Sometimes there are days when I feel guilty about not learning anything. I commuted for 30 minutes – I could have listened to a podcast, read an article, or a book. I had a free Saturday and I played PlayStation. I could have written a blog post or continued the course I was watching. Impostor syndrome is popular among software engineers, as there is always something to discover, a new approach to try out, an interesting podcast to listen to, or a great book to read.
But sometimes (recently more often, than before), there are days, when my mind rebels. It feels overwhelmed with ideas to digest. Yeah, I don’t only listen to work podcasts. I’m also interested in history and psychology and a whole bunch of other topics. I don’t blame it for feeling fed up with the incessant influx of concepts and facts.
On a day like this, I go for a walk. Without my phone and headphones of course – to avoid the temptation to use this time “more effectively”. And then the magic happens. It almost feels like my thoughts are roots, and I just eradicated the weeds from the pot. They have way more space to grow, and I observe a wave of new ideas and observations: about my life, my therapy, my blog, and my future. Suddenly, I discover that perhaps I might have been counterproductive, trying to squeeze as much information as possible into my brain.
Maybe that’s the secret? Explore fewer ideas, and let them grow in your mind like a plant. Take care of them, give them love, and remember, that if there are too many plants to watch, some of them will eventually die. That may explain why meditation works so well – it clears your mind from “unnecessary” thoughts, leaving space for those that matter.
Somehow, this whole idea seems to apply to work for me. There are moments when I try to solve the problem so hard, that I drown in frustration. My pot is limited to the space between my head and the computer screen. I need to enlarge it. Usually, it’s enough to take a short walk to let the thoughts flow, and novel ideas appear, making the work puzzle very easy to solve.