The act of working through ideas, and the process of figuring out.
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If you are like me, you have a certain way of organizing your closet --- undergarments go together, shirts and jackets go on the hangers, tees get folded, and so on.1 Some may even boast a more sophisticated system. Others have a vision of how the closet should be. Alas, this system gets turned over its head after you’ve gone through a cycle of wearing your favorite clothes. It is time for laundry!
After I am done with laundry, I find it incredibly cathartic to reorganize the closet; untangling clothes, finding separate pairs of socks in the laundry bag, folding tees, all are fun. The act of working through ideas, and the process of figuring out bears resemblance.
I keep a list of questions for which I see no promising solutions yet. It is important to not give up and never discard these questions at all. And the reason is that progress comes in bits and pieces, never a whole satisfactory package.
Disentangling and folding the laundry is like collecting the bits and pieces towards a final vision, a vision of an organized closet. You don’t discard an unpaired sock from the laundry bag. You keep it aside, and wait for its pair before it is ready to be put in the closet. The near certainty of finding the missing piece makes it very easy to be patient. Real life is harder, but not so different.
I have had the satisfactory taste of connecting two ideas together to form a new one. It was only possible because I had a database of ideas that I could go back to. If you haven’t had that yet, you should remain on the lookout. Know that this happens more often than you think and don’t give up.
While it is also not unusual for ideas to amount to nothing, most ideas take time to mature. The patience with which I wait for the socks to be paired is what I aspire to keep with all my research.
If you do not, I highly recommend building a system for organizing your closet. ↩