A Trip to a University
24 February 2022

I may be channelling my inner Paul Graham on this one.

We took a trip to a university as my eldest son is trying to decide which one he wants to go to. My other half has done a few trips with him but I was available to take him to Exeter so we took the trip.

We did the usual tours but due to space limitations, well Covid, parents were not allowed on the tour of the faculty.

I find myself booted on to campus with a couple of hours to kill. Obviously the first task is to wonder round and grab a big cup of coffee. From my health discussions you will know I have massively reduced my coffee intake, so this was quite a treat.

Eventually I wonder back to some seating near one of the libraries. A combination of people figuring out their course work and others eating their lunch. Mostly a quiet area though, no long chats going on. My family later found it funny that I unintentionally ended up sitting near some Physics students.

Grabbing a notepad out of my bag I am faced with what to think about. Two hours of no distractions, no computer, no chance of getting on with other projects, just totally alone in a busy place with a coffee. Importantly a great ambience to study or think.

I quietly start writing. In a little under two hours I

It was the most creative I have felt in over a year combined with a good set of clarifying thinking. I would like two hours sessions like this more often.

Paul Graham suggested that the young have new ideas not because they are young but because of certain life styles/attributes. From memory this included no distractions, minimal commitments, health and lots of friends.

Taking myself out of all of life distractions had a great effect so I am inclined to agree with him. Question arises, how to acheive this with out a 2 hour drive to a different city?

Coffee shops can provide this to a certain extent. I used to be partial to a coffee at say 7:00am. In the UK there are not many coffee shops open at that time, being in one early in the morning is a distraction free place. Not as good as a university campus.

Walking is also good for thinking just not the type that requires a notepad.

I could not see myself taking a laptop and studying at a coffee shop. I could easily have done this in the two hours hidden away on campus and it would have been very productive. I am not sure how I can reproduce that feeling/vibe.

There are some obvious steps in de-cluttering life that could shift my general living area to a more creative environment. Getting specific and then factoring them into my incremental change tasks that so far this year seems to be all about is now on the plan.