Solitude

I’ve been going down a path of digital and physical minimalism this year. Mostly to declutter my mind and life a bit, but also to start building some healthier life habits.

You probably could have guessed this by my 2020 reading list.

One concept in Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism that has struck a chord is the idea of solitude.

I enjoy alone time. But I’ll be honest, I rarely fill my alone time with quiet. I work, or consume stuff, or put something on in the background (like a podcast or TV series.)

Even reading is not necessarily operating in a state of solitude.

Here’s a quote from the book that I appreciated: “As Kethledge and Erwin explain, however, solitude is about what’s happening in your brain, not the environment around you. Accordingly, they define it to be a subjective state in which your mind is free from input from other minds.”

When do you let your mind be free from input from other minds? I’m constantly feeding it stuff. This chapter alone was a bit of a breakthrough for me.


Tom Tate

I'm a suburban polymath living just outside Philadelphia with my wonderful wife and three kids. Digital marketing nerd for a SaaS company by day. Rabid movie, music, game, and book consumer by morning, noon, and night. I share life hacks and learnings via email at Weekly Coffee. I also host Power Time Podcast, a Nintendo retrospective. Sometimes I write stuff. Most of the time, it's on the internet.