Spend more time searching for better information sources. A body filled with junk food struggles to move well. A mind filled with junk thoughts struggles to think well. - James Clear

We were just talking yesterday about how our current age is one of the most taxing on our mental health. Not only do we have the sedentary lifestyle introduced heavily in our earlier generation but while we are sedentary, like a captive audience, our minds are now shoved with a tidal wave of information that our minds find too hard to wade through. As a result we fail to prioritize what is important to us and fail to allocate our limited resources for our important tasks. The FOMO culture has marketed the huge amount of information, most of which is junk, to be seen as something precious or even life changing. There are next to no tools to curate this information into a qualitative stream to which one can just stick to and have a heads up on their areas of interest without being wrapped into an ad.

There are many similarities of our mind in this age to a computer infected with bloatware. Every task that we set out to do, maybe opening a document to read would have millions of processes running in the background to tax the computing and not only that but would also serve out some ads as pop ups. Getting a good heavy chunk of task done at that rate would be impossible. I as an animator would probably animate only 1/10th of what I’m capable of in this scenario, same would go for any other profession. Not only that I would get tremendously tired with the whole ordeal.

Imagine now if that bloatware had circumvented the computer and reached our brains directly. Our minds reach out to do a task and because of the junk it has consumed, it cannot help but process fragments of unrelated information while doing it. Because of the incessant advertisement (of a product or ideology), every shortcoming feels like its triggering a craving to buy into. We are slowed down tremendously, sometimes we don’t even reach our tasks and when we do, we are too tired to perform the task. If we somehow do manage to wade through it all, we are dead tired having achieved very little.

But maybe the similarities don’t end there. What would we do if there was bloatware on our computer or if our computer was slow?

A Computer - Mind equivalent would look something like this:

1- Install an antivirus to get rid off the malware - Get rid of the tools that are the source of junk information in your head. Unfollow people on, limit your interactions with toxic people, don’t go down the rabbit hole of wikipedia, etc. Each person has a different infection that is getting out of hand in their brains, be aware of it and address it.

2- Defrag the hard disk - Process necessary information (of which there are bound to be a lot as well). Exteriorize them in notes, think through them enough to keep or discard and organize them where they will be found when needed.

3- Check your startup tasks - What are the habits that you’ve internalized that lead you down the polluted lanes of information? Remove them from the start of your day until you are done with your important tasks. Start the day afresh with hand picked, highly curated tasks that will keep your mind away from anything that is not priority.

Unlike a computer there is no way to end a task once its started in your brain, so be aware of what tasks you want to run, as they will keep running in the background for a long time.

Watching Schumacher’s documentary yesterday I realized how athletes at the top of their sports generally have the mindset of competing with one’s self more than competing with others. Schumacher talks about how he becomes one with the car and how important it is to know how much you can push your car. If you push it above its limits the car is not happy and if you are running considerably lower than the car’s limit you are not happy. Its important for both of you to be happy.

I feel this is as important for a race driver as for anyone passionate about their chosen medium. Although it might seem important to do better than someone else racing alongside you its more important that you are in tune with what you have at hand and are pushing it to the best in its abilities. You have to completely block out others to the point that they are trivial and prioritize the highest focus from your mind’s resources for your medium and the task at hand. Constantly recognizing the potentials and limitations of your medium and making the most out of it.

Its easy to say that a better car wins the race and to constantly want a better car and hide behind the fact that you don’t have one It is much more important to come to terms with your own understanding of your limitations and max it out till you can’t do better with it. This is a learning that I wish to keep with me for long.

Maybe its important for you and me to ask. What is my medium of choice? What are its constraints at the moment? What am I trying to achieve with it? And how should I go about it knowing all of the above?

Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will - Suzy Kassem

I was cooking a dish today and wanting to make an improvisation and started thinking if I should take that one step that I havn’t taken before to improve on the recipe at hand. And I started wondering what is it that am afraid of here? The answer was of ‘failure’. Of the dish going bad, of the ingredients going to waste, of my time going to waste. And I began to wonder how bad it was to fail to begin with having broken down the ingredients of the failure.

Ingredients of failure in a dish gone wrong:

Cooking ingredients

Time (about 1-2 hours)

Risk of being hungry or late for the meal

And that was all there was to lose in exchange for trying out something new that would give me a learning for life and added confidence to keep improving. Which is by all means priceless.

And this is a process that can be done with almost every task in our lives.

Sticking to our comfort zones is almost always the default state as our brains are wired to do so. But away from that default is the road less taken, its a place where our sensibilities are more heightened and put into use, its a place where we find our unique way of doing the task at hand.

Its a pity that the fear of failure is so deeply ingrained in our minds through years of conditioning. More the reason to spend all our living days to liberate ourselves from it.