All the best, happiest, and most creatively productive times in my life have something in common: being disconnected.
No internet. No TV. No phone. No people. Long uninterrupted solitude.
When I was twenty-two, I quit my job and spent five months alone in a house on a remote part of the Oregon coast. Practicing, writing, recording, exercising, and learning. No internet. No TV. No phone. No people. I drove into the city only once a month to see friends and family. The rest of the time, I was completely disconnected.
In those five months, I wrote and recorded over fifty songs, made huge improvements in my musicianship, read twenty books, and got into the best physical shape of my life.
When I was twenty-seven, I moved to the woods of Woodstock and did that again. Months and months of lovely solitude. That’s how I started CD Baby.
It’s not that I hate people. The other best times in my life were with people. But it’s interesting how many highlights were just sitting in a room in that wonderful creative flow, free from the chatter of the world. No updates. No news. No pings. No chats. No surfing.
Silence is a great canvas for your thoughts. That vacuum helps turn all of your inputs into output. That lack of interruption helps you flow.
Every business wants to get you addicted to their infinite updates, pings, chats, messages, and news. But if what you want out of life is to create, then those are your obstacles.
People often ask me what they can do to be more successful. I say disconnect. Even if just for a few hours. Unplug. Turn off your phone and Wi-Fi. Focus. Write. Practice. Create. That’s what’s rare and valuable these days.
You get no competitive edge from consuming the same stuff everyone else is consuming. It’s rare, now, to focus. And it gives such better rewards.