To discover your needs, make space for yourself. Be alone, in your own presence. Pay attention to your own internal signals instead of fixating on what others want. This requires an adjustment period where you lean away from stimulus (people, distractions, media) and go inwards. It doesn’t need to be anything extreme: a little time in the morning to check in with yourself goes a long way. It’s about cultivating space for yourself instead of filling your life with noise, including the noise of what others might expect from you.
I like Italo Calvino’s idea of ‘continuous cities,’ as described in ‘Invisible Cities.’ He suggests that there is actually just one big, continuous city that does not begin or end: ‘Only the name of the airport changes.’ What is then interesting is to find, in that continuity, the less-obvious differences of texture: the signs, the markings, the assemblages, the things hiding in plain sight in each cityscape or landscape
"I’m afraid of becoming an idiot. In this age, you don’t need to think. You don’t even have to look for things; they’ll be found for you. You don’t have to remember things; it’ll be remembered for you. The diggers before us bought illegal CDs and brought them into the country. The digger generation before that could go and look for things on cassette and vinyl. We did our digging on YouTube. Even then, we didn’t have artificial intelligence systems to analyse our tastes and recommend new songs for us. I had to go all around finding things one by one and listening to them. I would make lists of songs I was hearing for the first time, and then later I would go looking for similar ones, creating my own personal playlists. I ended up listening to a lot of music. These days, I can go on Spotify alone and they’ll recommend 10 songs that are similar to the one I just listened to. Their recommendations aren’t actually bad. If you look at our generation, there’s a lot of knowledge but no thinking – lots of information, no contemplation. You’re constantly acquiring information, so the information acquired before gets crowded out by the new information, and your own ideas go away. It feels like everyone’s floating around knowing where to fit on."