In order to gain new knowledge we must first make a little space in our brains.
There is a popular Zen proverb which says,
“If you truly seek understanding, then first, empty your cup!”
It’s a simple philosophy.
If your mind is filled with non-essential thoughts and information, you don’t have space left to think of the big, game-changing ideas. You need to make space so that new thoughts have somewhere to slot in to.
As Seth Godin says, “The empty part of the drawer is what makes it a useful tool.” If a drawer is completely full, nothing else can be stored in it.
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So how can we make space?
One good way to make space for new ideas is to have a digital Inbox where you can dump your thoughts as you have them. You can then dip back into your Inbox from time to time and refine things. This is pretty much how I organise my ideas for my blog and newsletter.
If your todo list is overwhelming and you find it hard to get everything done, focus on the One Thing that will have the biggest impact and pick 2 or 3 smaller items after that. A lot of todo apps handle this well by having a ‘today’ list where you can focus, while tucking the rest of your list out of view.
So get those unnecessary mind-filling thoughts down on paper and out of your brain and make a little room for your next big idea!