Via Negativa

We try to ameliorate our lives via positiva, or by adding things. We want to add productivity methods, exercising habits, or taking daily supplements in order to to be more productive, build muscle, or becoming healthier.

However, it could be that via negativa, i.e. removing things, is more powerful. Removing social media, stopping to smoke or to drink alcohol, or to eat junk food could have more bang for your buck than the associated via positiva activities.

At the beginning of this week, I experimented the above assumption by suspending temporarily my Instagram account. Now one week in, my focus has improved quite a bit. I replaced the relentless scrolling of the social media feed by reading books and listening to audiobooks (reading currently Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, Beyond Order by Jordan Peterson, and Skin in the Game by Nassim Taleb). I also create a GitHub blog here where I intend to write articles about the combination of self-help and data science. Per moments, I still have doubts about my ivory tower situation and whether I should re-activate my social media account, but for now I don’t need it. I need to focus hard to create valuable and novel tools.

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