Over the years, one conclusion I came to was that you don’t choose what books you end up reading, as much as the books choosing you when the time is right. The fact that I ended up reading “On Being Certain” and “The Upside Of Irrationality” back-to-back reinforces that view of mine.
As an outcome of this juxtaposition, one thought experiment that I indulged in was what I did to get some of the tasks that required creative thinking done – whether it is a blog post, or a task at work that needed to be planned out well before execution. I realized that I spent a lot of time thinking about stuff that needed creative direction, while I was engaged in mundane stuff like driving or cooking. As I read through “On Being Certain” one observation that struck me was that we could pose a problem to our sub-conscious and let it ruminate over the problem and check-in once in a while to see where things are headed. I believe that when the active mind is engaged in doing mundane stuff, like watching the road and making sure that the car is headed in the right direction, the sub-conscious is able to do its job without any pesky interruptions from the conscious.
This belief often leads me to “unthink” for some time when I have big tasks at hand and let the problem grow and find some space internally that the conscious can explore further at some point. Blog posts usually form themselves over a couple of weeks, sometimes more, and the eventual writing process takes much less time than sitting in front of a screen with a topic and an empty mind. I don’t claim to be very innovative, but many of the creative directions that my mind has wandered into could be attributed to an “unthink prelude” where the idea ran wild until it found a saner perspective for internal discussion.
Well that didn’t make much sense did it? I guess that’s more “food for thought” for next week!