Practice alone won’t make us perfect. Progress happens when we make time for thinking as well as doing.*
I’m convinced that I haven’t yet reached my full value-producing potential […] culling the shallow and painstakingly cultivating the intensity of my depth. […] A deep life is a good life.**
We can be so busy and hurried that we have no time to think deeply.
Alan Lightman writes to young readers he imagines to be reading his letter in the year 2114:
Keep in mind that information is not the same as knowledge. You still need to think about what you are learning and what it means. To do that, you will need to turn off your neurochip from time to time. It is valuable to disconnect and listen to your own mind think.^
Through reflection, or thinking, we make information personal, it becomes knowledge. Books are great ways of stepping into the worlds of others, meeting the writers as well as the thoughts they’re sharing:
Reading is for the brave among us. It teaches us how to love people we don’t know and will probably never meet. It teaches us that we too deserve that same sort of love. That faith is, in fact, the work of being a fully realised person.^^
Four things to help us here, then:
Alan Lightman’s suggestion to first unplug and disconnect;
Thomas Page McBee’s encouragement to read (in order to enter the worlds of others);
Bernadette Jiwa’s insight of taking time to then reflect (journaling is a great way); and,
Cal Newport’s urging to pursue the deepest life we can.
Everything then becomes more personal.
(*From Bernadette Jiwa’s blog The Story of Telling: The Power of Reflective Practice.)
(**From Cal Newport’s Deep Work.)
(^From Alan Lightman’s letter to young readers included in Maria Popova and Claudia Bedrick’s A Velocity of Being.)
(^^From Thomas Page McBee’s letter to young readers included in Maria Popova and Claudia Bedrick’s A Velocity of Being.)