When can you hear yourself think?

Wake up and put on some music. Jump in the shower and bring your phone to finish listening to that podcast you started yesterday. Drive somewhere and play an audiobook in your car's speakers. Work out with your headphones on. Cook, do the dishes, do the laundry, or do anything else, always with something playing in the background.

When can you hear yourself think?

It struck me in the shower this morning, and I wasn't even listening to anything. It is easy to always be hooked on someone else's thoughts. Technology enables that. It puts all this knowledge (read divertissement knowledge) almost skin-to-skin with us.

The knowledge is out there and easy to access. It doesn't take much for a curious mind to feel the irrepressible need to know.

There may also be a bit of ego: I want to be the one who knows.

Maybe some childhood trauma: I don't want to sound dumb by ignoring something. I've got to know it all. That's exacerbated by the fact that certain people seemingly know everything online.

Or maybe we loosely believe the next bit of a recorded conversation will give us an edge. It will contain an insight that unleashes our potential or gives us our next best idea.

So, we consume, consume, and consume just in case.

It's an addiction.

Some drugs have less stigma than others. Cocaine is for the elite; crack is for the street. It's more prestigious to be a "knowledge" addict than to admit to wasting hours on social media or playing games.

But in reality, isn't it the same? And sometimes even worse?

Because we fool ourselves into thinking we are doing something meaningful and productive. We stay mildly engaged and don't even rip off the benefits entertainment provides.

We build up overwhelm. We get closer and closer to burning out.

A while back, I read an essay in which the author was arguing that books aren't mere transmission of information. While we read, our minds engage with the material longer. Change requires a slow pace. Change requires time.

Change also requires space, and so do ideas to grow. They need headspace.

There is no alternative to this than silence. Not necessarily the noiseless kind of silence, but silence from new, often exciting, external ideas.

We need to hear ourselves think on a regular basis. The easiest way to do that is to unplug from "knowledgetainement" when we perform mundane tasks like emptying the dishwasher.

What, in my world, classifies as "knowledgetainement?" Any piece of knowledge that is not useful to solve a problem you have now. Just-in-case knowledge.

Being alone with your own thoughts might feel weird at first, but take heart! It means that it's working. The discomfort is proof that ideas have the headspace to grow.