Day 20 – Comic Catchup

by Dan


Now for an odd sentence. For today’s Daily Act of Simplification I have spent a couple of hours reading comics! What strange brand of rule-bending is this, you may well ask. I’d better explain pronto!

I have recently been exploring the concept of “play”. And by that I mean the things that you do just for the simple pleasure of the activity. An activity where there is no outcome at stake, no conclusion, just enjoyment. I have also coupled this idea with using your own past to help point the way to understanding the person that you are on the inside. For example, when I help people to identify their own personal values, a question I ask is “What did you do as a child, just for pleasure, where there was no outcome at stake? What did you do to play?”. Then I’ll ask “What was is about these activities that held your attention and gave you the enjoyment?”. The reason I ask this is that the things you did when you were free to choose out of everything in the world, when you were not constrained by responsibilities and pressures, can point to the values and motivations that are intrinsic to you. By identifying these you can make better decisions about where to spend your time to get maximum fulfilment out of life. For example someone who enjoyed playing fantasy battle games as a kid might be motivated by strategic thinking, and hence could think about corporate strategy roles for their job. Or someone who loved to captain a sports team might make a great man manager in a business. This kind of analysis of one’s own past can help shape a fulfilled adulthood.

Additionally, if something gave you great pleasure as a child, why should you stop doing it as an adult? Time spent immersed in simple pleasures, just for the enjoyment of existing, is time well spent in my opinion. It can lead to recharging the batteries, creative insights, and joy.

So… For this reason I subscribed to a couple of comics recently. I used to enjoy them as a child, and wanted to recapture some of that playtime by recreating the experience and seeing where it led. I certainly didn’t want to spend bags of time doing this, so I carefully selected two titles that also recaptured some youthful memories and subscribed. The plan was to sit down for 15 minutes when they came through the door each month, with a nice glass of something, and have a little bit of me time.

One of the titles was fine. Issue 1 started shortly after making this decision and as each one has arrived I have read them and enjoyed. The other title had been out for a few months, so I got the 5 or so back issues and each issue thereafter. Problem was that because there were 5 of them, I never found the time to get through them, so the pile of 5 soon became 10.

Staring at the pile of 10 unread comics this morning I asked myself the Zero-Based Thinking question – “Knowing what I now know, would I have gotten into this in the first place?” After reminding myself of the above, I answered “yes”. The reason for subscribing was still very valid, all I needed to do was catch up so that it could get back to being the simple pleasure that was intended, and stop being a nagging “to-do” on my mind. I have now read them, had a great time doing so, and am looking forward to the next issues.

Getting on top and staying on top of things definitely makes my world seem simpler so it is now noted as another simplification category to spark future ideas.

So I hope that, after my long-whinded explanation, you’ll allow me to count a couple of hours comic reading as a Daily Act of Simplification!