Lessons From the Output

I didn’t realize how fast paced life is until I stepped back from it.

I spent two days at our camp by the river, by myself. I wanted to step out of reality for awhile and have a few silent days away from the constant noise of life.

The main reason why I scheduled this trip was because my goal this year is to become more spiritual and meditate more. I’m still learning, and I wanted to give myself a chance for reflection and meditation. It’s hard to reflect when you have two small children running around.

(Usually my meditation consists of 10 minutes of trying to clear my mind while I hear the kids running around with my husband downstairs!)

I went into the trip looking for more spirituality (whatever that means!) and I don’t think I found it.

Instead I found the art of living. I know I write a lot about how there is more to life than money, but there is even more to life than just enjoying it. Giving more of yourself to help others enjoy their lives too.

I’m realizing slowly that for me life is about creation. It’s about defining who you are by output, and in that process changing others.

The past few days I was able to do whatever I wanted. I wrote my intentions at the beginning of the trip. It said, “I have no expectations as to what should happen.”? I’m writing a book and I wanted to write a lot! But I didn’t want to write if I had to write.

I ended up running for many miles in the woods, I kayaked, I drew, I painted, I wrote (a lot), I read, I listened to music, I meditated. I just sat.

The meditating and the running and the exercised helped my output. I wrote better, I painted better.

I think I have become so used to input that I never allow myself to create! Normally I read, I learn, I internalize, I think.

This blog has been my first attempt at output. The book is another. And guess what?


Those days at camp, I felt like a young version of myself. One that didn’t need to worry about getting dinner on the table. I felt like I could live without judgment from others since I was alone, but also from myself.

Nothing needed to be perfect. It was all about the process.

As adults, we need to do that more. We need to know that it exists. We will become better human beings for it.

Output and Business

It makes perfect sense. In order to create value that others will pay for you need output.

We can get so caught up in marketing and selling, learning the newest technique or dealing with vendors. We forget the value of creativity and output for the business.

We have so many goals to achieve and we are always looking forward. Sometimes we look back at our mistakes and failures to learn from them. But how often do we look here and now?

How often do we relish in where we are, and how far we still get to go? Not how far we HAVE to go. How far we GET to go. Because once you beat the game it’s not fun anymore.

Take a day away from the office. Think about where you are now and how amazing it is, and start to output. I promise you it will be worth it.

Lessons from the Ouput

I’ve learned a few things along the way.

Things to do to increase your output:

Create a growing habit. Output can take awhile to get used to. I never labeled myself as a writer. English was the only class I got a C in and my horrible assignments forever scarred me.

So I started with a journal that just listed my accomplishments. Then I started writing a little more. It started to become a habit. Then it started to become second nature, so when I started putting it out there it didn’t scare the crap out of me. Now I write every day. (I am better at visual arts, but I don’t think a painting of this post would have gotten the message across as well šŸ™‚ )

Don’t Judge. When you output, judge nothing! You can always cut words later, or you can start over on a painting. You can change your plans. Judgment stifles creativity!

I heard a story that Walt Disney wouldn’t allow any criticism in the initial creative process. Even at EepyBird when we start to generate ideas, nothing is allowed to be judged. There are no critics in the room. You must let a few crappy ideas get through to allow the space for the amazing ones.

One idea often sparks another, so if you judge and never allow yourself to get into the flow of ideas you may never hit that bonfire. You never know what your ideas might spawn into.

Stop the Input. Just like Tim Ferriss says in the Four Hour Work Week, go on a low information diet. While information can spark ideas that eventually lead to output, it’s hard to get ideas out when so much is coming in.

Can you imagine a pipe flowing with water into your brain? How easily do you think you could push out an idea? Let yourself turn the incoming water off, so you can output!

What do you think about output? Would taking a step back work for you?

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Hi Iā€™m Jaime. Each and every week I bring you the top business advice from the people who know best.

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7 responses

  • I love the “I have no expectations” intention šŸ™‚

    • Thanks Jackie. It’s funny, sitting down to write my intentions, the only thing that popped into my mind was, I’m here to go with the flow! Geesh! That’s where the no expectations came from. It worked beautifully šŸ™‚

  • Whenever I’m just writing for my blog, I go to a quiet room and can churn 3-4 good-great posts out in 2-3 hours. When I’m in front of the tv, it takes that long to come up with just one post (and I usually have to edit it more). So, I’m a big believer of shutting off input in order to create. šŸ™‚

    • I’ve found that even listening to music with lyrics makes it hard to write! It’s amazing what a difference it makes. šŸ™‚

  • I don’t really think about it too often but I do have a method of kind of shutting out the input, so I can think a little more clearly about my output.

    When I am faced with a moderate mental block I find that going to a local diner in the mornings is a great way to get my mind going. No one bothers me much, the staff are usually friendly, and I can grab a cheap bite to eat while I’m there.

    If the mental block is tall and sturdy, only then do I really isolate myself. No music, no people, just me pen+paper, and my thoughts.

  • What a great post Jaime – I especially love stopping the input! I am leaving tomorrow with my kids for family week at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY. I am registered for a workshop, but I have been feeling such a need for quiet time, exactly what you describe, that I may just bag the workshop (or at least portions of it) to lie in a hammock by the lake and just be.

    When I take that time, it’s almost always followed by a rush of creativity (which I will try VERY hard NOT to JUDGE!!)

    Your doing great things here, thank you & keep it up!

    • Thank you Chris! Your comment came at the perfect time for me too. I’m writing a book, and was just judging! Then I got an email that you commented, it snapped me right out of it. So I’m glad that I can help you, and thanks for helping me šŸ™‚ Have an amazing time and just be.

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