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“Poor people brag about the size of their television. Rich people brag about the size of their library.” – Anon.
Mental Diet? What?
The majority of us give consideration our physical diet – the food that we eat – and to the importance of eating healthily.
But do you ever think about your mental diet? The diet that your mind consumes.
Yes, your mind has a diet – and your choice of what to feed your mind is very important indeed: What you input into your brain in terms of information, light, sound and words influences your entire world.
Now just as with your body – you could feed your mind on a diet of junk or you could feed it only on pure, highly nutritious ingredients.
This is a choice you can make and reinforce continually, that will have a profound, huge impact on your life.
We are now in the Information Age. We are surrounded by information of all kinds. Good, bad, useful, useless, meaningful, meaningless, inspiring or toxic.
Is your mental diet the equivalent of eating out of garbage cans or is it a high quality mental diet of pure nutrition?
Examples Of Poor Mental Diet:
• “Aimless Scrolling” on Facebook. Facebook news feed is the “mental diet equivalent” of eating randomly out of garbage cans on the street. There, I said it. You subject yourself to a curated selection of the most emotionally jarring nonsense of the day, in a sort of semi-hypnotized state.
Social media feeds and “trending” sections are designed to hook you. What happens is that your attention gets grabbed without you even noticing that it happened – and you get “sucked into a black hole”… 40 minutes later you snap out of it, feeling fried and realizing that you just were in a complete trance and got nothing meaningful done. Oh, I know. You only went on there to wish your friend a happy birthday because you saw the notification, but something grabbed you and you mysteriously fell into a ‘toxic trance’ of negative emotions… the next thing you know, time has evaporated and you finally snapped out of it, thinking “where the hell was I then?”, feeling drained, toxified, depressed and troubled.
Sorry but your mental diet just poisoned you… shouldn’t have clicked it in the first place!
Ever wondered why this happens every time? It is because we are biological robots – more predictable than we even know – and Facebook’s algorithms have us figured out. They have assimilated and crunched through so much data that they can predict with fantastic accuracy what you will respond to. They will put the post that you are most likely to respond to front and center – and you get sucked in. It is like crack for your emotions!
Why do they do this? Simple – because the more time you spend on Facebook, the more money they make – both from display advertising and from the data they can collect and then sell.
Facebook is worse than junk food for your mind: It’s the mental diet equivalent of opening your mouth and consuming whatever anyone throws at you.
And thus, by your own choosing, you are mentally and emotionally reduced to the level of the herd.
How many hours a day do you lose to that evil beast called the newsfeed? You could have written a book in that time! End rant.
• Scrolling on social media in general – Youtube, Instagram, Tiktok, etc.
• Reading newspapers or mainstream media websites.
• Most television. TV is junk food for the mind. Yes it is. Get rid of the damn thing. I got rid of my television in 1995 and never looked back. One of the best moves I ever made.
• Most advertising, shopping and consumerism.
• Randomly / distractedly surfing the internet without a specific objective.
• Opinions and “advice” of family, friends, strangers and those who have not actually done that which you are attempting to do. Armchair experts are everywhere.
• General chatter, gossip and meandering conversation.
Examples Of Great Mental Diet:
• Books in general, but especially those written by the brilliant minds of all time.
• Art created by true masters.
• Time spent in solitude studying high quality tutorials and learning materials.
• The work of “the greats” in whatever field you happen to be in.
• Time spent in nature.
• Special note: Youtube. Youtube does offer fantastic materials for learning… if you can stay focused. You can get tutorials on whatever you want – from learning to draw clouds through to how to cut a countertop. Some of the tutorials are not so good but you can quickly learn which to look for. The “thumbs up to thumbs down ratio” is a good general guide. And amazingly, you can watch 2 or 3 and pick up the best tips from different people and sometimes even quickly know more than any of them, simply because you aggregated the knowledge from all those people.
The “related videos” sidebar can sometimes bring useful information but all too often is an endless rabbit-hole of distraction. I would say that it’s more of a meritocracy than the Facebook Newsfeed (although this depends on the kind of materials you habitually look at). Youtube does have a very good way of showing you more content that relates closely to what you have been watching lately.
You need mental discipline to explore beneficially – but there are amazing channels on Youtube, filled with knowledge of every topic imaginable. Stay focused and this one will reward you.
8 Simple Strategies For A High Quality Mental Diet:
1) Eliminate All Forms Of Poor Mental Diet. Make absolute hard and fast rules about social media, emotionally disturbing news content, television etc.
2) Up Your Intake Of Carefully Chosen Components Of A Good Mental Diet.
3) Surround yourself with the work of the great minds of all time. This is a well known strategy for success. One quick example from the circle of Winners: Franz Liszt – esteemed by many to be the greatest pianist who ever lived, did this. A perfect example of a top quality mental diet. He noted in a letter to a friend on May 2nd 1832:
TO MONSIEUR PIERRE WOLFF (JUNIOR).
Paris, May 2nd .
Here is a whole fortnight that my mind and fingers have been working like two lost spirits. Homer, the Bible, Plato, Locke, Byron, Hugo, Lamartine, Chateaubriand, Beethoven, Bach, Hummel, Mozart, Weber, are all around me. I study them, meditate on them, devour them with fury; besides this I practise four to five hours of exercises (3rds, 6ths, 8ths, tremolos, repetition of notes, cadences, etc., etc.). Ah! provided I don’t go mad, you will find an artist in me! Yes, an artist such as you desire, such as is required nowadays!
4) Emulate the greats. Ask yourself:
What would Elon Musk do?
What would Bruce Lee do?
What would Steve Jobs do?
What would _______________ do?
5) Create An “Inspiration Board”. Put pictures of the people you most admire who have ever lived, together with a meaningful quote of something they said. Look at this board daily. “Listen” to what they are telling you.
6) Eliminate Energy Leaks. What do you actually spend your day doing? How much of your day do you habitually and consistently spend actually kicking butt, applying yourself with full focus and getting on with it? What I want you to do is to do an inventory of your daily activities for a week. This is a well known success exercise that yields fantastic results. Get a notebook or diary and a watch and note exactly how much time you ACTUALLY spend doing everything, for a week. And then look at it objectively. Add up the hours and you will think “damn, I spent 5 hours taking tea breaks and 4 hours chatting on the phone about nothing in particular”. People don’t add up all the small amounts because they think they are insignificant – but “those small amounts” are where your life went….
7) Pay Consideration To Your Circadian Rhythms. Our bodies are evolutionarily adapted to receiving light of different color spectra and intensity throughout the day (and night). It turns out that our brains are responsive to this light; it then influences our hormonal patterns and bodily functions. The sun’s light at mid-day contains a higher proportion of blue-white light and in the evening the spectrum contains more of the yellow-red end of the color spectrum. You’ve guessed it – staring at device screens late in the evening plays havoc with this natural circadian rhythm, leading to sleep loss, hormonal disruption and even metabolic dysregulation. It’s advised to turn off devices 1 hour before bedtime, use “orange filters” in the evenings and fit “warm spectrum” lightbulbs in spaces that are occupied in the evening.
8) Choose Carefully Who You Surround Yourself With. One of the most critical components of the mental diet for a lot of people?
Other people can either inspire and uplift you or they can bring you down, pollute your mind and influence you negatively. Learn to say “no”. Limit the influence or even cut people from your life who drag you down and drain your energy.
Learn to turn the phone OFF and leave it off. Tell people your phone is going to be off till _____. Done.
You cannot serve two Masters.
“You are the average of the 5 people you hang out with the most”.