Thinking without thinking 🤔

Thinking without thinking

Work is the practice of gathering string. But it is the empty mind that weaves experience, knowledge, and ideas altogether.

The apple may have hit Newton's head, but his insights into gravity were brewing all along.

There is no such thing as Eureka, just the gradual harmonization of distilled moments that become apparent when we least expect them to.

We think to get rid of thoughts just like “the blues is played to get rid of the blues.” But we can't think our way to innovation.

We think most effectively when we turn off the monkey mind and permit creativity to break through the hush of silence. Off is on.

Even when we are not thinking — when we're relaxed in the shower or doing the dishes — we're thinking. We are always chewing on context, bringing excitement to the habitual self.

art via giphy


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Ready, Rock Steady

The more you work the more you make, at least it appears that way. But Søren Kierkegaard thought wiser:

“Of all ridiculous things the most ridiculous seems to me, to be busy — to be a man who is brisk about his food and his work.”

Henry Miller also disdained overworking:

“I’ve found that it isn’t necessary to work that much. It’s bad, in fact. You drain the reservoir.”

More work may beget more money but also creates more stress, which may negatively impact productivity. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break or a vacation and letting the mind run on its own will.

Even during those dull moments your mind is working, jettisoning the bad ideas and retaining the good ones much like a washing machine. This process intensifies during sleep.

Pace your work. Focus and relax once in a while and allow the brain sort out the connections. Slow and steady wins the race.

Related: Idle Movement


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Take a Walk, Sure, but Don’t Call It a Break

The first mile of my walk is just a racket of competing voices of judgment and to-do lists. But after about two miles, no matter how low my mood may have been at the outset, those voices settle down.

Henry David Thoreau said famously, “Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.” The endorphin increase that comes with climbing hills makes the ideation that happens almost predictable. There are particular spots on my walks at which the ideas begin popping into my head, as if dropping from a magic tree on the side of the road there. Many refinements in essential phrases or visuals for my TED talk came to me at that spot.

Walking makes for more productive work.  I think of blog posts while I walk, write blogs posts while I walk, read while I walk, and take photos.

Walking releases the mind from the prison of stillness.  Move the body, move the brain.  

Again…


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The mobile phone…

isn’t really mobile anymore, at least in its use.

People use their Smartphones in bed and on the couch just as much as they use it on the go. Mobile is ideal for reclining and is in many ways taking over the television as the primary screen.

The mobile phone is a companion device, untethered to the jean pocket. You probably have it in your hands wherever you are.

To be mobile is actually sedentary.  More evidence below.


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Relax! You’ll Be More Productive

When we’re renewing, we’re truly renewing, so when we’re working, we can really work.

I’m guilty of this, overworking to give myself the impression I’m digging deep and wanting it more than anyone else.

The approach is not only a formula for burnout but also exhausts creativity. I actually think better while not working. That’s when all the good ideas hit.

More unfocus to focus. We need to deliberately take more breaks. I'll start.


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