A routine to stay educated & open minded

Last week I had a great discussion about the next evolutionary steps of democracy: real-time, algorithm adjusted, pre/post a potential singularity, etc etc – it was exhilarating. I should add that I had this discussion with the backend engineering team of one of our companies.

It reminded me of one of the true delights of working in the tech community: more often than not you deal with curious, open minded and well / broadly educated folks. However it is very tempting and easy to be fully consumed by what is going on in the tech community; you can spend your entire (little) spare time easily just staying up to date on what’s going on in our little world.

I think it can be very valuable to not do that. You need to step outside for a breath of fresh air. I’ve had to develop a bit of a routine to help me do that:

  • When I wake up I always listen to the radio while making coffee & checking emails. I make a point of alternating stations between NPR, BBC and newstalk. Helps me stay up to date with global affairs and politics.
  • On my way to work, I’ve started listening to audio books – last week it was “The Swerve: How the World Became Modern” – a must read / listen! I try to stick to history here.
  • In the evening time if I have time to kill I will definitely head over to TED, Vice or youtube to watch a short talk or documentary on whatever catches my eye. Usually I enjoy social and medical topics.
  • Later at night before I go to sleep I listen to an episode of Astronomy Cast – you know that stuff just blows my mind 😉

Now I won’t make this every day, but often enough. Also due to time constraints it usually is just max. 15 minutes at a time. But it helps me put what I am doing every day in context. I think that makes me better at my job, better to work with.

Oh and when I walk home, I just clear my mind with something like this:

That’s important for me too.

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