I started reading Verlyn Klinkenborg’s Several Short Sentences about Writing and twenty pages in, it’s already the most useful book on writing I’ve ever read.
One of the hard truths from the book:
The central fact of your education is this:
you’ve been taught to believe that what you discover by thinking,
by examining your own thoughts and perceptions,
is unimportant and unauthorized.
As a result, you fear thinking,
and you don’t believe your thoughts are interesting,
because you haven’t learned to be interested in them.
This reminds me of Seth Godin’s comments on the difference between education and learning: “Education is the hustle for a credential,” he says. “Learning is a lifelong skill that isn’t domain dependent.”
Education happens to you. Learning is something you choose to do.
Education is passive. Learning is active.
With this in mind, I want to learn as much as I can. But first and foremost, I want to learn to be interested in my own thoughts again.
I want to learn how to pay attention.