The fear of quiet

Peter Bregman returned his iPad. It turns out it was too good. It allowed for every waking second to be taken up with “either creating or consuming.” I’ve noticed this since we got one too. The iPad is usually by my side, and given a spare second, I’ll check on any number of things it does for me. It’s probably pretty ridiculous to watch.

It’s made me realize something I’ve struggled with for a while is quiet. I don’t like quiet. Bregman makes the great point that quiet is where creativity comes from. It’s that lack of noise that causes our mind to wander and ideas to begin to well up from that hidden spring of creativity at its center. As a man who makes his living being creative, that should be pretty important to me.

And yet, I hate the quiet. When there is no noise, I can hear the voices of self doubt. You’re really not very good, they say. You’ve thought of your last great idea. You really are a terrible husband and dad. Your failures will drag them down with you. You’re a hack and the world will realize it one day.

So I surround myself with noise. In my office I have my work. If that is not enough I have iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, my iPhone and iPad. Twitter, Facebook and Google Reader keep my mind dancing. Oh look, I can buy comic books on my iPad. Sorry, got distracted there for a second.

Because of technology I have access to thousands of noise streams that drown out my doubts and fears. But with that, I’m also smothering my own creativity, rest and even the ways God is quietly pushing me.

I’m literally drowning my soul in entertainment.



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