The Search for Clarity

I’m not the best at speaking out loud. It takes me time to form my thoughts into words sometimes, and I often stumble over myself when I try to explain a concept to others.

That’s because I still have much to learn.

So, I’m spending this time trying to uncover knowledge, and the unwritten words buried deep within my mind.

For many of us, buried somewhere beneath the mounds of anxiety spread throughout the world, clarity is still waiting to be unearthed.

And clarity can be achieved through solitude, not through the constant barrage of information thrown at us every minute of the day.

Checking our phones constantly doesn’t really help us or anyone else.

Here are some practical suggestions for bringing back a little clarity into your life:

  • Go on a walk (if you can find a place far from others)
  • Color (seriously, it’s relaxing)
  • Read a good book
  • Write, especially about how you’re feeling
  • Exercise
  • Garden
  • Meditate

The important things involve moving your body, feeding your brain with good stories (preferably from physical books), and creating things.

Each of us has an unknown amount of time left on this earth. No matter what we do, we can’t control it.

I don’t know when my last day will be.

But I do know that I want to spend whatever time I have left putting good things into my mind and body, and contributing positive things into the world.

What will you do to get back your clarity?

Solitude vs. Social Media

Solitude = alone with your thoughts.

Social media = alone with everyone else’s thoughts.

In the former, you arrive at conclusions based on what you are thinking.

In the latter, you arrive at conclusions based on what everyone else is thinking.

Solitude shapes your opinion by forcing you to spend quality time inside your own head.

Social media shapes your opinion by baking it inside an echo chamber created by algorithms.

That’s not to say there isn’t value in what other people say.

Quite the opposite. Challenging your own perspective is important for the global discussion.

But, what value is there in being reactive?

An approach like this doesn’t take all perspectives into account, nor does it take the time to get to the heart of the issue.

And is it worth spending so much time analyzing what someone else says, anyway?

Maybe. If what they say affects your life.

But, most things people say don’t.

So, why do you listen to them?

Or me?

Solitude or Isolation

Right now, you might feel confused, constricted or frustrated.

You might find yourself facing the crossroads of solitude and isolation.

There is a difference:

Solitude is being alone without being lonely.

Isolation is being lonely whether or not you’re alone.

In the last decade or so, solitude has become a luxury, an afterthought, or something in between.

Now it’s a necessity.

Walking alone with your thoughts, being in nature, letting the sun fill your body, mind and soul.

That is life.

Doing good, focused work that helps someone else.

That is also life.

In the social media age, minutes pass while anxiety builds. There comes a point when the amount of information we consume starts to lose its value–especially if it’s one-sided.

Spending hours scrolling through social media feeds to get the latest on the latest, or binge watching Netflix in order to escape the cold, hard realities of life: that’s simply waiting for the inevitable.

This is a rare opportunity. Don’t waste it distracting yourself from yourself.

Right now, you can choose solitude or isolation.

So, which will it be?

Now For the Future

You don’t need to worry about what’s to come.

You simply need to take the future into consideration as you develop your system for the present.

What actions do you need to take now in order to secure the best possible future?

The Rest of Your Life

Most things in our lives are out of our control.

Recognition, natural disasters, death.

We can’t control the outcome.

But we can control the process.

The amount of time each of us has left doesn’t matter.

What matters is how we spend that time.

What is your process for the rest of your life?

And just like that old pizza commercial:

What do you want on your tombstone?

Choosing

Happiness and Creativity

A person is who they are for a number of reasons, one of the main ones being that they are influenced by their inputs. What you consume has a huge influence on what you produce, and being deliberate about your consumption means you will be deliberate about what you create.

In a previous post, I mentioned that I am quitting my day job. One of my objectives for this new journey is to focus on developing my ability to choose happiness over wealth, creativity over recognition.

Happiness and creativity must be kept separate from wealth and recognition, because the former are things you can control, while the latter are not.

To Help Friends

Another part of my journey is to focus on helping loved ones, with no expectation of receiving anything in return.

This last weekend, I helped my cousin take a load of garbage to the dump. This wasn’t just any garbage. This was disgusting mattresses and moldy carpet covered in cat piss.

But, I didn’t mind doing it. In fact, I kind of enjoyed doing it, because it felt good to help him. Afterward, I felt energized to do more.

That being said, this new adventure may take me to dire straits at some point down the road, but having friends to lean on is a comforting thought.

The takeaway for me is this: I should expect to ask for help at some point down the road, without expecting to receive it.

Future Prospects

I am becoming increasingly of the mind that I never want to go to another job interview again. However, this may just mean I need to shift my perspective about possible job interviews in the future.

The thing is, I’ve always approached job interviews from a place of scarcity and desperation, which makes me nervous and anxious. This is now how I wish to show up in the world. I want to get to a place where an interview means I am the one interviewing the company.

I don’t want to see if I’m a good fit for them; I want to see if they are a good fit for me.

While the thought of being an employee again grows less and less attractive, I am aware of the possibility that I may end up hating self-employment. If that ends up being the case, I’ll need to be sure that my next job search yields a beneficial outcome.

A job is an input. It takes up space in your brain. If that’s the case, I want to be deliberate about which jobs I allows into my life.

The same could be said for my relationships.

Solitude

Both writing and spending time in nature are activities of solitude. The different is that one is output, and one is input.

I’ve been listening to “Digital Minimalism” by Cal Newport on Audible. One of the key purposes of practicing digital minimalism is to re-claim solitude.

Solitude allows us to think our own thoughts, free from input from others.

Part of the problem with social media is that it robs one of solitude if they spend too much time on it. This is a result of not being deliberate about inputs.

Final Question

Today, have you:

  • Helped someone else?
  • Spent quality time with your loved ones?
  • Spent time in nature?

Time Has Value, Too

At the beginning of the month, I’m quitting my day job to become a full time creative. This is a long time coming. I don’t know what’s in store for me, but at this point, I feel like it’s the right decision. The way I spend my time is important, and my day job takes away from what I could be doing.

Of course, now I won’t have a regular income. So, what am I going to do about that? 

For starters, I have been saving up for a while, so I have a buffer. My finances will definitely be taken into consideration whenever I make an important decision about my time. But that won’t be the only consideration, nor will it be at the top of the list. Money can’t be the only thing that guides my decisions. I realize that there will be a significant amount of time in which I will be making little to no money at all. That’s okay.

I’ve reached a point in my life where my time is more valuable than money.

If I fall below a certain threshold in my bank account, that’s how I’ll know it’s time to start looking for another day job. 

However, in the meantime, my primary focus will be on sharpening the tool set, refining my skills, learning new things, and spending time with the ones I love.

I don’t quite have a concrete plan set in motion. I have a somewhat vague direction I’m heading in and a few projects I will focus on, with the hope that one of them may one day bring in some amount of revenue. I realize this is a bit of a gamble, but like I said, if my bank account falls below a certain threshold, I’ll get another day job, and I’ll be in pretty much the same place I am now…except for the key difference that my skills will be a lot sharper. 

And maybe I’ll even get a gig that I somewhat enjoy and am good at.

Anyway, I’m not super concerned about that yet.

The possibilities are endless at this point. I’m just going to move forward, and try to optimize my time.

I want to see how far I can take these projects, and no time like the present.

I anticipate a rough journey, but at least I have goals to aim for.

And I have people to support me, so I’m not alone.

I’m just giving my creativity the chance I’ve never really been able to before. My day jobs have always used up too much of my time, not to mention physical and mental energy, so my creativity has always been left with the scraps.

I know the day job isn’t the only thing to blame. The other key problem was that I was never disciplined enough to develop routines for my creativity…until I started writing, that is.

But, now that I have, I see how important my time is. If I don’t spend the time doing the thing, the thing won’t get done.

So, that’s where I’m at this week.

Anyway, I’ll leave you with this:

Is your time more valuable than money?