Information Diet

Diet is a hot topic especially when the New Year approaches. It becomes the prime time for making resolutions. New Year – New Me!

In this week’s video, I will be talking about a different kind of diet. The Information Diet.

It is an amazing time and an amazing world that we live in. Information gushes forth like a wild river. It flows freely and into every nook and cranny.

We also live in a very noisy world. There are so many bits and pieces of information that compete for our attention and headspace. News headlines, gossip, cat videos, status updates, photos, the latest episode… the list goes on and on. Unfortunately, we don’t have the time or attention span available to cram everything in. Consuming too much information or consuming the junk information can often leave us feeling exhausted and drained.

We have to think about information just like the way we think about food. Certain foods are nourishing and contribute to our overall well-being. Some foods allow for a gastronomic and pleasurable experience. And other foods are simply junk. The same can be said for information. And therefore, just like food, we can go on an information diet.

I started my information diet about 5 years ago. I simply shut off the radio in my car and started listening to CDs of motivational speeches. I later moved on to podcasts and continued to listen at every opportunity. I even listened to business podcasts while I was doing my CAD (computer aided design) work when I was still working as an Engineer.

I have been curating my information feed since then. I must say, it has been a liberating experience thus far. Here are some of the benefits I have experienced with my own information diet.

  • I’ve been able to focus on my own goals and tasks by shutting out unnecessary noise and distractions.
  • I’ve enjoyed learning and exploring topics and issues that were truly interesting to me.
  • I’ve avoided mental exhaustion caused by drama, gossip or events which are beyond my control.

I am a firm believer that our mental state greatly affects our physical performance and disposition. This is why I would highly recommend going on an information diet to boost your mental health and effectively improve your physical health as well.

1. Turn off the radio

Pop music is catchy and it can be awesome. I’m a Michael Jackson fan and he was the legendary “King of Pop” after all. But the radio sadly provides very little mental nourishment. The same songs and advertisements get played over and over again.

Radio talk is no good either. Most topics revolve around celebrity gossip or base-level topics anyway. In short, the radio is only teaching you to become the LCD (lowest common denominator) in society. Hence listening to the radio in your daily commute is largely futile and unproductive.

Switch to podcasts

Podcasts have been around for quite some time now. I simply love podcasts. There is a whole range of ideas and topics to choose from. So take your pick! And best of all, podcasts are free!

I listen to a broad range of topics including business, self-improvement, philosophy, health, dating, and even comedy.

Try an Audiobook

I am a very slow reader, so audiobooks work really well for me. I have listened to quite a few books now especially during my drive or during maintenance tasks like house chores and cleaning. I listen to both fiction and non-fiction.

2. Turn off the TV

I don’t have a TV because I don’t watch TV. It is a waste of time. There isn’t anything worth watching anyway. TV shows, just like most radio shows, are also useless in my opinion. You aren’t learning anything substantial.

I don’t watch the daily news either. But what if the apocalypse happens?? Well I guess we are all screwed anyway by the time it happens.

It’s not that I don’t care about worldly issues and current events. But a lot of what happens in the world is simply beyond our control. Ultimately, we can create a greater impact in the world by focusing on improving on our own situation and directly contributing to the smaller communities that we belong to. Listening to the daily news is simply draining for me. I’ve felt much better after I cut it out of my daily routine. Imagine where you would be today if you spent that 20 minutes on either exercising, nurturing relationships, or taking up a class.

There are a lot of junk TV shows out there as well. I’m not even going to dwell on TV shows. Just stop watching junk on TV.

Documentaries

Thank goodness for YouTube and the Internet! You can find all kinds of great documentaries that are free to watch on-demand. I get my fix while I am cooking. I simply use my phone to play a documentary on YouTube. I get to learn more about a topic, eat healthy and save money. Win-win-Win.

I recommend watching historical documentaries. This is a great way of understanding why and how the current world state came to be.

3. Curate entertainment based on quality

By all means enjoy yourself! Just make sure to curate your entertainment based on quality. High-quality TV shows and movies are okay. I still watch entertaining shows. But I also try to dive a little bit deeper into the underlying themes and lessons. Am I learning more about human psychology and behaviour? Are there philosophical and ethical themes being explored in these films? Maybe I’m just a really deep thinker…

Needless to say, the same goes for all Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, etc.). It’s okay to miss out on posts or only login a few times a week. I use my accounts mainly for communications and important updates. I mute or unfollow posts and people that don’t make me feel great about myself or my situation. (Sorry not sorry!). We all have to remember it is OUR account. So we get to choose which filters we want to place. We get full rights on the curation of our information. Tired of somebody else’s posts? Just unfollow/mute and go your merry way 🙂

I really hope that you try going on an Information Diet. I have personally learned more since I started 5 years ago and I would never go back to base-level information consumption.

Let me know in the comments if you have done this. I would love to hear about your experience.

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