I hereby challenge you to 10 minutes of quietude

Posted by in Productivity

I hereby challenge you to 10 minutes of quietude

Ah, quietude. “The state or condition of being quiet, peaceful, calm, or tranquil”.


When was the last time you just kept still and did absolutely nothing for 10 minutes – in a silent environment? For most of us – including me – the answer is that you can’t pinpoint the exact moment in time. That’s too bad.


Silence is underestimated


Even in back in ye olde days, when a continuous cacaphony of media was conspicuously absent, silence was valued by some. As translated from the German Sartor Resartus in 1831 by English poet Thomas Carlyle: “Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together; that at length they may emerge, full-formed and majestic, into the daylight of Life, which they are thenceforth to rule”.


Excessive as the quote may be when surgically transplanted into the 21st century, I’d like to ask that you indulge me in a request to read it again – only slowly, this time.


If you’d like, you may imagine it is being read by someone with gravitas – such as contemporary English actors Ian McKellen or Patrick Stewart (aka Gandalf and Captain Jean-Luc Picard, accordingly).


Silence is necessary


In fact, it seems sustained noise can be of direct detriment to ones health. A Wikipedia article on the topic certainly raises some concern, as does a recent book written by Garret Keizer, of which The New York Times has a short excerpt.


In modern society, however, noise is – alas – unavoidable, which only increases the importance of quietude. I myself work in an open landscape, and not only am I more able to concentrate for longer periods of time if I can find a quiet space – I also feel more energized when able to maintain a certain balance between noise and silence.


Henceforth, the challenge


With luck, this article will have served as a reminder in your likely busy day to make time for quietude. I hereby challenge you to immerse yourself in silence for the next 10 minutes of your life – don’t put it off until later. If you do, chances are you’ll forget, or downprioritize. There’s a good chance the world won’t break without you in it for the next 10 minutes.


Oh, and by the way; chances are, that after completing this excercise, the eternity machine you refer to as your brain will have reminded you of a number of incomplete tasks or quite possibly even generated new ones.


I recommend you dig up a pen and a piece of paper – for after your 10 minutes of quiet are up.