A different kind of diet

When the history books look back on this particular moment in time one of the only names that will be remembered hundreds of years from now will be Barack Obama.  Being the first black American president cemented his place in the history books and was indicative of the progressive thinking of  our time.  His ascent to the most powerful role on the planet was an attractive thing to watch and like most of the world I was drawn into the American presidential race in 2008 when his message of hope caught the imagination of so many. 

At this time I became fascinated with American politics, I started keeping up to date with the ins and outs of their political game which became an habitual part of my life. By the time the 2012 elections started to get rolling I was well versed on the smaller details of the upcoming political event. In the Republican Primaries I had my own opinion on Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Rick Perry,  I saw the moment where Rick Perry made a massive gaff at the Republican debates which lead to Mitt Romney becoming the candidate for the presidential race. From there I followed the battle between Obama and Romney with vigour. One day I was having a conversation about the events of the American elections with someone in Christchurch and they asked me a question; Can you name any Christchurch City Councillors? I couldn’t name a single one.  

This question made me think about the information that I feed my mind. Each day I was probably spending 15-20mins keeping up to date with American politics, an area that has no real immediate influence on my own life and I realised that I was spending a lot of my day consuming content that was interesting but didn't necessarily enhance my life in any way, it was at this time when I decided to put myself on an information diet.

In setting up my information diet I kept a record of how I was spending my time consuming information but before I did this I thought about what would be the ideal outcome. Ideally, I would be spending around 30% on entertainment, 40% on education/development, 20% on social, and 10% on wasted/mindless content. 

I started keeping a rough record, I tried stick to my normal habits and at the end of one week I had a clearer picture of how my time was being spent. My real numbers looked something like this: 30% wasted/mindless content, 30% social, 30% entertainment, and 10% on educational/development. This was a bit of an eye opener for me, I felt dissatisfied that I wasn’t developing myself in certain areas where I wanted growth and this exercise highlighted to me that I needed to make changes to how I spent my time consuming certain content so that I was hitting the numbers I wanted.

We live in a time where there is information overload and accessibility is so easy, we can easily access and create habits that fill our minds with junk. We all know that’s it’s not healthy to eat junk food 100% of the time, the same goes for the information that we feed our mind. If you put yourself on an information diet what do you think you would discover? Does the information you consume lead you towards or away from where you want do develop yourself in your life? 

When we think about the information we consume it’s good to have a mix of entertainment, social, and mindless but we also want to make sure that there’s enough development/education in the mix. This type of information will develop your thinking skills, give you a better understanding of your world and challenge you to grow and I believe it’s also a more rewarding way to consume content as you often gain a sense of esteem when you are growing yourself. 

In a world where we can check the same websites repeatedly in a single day it’s good to stop and think about what we really get from these habits. Maybe you can challenge yourself and go on an information diet, learn where you are consuming too much junk or where you are consuming content that has a positive influence on your life.  You may figure out where you can include more content that moves you towards further growth, I know my information diet helped me make massive shifts which lead me to a place where I felt more satisfied in life, this has to be a good thing. 


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Bevan Eyles