One of the biggest reasons I depart from my minimalist philosophy is reading.
Specifically, reading about what others are doing.
I read a blog post , or a magazine article, about someone doing something interesting : travelling, using a new productivity system, doing a new kind of workout, brewing artisan coffee, the newest programming framework. and then I want to do that too.
And I think we all do this. We all read inspirational things, or hear about them from a friend, and fantasize about ourselves doing the same thing.
This is often a good thing — inspiration is good, right?
Learning from others is definitely good. But this inspiration can often cause me to forget about what I’ve learned, and soon I am heading down a new path, buying a lot of things to support my new pursuit… only to abandon this pursuit when I’ve read something else.
This has happened to me dozens of times. I want to learn French, Spanish, Chinese , Arabic, programming, astro-photography, hiking, kungfu, ultra running, scuba diving, drawing, fiction writing, guitar, great novels, and , and , and .
Individually, each of these things is wonderful. But when I get obsessed with the next new thing to learn about, the other things suffer. I cant learn about them all at once. Such distraction pulls away my focus , keeps me from doing well at any one thing.
So whats the antidote?
As Warren Buffet advices – Games Are Won By Those Who Focus On The Field.
Stick to something long enough, to really learn it. Remember your priorities. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted by every new thing you read.
The answer isn’t to stop reading, but to be more mindful of your impulses when you do read.