Clarity and Distractions
Clarity about what matters provides clarity about what does not.
-Cal Newport, Deep Work
What is clarity, and why is the pursuit of clarity important?
In a world full of distraction, noise, bright lights and shiny things, when can you have clarity for your thoughts or your actions?
The second definition of clarity, reading the “quality of being easy to see or hear: sharpness of image or sound” brings about a great visual imagery of what is expected when you have a clear and focused mindset.
I have had the pleasure of traveling by myself for quite some time the past few weeks and months for several hours at a time. This provides several advantages that I would not have had I traveled with someone else:
- I can refine my thoughts about my professional life, personal life, and any other thoughts as a cause of this as well.
- I can pick and choose who to have small talk with on my travels.
Other than the times I am jamming out and singing along to a song when driving, there are times where my mind will focus on what is important, and what is not important.
The first point brings about the greatest point on “clarity.” By traveling, I get several hours to myself to fine tune my thoughts, or fine tune a conversation, or fine tune an approach on a difficult problem that occurred previously in the week or day before. The constant revision of my thoughts along with the innovation of many methods that follows these principles is what yields my results over and over again.
With these travels, I have the ability to refine my thoughts before executing. This goes against the current grain in a field that favors ADD like attention grabbing hashtags, images, and quotes that make people feel good in the moment, but do not add value at the end of the day.
The thoughts in my specific field are execute before you can even fact check or make sure it lines up with your principles – if you have any. Any attention is good attention. No news is bad news.
Well I’d rather create a sharp, laser like focus where my thoughts can survive the fray, as opposed to leaning on a world where everyone is quick to share an often half-baked idea.
I bring this idea of clarity up because where else will you find another individual who has had nearly every weekend in the past year to travel for multiple, multiple hours at a time, thinking about the intricacies of anatomy and physiology, along with the application of all of this knowledge in a very deliberate sense? And I’ve been doing this for several years at this point – being alone with my thoughts in order to refine my philosophy.
The second point on clarity brings about the idea that every little thing that can distract you, will distract you. I’m fortunate at the moment to not have major major responsibilities such as having to take care of any family, or any other responsibilities other than me being alive and paying bills. This helps, but I know this will change in the near future.
So when looking to create something so good that no one can ignore you, do you think it is accomplished by paying attention to the hundreds of distractions that are out there?
You need focus, clarity, and stubbornness to accomplish this. If you are constantly distracted through small talk, phone notifications, and other items of the sort, you won’t be able to survive to create anything, let alone refine your thoughts to create something that excels past the noise.
1. Track the amount of times you unconsciously check your favorite social media outlet in a 10 minute block.
If it distracts you from a current project, ask yourself – is it helping or hurting?
2. Track the amount of time you have alone to yourself – without talking to anyone else.
If you don’t get more than 30 minutes to yourself, either on purpose, or because of other responsibilities, block off time where you quite literally tell people that you have an appointment – with yourself… just to get things done, or at least think.
3. Make yourself unavailable during certain times of your day or week.
- Henry David Thoreau traveled into the woods alone, and later created Walden.
- Many musicians go for days and maybe weeks at a time in the studio with no contact with the outside world.
- Many of my mentors wake up earlier than the rest of the world in order to get things done – all before these distractions enter their lives after sunrise.
I choose to travel for hours on end, along with staying up late into the nights to get things done.
What about you?
Keep it funky.