Wandering minds are told to find something “novel” to stay engaged

But the novel wears out

Here’s another idea…

“I can’t get anything done unless there’s a deadline or I’m interested in it already…”

Regardless of the amount of organizing, setting up task systems, and the like, one might feel helpless against themselves, particularly in trying to get something done in which one doesn’t have an inherent interest.

Ideas and emotions often fly faster than working memory can manage, particularly for a wandering mind. As a result, we can stumble from one idea to the next, in deep focus with one thing while in scatter with much of the rest.

There are five suggested major paths of engagement for a wandering mind:

1. Interest
2. Novelty
3. Challenge
4. Urgency
5. Passion

Each warrants their own post, if not book.

Meanwhile, I view these all as coming under the umbrella of Play, that spirit within that engages a flow between self and world, vision and reality.

For today’s post, I’d like to poke a bit at the word “novelty”.

Suggestions for helping a wandering mind often revolve around introducing novelty to help start an otherwise avoided task. Examples include finding a new coffee shop in which to work, using new pens and paper, trying a new app, etc.

Unfortunately, all of these wear out as, by definition, novelty loses its luster. The usual follow up suggestion is to go find another.

Beyond the potential paths of procrastination this introduces, I have another trouble with the word “novelty”. It sounds like a meaningless toy. And while I like toys, I’m deliberately using the term with the negative connotation.

There are toys that entertain. But then there are those that engage and stir us to learn, find, and *discover*. They connect us to something that feels real.

The difference for adults is that we must find the toys within the work.

Give me a thing to do… but it can’t be BS, busy work, or otherwise meaningless.

While fantasy plays its part, when it comes to engaging the world, a wandering mind often craves a sense of what is real, of sincerity.

In this vein, rather than “novelty”, I much prefer the word discovery.

Discovery carries a connotation of strength, innovation, power, alongside thought, reflection, and new understandings. It is something that can bring new vistas to self and world.

Discovery is a path to Play that carries *meaning*.

When next struggling with a piece of work, why not consider what you can discover within it?

PS *Waves of Focus: Guiding a Wandering Mind* is getting closer to launch. All the Foundational videos are ready to go. I plan to build and launch the rest over time after the membership site goes live.

If you’re interested in learning more about the course, sign up here.