Spontaneous Combustion Rule

The Segway

Recently, I came across this interview Tiago Porte put on YouTube. They were talking about a concept called Spontaneous Combustion Rule. It is a hypothetical question you can ask yourself about anything.

What would happen if X (The thing you were anxious about) were spontaneously combusted?

Your immediate response to this question helps you determine the outcome of that thing. You are (probably) either relieved that it is spontaneously combusted or got really upset ( I suppose). They are using it to decide what to do about your material possessions to achieve minimalism. But It can apply to digital stuff as well. The coin toss is similar to this. You Immediately flip a coin to decide on something. Let’s say you want to get rid of some stuff, but you are unsure. You flip a coin. If it is tails, you get rid of it, and it is tails. Now, if you are happy that the result is tails, that clearly indicates why you should do it in the first place, or vice versa.

The Problem

The problem I have is my read-later app. I am currently using Raindrop. It is a nice app. But the thing is, There is too much input on the Internet. I can send anything to Raindrop to look at it later. It is seamlessly integrated into everything I use. This feels nice until you realise you have over 400 articles you want to read. The obvious solution was categorising things into their respective buckets and seeing how things go. I even created two lists called Noise, which I know isn’t important that much, and It looked Interesting, which I know why I sent it to Raindrop in the first place.

Current State of my RainDrop

The thing is, the clutter in any form keeps growing. The Spontaneous Combustion question is not something extraordinary. But it shifts your perspective so that you can start to see things with a different lens. I started cleaning some of my reading lists by asking this question. There is no point in keeping the cluttered reading list if I haven’t looked at it for months. If it is something important, It will eventually resurface, and I will find it.

I will also start to apply this rule to my other systems, but that is for another writing. Removing the clutter in our lives to relieve our mental overhead is something everyone should try to do at one point.

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