One of the tricks I’ve picked up from the book Digital Minimalism was keeping a book nearby at all times. Truthfully, this wasn’t the first time I’d read that advice. A year or so ago when I read On Writing Stephen King offered that advice up to anyone interested in writing. The funny thing was that I realized it was a great idea then, but I did nothing with it other than feel occasional guilt when surfing on my device. After Digital Minimalism I saw it as way for me to break my habit of staring at my phone during down time.
This weekend while camping I had Essentialism in my shorts pocket most of the time. When there was a lull I was able to bust it out and read a few chapters. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had it nearby often and there’ve been many times I’ve found space to read an extra chapter or two. This weekend I was able to remind myself of some great strategies for staying focused including how to say “no” more confidently and a process to help focus only on the right opportunities.
This afternoon when I went to pick up the boys from Scouts I knew I was likely going to spend some time waiting in the car. Thinking ahead I grabbed a different book, Man’s Search for Meaning, and started reading after I pulled up. I’m so thankful I did as there were several very interesting insights and points to ponder. Specifically, I was surprised by the mindset of individuals who’d been freed from the concentration camp and how they responded afterwards. In addition to helping me realize I need to continue to focus on finding ongoing meaning it helped me see that we will continue to have serious struggles as a society even after COVID has been mitigated. The shift back to normal is never easy and there are going to be varied emotions as we all attempt to get back to “normal.” It’s already got my mind rolling at a fevered pace thinking ahead to how I can help both myself and others through what is sure to be trying times ahead. Spoiler alert, we all must focus on finding meaning in our suffering – how can we find ways to become stronger because of this rather than just suffering through this.
Long story short, here’s what I’m most thankful for today. A minor behavioral change has helped me find more insight today. While the gap between who I am and who I feel I am called to be is still large I was able to make progress on closing the gap. Had I continued to behave the way I used to only a month ago I most likely would have missed this opportunity until I had specific downtime to read in detail. Through one minor change I’m able to grow in a positive way; and all without missing the activity that would have consumed that time in the past.