Paul Buchheit is one of my favourite essayists. I wish he would write more often. Here’s an excerpt from his latest – The Technology – which is a must read:
Which brings me to the second pattern: Kill all daemon processes.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with operating system internals, daemons are computer programs that run in the background performing various services, often invisible to the user. Sometimes they get out of control and start consuming all of the machine’s memory, processor, or other computing resources. This is one reason why your computer or phone often works better after a reboot.
I like using this as an analogy for the same kinds of loops that operate in our brains, like when a song gets stuck in your head. The more insidious loops are the voices of doubt, anger, and self-loathing that infect our minds. Often they are the internalized voices of our parents, peers, the media, or just random people on the Internet. Other times, they pose as our own voice, possibly one that has been there for as long as we can remember. Either way, these loops are often parasitic and limiting. Anytime we take a risk or move in a new direction, they are there to doubt and criticize us. Anytime we seek to escape dogma, they are there to ridicule and condemn us.
In order to grow, be free, and reclaim our mental resources, it helps to clear out these voices. It’s simple, yet very difficult, because they’ll keep coming back. But with practice, we get better.
Notes: Mindful meditation is easily the most productive 20-30 min of my day (it amplifies productivity in whatever I do the rest of the day). Our subconscious is a strange thing, and gets affected by many external inputs, even if the conscious disregards them. This is a great way to clear up (or still) the subconscious.