Gandhi famously said we need to become the change we want to see in the world.
It’s an inspiring and eloquent theory for enabling progress. Unfortunately, most people tremble at the prospect of personal transformation. They only change when the pain of staying the same is greater than the cost to change.
And so, perhaps it’s easier and more efficient to change our surroundings, not ourselves. To work from the outside in. To build in external accountabilities to absorb the heavy lifting and minimize the expenditure of our scarce mental resources.
Crawford’s book on mind mastery explains that humans have become beset by outside forces that destroy our focus and disrupt our peace of mind. And if we want to get out of our heads and into the world, we should offload our thinking onto our surroundings. That way, instead of routinely relying on our limited and easily exhausted powers of concentration, we can encode things spatially in the environment.
For example, the best strategy I’ve employed in twenty years of songwriting is using a classroom style rolling whiteboard for my lyric ideas. It’s more than tripled my musical output. Because instead of racking my brain trying to pull the perfect lyric out of the blue, I simply scan the whiteboard. I look for what wants to be written. I outsource the heavy lifting to my surroundings.
This process reduces and externalizes my mental work in the arrangement of physical space, scaffolding my abilities with environmental props and technologies. And it makes the experience of writing songs more relaxing, more fun, more prolific and more physically interactive.
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
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