Could you cultivate a deeper life?

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post on how to cultivate a deeper life….

Academic, writer and blogger Cal Newport has made famous the phrases “deep life” and “digital minimalism.”

In fact, that last phrase is even the title for his most recent book.

In a recent and exceptionally thoughtful blog post on his life’s purpose, Newport says his advice centres on three main arenas:

  • Doing less
  • Doing better
  • Knowing why

Arguing that to “know why” is the most important step, Newport says we should work backwards from our values to ensure our activities create the lifestyle we want to sustain. This, he says — in my view, rightly — is much more effective than working forward from whatever seems appealing in the moment.

As Newport puts it, “the fight to “know why” has been made harder in recent years due to the engineered compulsion of the attention economy. But…the deep life is not an ambitious one-shot goal, like completing a marathon, that you work hard at until you one day obtain it all at once. It’s a state of being with which you become increasingly comfortable. A process that starts with your mind.”

I have always found that making more time for reading (and less time for social media) is one of the best ways to improve my own writing and my own peace of mind. If you want to seek a deeper life as well, consider adding more reading time to your day.