We can clutter our minds in the same way that we clutter our homes. And the result is very much the same. Feeling cramped for space, confusion around where things are, wasted energy and frustration. Luckily, decluttering your mind is much simpler than you might think.
Two things for decluttering your mind
There are quick wins just round the corner. Here are two easy ones I have found useful:
1) Avoid the news
2) Avoid those who talk a lot about the news
Not only do you reduce noise and boost the signal (i.e. information of value). You also release precious psychological energy that is now free to flow elsewhere.
Of course, we need some minimal attention on the news, especially during the pandemic. We have to be informed about what is going on in our communities. We must also be vigilant of the danger of click-following-click — being sucked into reading random article, after random article.
Signal from the noise
So, too much news consumed at a high frequency can drown the signal from the noise. And, there really is an extraordinary amount of noise! Consider the volume of ‘news’ produced every day. And, it is not even that these journalists, particularly in the mainstream media, really have a clue. Just think of those times that you have read an article about a topic you know well and how bad the article was. Now apply this to all other topics you read about!
Remember, journalists are required to produce fodder on a daily basis to grab your attention – they need to justify their salaries. They have to fill the pages with something. They get paid to come-up with nonsense (aka news). But, that doesn’t mean that you must waste your time reading it. (Note: I have nothing but admiration for those heroes, the rare breed of investigative journalists that take great risks to serve the public).
Avoid news regurgitators
The second easy win is to avoid people who talk a lot about the news — noise amplifying, news regurgitators. There is nothing more energy draining than someone who reads the front page and wants to have superficial discussions about” he said, she said, blah blah blah.” Even when you have successfully managed to reduce your news consumption, your precious mental energy may be wasted being dragged into pointless discussions led by the journalistic narrative of the day. And, have you noticed how journalists cluster around the same narrative? Such monoculture is something the empiricist Nassim Taleb has discussed.
If you have such people in your life, it is worth examining the fundamental quality of your relationship with them. What makes you put up with such news regurgitators? For, there is something deeply concerning about someone who obsessively discusses the news. They may be hypnotised by garbage (big red flag) or perhaps they are using the news as a kind of escapism. Whatever the cause of their behaviour, you need to pay attention to its impact on YOU. How much of your energy is it draining? Could this precious energy flow to something more worthwhile?
Decluttering your mind is simple but takes resolve
In a world full of noise, and people who spread the noise, decluttering your mind takes effort. At least, some of their sources are quite straightforward to remove.
What, then, are you waiting for?
Avoid the news and those news regurgitators— declutter your mind and enjoy some peace.
You deserve it. We all do.
Harsha is a 1:1 coach and independent thinker based in London. He empowers people to find more clarity, confidence and focus in their lives — to cut through the noise, in a world so full of it. Harsha’s new book, Machine Ego: Tragedy of the Modern Mind, is now available in paperback and Kindle through Amazon.