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Dandy Cast 023: I’m doing some serious pondering…

Sean Anderson
Sean Anderson

This podcast episode was recorded as an accompanying audio version of the Dandy Newsletter that was published on May 05, 2020.

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Show notes

No, it’s not about taking over the world. I’m going to leave that task to some of the more capable mice in the world. Nah, the pondering I’ve been doing has been all about how to become a more contemplative person. What do they call that? Recursive action?

There are some serious benefits to becoming a more contemplative person. You can develop greater recall of the events that happened in your life. You can formulate better arguments and opinions. You can become one of those wise old people that everyone looks up to. I mean, that sounds like it’s all upside to me.

There’s also a brand spankin’ new blog post waiting for you. It’s called, 3 Ways To Fall in Love with Your Junk Drawer.

Most of us are embarrassed by our dreaded junk drawers. It’s where we keep all of our junk, for crying out loud! Hey, I get it, but we don’t have to live like that. We can have junk drawers that not only hold all our miscellaneous items, but we can also be proud of them. Click through the link to learn how to fall in love with that messy junk drawer of yours.

We’re wrapping things up with what I’m watching, reading, and listening to this week. It’s a great assortment of media that’s worth your time.

Links to stuff that was mentioned:

The Design Squiggle

John Roderick - Wikipedia

The Long Winters - Wikipedia

Roderick on the Line - Merlin Mann

Road Work - 5by5

3 Ways To Fall in Love with Your Junk Drawer - Dandy Cat Design

The Walking Dead - Netflix

Quarantime | Cortex - Relay FM

Tautology I | El Ten Eleven - YouTube

The Stand | Stephen King - Goodreads


The full text

Dandy Newsletter - 05/05/20

I want to become a more contemplative person.

I’m fascinated by the sort of people who are able to sit in a comfy chair and, through sheer force of thought and patience, figure out the mysteries of their universe (and sometimes even the universe we all share). From my anecdotal perspective, the act of “just thinking” is not a practice that’s really encouraged by anybody. We’re all instructed to be moving and talking and proving to those around us that Great and Important Work is being done at all times. What’s missing from the always-look-like-you’re-working point of view is how vital quiet contemplation is to both a creative process and personal understanding.

Recently, an image made by Damien Newman, called The Process of Design Squiggle, has made the rounds online. Perhaps it’s been around for a while, but this was the first time I had seen it.

A very squiggly line shown to illustrate the process of design.

I feel this image does an astounding job of illustrating the disorder, time, and thought that goes into the creation of, well, anything. Nothing that’s been created starts out as a fully-formed and ideal product. We may end up seeing it that way when it’s presented to the world, but what’s not seen are the many, many hours spent figuring out how to create a fully-formed and ideal something.

There are so many hours and days that have been spent sitting in a chair thinking about how to make a thing before it can ever be made. All those hours and days are valuable and essential. If that time isn’t put in, it’s safe to say that many of the advancements in technology, medicine, humanitarian efforts, etc. that we’ve seen in our lives just wouldn’t have happened.

As far as design work goes, just thinking is important, but I also want to bring that dedication and practice into my personal life. What I want to do more of is sit in the nicest chair I have, stare off into the nothingness of the space in front of me, and just think. I feel doing so is also an important and worthwhile use of my time.

I want to think about the interactions I've had and will have with other people. Think about the greatest mysteries of the universe, such as “why is mustard the greatest condiment in existence?” Think about the person I would like to become and how to grow into that potential future Sean. I want to ponder all that and more because I want to understand myself better.

Additionally, I believe you can develop greater recall of your past life events just by dedicating some serious time to actually recalling them. To sit down and really plumb the depths of your memory is a far more valuable exercise than letting your thoughts flit in and out of your awareness. How can you recall the minutia of those dangerous days in your 20s when you're not there to catch your thoughts before they careen into the darkness of your sub-sub-sub-conscious?

You could say that trying to start a deep examination of one’s thoughts is a meditative practice, or rather kind of a reverse meditation. Instead of acknowledging thoughts as they come and then letting them go, we should grasp onto them. Grab them tight, sink your fingers into them, and not let go until you’ve lived those thoughts as one would live a normal life, which is to say, fully.

One example of the sort of person I referenced earlier is the musician and podcaster, John Roderick. He’s the lead singer and guitarist of The Long Winters and co-hosts two of my favorite podcasts, Roderick on the Line and Road Work. He’s a fascinating person who has seen and done more than I may ever see and do in my life. He’s a practitioner of the just thinking way of life, which has lead to some fascinating and deep conversations on his podcasts. How he’s benefited from this thinking time and the stories he tells is exactly the reason why I’m writing all of this now.

I want to bring The Squiggle into my own life and follow that twisting, turning, chaotic line to a knowledge of myself that I can feel proud of attaining. Not only do I think this will make me a better person, I think it will make me a wiser person. I imagine myself as one of those fabled old men sitting on top of a mountain, my hair and beard floating in the wind and as white as the snow falling around me, and gifting the world with the knowledge I’ve earned by just thinking some thoughts. That sounds like a pretty great future to me.

I want to encourage you to sit down and engage in some serious self-reflection, too. We don’t necessarily have to figure out the great mysteries of the universe. I mean, if that happens, then we’ll all be better off for it. I’m not considering that a main goal, though. Let’s instead do these things:

  1. Find the nicest chair you have because we’ll be putting some serious time into that cushion.
  2. Let your gaze wander into the corner of the room you’re in, or perhaps something on a shelf or a wind chime swinging around outside.
  3. Think about a question or moment you want to answer or understand better. Really figure out the motivation behind the question or your past actions. Consider different alternatives or outcomes.
  4. Do a lot more sitting and staring and thinking.
  5. Find some time to do this more than once. A contemplative person doesn’t become that way by just thinking about one thing one time. It needs to be a practice that’s cultivated and habitual.

I think we can all become wiser, more understanding, and better people just by taking the time to think about things more often.

Love your junk!

There’s a new blog post waiting for you. Hip-hip-hooray! 🎉

It’s called: 3 Ways To Fall in Love with Your Junk Drawer.

Speaking of clearing your mind and feeling better, dedicating some serious time to doing some sprucing up around the house is a great way to accomplish a task you can be proud of doing. It’s one of those activities that can leave you feeling proud of yourself and energized by the chore.

Except there’s a dark secret many of keep in our homes. A place we don’t want anyone else to see because it holds one of our deepest shames—we’ve got a messy junk drawer, or maybe even drawers plural.

Just because it’s a “junk drawer” doesn’t mean it has to look like junk. In fact, we can maintain a clean, orderly, and helpful junk drawer that we’ll actually want to show off to our friends and family the next time they stop by because it’s just so dang amazing looking! Best of all, it’s an easy task to accomplish and doesn’t take much time to do.

Click through the link above to learn the three most effective and simple ways to learn to love your junk drawer. Let’s never let that messy drawer of yours take over your life again. Give it a read today!

If you ever want to throw some suggestions my way, then send me a reply to this email. They’re always wonderful to receive.

Seriously friend, I'd love to hear from you.

Until next time, stay dandy, cat.

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Sean Anderson

Lover of productivity tips, Apple devices, and vegan ice cream. Mostly, I'm busy petting cats 🐱 and dogs 🐶


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