I once carried a small notebook with me and filled it with ideas.
When I finished the notebook’s last page, I threw it away without reading it.
I’m a professional writer, but I’ve never had an idea worth writing down.
And neither have you.
Think about it. Why do you write ideas down? So you don’t forget them.
But do you really want to hold onto an idea that can’t carry its own weight in your brain? Of course not.
Forgetting is your friend. It tells you which ideas are worth holding onto, and which aren’t.
And yet, when you take compulsive notes you treat forgetting like an enemy. Like a defect in the brain. As if your brain is a database that needs to be backed up with pen and paper. But your brain isn’t a database—like most of your organs, your brain is a filter.
Your kidneys filter blood.
Your lungs filter air.
Your brain filters ideas.
Each organ takes what it needs, and expels the waste.
You wouldn’t carry around a small jar with the waste from your kidneys, would you?
Imagine this: You take a breath. Your lungs inhale fresh air, they grab hold of the few components that really matter, then they exhale all the junk air. But every time you exhale, you exhale into a giant jug. By the end of the day, you’re walking around with a giant jug filled with stale air.
A ridiculous example, but it illustrates the issue. Your brain floats up a batch of fresh ideas, grabs hold of the few ideas worth remembering, and then exhales all of your forgettable ideas.
Write them down, and you walk around with a notebook filled with forgettable ideas.
So throw away the notebook.
Hold onto what matters.
Forget the rest.
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