What’s helped me tremendously is this 4-1-4 model, in which I work for four years and then take a year off.
It’s not about working for four years and then taking a year off to write. It’s really about four years of very conscious, goal-driven activity, in which I’m kind’ve operating in this very Western way.
I write with a lot of discipline after my job. I come back after work, I’m writing three days a week for one and a half hours and on the weekends I’m writing for hours.
I’m extraordinarily disciplined during this period in my job, my writing, and my acquisition of knowledge in the world.
Then in the year that I take off I’m very consciously goalless. I completely strip myself of the entire idea of becoming. I make both physical and emotional decisions in line with that.
For instance, in the last sabbatical, my wife and I had a very clear intention that we didn’t want to plan a single day at all.
We wanted to only make decisions that were completely intuitive and natural that came from within. That’s at a physical level but even at an emotional level, I didn’t plan my reading – didn’t bring a Kindle.
“I’m consciously cutting off this emotional noise and emotional materialism that seeps in, in which you constantly want to become someone better, by reading morning rituals and this and that and I’m just kind of consciously trying to just lose that and truly be.”
There would be months when I was learning yoga and meditation in the Himalayas where I didn’t write even a word.
I have done this three times now and I feel that this complete loosening allows me the space to explore different ideas.
“I’m completely free and in that freedom I think things come to me. I think that’s how innate tendencies start to reveal themselves.”
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