How To Be A Better Rabbit
Today, people are rabbits. They nibble on a snippet of thoughts or a fragment of a fact or a whisper of an image ephemeral before scurrying on to the next thing. Don’t deny this. Concentration is largely a thing of the past for many. My advice? If you’re going to be a rabbit, at least be a better one. Learn to love the holes you navigate.
Oftimes, people disclaim going down rabbit holes. They don’t wish to be the rabbit, navigating labyrinthe paths. The path must be always straight, always forward. Straight as daylight. Unflitered as cheap vodka. Once upon a time, I may have agreed. Time, however, gives us perspective.
Be the rabbit. Be unafraid to dive into darkness to see what lies beneath.
Inspiration can be cultivated, but never forced. Environments can be established, but creativity is unrestrained. Creativity works best when unshackled from the influence of industry (and other eyes).
In their earliest phases, ideas are at their most fragile. A creator must explore them privately for possibility. While the internet can be a great and wondrous things, presenting an idea before its ready is like offering up a newly created dish for consumption before it’s had time to simmer and its flavours explored. And people do not like to keep secrets.
The rush of endorphins when you share an idea is an easier high than the hard work required to take an idea from a fragment of thought to a complete work. A complete work also opens itself up to critiques and criticisms. The path is not always easy, not always straight. Which returns us to the rabbit hole.
Over the years, I have learned its okay to sometimes go down rabbit holes. I’ve given myself permission to pursue a thread of thought. Yet, I do so with a few tools so my trip is never wasted. While going down a rabbit hole is not necessarily a bad thing, going down ill prepared is likely to be as unproductive as learning to paint by watching a professional at work. You gotta get your hands dirty at some point.
Pack these things for your journey.
A good note taking application.
I reside in the warm arms of Apple these days, so I favor applications which play together. The default Notes has grown to be very good, as you can message yourself notes, append notes to other notes, and/or categorize them. If you want something more advanced, you can go with Drafts which is outstanding, or my favorite writing app of all, Ulysses, which has a permanent home (and sees frequent use) on my iPhone, iPad, and Desktop.
You can set up a folder for brainstorming and throw things in there. You’ll eventually want to have something like this on your Desktop or within your current project or close at hand on the Cloud. (I’d suggest a clone on the Cloud, but when you wanna work, you don’t want to have to wait on the whims of the Digital Gods to access your hard gathered information.)
The Power of Networks
You can be introverted as you desire, and still glean a great deal from walking the weaves of the web. Or you can be an active participant. Or an instigator. It doesn’t matter. For our purpose, people are filters. The best (for the rabbit) are those with interests we share or relate, even tangentially, to a current or pending project. And these people, don’t have to be FB friends. Follow folks on Twitter. Find podcasts to plug into that interest you. Listen to them when you’re doing other stuff. Bombard yourself with media. Watch Youtube videos about random stuff. Embrace the vastness of the Digital Age, Dear Rabbit.
The Powers of Observation
When you go down the rabbit hole, you need to be aware you’re doing so. Awareness is essential. Lucid dreaming is the act of manipulating your dreams whilst asleep. It’s a developable skill. Paying attention to what you’re consuming is essential and beneficial. Rabbits know what’s going on around them. They look for owl shadows. They listen for the crafty fox. You look for what’s important for you. It’s like when you get a new car and suddenly you see more of that car on the road. It’s a shift in perception. Probably.
Go on Instinct
Scientists say we’ve got another brain in our belly. That’s why your stomach can twist up when you’re nervous. You can learn to trust your gut and let it lead you down paths you may not have considered. Carl Jung introduced the concept of synchronicity wherein events that seem meaningfully related have no causal relationship. You can certainly see the brushing up of ideas and people and things in a Twitter stream or on the internet or the radio or whatever is an environment conducive to synchronicity. If you’re paying attention, you may just find the thought or idea or word or what have you just when you need it. You don’t have to revere it, just appreciate it.
Lest I Forget
You should be taking notes about things that interest you in the moment. Store the word or fragment or link in a folder. The mere active act of trapping the information is enough for some folks to become more aware of the fact or idea and integrate it into their conversations or work or whatever. In any case, this file you’re building is something you can revisit when you are being the Owl, wise and focused and writing and working.