To expand my mental landscape, I’ve purposely built in a system that outsources novelty. Actuating raw potential depends upon a steady flow of ideas to be tested and acted upon. Somewhere along the line I realized that the brain is not a perpetual motion machine, the same ideas with produce the same results. My first course of action? Spend a little bit of time everyday researching new things with my old buddy Google. That got old fast for two reasons: 1) It’s hard to look for new things without any starting direction 2) research gets tedious very quickly.
Then I remembered Tim Ferriss’s brilliant question: What if I did the opposite?
The opposite of “looking” in this instance is “receiving”. Illuminated with this insight I signed up for weekly email newsletters in topics unfamiliar to me. My favorite newsletters right now are Farnam Street, Design Luck, James Clear, and Recommendo. Savvy web users can take advantage of Google Alerts to receive periodic email alerts on topics of their choosing. Google Alerts helps me zoom into specific news on a subject without sifting through click-baity trash.
Another way to increase the odds of running into new ideas comes from disabling predictive suggestion help on both Google search and YouTube. When enabled this feature uses your previous search history to suggest similar content. Over time the algorithm learns your preferences and neglects to show things outside your usual interest. Without knowing it you become confined to a small sub-section of the internet tailored for your liking. A whole new realm opened when I decided to escape this invisible bubble.
My favorite tactic for exposing myself to new ideas is connecting with a diverse range of people. Every person is a universe onto themselves and I often find that they have discovered rabbit holes that I never stumbled upon. Remember: Everyone in the world knows something that you don’t.
Farewell for now – Barry