“Do you want to do intellectual work? Begin by creating within you a zone of silence, a habit of recollection, a will to renunciation and detachment which puts you entirely at the disposal of the work; acquire that state of soul unburdened by desire and self-will which is the state of grace of the intellectual worker. Without that you will do nothing, at least nothing worth while.”
– A.G. Sertillanges, O.P. The Intellectual Life
Every day is a reinvention, a chance to be reborn into whatever you wish to become in this life. For me, this becoming is the whole point of living. But it begs the question—becoming what? Not an easy question, one most people immerse themselves in distraction to avoid answering (present company accepted). Blogging is a public sorting of this becoming bit. The messier work happens behind the scenes.
When you have a general idea where your compass is pointing, you must put yourself in a state where you might execute on that vision for yourself. And this is where it gets tricky. All those skills you’ve learned to distract yourself from figuring out what you want to be when you grow up work equally well at keeping you from getting things done.
“Creative people organize their lives according to repetitive, disciplined routines. They think like artists but work like accountants.” – David Brooks, “The Good Order” The New York Times
And there lies the secret sauce to doing anything worthwhile: Repetitive, disciplined routines applied daily from now until… ad infinitum. Sertillanges calls this productive place your state of soul. A place where we can actualize the spirit of our deepest work and bring it to the world. What a gift. When you’re in this state, why would you ever want it to end?
The trick to reaching this state of soul is hidden in plain sight: Establish routines and have the discipline to stick with them. Repeat. None of this is revelatory, what’s required is consistency of effort. So get to it. The world awaits your best work.