There’s a great interview with Ryan Leslie that I keep coming back to. The only problem? The interviewer. Ryan wants to talk about technology, about business, and about how young people can do something good with their lives. In other words, Ryan wants to talk about the future.
Host Charlamagne, meanwhile, keeps prodding him about the past. Why did he disappear from the music industry? How does he feel about a love triangle that ended years ago? What exactly “threw him off his game?” To Ryan’s credit, he stays cool as a cucumber. He answers all questions but keeps returning to the topics that matter, like the very thing he is doing: defending his mental space.
When asked whether he feels happy that his former girlfriend broke up with the man she left him for — P. Diddy — Ryan says: “There’s always a cost of everything. There’s a cost of time. There’s a cost of space. If you have a house, and you got a nice living room, and you decide, ‘Hey, I want to put this massive sculpture in the middle,’ there’s a cost of that space.”
“I think of my mind in the same way. I don’t want to put some massive sculpture of pettiness or anything in there. I want to always make sure that I have as much mental space to be a visionary as possible.”
When you’re trying to do something important — and you’re always trying to do something important — you can’t afford to clog your mental attic. You need open space up there. Room to think. Whatever — or whoever — wants to get you to erect a massive sculpture of anything in the middle, they’re the one trying to throw you off your game.
Protect your mental space. Keep your inner living room clean, and you’ll always have headway to deal with the stretch of road that’s most important: the one that lies ahead, not behind.