Life is eerily quiet of late. Or maybe I’m simply readjusting to a normal life.
This week, I turned off nearly all of the notification settings nested inside my iPhone. No more news alerts about events roosting on the outer limits of my interests. Gone are the intrusive noises of text messages originating from the abyss of social media. Visual and audio silence never looked and sounded so good.
The other day I was listening to a podcast from an author who questioned whether the flood of input from our phones was a curse or blessing. Are we masters or servants to our phones? Are we turning inward and limiting our mind’s ability to sit idly and daydream?
This touched a bit too close to home for me. I have never considered myself the smartest person in the room. The only exception might be if I were alone in a room with a chair — and that could still be a debate. But in life we learn to play the cards God dealt us. For me, finding a creative way out of the proverbial paper bag was always one of the limited number of cards in my hand. I found the author’s question unsettling.
Somehow through granting incremental permissions settings, I’d turned my life over to my phone. I was no longer the master, instead I was responding to the urgency of my phone’s wishes. My time was increasingly subservient to what my phone dictated. Embarrassingly, this small black brick of technology had successfully flipped the paradigm of control between us.
Albert Einstein reportedly said he got his best ideas while riding his bicycle. Not to say his bicycle stirred a particular space in his mind, but rather the act allowed his thoughts to wander and roam wherever they cared to go. Creativity works that way — the removal of rules, constraints and expectations. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs called the creative process the connecting of unrelated dots in the universe in order to find new solutions.
The magic ingredient is quiet time — the time when your mind is mulling over ideas and thoughts like kernels of corn exploding in a hot pan of oil.
Having the time to daydream is one of our most valuable assets. No computer in the world, even one combining the sophistication of both AI (artificial intelligence) and EI (emotional intelligence) will ever replicate the instinctive creative process. There will only be one “Mona Lisa.”
Yesterday was a remarkably quiet day. I might have missed a marginal headline being fed to my world but, in the end, the interruption didn’t change my life. When I wanted to see what was going on in the world, I decided when the world merited my attention. Instead, I spent time daydreaming and working to push the intrusive and marginal noises of life away from my thoughts.
Day 1 was awesome; Day 2 even better. All by taking a few minutes to turn the table on my phone. Day dreaming, after all, isn’t child’s play.