With everything going on in the world today, it is easy to get caught up in one or more things that begins to poison your mind. Whether it is the mainstream media, social media, information about food and diet, exercise, or a myriad of other things, it is easy to develop a disdain for things you see regularly. The entire world is a marketing scheme, most of it for either your attention, your dollars, or both. The question is, how is it affecting you?
I am at a loss at the moment (and maybe from this point forward) as to where to get reliable information on world events, local happenings, and the like. I just don’t trust any resource anymore, and therefore find myself listening to a lot of resources and trying to filter out the truth from the flat out lies, the misinformation and anything with an agenda behind it. Because of this, I also find myself getting digital fatigue and trending towards turning everything off and just living in my own little bubble.
I am well aware that sticking my head in the sand is not a good long term solution, even though a digital cleanse, on occasion, is. But I also know that I can’t protect my own mental well-being if I live in a world inundated with bad news, shocking news, catastrophic news as the constant trickle of what I am exposed to. It has a negative affect, and that affect accumulates over time. I cannot drink little drops of mental poison all the time and think that it wouldn’t impact my mental state. So, now what?
My strategy has shifted to something that takes practice but seems to be working. I detach. By this I don’t mean I hide from it all, but rather I OBSERVE what is going on around me in as much of a dispassionate state of mind as possible. I try to take a step back regardless of my opinion on a subject, and look at more than one side of it. I try to get information from opposing views and then evaluate the information as best I can. One of the reasons that I love Joe Rogan’s podcast is that I can sit and listen to him discuss with an expert in a particular field, in detail, what they know about something. I can stop and replay something I missed the point if, or even research something to round out my understanding of it. THEN I am able to watch the news or hear something on talk radio (yes, I listen to talk radio) about this same topic and be more informed, but also listen for contrary statements and information. Now I have to decide what I find more plausible, defensible or in some case the least offensive version of the story. It’s not a fool proof method by any means, but it’s the best method I have so far.
I also am contributing to the “problem” a lot less these days. By this I mean that I am not doing much at all on social media, and I have vowed to quit being a d*ck to people I don’t know, even when they clearly deserve it. IT IS MY OPINION that they “deserve” to hear my thoughts on a topic, despite not having any context on their situation. For example, I am a huge MMA fan, and there is particular fighter that is clearly teetering on the brink of some major personal problems. I, and a BUNCH of other people decided to pile on one of his tweets recently. The next day I saw a photo on his Twitter account, and it was him sitting in a pool of blood on the floor. The first thought that went through my mind was “Oh my God, he tried to kill himself”. The very next thought was: OMG, was it what I had said to him that made him do it? Seriously, for a split second I thought that something I had done to another human being had caused them to harm themselves.
It is not a stretch to think that this could have materialized, as others have done harmful things to themselves, including committing suicide, because of words of others. I don’t wish him harm, honestly what I want is for him to get help. He clearly needs it in my opinion. I even tweeted @danawhite as an (unlikely) attempt to help. My point is this, he doesn’t deserve to be treated the way I was treating him. No one does, for that matter. My words and actions matter, and I am taking responsibility for this. I don’t want to add to the poison. So, I am doing to A. interact less on social media B. Observe more, objectively and C. try to be a better person in general. We all have room for improvement.
Because of my desires to be a public speaker and consultant, I also am creating a brand and presence on social media to some degree. I am sticking largely with LinkedIn, as this is the best fit for what I do. But this does not mean that I will be exempt from someone returning the favor to me of what I mentioned above. It is inevitable. It is human nature to some degree, and the anonymity that social provides just enhances this. As Mike Tyson was quoted as saying not too long ago: “People have forgotten what its like to get punched in the face for something you say.” Ain’t it the truth, and I am guilty as charged. Here I am mouthing off to a guy that is a professional fighter. I would not risk losing teeth by saying these things to his face, so how can I justify saying them behind his back? I can’t. This won’t necessarily shield me from getting shade thrown at me, but at least I can say I am no longer part of the problem.
Moving forward, let’s agree to do a couple of things, any and all of which will make the world a better place:
1. Be nice to one another
2. Reduce your poison intake, in whatever form it exists in your life
3. Remember, if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it, tweet it, post it on Insta or anything else, either.
Anytime you are ingesting poison in any form, it is bad for you. Whether the poison is a vice like drinking or smoking, or other forms like social media or porn, too much of anything is bad for you. You need to take responsibility for your mental well-being and reduce your intake. Note I did not say eliminate, but reduce. Everything in moderation, even moderation…