves you, I’ve basically synchronized your brain rhythm with mine,” says Large. “That’s how I communicate with you.”

"...when people listen to unfamiliar music, their brains process the sounds through memory circuits, searching for recognizable patterns to help them make predictions about where the song is heading. If music is too foreign-sounding, it will be hard to anticipate the song’s structure, and people won’t like it—meaning, no dopamine hit. But, if the music has some recognizable features—maybe a familiar beat or melodic structure—people will more likely be able to anticipate the song’s emotional peaks and enjoy it more. The dopamine hit comes from having their predictions confirmed—or violated slightly, in intriguing ways."

Rick Rubin

I never decide if an idea is goof or bad until I try it.  So much of what gets in the way of things being good is thinking that we know.  And the more that we can remove any baggage we're carrying with us, and just be in the moment, use our ears, and pay attention to what's happening, and just listen to the inner voice that directs us, the better.  But it's not the voice in your head.  It's a different voice.  It's not intellect.  It's not a brain function.  It's a body function, like running from a tiger. ... being open to using your instincts instead of going, "Oh, that's not going to work." Or listening to the part of your brain that goes, "Oh, that's out of tune." Or the part of your brain that says, "That's too loud." You have to shut off all of those voices and look for these special moments  - these moments that you accept you have no control over.  So much of my job is to not think - to be open to what's there, and then use my intuition to see where it takes me. ~ Rick Rubin


My 8 Mile

Sometimes I just feel like, quitting I still mightWhy do I put up this fight, why do I still write Sometimes it's hard enough just dealing with real life Sometimes I wanna jump on stage and just kill mics And show these people what my level of skill's like But I'm still white, sometimes I just hate life Something ain't right, hit the brake lights Case of the stage fright, drawing a blank like Da-duh-duh-da-da, it ain't my fault Breaking eye balls, my insides crawl and I clam up (wham) I just slam shut


Maria Bamford's Anxiety Song

Maria Bamford's Anxiety Song:

"This is my anxiety song: If I keep the kitchen floor clean, no one will die as long as I clench my fists at odd intervals, then the darkness within me won't force me to do anything inappropriately violent or sexual at dinner parties as long as I keep humming the tune, I won't 'turn gay'. Mmmm-hmmm-mmmm-mmm, mmmm-hmmm-mmmmm-mmm, mmmmmm--! They can't get you if you're singin' a song! Yeah!"

99 Problems

An awesome legal analysis of Jay-Z's hit song, "99 Problems" by associate professor of law at Southwestern University, Caleb Mason. Lyrics: In my rearview mirror is the motherfucking law/I got two choices y'all, pull over the car or/Bounce on the double put the pedal to the floor

"The calculation Jay-Z has to make is whether, knowing that the car contains concealed contraband, he's better off trying to flee or hoping that the police won't find the drugs during the stop. This may be the hardest choice perps face (until they have to decide whether or not to cooperate), but there's only one answer: you are always better off having drugs found on you in a potentially illegal search than you are fleeing from a potentially illegal search and getting caught. The flight will provide an independent basis for chasing and arresting you, and the inadequacy of the quantum of suspicion supporting the initial attempted seizure will not taint the contraband discovered if there is an intervening flight. Law students: practice explaining the preceding sentence to a layperson. Smugglers, repeat after me: you have to eat the bust, and fight it in court."

How to Get Creative

You're not born creative. It's a skill and like all skills has to be learned and exercised. This great WSJ article is a good resource for building your creativity muscles. From the article:

10 Quick Creativity Hacks

1. Color Me Blue A 2009 study found that subjects solved twice as many insight puzzles when surrounded by the color blue, since it leads to more relaxed and associative thinking. Red, on other hand, makes people more alert and aware, so it is a better backdrop for solving analytic problems.
2. Get Groggy According to a study published last month, people at their least alert time of day—think of a night person early in the morning—performed far better on various creative puzzles, sometimes improving their success rate by 50%. Grogginess has creative perks.
3. Daydream Away Research led by Jonathan Schooler at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has found that people who daydream more score higher on various tests of creativity.
4. Think Like A Child When subjects are told to imagine themselves as 7-year-olds, they score significantly higher on tests of divergent thinking, such as trying to invent alternative uses for an old car tire.
5. Laugh It Up When people are exposed to a short video of stand-up comedy, they solve about 20% more insight puzzles. When people are exposed to a short video of stand-up comedy, they solve about 20% more insight puzzles.
6. Imagine That You Are Far Away Research conducted at Indiana University found that people were much better at solving insight puzzles when they were told that the puzzles came from Greece or California, and not from a local lab.
7. Keep It Generic One way to increase problem-solving ability is to change the verbs used to describe the problem. When the verbs are extremely specific, people think in narrow terms. In contrast, the use of more generic verbs—say, "moving" instead of "driving"—can lead to dramatic increases in the number of problems solved.
8. Work Outside the Box According to new study, volunteers performed significantly better on a standard test of creativity when they were seated outside a 5-foot-square workspace, perhaps because they internalized the metaphor of thinking outside the box. The lesson? Your cubicle is holding you back.
9. See the World According to research led by Adam Galinsky, students who have lived abroad were much more likely to solve a classic insight puzzle. Their experience of another culture endowed them with a valuable open-mindedness. This effect also applies to professionals: Fashion-house directors who have lived in many countries produce clothing that their peers rate as far more creative.
10. Move to a Metropolis Physicists at the Santa Fe Institute have found that moving from a small city to one that is twice as large leads inventors to produce, on average, about 15% more patents.

—List and article by Jonah Lehrer