Posts Tagged ‘Elephant’


September 24, 2008 Leave a comment

(or where I tell you to just fucking remember the milk)

I like Tim Ferris. I know you like Tim Ferris as well. I mean what’s not to like about the self-styled Jason Bourne of aspiring well travelled, well educated, wish they were retired already cubical rats? Who here hasn’t been seduced by his promise of a 4 hour work week? Who doesn’t crave a mini-retirement? Who wouldn’t like their own PA to remind them of their wife’s birthday, and even buy her a gift? Who wouldn’t want to win a full contact kickboxing tourney in China? Yes, well, maybe not that last one eh?….Tim Ferris does have some cool ideas. Sometimes his work feels a lot like a rebranded Charles Handy to me; employment based on multiple skill sets, outsourcing, just-in-time employees, general use of technology for convenience and automation of routine tasks. Yeah well, whose to say he isn’t influenced by the great Handy himself? Anyway, I think Tim writes well and his concept of a lifestyle experiment blog is a good unique selling point.

So, I was perusing Tim Ferris’ blog and found my way onto this post on how never to forget anything again (is that a split infinitive?  I never got the hang of them). Cool! I’ve read some of his learn a language in an hour ideas and thought we were going to get some cool quick forget-me-not aides for the old brain.  Maybe some updated Tony Buzan tricks and tips or something. Boy, what a let down, just a glorified list of a bunch of software you can use to help make your brain even more lazy. Admittedly it is a guest post, but still, if Tim publishes it on his blog, he is condoning it to some extent. The guest poster btw is none other than the author of Zen Habits whose idea for I blog I really like, but whose blog I read very sporadically, mainly because it just doesn’t grab me much.  Zen Habits is kind of like the allure and promise of becky cam to me.  I’ve got huge respect for Leo Babauta especially since he has taken the very bold uncopyright step. Very Zen I thought.

Before you lambast me and tell me I don’t have a perfect memory and how would I know how good my memory is anyway because I would never remember the things I’ve forgotten, I’m a great believer in having an organiser/diary. I’m a bit old fashioned though, walking cane and tophat style, I favour using a simple filofax and actually writing down my appointments and long term todo notes with a pen.

But sometimes, you should really just remember shit. I mean with the method presented on Tim’s blog, say you get an email from your wife to pick up some milk on the way home, you would probably slam it into 3 or 4 different applications hopefully remembering to set some sort of alert for just before you leave work so you get reminded to remember…..lets roll with this…..we submit to technology completely, become completely connected and have a GPS app track our car and bring up a reminder on our dashboard when we approach a shop en-route. Heck the nifty little bit of code could even scan ahead, do a quick price comparison and parking availability find for us, plotting the most efficient/cost effective milk purchasing experience for us based on an algorithm that takes into account some variables we fill in (like maybe if we are prepared to spend a few extra pence for convenience or if we are after the cheapest possible commodity).

We are well and truly fucked though, if the wife phones while we are buying milk and asks us to pick up some bread at the same time….now we have to run back to our car, coax the old laptop out of hibernation (why haven’t I upgraded this fucker yet?), log into 4 different applications, enter the note and then…..Erm never mind.  A facile maybe, but it serves to underline my point; just fucking remember. Creating all these technological crutches between you and your memory seems to create a lot of complexity to my mind, which goes against a lot of what I perceive in Tim and Leo’s work, which is simplifying your life. Maybe I’m misinterpreting. But is this really a zen habit? In the moment? Beginners mind? Hmmm.

I’m know there are studies out there about the brain being a muscle.  The more it is used, the stronger it becomes. Don’t use it and pretty soon it will atrophy. Do we really want to place our reliance on technology to the extent that we sacrifice our potential? I don’t! Practice remembering things. It’s good for you.  Train your brain – it’s one of your most valuable assets.  Balance in all things – body, mind, spirit. Don’t let continuous partial attention and availability of technology make you lazy. Technology should be a tool not a crutch!

Anyway, enough of that – I’ve just remembered why I started writing this post…to remind myself to go and read Charles Handy again!