Read time: 4 minutes
Hey Mindset Mavericks!
This week I’ll share my personal, practical method for a much quieter mind, without having to become a zen master.
Ever since my business mentor taught me this, it has worked wonders for me. It can do the same for you.
Imagine how your day-to-day would be better if you:
- have better focus in the moment
- have more mental energy to devote to stuff you value most
- were less reactive and more responsive in difficult situations
- have less stress and anxiety
It is all about training yourself to stop forming opinions on everything.
Opinions are the sparks that ignite our emotions
We tend to judge all the stuff that enters our brains via our senses. Thats the way we make sense of the world around us.
That was essential for our ancestors to determine if that lion in the distance was about to eat them. But that same mechanism is not always helpful in today’s world.
We expose ourselves to an onslaught of news, opinions, marketing, peer pressure, you name it.
And we take it all in, judge it, and form an opinion on it.
Once you have an opinion, you start to feel a certain way about it. Due to the polarising nature of so much of the noise around us, that feeling is rarely very positive.
That wastes energy and makes us less compassionate to ourselves and those around us.
So, I urge you to give this one a try. You owe it to yourself!
Step 1: Reduce your exposure to triggers
Prevention is better than cure. Both social media and the continuous news cycle, are always trying to get our attention. There is ample opportunity for us to get caught up in polarising topics that are not helpful to what we are doing.
Keep in mind, that those channels all work hard to find ways to grab people’s attention. Reducing your exposure to those triggers, is a big step to reducing the number of opinions in your noggin.
When watching news or social media, do so consciously. Before you dive in, tell yourself that you are only consuming this. No need to have an opinion on everything coming your way.
Step 2: Have a totem (a what?)
Remember the movie “Inception”? In it, Leonardo DiCaprio plays Dom Cobb, who enters people’s dreams to steal knowledge, or “incept” an idea. Since Dom spends so much time in dream worlds, it is hard for him to tell the difference between a dream world and the real world. He uses a spinning top as a totem to tell him what world he is in. If the top spins forever, he is in a dream world. If it eventually stops spinning, he is in the real world.
The totem, the spinning top, grounds him. Your totem helps to ground you.
When you are triggered to create an opinion, it is similar to going on a tiny (day)dream. Catching yourself doing that may be a challenge. So, having a physical object with you helps to catch yourself.
I have 3D-printed a totem that sits on my desk, underneath my monitor. Always in view. I have “attached” the totem status to it, so that I can catch myself when I loose focus, start forming opinions on social media, etc.
Step 3: Catch yourself forming an opinion, and let it go
If all went well, you now have reduced your exposure to opinion-forming triggers. And you found or created a totem to help you catch yourself.
Now it is time to ask yourself this one simple question:
“Does this help me in any way? Does this matter at all?”
If not, let it go.
As with any skill, getting good at this takes practice. But it is very possible to learn how to reduce the number of opinions your brain comes up with.
Realize that those opinions are often the starting point for distractions. I hope that is a strong motivator to dedicate some time and effort to learning this.
Doing so creates a distance between the trigger and your response. And in turn, you will be more focussed and less likely to get distracted. Don’t expect to be perfect in this, ever.
But, do see the benefits in your day to day life. See yourself getting more done, and becoming less extracted. See a more confident you that spends more time on the stuff that matters to you.
That’s it for this week, thank you for reading!
Hope you found it useful! If you did, please:
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Discretion guaranteed of course 😀