The idea is that the most valuable and memorable times in life tend to be sublime moments of stillness, like when a chlid is born, or an idea takes root. However, we optimize for busying our lives and filling calendars, rather than providing room for stillness.
Avoiding distraction and minutia is boiled down to one word—stillness—by Ryan Holiday in his book Stillness is the Key. I found his conversation with Russ Roberts on Econtalk about the topic really fascinating.
He captures one of my favorite simple concepts in journal writing in a great quote:
This is what the best journals look like. They aren’t for the reader. They are for the writer. To slow the mind down. To wage peace with oneself. -Ryan Holiday, Stillness is the Key
Just as the journal is meant to force you to slow down and process your thoughts, moments of stillness are about slowing down and being intentional.
There's a paradox in this, in that pursuing stillness often fails to yield results, it's more of a side effect than a direct pursuit. Holiday cites a German philosopher Joseph Pieper who valued leisure and said that it can make us better at work, in the same way that praying can make you sleep better at night. But, if you are praying to improve your sleep, you are missing the point.
Using only the most necessary digital tools to support my own values is preferred to a maximalist approach, where every tool possible that…
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