Early posts – and future plans and past history – suggest there will be a lot of long reads here. So I thought it would also be good to have some quick tips as a counterbalance. Posts where I don’t necessarily give a full literature review or historical context – just a quick tip.
Tip 1. Build a list of go-to places where you get your most valuable information. Great. You now have a list of the places you should visit less.
Broad and Deep. That’s the approach to creativity I am advocating. That means getting to know a lot of things. Importantly, getting to know a lot of different things, and getting to know them in different way.
Because I had a breakdown at about the worst time during my studies, and because, as we’ve already established, I’m a total butterfly, I have worked in some diverse areas. And whether it has been luxury flooring or self-published literary fiction, I have always ended up with a reputation for being the guy who knows the weird stuff no one else managed to find out about. The secret was always following the broad and deep principle, applying it to the way I got my information.
Where do you go for your information? There’s probably a handful of sites you go back to again and again because you love what you learn there. There’s always something to open your eyes. For lots of people who share my love of learning and culture and open-mindedness, once we’ve gone beyond Facebook favourites, a vast chunk of knowledge probably comes from TED Talks, xkcd, Thought Catalog, The Millions, Vice, Salon, you get the picture. Make a list of yours.
Good. Now make a conscious effort to avoid those sites for the next month.
Find other sites. Click on random links and then click through from those. Going back again and again to the places you know means you lose the possibility of serendipity, of finding out the things you never knew you were interested in finding out. And when you find something truly fascinating, then you go deep, find the leading sources of information on that field of knowledge, and branch out again from there.
Basically, this is a way to disrupt yourself out of a “more of the same” approach to information.