Blogging to Tame the Monkey Mind
The term monkey mind is a Buddhist term meaning: restless, unsettled, incontrollable. The original analogy comes from describing the human mind as being full of drunken monkeys, constantly screeching, fighting, distracting, and creating general mental chaos. I’ll go over what helps me keep the monkeys at bay. I hope some of this resonates with you and your monkeys as well.
Clear My Mind
My brain seems to always find distractions for me to tangent off to. Sitting down and making an effort to write everything rushing through my head has been an important mechanism to reduce my stress levels. This concept of dumping your brain by writing isn’t new, but it was to me.
It took me some time to mold the raw output into something I could use. In my case, it started within my journal. Using the left page for brain dump, and the right page to process it down to simple tasks, references, and other tagged entries. Small details like leaving space between entries allow me to go back and add an entry in a much closer position relative to other similar ones.
When I think of sharing knowledge, the image of me boring my friends to death on a topic they aren’t interested in comes to mind. It is my goal to minimize those kinds of situations. I find it easier to talk about a topic in person if I have already “talked” about it on the blog. I can actually debate the idea, without feeling the need to interject at every interaction.
A sure way to tell whether you know a topic, comes from being able to teach it to someone else. I am horrible at keeping explanations simple. I am terrible at controlling my impulse to talk when engaged in conversation. Sharing knowledge via these posts helps my overall mental state. It reduces the amount of fleeting ideas going back and forth, and provides me with an opportunity to turn those into actionable ideas instead of letting them grow old and irrelevant.
Document My Learning
Recently, I have been down the rabbit-hole that is Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) tools and apps. Jumping from app to app, looking for something that “works” for you. It’s fun! But, it is stupid easy to lose sight of your initial goal and turn that curiosity into wasted efforts.
By making a public commitment (even if nobody reads it), I am imposing a healthy amount of pressure on myself to be more open and honest about how I use my time. Keeping yourself accountable is hard work. Any amount of effort to curb “mindless wonder” helps tremendously.
Starting a Blog
Blogging pushes me to refine my better ideas. Expanding a fleeting thought into a blog post has a liberating feeling. It’s not even related to others reading your post. You don’t need an audience to start. The same way you should just journal, you should just blog.
Comes from the same idea that producing content is and should be a priority over consuming it. Find what topics make you want to write. Compile your reference material. List articles you’ve read, blogs you have enjoyed, reference that weird website you know and talk about why.
Avoid getting stuck on details. You can change your hosting provider later. The first thing you’d need to consider is whether you’ll be using a custom domain. I highly suggest you do so, as it makes for easier platform changes. My personal recommendation is to start writing anywhere. Pick a platform and focus on writing about things you are interested in.
Here are a few places to start: