Tuesday, 7 January 2014

2. Autopilot

Generation Y gets a lot of stick.

We're either tweeting or Instagramming too much, we're not as intelligent as our predecessors, or we've permitted our inner Droids to roam free while we kick back on autopilot. Unjust, right? Although the fact that I'm commenting on this must mean that there are hundreds and thousands of Millennials furiously typing equally dissenting content into their Macbook keyboards.

When I function on autopilot for too many days in a row, I know that things have got to change.

Here's what Austin Kleon, author of New York Times bestselling book Steal Like An Artist, has to say on the autopilot function:

'Your brain gets too comfortable in your everyday surroundings. You need to make it uncomfortable. You need to spend some time in another land, among people that do things that do things differently than you. Travel makes the world look new, and when the world looks new, our brains work harder.'

This doesn't necessarily mean that I'm going to hop on the next Eurostar train to Belgium (logistics), but I'm going to at least try to shake the flakes off the ground in my snow globe world in some other way.

That's one of the main reasons for this project. I think that everyone's greatest fear in life should be the fear of becoming stagnant. How can we grow and develop as humans if we allow ourselves to perform the same tasks, be surrounded by the same people, see the same sights, consume the same level of information on a day to day basis? We need to be shaken up, made uncomfortable, forced to flick the autopilot switch to the function labelled 'OFF' instead of 'ON'. Of course, this is much easier said than done. But all it takes is a small level of commitment and an active mindset. It's a constant, not an event. So even if nobody reads this or the 363 posts to come (but I'd be really upset if that was actually the case, guys), I know that for at least half an hour of every day I will have set myself to 'ON' and had to, you know, think about something.

Take a different route to or from work. Order a book on Amazon that you wouldn't have immediately thought to buy. Go step into that random bar or gallery or boutique that you always walk past slightly more slowly to figure out what's going on beyond the window pane. I'm going to do this too (well, all except for the Amazon one - I'm on an Amazon hiatus.)