eric kim azul photography blue2

In life — how can we reduce LAG (latency)?

1. I hate laggers

Okay, so when I was a kid, I love played Starcraft (original). I played on a 38.8k modem, and if you were a ‘lagger’ — you displayed having 5 red bars. If you had low lag (good)— you had 1-2 green bars.

Laggers were always ‘booted’ from games. Nobody liked laggers.

2. High-speed internet liberated me

To decrease your lag was to get a faster internet connection. I remember the day I finally begged my parents (and got a cable-internet connection). After getting high-speed internet, holy shit— the fucking whole world was open to me. It was like I was dying of thirst and sipping water through a (very small) straw — then being able to gulp the water as much as I wanted.

3. ‘Whoa— I know Kung-Fu’ (scene from Neo in the Matrix)

So I’ve lived in Hanoi for the last 8 months, and the wifi here is fucking fast.

I feel like Eminem in ‘Rap God’ — when he is downloading culture into his brain:

I feel like I’ve been able to download art and inspiration at a massive speed into my head, by exploring Wikipedia, downloading PDF’s, consuming videos on YouTube (at 2x speed), and by being able to swim in the vast oceans of knowledge (which is the internet).

When I have access to slow wifi, it is like getting blue-balled. The worst was when I was in Sydney, Australia— where it literally took me an hour to checkin to my flight on Jetstar. To me, it was worse than self-flagellation with a nail-studded club.


I’ve done both these strategies:

  1. No wifi (totally cutting myself off with the ‘Freedom’ app on my Mac), and creating.
  2. Unlimited wifi (at fast coffee shops in Hanoi).

I feel there is no right or wrong answer to be more creative and to create more output.

My strategy is the ‘barbell strategy’ suggested from Nassim Taleb: do either extreme (and avoid the middle).

5. I wanna be NEO from the Matrix

For example, when I am lacking inspiration, I plug myself into the MATRIX (internet) and then I download massive amounts of information that interests me. I drink a lot of coffee, and don’t put no brakes on my Lamborghini.

But then when I get a flash of inspiration, I close everything, plug in headphones, open up IA Writer (minimalist full-screen writing app), and I start to churn out ideas and words.

This ‘barbell’ approach works well for me as a writer and creative because I avoid the ‘middle-meddling’ strategy of casually browsing social media, and writing a few words here and there.

6. Sorry guys

Other extreme things I’ve done in life: the times I really need to do creative work, I totally cut off all contact from the outside world. For example, I go through certain spurts where I don’t check my email for days, weeks, sometimes even months. Or I turn off my smartphone completely for a week, and don’t turn it on again.

For me, like the story of the Taoist wood-bell carver (Read Stephen Mitchell’s ‘Tao Te Ching Part II book’), I need huge chunks of quiet time, and isolation from the world to do creative work. But when I need inspiration, I let in the floodgates, and then will answer all my emails in a furious 1-day stretch, take care of my business and finances and taxes, and reach out to others.

This is a very selfish strategy, but it works for me. It probably won’t work for you.

7. Be unapologetically you.

I piss off a lot of people (sorry guys). I piss off Cindy, my friends, family, and folks on the internet. But my new strategy in life:

I want to be unapologetically me — and don’t let nobody censor me or hold me down.

To me, social rules never made sense to me. To me, I felt like all these social ‘rules’ were a prison. I wanted freedom. I wanted to break out. My antidote was taking the ‘red pill’ when I studied sociology at UCLA, thank you to Terri Anderson and Mark Jepson for helping remove the cloud of illusion fogging my vision of reality.

Now, I feel like I can see clearly, and I want to share this clarity with you.

8. How to reduce lag in life

Some ideas:

  1. Get a fast wifi connection: Spend extra money for the fiber-optic, or the fastest wifi connect you can afford at home.
  2. Airplane mode for your smartphone: I genuinely feel the smartphone is the ultimate anti-creativity tool. We no longer get bored, and therefore we don’t have the opportunity to be creative. To me, creativity most happens when I am bored, and need stimulation.
  3. Alternate between being connected and turning off your internet: When you do creative work, turn off your wifi, or go to a coffee shop or environment without access to wifi. If you use your smartphone/iPhone for photography — turn it to airplane mode so you don’t get distracted when making art.

Here are three simple ideas you can apply to your life. At least that is what I do, and I have been able to be prolific as fuck.

And above all, don’t censor yourself. Publish works in progress, and for me, my personal threshold for publishing something is this:

If it is 80% ‘good enough’ — hit publish.

Be strong,

Learn more: Philosophy >

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