On downtime, solitary confinement, and minimalism

On downtime Observing you throughout the day, you seem to get frustrated with downtime. Time when you are not doing anything immediately productive. Yet, you have little direction or even an idea of what direction you want to be moving in right now. You have goals with no actionable items, a vague idea of being industrious, and you are failing to be specific and take certain action on these big ideas. Of course you are going to have downtime. You must also become weary of busy time—time when you give yourself a task that doesn't actually serve a purpose, but only keeps you occupied for the time being. Why engage in such activity? I've spoken to you about defaults many times, and you might have to hear the message again.

On defaults When you have nothing else to do, resort to a set of two or three edifying activities that you know to be good. For example, reading. There is no excuse to become bored and then refuse to get out a book. If you cannot read while you are bored, that means you must sleep and continue your work when you are refreshed. In all situations, default to good activity. Make this easier by being very specific about the one or two activities that are good defaults at any given time in your life. 

On solitary confinement Some of the greatest advances in learning have been done by men with the time and boredom that comes with prison. Remarkably, they enter the cell a broken and angry person, and leave with a wealth of knowledge that guides them with a bright light for the rest of their lives. Prison provides a hopeless sort of lonely. There is no escaping, at least not for the time being. You should remember this while you find yourself bored or trying to escape from the work that faces you. There is no escaping. Your boredom cannot be cured by mere distractions. You must grow—learn. By attempting to escape you find yourself imprisoned. By attempting to make the most of your imprisonment, you will one day become free.

On minimalism Aim to have the least that you can possibly have at any given time. Buy, hear, and pay attention only to what is necessary. By obtaining more you become responsible for more, and there are few good reasons to complicate your life. Material possessions cannot and will not ever change who you are fundamentally—"don't go mistaking paradise for that home across the road." Your love for material belongings probably stems from your love for change, but you can always achieve change with many of the same things. If you do have to obtain something new, get rid of the old as quickly as you can so as to relieve yourself of the burden of having both. Possessions are timely—learning to live with nothing is as old as time itself. Left only with your body and your mind, what else are you to improve? What else are you to change, other than yourself?

Diego Segura