Clay Shirky is one of my favorite thinkers & presenters and his recent Web 2.0 presentation on the cognitive surplus has helped me immensely. Lately I’ve been struggling to keep all that’s in front of me in focus – a cognitive bender if you will.
I don’t watch a lot of TV and I don’t read a lot (at least not for pleasure.) The latter being more of an occupational hazard as a result of my day job — my feed reader is in a perpetual mode of edit as I try to parse my ever growing lists of feeds. As for the former, I’m not much interested in most of what the broadcasting community has to offer. Its been ~47 years since Newton Minnow, delivered his famous “wasteland” speech to the National Association of Broadcasters — IMO, not much has changed.
Shirky’s presentation made me think about my current situation and after a long hard look I realized I was falling prey to dogma. I found myself floundering against what was expected of me from various points of view (family, friends, colleagues, etc.) not that all of these things were bad mind you, its just that for the most part, I was feeling “trapped” by other people’s thinking and that isn’t always the friendliest of places.
My cognitive surplus was actually a deficit. Shirky presented the challenge in a way that allowed me to think of my predicament in a new way. It was the inspiration I needed to think through my situation and devise a plan to divest myself of what was burdening me and focus my new found time on the opportunities that would keep me motivated and productive. Where you find the time is a personal endeavor — I hope Shirky’s insights inspire you in a way that helps you find the time.