Daily, snackable writings and podcasts to spur changes in thinking.
Building a blueprint for a better brain by tinkering with the code.
April 29th, 2020
What is casual doesn’t require effort, and what requires effort is rarely casual. To combine the two is to create a small virtuous cycle in your life. When some effortful task becomes an automatic habit, it becomes a casual occurrence. A casual effort isn’t a contradiction, it’s a subsumption. As a habit becomes ingrained in our behavior, the ease and casualness that it takes on overrides or eats the sense of effort that we felt in the beginning.
Soon enough, what seems like an immense amount of will power to other people is all but automatic and easy for the person who has put in the time.
Tinkered Thinking started off as a casual effort, and it could do this because a great deal of writing in other forms had preceded it. The task of writing for ten or twenty minutes a day was not much to ask. In fact, the freedom from editing, and a requirement to move on made this task even easier.
It remains a casual effort. As more people tune in, and these daily words fall under that gaze of more eyes and find their way into more ears, the process of generating these words remains the same. This is likely due to the process having a long and entrenched set of methods. The curious and wandering force at the helm of this imagination has been at the task long enough to be strong enough not to relinquish it. Or so it currently seems.
Any large accomplishment, be it writing half a million words or leaning how to code is a composite of thousands of tiny efforts. We can chop up a task into smaller and smaller pieces and inevitably the morsel of task gets to such a small size that to get it done would be a fairly casual and easy affair.
This is the key to long term accomplishments. Don’t expect yourself to write the novel in the next seven days. Just write one page every day. If that’s too much, write a paragraph everyday. If that’s too much just write a sentence everyday. The point is, find the amount that is pretty easy and then simply focus on making that a habit. Once the behavior is automatic, it will be fairly easy to increase the amount. It’ll most likely happen without much effort or thought.
For example, Tinkered Thinking is usually composed late at night. Which is actually an awful time. But it’s a compromise. If the work for Tinkered Thinking is done in the morning, there’s a fairly high chance that the writing will expands and take over the entire day as a single episode splits and multiplies into several episodes, all of them feeding off of the unusual amount of time and growing into pieces of writing that are not only longer but better. On the other hand, the end of the night puts a definite pressure on episodes to find their natural end. After 700 episodes and counting, it’s proven productive to alternate the practice between different parts of the day in order to get a bit of benefit from each situation. In this way, the practice of writing is a living, breathing thing that is subjected to it’s own stresses and relaxations, it’s own sort of famine of time and feasts of imagination. But this living thing still arose from something much smaller, when such tiny efforts were not at all casual, but ponderously difficult as a universe of all possible sentences weighed down upon the will to actually desecrate the blank page with a decision.
donating = loving
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