FYI - this is one of those thinking in general posts...
I just realized something interesting:
20 miles = distance from one side of DC to the other
20 MPG ~ the in city mileage of my car
Gas ~ $5/gallon
So, for me to drive from one side of the city to the other costs about $10. Time for me to start taking public transit.
At first the proposition of using the DC subway system was a bit short of savory (walking/waiting/shoving through masses people). And it was. At first.
Eventually, I began to use this time as a window of my life to think and write without the internet. It is truly amazing how valuable this is. I spend most of my day careening from one task to the next - futilely churning through an endless barrage of (let's face it) pointless email. While sitting alone in my city apartment I am surrounded by virtual voices. However, when I'm sitting in those oddly felted metro bucket seats I am - for once - alone in a crowd. I can let the milling people around me fade away and focus my whole mind - no email | no chat | no cell - on a single idea.
In general we do far to little of this. We've been trained to speak as loudly and as frequently as our vocal cords allow simply in the hope that some fraction of idea is heard and embraced by our peers. Instead, we should take the time to distill our ideas down to their core and only express the essence of its meaning - saving our fellows the trouble of sorting through the extraneous verbiage.
So, in the spirit of clarity here are the two takeaways (all numbered and everything):
1 - Spend time alone - just you and yourself - to see what emerges. Even an hour spent creating something (anything!) when left to your own devices will yield some enlightening results.
2- Less is more - cliche as it is - we often forget this. At the behest of expediency we often skip that polishing step to reduce our idea down to its essence to make it easily consumed by our fellows.
Think you can do that?