Carrying around a book the size of Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss is a logistical challenge. Placing it down on a table in a coffee shop is a strong indicator to the patrons around you that you are either doing a ton of research or flexing. Or a combination of both.
Opening to the interview with Josh Waitzkin, my need for soundbite wisdom and minimalism verification got filled to the brim.
Tim decides to point out how Josh isn’t on social media. It’s hard to get a hold of him in general. And this is by design.
Josh’s desire is to minimize input to maximize output.
The concept of minimizing inputs makes sense and yes, makes one come off as a bit rude if not communicated properly ahead of time. Phone and texting communication need some explanation. Explicitly demonstrating how and in what ways you can be reached is a courtesy to take and emphasize ahead of time and perhaps often.
Clearly we need to have inputs in order to have outputs. But minimizing low quality and high frequency inputs fosters the necessary space to create, and create well.
We know what we need to avoid.
All in an effort to create our best work by far.
But the necessity follows: minimal inputs should be of high quality.
Each of us must define what high quality is. Depending on what we are trying to produce, what our outputs are or what we desire to output, our inputs should assist in some way some how.
If I am aspiring to be an author, memes might not help out.
Strike that. They don’t help. Back to the thick books and research papers and inspiring authors. Meme pages? Perhaps a minimum? But how about total eradication until X number of pages are written.
Writers read (good books).
Musicians listen (to good music).
Problem solvers find problems (good problems).
Good problems are the problems we sink our teeth into, obsessed with the challenge of overcoming and solving them. Read enough good problems and you can become a great problem solver.
Given how intentionally designed some mediums are to completely hijack our attention (looking at you social media), selecting high quality inputs even on there is a challenge and more than worth the sifting process.
Or you can take the Waitzkin approach like many others I am discovering and avoid social media entirely. Having done a proper cost/benefit analysis, it just doesn’t make sense to engage or be on there at all for Josh. I know a few people in my life who aren’t on social media and they don’t suffer FOMO, they have families and jobs and degrees and other things people have who also have social media, and importantly they have rich and deep relationships.
Their outputs, in other words, are very likely maximized.
They are the people who have placed bets on real, tangible, in person life. If they avoid X, they are betting they can produce the best possible Y they personally can.
The only way to maximize output is to minimize input and vet the input for the highest quality possible.