Pay attention to that ratio. Double to triple time spent on input vs. output.*
Always work (note, write) from your own interest, not from what you think you should be noting or writing. Trust your own interest. I have a strong interest, at the moment, in Roman building techniques. … My interest may pass. But for the moment I follow it and enjoy it, not knowing where it will go.**
Each of us inputs different things in a variety of ways.
Yesterday someone was sharing with me how they needed to walk and connect with nature. Every morning, I enjoy sitting down and working through a number of diverse sources with my journal in front of me and my pen in hand.
I desire to become a better person: to discover, to learn and then to play by trying things out for myself and sharing them with others – this primarily in my one-to-one work.
Lydia Davis encourages following our interests as a starting point, something I’ve been doing for many years now – one thing leading to another.
To do this is to break out of the straightjacket we can find ourselves wearing from inputting the same things or not inputting widely enough. Winston Churchill spoke about how “we shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us.”
James Carse writes similarly:
To use the machine for control is to be controlled by the machine. To operate a machine one must operate like a machine. Using a machine to do whatever we cannot do, we find we must do what the machine does.^
So, as I write these words, using my computer, I interact with the keyboard and screen in a repetitive way – I am now part of this machine. I cannot move from here as long as I want to use the machine.
Carse’s words could describe other things, too, including our systems and entertainments, and the very shape and content of our days.
We need to make sure to break out of these so we don’t become old before our time, when we can remain youthful in our discovering until the day we die.
Something amazing happens when we input.
Inside of our imaginations and values and hopes, all of the things we’ve been reading and viewing and practising becomes something else, something more. We remember we are generative beings capable of making new things for one another.
We’re waiting for your output yet to be discovered.
(*From Austin Kleon’s blog: Your output depends on your input.)
(**Lydia Davis, quoted in Austin Kleon’s blog: Education is not a race, it’s an amble.)
(^From James Carse’s Finite and Infinite Games.)