The power of silence
Mum: “What’s the best weapon?”
Me: “What’s that?”
Mum: “Silence. Silence is the best weapon”.
Remember when a monotonous task for a long stretch of time was excruciatingly dull Or remember that time when waiting was an avoidable chore? O! What to do during that time? What to think about? How much time wasted?
You could take a book, talk to a stranger, or simply, like what most people do, do the thing or wait.
That was a problem in the past, and now it’s a problem of no longer.
Why? On-demand podcasts, audiobooks and music.
That’s how I was living my life.
Wake up first thing in the morning, headphones in, cue up the podcasts, and walk the dog. It’s the same process for a long drive, cooking dinner, folding clothes, workingout at the gym. It even got to the point that when I left the house, I would be wearing headphones and listening to something passively.
I always had company with me in the form of pre-recorded voice.
Was it good for me?
I thought it was at the time.
But the shock and horror would sink in when I found my phone had no data and no podcasts in queue, or the batters of my earbuds were deleted, or I stepped out of range from my cellular device.
Again, another evolution.
I was addicted to the dopamine of novelty and false security of endless productivity.
I’ve talked about this before: your brain needs rest and it needs boredom.
This doesn’t mean give up podcasts and audiobooks forever, but you don’t need them all the time.
When I walk Bruno now, most times I just put his lead on and go. No need to fumble through my phone to find the latest release worth listening.
Most time driving, I listen to nothing. It’s just the sound of the engine and my inner monologue, processing the day, the events, and my feelings.
You could say that time is wasted, but in a hyperconnected world, where we can numb ourselves with endless scrolling, taking a break and doing nothing is productive.
It’s time for your mind to wander and solve problems subconsciously. It’s where your creativity will flourish.
So, here is my challenge to you if you are a person like me who can’t do anything without music or something to listen to. Try this:
Go to the gym without music — talk to the people around your gym if they are receptive.
Go for a drive without a radio or music — listen to your mind and take the sights in.
Go for a walk — smile and say hello to those who walk by you.
When I flew from Sri Lanka back home (a combination of a 3 hour and 9 hour flight), I didn’t use the onboard entertainment system. Mind you, I did have my laptop to do work. But I either slept, attempted to work, walked around, or listened to my thoughts.
I’d be interested in what you think.
Thanks for reading and I hope you found this useful.
Stay focused and talk soon,
A short clip on bounding user input with this neat little trick.