01 September 2010

Top idea

Here’s how I tell if someone is smarter than me– when they tell me something, I think to myself, “That makes perfect sense, and I never would have thought of it.”
Case in point:
I suspect a lot of people aren’t sure what’s the top idea in their mind at any given time. I’m often mistaken about it. I tend to think it’s the idea I’d want to be the top one, rather than the one that is. But it’s easy to figure this out: just take a shower. What topic do your thoughts keep returning to? If it’s not what you want to be thinking about, you may want to change something.
That’s Paul Graham, in his recent essay, “The Top Idea in Your Mind.”
Another part of his essay stuck out to me:
I’ve found there are two types of thoughts especially worth avoiding… thoughts about money. Getting money is almost by definition an attention sink. The other is disputes. These too are engaging in the wrong way: they have the same velcro-like shape as genuinely interesting ideas, but without the substance. So avoid disputes if you want to get real work done.
From The Anonymous Production Assistant's Blog

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