Brain Food #389

An hour of nothing

Daily Brain Food.

Thoughts of the day

An article I recently read introduced me to the concept of the ‘Shultz hour’, an act of self-commitment that could enhance one’s ability to stand still.

Ex-US Secretary of State George Shultz was an undoubtedly busy man, his days packed with tasks and duties even before the digital revolution had commenced. Back in the 1980s, he developed a habit (or perhaps it was a ritual) of closing himself up in a room for one hour once a week, with only pen and paper to keep him company. During that hour, he accepted no calls and no visitors.

The world is constantly in motion, but in the attempt to follow its frenetic pace, have we forgotten the value of standing still, taking pride in how ‘busy’ we have managed to make every single hour?

To borrow from the article, which quotes researcher Amos Tversky:

“The secret to doing good research is always to be a little underemployed […] You waste years by not being able to waste hours.”

An hour by ourselves every once in a while could well and truly be a lengthy investment.


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