Every single day, people come to me asking if I have read this or the other news. I always have to remind them that I am on the low-information diet, and I do not have the time, energy, or patience to be up-to-date on everything that is out there. Instead of spending my time on reading blog posts, or keeping up on the News, or listening to podcasts, I focus all of that energy on my work.
I am a big proponent of staying focused, and removing all distractions. This need we have as human beings in the modern era, to know everything, and to be informed of everything, is highly distracting. I have noticed this for myself – when I am on Facebook too often, and too much, I am more distracted and unable to focus on my work.
If I am able to stay focused, I can finish writing an article like this in a matter of an hour or so. But if I have one of those distracted days, it takes me twice or thrice as long as that.
Productivity Is A Matter Of Removing All Distractions
When people complain to me about not being productive enough, or commend me for being so prolific, I don’t really want to say anything to them. But I notice in just a few moments of being around them, that they are highly distractible. That is, they give in to every distraction that comes their way.
They will pick up their phone every time it buzzes or rings (why is it set on ring anyways, put it on silent, forever, and always). Speak to everyone that walks past that they know. Check their email every single time it tells them they have a new message. Open and check Facebook a million times, even though I am sitting right in front of them, wanting and willing to have a conversation.
It is quite possible to switch off Wi-Fi, or email notifications, or Facebook notifications, or put our phone on silent, so we have a respite from all the noise that is out there.
If we have a desire to be productive, that is the first step we need to undertake. Remove all forms of distractions.
Once The Distractions Are Gone, Remove All News, And Reading Material
I have a friend, who is obsessed with keeping up with all the good stuff that he sees on the Internet. Every time, eh sees an interesting article, or a cool video, or whatever it might be, he opens it in a new tab to read or watch or listen to later.
Resulting in hundreds of tabs being open at any one time.
This causes great overwhelm for him. Because he can’t close all the tabs and start from scratch. That would be blasphemous. What if there’s some awesome tidbit or something crazy in the material that would change his life forever? He is living in a constant state of FOMO, and general fear. He is never able to consume all of the information, and thus, he is constantly a failure in his own eyes.
There is no way he could possibly consume all of that information. It just isn’t possible. But if he doesn’t do it, or at least try, he feels like he’s a terrible person, and that he’s never going to succeed.
No Person Can Consume All Of This Information, So Choose One Or Two Things
According to a Daily Mail article, in just a single minute on the web 216,000 photos are shared on Instagram, a total of £54,000 ($83,000) sales take place on Amazon, there are 1.8 million likes on Facebook and three days worth of video is uploaded to YouTube.
There is no way for a single human being to consume even 1/365th of that information. No way in this lifetime.
Are we going to sit in a corner and hate ourselves for not being up to the task? Or are we going to choose one or two things that truly matter to us in our business or personal life, and focus on that? I believe the latter is the better course of action.
We can’t consume all the information that we want to. We can’t beat ourselves up over it. But what we can do is choose some stuff that really matters to us, and consume it every week or every day or whatever your frequency might be.
The low-information diet dictates that we need to be in control of our information overload, by removing all of the major sources of distraction, and filtering what comes at us. We are so careful about our physical space and body. But our minds are constantly being bombarded by nonsense and we don’t take care to protect our mental space.
Don’t Worry About The News – You Will Hear About It Anyways
I never ever look at the news online. I don’t ever need to. Someone or the other will come across me, through social media, or at a dinner, or somewhere, who will be more than happy to inform me about the current events. I don’t ever need to be on top of it, because everyone else is on top of it.
I am so grateful that I am not polluting my mind with all of the sensationalistic news stories that are being pumped through the sewers of media nowadays. If it isn’t sensational, then it isn’t news, apparently.
Well, I am not letting that shit come through into my mind or my spirit. I unfollow friends who are talking about bullshit all the time, and who are too political or too religious. You see, I know my mind on both of these subjects. I don’t need to taint my thinking or to have arguments with nut-jobs online about it.
News is one of those things that can increase our blood pressure and reduce our happiness level, just by being a bystander.
Be Alright With Saying, “I Don’t Know.”
One of my favourite phrases nowadays is ‘I don’t know.’ I don’t know because I don’t read the news, or I don’t listen to that podcast, or I don’t read that blog, or whatever else the reason might be.
I don’t know.
And I am fine with that. Even if you might not be. Most people at that will try to implore me to read that blog, or listen to that podcast, as it changed their life.
I am happy with the way things are going in my life, thank you very much. And, I don’t need to change it up too much. I want to actually stay a little bit longer in my comfort zone. Because, I am always pushing myself out of it, without doing all of this reading, or listening.
I don’t know. And I should also add, “I don’t care.” I don’t care about what’s going on with this particular actor or actress, or who’s marrying whom, or who has a kid, or what President is doing what, or what country is bombing which other one, or whatever else bullshit you want to feed me.
I don’t care and I don’t want to know.
I Want To Direct All Of My Energy To Myself And My Creative Work
When we are putting all of our energies out there, to keep up with some standard that we have placed upon ourselves, then we are never able to pay attention to ourselves. What is going on with your body or your mind or your spirit? Are you happy? Are you feeling fulfilled or self-actualized? Do you like the way your life is going? Where is it headed? Is it in a direction that makes your soul sing?
I want to ask all of these questions of myself every single day. I want to learn about myself and who I am in this world. That’s what matters most to me. Also, all of the energy that I gain from not giving it away to these nonsensical things, is redirected towards my creativity.
I am able to pump out thousands of words every single day because I am able to direct all of my energy to writing and writing and writing. Creating is my forte, and I want to spend all of my energy on that.
I don’t want to waste this precious time I have on this planet, talking about people who don’t really matter, or events that don’t really affect me.
People Don’t Want To Appear Stupid In Front Of Others
I think the main reason why people like to keep up with things is so that they don’t seem foolish in front of others. On many occasions, I have had to pipe up when everyone else was nodding along and ask “What is that?” or “What are you talking about?”
I am not afraid to be ill-informed. The thing is, I have chosen to be that way. I know eventually if the news is big enough, it will definitely trickle its way down to me. When President Trump got elected, I didn’t have to go around to the news stations on TV, or read the news online. I met up a bunch of people for lunch that day and everyone seemed to know that he was elected. I got my news that way.
When, I heard about it, I took it in, and then I moved on to doing my work.
There’s important work to be done on this planet. Sometimes, this important work is important to us only. I care about my writing on an epic scale, more than anyone else seems to care about it. And that’s alright. Because no one else will care about it as I will. I want to write all the time.
But if I don’t focus my energy on it, like a laser, it is so easy to be scattered and be discarded in this world.
You Have Two Ears And One Mouth For A Reason
I don’t know if this is a Zen parable or Buddhist saying. But it says, “You have two ears and one mouth. So you can listen more than you speak.”
This is something that I follow to a T. I sometimes know a lot about a subject matter, and people will question me on it. So I will answer questions and talk about the subject matter that I know about. But mostly, I know nothing about most things, so I will sit and listen and listen and listen. That’s what I am great at doing. I am great at assimilating information, because I spend most of my time listening, instead of talking.
You see, I know what I know, and I am proud to be who I am. I don’t need others to be proud of me as well.
So I speak rarely, and I listen a lot. I get a lot of great information that way and I also catch up on the current events, news, and other tidbits this way.
Reduce The Load On Your Mind And Spirit
We live in a world where overwhelm, burnout, and stress are becoming more and more commonplace. It is easy to go on that route. Especially if we are not taking care of ourselves, in the amount of information that we consume.
Let’s stop doing that to ourselves. We have to be careful not to overwhelm our mind and spirits with all of the garbage information that is out there.
Practice saying, “I don’t know,” or even better, “I don’t give a rat’s ass,” to people who emphasize you knowing everything about everything out there. You can’t do it. You won’t do it, and you don’t have to do it.
Be safe, and be happy, by staying away from information overload. You don’t need to know everything. In fact, it would actually be better for you if you didn’t know everything.
Know little, but work on the little you do know.
Most people know a lot, but use none of it to their advantage. That’s not the kind of life we want to lead. We want to be doers, not just talkers.