Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get out of your own way…
Get rid of the things that are holding us back and hack your mind to be more productive, less stressed, and happier? Wouldn’t it be great if we could see the world with an objective lens instead of through tainted glasses?
Most people aren’t going to take the time to reflect on their day, be introspective, journal, or sit quietly by themselves. In fact a large percentage of people are actually scared to sit with nothing but their own thoughts.
Instead they MUST get to the gym and they CAN’T blow off their friend for a beer. They MUST get to the next level of that game and they SHOULD get back to those pending Facebook messages…
You see, we fill our lives with day to day stuff to occupy the time… some of which is created by us and some created by what society seems to expect of us. No matter it’s origin, as long as we are crossing stuff off our to do list, we are “happy.”
I call bullshit.
I say we fill our brains with distractions – stuff – that do nothing to do with real happiness, like these…
Distractions Created By Society:
School | We all know this is not the best way to learn, but we are obligated to go. It’s also not the best way to prove we are smart, but society tells us this is the way things work.
Sports | If all we pay attention to is sports, then the government can keep pulling the wool over our eyes. I’ll be the first to admit I know 100x more about sports than I do about the issues facing our world… and I know quite a lot about the world.
The 9 to 5 | Are these your most productive hours of the day? Do you really need to jam yourself into 4 lane superhighways, subway cars, and people movers, at the same time as everyone else, every single day? Probably not.
Television | Lets jam as much drama, sex, and sensationalism as we can into half-hour blocks, so that the masses get sucked in and we can flash hypnotic images at them to make them buy more stuff.
Distractions Created By Us:
Going to the gym | Yes, I’m a huge proponent of physical exercise, but most people have no idea how to work out, so sadly if you aren’t getting results, it’s just another distraction. People GO to the gym so they can pat themselves on the back, and check that box for the day, not wholeheartedly trying to achieve the outcome they were looking for.
Going to the gym can be like a dog chasing his tail… he gets a quick burst of motivation, but doesn’t actually accomplish anything. What people really need to do is spend the time researching and analyzing the work they are putting in and increase your knowledge on your health and fitness but that’s the hard part. It’s easier to just mindlessly climb the stair-master and talk about how much it sucks.
Relationships | I’m really hesitant to write this one, because this one hurts me too. I’ve spent way too much time with people who were just sucking me dry. By nature I’m a people pleaser and most of my mental energy is spent making others happy. I mean, come on… I do it for a living with our travel company!
Think about how much time maintaining your relationships with friends, family and Tinder dates is costing you!! What about time for yourself???! Remember you need to fulfill yourself before you can give to others. I needed to move outside of the United States for me to get this one right… but once I did, I found out who in my life mattered most.
Stuff | Yes, the more stuff you have, the more mental energy it takes up. All your possessions are categorized in your brain somewhere; that’s why letting go of material things is one of the most powerful things you can do. Let go of that old sweatshirt with those old memories attached to it. If you think this is bullshit, it’s not. Your brain’s filing system has tremendous capacity to store things, and every time you see that old sweatshirt, your brain links it to thousands of images from the past, whether you can remember them consciously or not.
Start creating new space in your mind and clearing up your mental energy. But alas, most people’s time for themselves is taken up by taking care of their stuff. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Time is our most valuable asset… so stop distracting yourself… with stuff.
Money | This one was a gamechanger for me. I recently came across the theory that the biggest fear of people with a lot of money is the fear of losing money!
Now, I’m not saying we shouldn’t all build a nice
little nest egg, but let that take up as little time and mental energy as possible. Google “automating your personal finances” and you’ll find plenty of solid advice.
If You Are Pissed Off Right Now Here’s Why…
The truth hurts.
One of the most difficult things in the world to do is see things as they really are. It’s not fun when someone challenges how you’ve been taught to think about your entire way of life.
But look, I’m pissed too.
I spent $160k on school, have sat in a million traffic jams, loved the Green Bay Packers at times more than I loved myself, and have thousands of hours of my life stolen by television. And all the advertising that I was exposed to on billboards, tv ads, and radio during all of these activities has wreaked havoc on my subconscious! I’ve eaten a hundred Big Macs in my lifetime (none in the last 10 years). And yes, I dreamed forever that having a fancy car was the holy grail of making it big.
It’s all bullshit.
So What’s Next?
Okay, so the point of all this is to hack your inner BS, so what’s next…
What you really need to do is to start developing your personal toolbox. Here are some things to do during this time:
Journal | Just write. Freeball it. Chicken scratch it. Who cares, just an open stream of consciousness…. Make lists. How about a list of the people in your life who are taking up too much mental energy?
Make a List of Distractions | I only gave you a few examples. Please please please, do this in the comments, it’ll really help our community.
Meditation | Let go of all that crap. I thought I’d get through an entire article without talking about meditation but I couldn’t. It’s had that profound of an impact on me.
“Holding personal history takes too much energy,” says Penny Pierce author of The Intuitive Way, another book that is rocking my world right now.
Podcasts | Yesterday I went for a long walk on the beach and plugged in a podcast. I’m on a mission to constantly increase my level of knowledge about this stuff. My favorites: Bulletproof Radio, The Drunken Taoist, The Joe Rogan Experience, The Tim Ferriss Show, The James Altucher Show, Buddhist Geeks.
Remember, this is time for you to be reflective, not for others to pour their ideas into your head. This isn’t about mindlessly reading or listening, that’s just as bad as watching television. You should be pausing to journal or contemplate on whatever the subject is.
But don’t you dare touch your iPhone or bring your laptop into bed. I will smack you.
This is time for yourself, not time for you and your 2,000 closest Facebook friends. Anything that detaches you from your breathing patterns, your day to day routine, takes you away from the pressures of others is solid time for yourself. My favorites include: surfing, hiking, working out, yoga, writing, and traveling.
It’ time to hack your inner bullshit.
Nothing replaces time sitting down looking your BS in the face. Go check in with yourself. It’ll hurt just like working out. I promise. But it is worth it. So worth it.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Under30CEO.com!
About the Author: Matt Wilson is co-founder of Under30CEO and Adventurer in Residence at Under30Experiences