On Thinking
Publication: RidiculouslyExtraordinary.
Posted by Ryan Neal
On Thinking
Publication: RidiculouslyExtraordinary. Posted by Ryan Neal

My Mom has always said I think too much. "Stop philosophizing." or "You're such a philosopher." I've heard those statements hundreds of times in my 30 years.

It's true. I think a lot. But it's a positive thing as opposed to her negative view. I need answers. I need facts. I need proof.

I knew Santa wasn't real when I was kindergarten age; essentially as soon as I could think for myself. Nobody could show him to me.

"Where's Santa?"

"He comes when you're sleeping."

"No he doesn't, I found the wrapped presents in your closet."

Yeah, I was an asshole even as a little kid. I played along though. What the hell, free GI Joes are free GI Joes.

"Where do babies come from?"

"The stomach."

That didn't make any sense to me, but I didn't push the issue. The uncomfortableness was palpable. I figured it out eventually. (Thanks 6th grade health day!)

Thinking is what gets me what I want.

If you aren't getting what you want you're probably not spending enough time thinking through your problems.

When people ask me what I do I'm going to start saying, "I think a lot."

How Thomas Edison Taught Me To Think Better

A lot of the work I do is actually thinking. I learned how to think better about 10 years ago after reading about how Thomas Edison came up with ideas/inventions and solved problems. He would go into a dark room and half-sleep for hours. I don't quite do it like that, but my process is similar. Quiet time. Cell phone off. Focus. I need a lot of distraction-free alone time.

You probably need it too.

How Distraction-Free Focused Thinking Helps You

  1. Thinking breeds ideas.
  2. Ideas breed action steps.
  3. Action steps breed actions.
Coffee shops, TV, the Internet - these destroy our thinking capabilities.

Most people can't think well with distractions, but I'm willing to believe some people can. (Maybe, but not likely, you're one of the few.)

If you've ever been to the headquarters outside of Las Vegas you know what I mean. That place is fucking insane. Which is cool in a way. It's not what you'd think about a billion dollar company. But it's a madhouse. It was stressful just walking through for an hour. If I worked there I'd be put in the loony bin within weeks. Or I'd shoot up the place. Note to Tony Hsieh: Never hire me. Just in case. ;)

But I digress.

Your Thinking Mission:

Having trouble with an idea? Trying to solve a problem? Not sure what your next step should be?

a) Turn everything off. Your cell phone. Your computer. Your TV.

b) Find a quiet, comfortable place. It should be so comfortable you might fall asleep. And it's OK if you do fall asleep.

c) Think. Don't worry if your mind wanders from the task at hand. Bring it back if you want or let it wander. This mind wandering is actually where magic can happen.

d) Do this every day for at least 1 minute. (More is better, but best to start slow.)

e) E-mail me in 30 days to tell me how this has affected your reality.


@QuickGig and Putting Thinking To Use

Yesterday, in a short fit of thinking/inspiration I got this idea.

I needed a bit of web work done. I tweeted about the gig. $25 for ~2 hours of work.

An hour later I thought, "Hey! I'll bet other people could use a service that connects web workers with entrepreneurs who need short term work."

So I created @quickgig and

Follow that twitter account and I'll be sending out short 1-8 hour jobs that pay at least $10/hour.

And if you're looking to hire a short term web worker get in touch (karol at ridiculouslyextraordinary dot com) with your gig. If it's up to snuff I'll post it to the @quickgig twitter for free.

If you know somebody who's looking for short term work I would, of course, appreciate you letting them know about this project.