Finish what you start. After overcoming the blank slate, we need to follow up on our intentions and complete what we set out to do. Once we begin, progress is easy. We don’t have much to compare against so we accomplish a large proportion of our overall work. However, when we start making actual progress and we face obstacles in the way of our advancement, we must endure. Do not mistake iterative progress with fully realizing your goal. It is easy to leave your previous work behind and pick up a new task to feel the same sense of early productivity. After all, 80 percent of the results is accomplished with 20 percent of the effort. However, it is the last 20%, 10%, and 1% that counts. It is in these moments when our ideas become realities. Don’t stop when things get difficult. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but when it is ready enough, show the world, take feedback with an open mind, learn from mistakes, stick with it, and be prepared to continue building on what you accomplished.
Reflection and Boredom
“We’ve adopted the Google ideal of the mind, which is that you have a question that you can answer quickly: close-ended, well-defined questions. Lost in that conception is that there’s also this open-ended way of thinking where you’re not always trying to answer a question. You’re trying to go where that thought leads you. As a society, we’re saying that that way of thinking isn’t as important anymore. It’s viewed as inefficient.” -Nicholas Carr, The End of Reflection
“Sitting around with nothing to do is a great way to think about things that might not normally come to mind. It’s a time to bounce a ball off the wall or walk around outside looking for “stuff” without knowing what you are looking for. Being bored is what motivates you to take something apart just to see what’s inside, even if you may not get it back together.” – Rhett Allain, It’s Ok to be Bored
Conquer the Blank Slate
The blank slate. Torture to those who rarely peer upon its emptiness. But the thing is so easily conquered. Just go, do, begin and you have turned a blank slate into a moment of opportunity, unlocking infinite potential. And yet, so many are lost by its prospect out of fear of failure or inability to act. But when we venture out into the unknown, we find things aren’t so unfamiliar. We adapt and inhabit our surroundings with our own qualities and find new traits which meld with our own. As long as we just start, this can all be ours. Once we do, there is no telling how we’ll fill the canvas.
Routine is not something you do once a week. Routine is daily. Routine is a part of you expressed every day. Keep uploading, keep writing, keep pushing yourself. Do not take a day off. Make routine your constant and deviation your off day. Find a schedule which works for your and make it a constant. Want to improve? Accomplish a goal? Make a legacy? Work hard, put yourself out there, change for the better, and keep going.
Be Mindful While You Read
Every day we spend an inordinate amount of time scrolling through apps and posts on the web. How much of the content we consume do we internalize and remember? From sending tweets, to browsing Facebook, to reading news, there is something to discover all the time, and content only seconds old is pushed aside as we move on to the next new thing. But what do we take from these experiences? Are we mindful of how we spend our time online?
Here’s an experiment. Take a moment and think back to everything you remember from the last few days. Try to name two articles you read online. If you are struggling for a headlines, how about the topic?
If we cannot remember what we do online, what are we gaining from the experience? The apps we cannot live without are built to keep us in the moment and websites rely on posting new content at a break-neck pace. Snapchat saves content for the day, but then its gone and we cannot even remember the experience because we were too busy looking through a screen. We are distracted by the endless amount of information for us to consume that we simply cannot remember everything we see, yet we keep looking.
One more challenge. Next time you go online to read the news or browse Facebook, be mindful of the content you are consuming. Reflect on articles before quickly liking it and moving onto the next thing. Slow down and consider the value added to your day from each new post you see. Maybe even look up from your phone every once in a while.
Take a walk!
“Walking opens us up to the menace of a world outside the built environments that we control. Driving, despite the high risk of crashes, injury, and death, masks itself as freedom: we’re not watching our backs. And once we’ve become unaccustomed to the movement of the air, the rustle of the trees, the sight of other people, they can startle. People who move differently and think differently from us become, from the safety of our fortress-homes and echo-chamber media and car-conduits that feed it all, threats to our way of life. And so we design towns and suburbs, neighbourhoods and cities, unfriendly to the walker, to those who break out of the paradigms we’ve deemed safe.”