Tag Archive | Beauty


Definition (Programming)
– Restructuring the non-functional attributes of existing computer code while preserving its functionality.
– Making code clearer, cleaner, simpler, and elegant.

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

What is refactoring?

It’s a model from Programming which can be extended to life systems more generally.

Refactoring is a kind of optimization.

I like to make a distinction between structural optimization and functional optimization.

Functional optimization improves the output of a system. (Functionality)
Structural optimization improves the experience of using the system. (Usability)

Both are important.

So refactoring is structural optimization.


Systems have a tendency to become overly complex. (Creeping Complexity)
This produces friction, and a diminishing desire to engage with the system.
Refactoring reduces friction.

There’s also an aesthetic aspect to it.
The more beautiful an experience, the more likely you are to want return to it.

On Beauty and Simplicity 2

Brevity is beautiful. (Kalid Azad)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“Tell me a model that expresses something you strive for.”


Expressing as much as possible with as little as possible.”

Your One Word 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“Once you discover your One Word [<link; medium read], the next stage is going granular, gaining more and more clarity on what it means. Building a high-fidelity model / map.”

“What’s your process for doing that?”

“I’m thinking meta.

What is the highest-order level that captures the essence of who I am / strive to be?

I’m focusing on four domains – like four cardinal-points:

Meta-Identity (essential identity-blocks [<link; medium read])

Visually the map looks like this:

My One Word

Each item on the map is a (ever-evolving) philosophy in itself.”

“You’ve beautified the map itself.”

“There’s a quote I love by Josh Waitzkin:

The real art in learning takes place as you move beyond proficiency, when your work becomes an expression of your essence.

Expanded to the Art of (Playful) Living:

The real art in living takes place when your work becomes an expression of your essence – and your entire life becomes your work.

For the Life-Artist everything is a means of self-expression.”

“Do you think that anyone can be a Life-Artist?”

“Yes. I strongly believe that anyone can, if they choose to.”

Your One Word

There is One Word that defines who you are. One Word that connects all the things in your life that make you come alive. (Evan Carmichael)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is Your One Word?”

“It’s a beautiful idea I know from Evan Carmichael’s book with the same name. An extension of the One Thing mental model.

It’s basically the idea of condensing everything you stand for, your life philosophy and your Purpose – your reason for getting up in the morning, your Ikigai – into one word.

Evan makes the point that it’s not only useful for yourself – as a powerful mantra-word –, but also for communicating it to others. What’s inspiring for you can also inspire others.”

“What is your One Word?”

My One Word is Beautify.

I’ve had clues about it in my own writings for some time.

For instance:

‘How can I know when I’m on the Beautiful Path?’

You can SEE the breathtaking Beauty in the fabric of the everyday.


Such a beautiful day.

Every day is beautiful, you just can’t see it all the time.


Why are you doing x?

I’m expressing myself.

You’re thinking small.

Express yourself though your LIVING.
Make your WHOLE LIFE a Creative Act,
Make your WHOLE LIFE a Work of Art.



I know, but I keep forgetting it.

This too is part of the Game.

Evan’s book was the catalyst that brought them all together.


Notice Beauty. It’s everywhere around you, if your Heart is open.

Appreciate Beauty. See every instance of Beauty for the Gift that it is.

Create Beauty. Always, in all ways.

Now, and forever.

Make your life / today / this moment a work of art. [Levels of Magnification]

Live a creative life. (Robert Rodriguez)

Maximize each moment’s creative potential. (Josh Waitzkin)

Make an art of everything you do.
Always do your best.

Make a game of everything you do.

The word means all those things, and many many more.

My One Word

Experience Design 2

The ultimate goal of the Designer is to deliver an Experience.

The game is not the experience. The game enables the experience, but it is not the experience. The experience rises out of the game. Ultimately, a game designer does not care about games. Games are merely a means to an end.

(Jesse Schell, The Art of Game Design)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What do you mean by experience design?”

“I see my life as a beautiful modular Game, which is made up of a myriad of smaller life-games. I call it The Beautiful Game [<link; medium length]. 

The Beautiful Game is both a Game and a Meta-Game. I am both the Player and the Game Designer [<link; short].
As the Player, I’m playing the Game.
As the Designer, I’m playing the Meta-Game. 

Experience design is part of the Meta-Game. It’s a meaningful framework for creating experiences.”

“What is the essence of experience design?”

“There are two essential aspects to it:
Selecting Experiences
Beautifying Experiences

Selecting has to do with being selective, choosing the 20% most meaningful and enriching experiences you could possibly have – I call them the precious 20, in contrast with the lackluster 80 – and designing your life around them. 

By default, we do the lackluster 80 most of the time and the precious 20 from time to time. I say we reverse that, do the precious 20 most of the time and the lackluster 80 from time to time.”

“That’s very hard to do.”

“It’s not easy, but it’s something worth striving for.

Beautifying has to do with making the most of and enriching ANY experience you have.

You might think of the former as the Macro, and the latter as the Micro.

Fundamentally, experience design is the process of creating and (efficiently) using specific mental tools for achieving those ends.”

“How do you beautify an experience?”

“There are two aspects to the process:
Attention-directing [<link; medium]

In practical terms, you can beautify an experience in two ways:
(1) By viewing it through a filter of Meaning.
(2) By increasing its Richness through making it Embodied and involving all senses: Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, Olfactory, Gustatory (VAKOG).

As concerns (1), I’m referring to two lenses [<link; medium] in particular:
– a model I call Foreground/Background [<link; medium]

Values refers to a synergistic selection / stack of what I call instrumental Values, Values which, through directing Attention, have a practical effect in the moment. For me, those are:

Loving Play [<link; short]
Beauty [<link; short]

All these combined have an expansive emotional flooding effect.

Foreground/Background refers to metaphorically viewing the Micro experience – the foreground – against the Macro background-story of your life. For instance, I see my life as the Beautiful Game, which means every single experience is part of the Game. I actually say to myself:

This too is the Beautiful Game.

As concerns (2), you can metaphorically think of it as savoring.”

“A bit like how wine tasters savor their chosen experience?”

“Yes. However, unlike wine tasters, not limited to a very narrow range of experience. Developing the capacity to savor and find the Beauty in ANY experience.”

“Even highly unpleasant ones?”

“That’s that highest end of it.”

Beautiful Models: High-Density Experiences

Train to live on the other side of pain. (Josh Waitzkin)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I had a beautiful experience watching a mosquito drink my blood. I’d never seen it happen.”

“Wasn’t it painful?”

“An essential aspect of my training is exposing myself to discomfort and pain. That’s what it started as, but ended up as a contemplation on the beautiful miracle that is Life.

This is what I call a high-density [<link; short length] experience. It lasted but a few moments, but it felt like so much happened in that brief time-span. I often get the same feeling during my 5-minute meditation sessions.”

Challenge as Guide

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I have two options that are equally attractive. Which one should I choose?”

The more challenging one.

“Didn’t you use Beauty as the guide [<link; short length]?”

“I do. In my view, Beauty is a rich and nuanced model. Challenge is one aspect of it.

Another way to think of challenge is as a metaphoric obstacle.”

“The Obstacle is the Way?”

“Yes. Or, to put it differently:

The Obstacle SHOWS the Way.

On failure and Beauty

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I keep failing at it.”

Every failure is a beautiful opportunity to practice
Patience and Persistence,
Equanimity – recovering Balance once lost –,
Self-Love and Self-Compassion,
Problem-solving – which I like to think of as ‘Puzzle-solving’,

Remember always that the failure-obstacle is INEVITABLE and NECESSARY for your growth.

Every failure is a beautiful learning opportunity.

Strive to fail beautifully, and to fail a little better every time.”

Beautify 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“As you may remember, we spoke a while ago [<link; short length] about the mantra-word Beautify, which means:


Notice Beauty.
Appreciate Beauty.
Create Beauty.

We can add a bit more nuance to it, to make it even more powerful.” 

“What do you have in mind?”

“I’m thinking of the concept of savoring

In the context of food and drink, it means taking your time to enjoy something to the fullest. Shifting perspective, we can think of the same experience in terms of beauty: taking your time to enjoy the beauty of a food- or drink-related experience.

Through metaphoric transfer however, we can expand its meaning outside its original context:

Savoring means taking your time to enjoy the beauty of ANY experience.

We can express it as a guideline as,

Savor Beauty.

To render it more explicit and actionable, we can express it thus:

Savor Beauty.
Notice Beauty.
– Appreciate Beauty.
Celebrate Beauty.”

“So the original mantra becomes:


Savor Beauty.
– Notice Beauty.
– Appreciate Beauty.
– Celebrate Beauty.
Create Beauty.


On Beauty and Templating 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

Last time [<link; medium read] we talked about your template for beautifying the moment. 


Can you simplify it? For instance, what would it look like as a triad?”

“Something like this:

Triad for beautifying the moment

The triad is:


Viewed through this lens-model, you can beautify the moment in several ways:

Doing meaningful things (Doing/Meaning)

Doing things meaningfully (Doing/Meaning) – imbuing what you’re doing with meaning, whatever it is, eg by connecting it with your purpose

Doing things mindfully (Doing/Being) – being present in what you’re doing

Doing things mindfully and meaningfully (Doing/Being/Meaning) – being present in what you’re doing, and imbuing it with meaning

Being – simply being, without doing anything

Being meaningfully (Being/Meaning) – simply being, and connecting with your purpose, and/or with some higher reality

We can think of imbuing something with meaning in the moment as Connection.”

“Any insights?”

“I realize it’s important to maintain a balance between being and doing. I have a (maybe slightly compulsive) tendency towards the latter.

I now realize how important it is to create more space throughout the day to simply be.