Aravind Balla/writings

I have a second brain

Last edited on July 28, 2020

Art by yours truly

Yeah, one more brain. Not a physical one, though. *Laughs* Second brain is a place we store our thoughts, ideas and concepts for life. Doing this is important because our human brains are good at processing but not so good at remembering (or storing) them.

Human brain is a CPU and not a HDD.

And, writing is a great way to find insights and gather all our thoughts together. We store all of them in our second brain.

What would a second brain contain?

As I just said, all the thoughts that we type, or scribble. We consume a lot of content. And sometimes that content triggers new ideas, or extends an existing view that we previously had. How good would it be to store all of that?

Brain is a great organ and to be able to fully utilise it, we should be able to store all the things that it has produced so far, and use that the next time. What does brain produce? Thoughts!

There are so many apps which we can use to write things and make it our second brain. Ideally, we would need a good search feature to be able to discover back the thoughts quicker. Organising our second brain is a different huge topic. (If you’re interested, you can checkout a podcast episode we did.)

How has it helped me?

I’ve been maintaining a second brain (without actually realising it was one) from more than 4 years. Last time I had to give a talk on a topic, it was crazy how I could go through my second brain and come up with an outline for that talk in less than half n hour. I could search for all the things I had thought about that topic very easily. If I had to sit down and try recollect everything, then it would obviously take up a lot of time, and, I’d miss out on a lot of stuff.

The outline for this article was also made in my second brain, by looking up what I had on second brain. No, this ain’t inception.

You should make parts of your second brain public

Our thoughts and ideas and thoughts are more worthy than we generally think. We cannot expect what one thought can do to (in a positive sense) the right person at the right time. When we publish our thoughts in the public, they get consumed by other and it gets a scope to further evolve.

This is a strong reason I believe where we should show up in the public, share things that matter and inspire each other.

I do it using gatsby-theme-andy which is a Gatsby theme I built (ahem ahem), where I write content in markdown and let the theme and Gatsby create a website out of it.

If this feels like an overkill, sure, you can just tweet a lot. You can reference your old tweets, build upon them, crosslink them, make long threads, what ever and create a space out there for your thoughts to exist and for people to find you. I am no expert at this, but I am trying to tweet more, and be a nerdy ambitious internet friend (yes, that is coined by Visa). Again, all these tweets are spawned by the thinking I do while writing.

If you are interested in this and want to hear more on this topic, my co-host Brittik and I made few episodes on this on our podcast. You can consider these a deep dive.

Keep nerding! ✌


Aravind Balla

By Aravind Balla who is a friendly human, building things for himself, and sometimes for others. You should hit him up on Twitter!