Via Negativa

In an abundant world, productivity is about eliminating bad habits; then adding good ones.
In an abundant world, knowledge is about filtering, rather than gathering, information.
In an abundant world, discipline is the new freedom.
In an abundant world―less is more; and more is less.

Vizi Andrei

I tried something new today.

The thing is, I am a sucker for just having something playing all the time. If I’m cooking, I like the Story Grid podcast. If I’m in the shower, I like the Ricky Gervais show. If I’m running, Elliott Smith.

I’ve never questioned it before, but lately I’ve been wondering if maybe it’s not good for my mind to have pretty much zero time during the day where it’s free to roam. Either I’m working – writing, teaching – or I’m being stimulated with something. I’m never off. And I wonder what off feels like.

So today I tried very hard to “go without.” I ran with no music. I cooked and showered in silence. I went out of my way to not fill the gaps in my day with noise. And I extended this to “checking” my phone. I basically just used it to respond to texts and that was it.

To say that my experiment was life-changing would be a ridiculous overstatement – it was only one day. But day-changing? You bet. It was a lovely day. I felt freer. I felt like I had space to breathe. I felt like time expanded a little bit.

Maybe you aren’t such a slave to the stimulation your phone gives you as I am, and so your mileage might vary. But just as stuffing your face all day long makes you fat and desensitised to what hunger feels like, I suspect there’s a very similar mechanism at play when it comes to compulsively being on your phone all the time.

Make space for yourself.

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