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Remember GIGO?

What you feed your mind influences it.

What you feed your mind influences it.

According to Wikipedia, Garbage in, garbage out (GIGO) in the field of computer science refers to the fact that computers, since they operate by logical processes, will unquestioningly process unintended, even nonsensical, input data (“garbage in”) and produce undesired, often nonsensical, output (“garbage out”).

My definition

I have co-opted GIGO to mean that, if you feed your mind garbage, then your mind will produce undesirable thoughts. Since the Law of Attraction dictates, “You get more of what you focus on,” then feeding your mind garbage results in a garbage-filled life.

Be Careful What You Feed Your Mind

If you want to know the biggest Influencer in your life, the answer would be, “Your mind.” Your mind is with you 24/7 and influences every aspect of how you experience life. When you sleep it influences your dreams.

Western society spends an unreasonable amount of time obsessing about what we eat. Is it too much or too little? Is it good for me or bad for me? One of the fastest ways to make a lot of money is to create a book or video or class that promises a beautiful body while you eat whatever you want.

Our minds don't know the difference between pretend and reality.

Our minds don’t know the difference between pretend and reality.

What we don’t pay nearly enough attention to is what we feed our minds. Oh, we have lots of opinions about what children should be feeding their minds. We know that small, impressionable minds shouldn’t be exposed to violent films or TV shows. We are horrified when parents of teens allow them to play violent video games.

All of the above falls under the category of what our parents said to us that we hated: do as I say, not as I do.

This Really Matters

I am in recovery from a major depression that lasted for 30 years. I can tell you without equivocation that what you feed your mind makes a huge difference in the quality of your life. Since your mind is your constant Influencer, it is imperative that you give it material that will help rather than hurt you. Paying attention to what I focused on was the beginning of my recovery from depression.

Your Mind Doesn’t Know the Difference Between Pretend & Reality

I will never forget the day this was driven home to me with a 2X4 (metaphorically, not literally—a 2X4 would hurt!). I was in a really foul mood. A foul mood is so much worse than a bad mood. It is—well—FOUL. Since I had begun to really pay attention to cause-and-effect in my life, I was confused. I couldn’t pinpoint any reason for feeling so dark. There was nothing going on at the time that would explain it.

And then it hit me! While on the elliptical trainer at the gym I had been listening to books on tape. At the time I was listening to a James Patterson novel. I can’t recall the title but I DO recall it had a lot of graphic violence. Since my brain (like yours) doesn’t know the difference between pretend and reality, at some level my mind thought it was happening to me. The foul mood was the reptilian part of my brain signaling me that I was in imminent danger.

Since that day I am careful about what “entertainment” I choose. Friends who don’t necessarily subscribe to my opinion on this but honor my choices will call and say, “Don’t go see this movie, you will hate it.” I walk out of movies that make me uncomfortable (and ask for a refund) and have been known to throw a book or two across the room when the ending was far from happy. There are authors I will never read again, even though (or maybe because) they are great writers.

Nutritious Food for the Mind

We live in a wonderful time when information is as close as our computers. There are numerous websites, videos, blogs, podcasts and online articles that can inspire and uplift. There are books, movies and TV shows that can do the same. The more we feed our minds a nutritious diet, the less stressed we will be and the more we attract what we want.

In the work we do (paid or not), why not focus on the positive aspects of what we’re doing? What if we celebrated each step of progress? What if we allowed ourselves to feel the thrill of a job well done? Imagine the quality of your life if your mind, your biggest influencer, was consistently applauding your efforts.

Question: Are you careful about the diet you are feeding your mind? Do you remember a time when you realized your mind was being negatively influenced? What prompted you to start paying attention to this? I am gathering these kinds of stories and would love to hear about your experience.

For private coaching, or information on having Silver work with your company on employee engagement, call 877-840-5416 or email: Info@SilverSpeaks.com

Passionate Self Care VI – Be Careful What You Feed Your Mind

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I am in recovery from 30 years of clinical depression.  Much of what I learned about keeping depression at bay is what I bring to my teaching whether the topic is Passionate Self-Care or Dancing With Change.

A few years back I learned something new that has helped me immeasurably in my quest to stay balanced.  It happened one day when I was in a foul mood. If you’ve ever been in this type of mood, you know it’s very different from a regular old bad mood—it’s like a bad mood on steroids—angry and ugly.  I couldn’t figure out what was causing it.  Nothing was going particularly wrong in my life. In fact, things were quite good.  And then it dawned on me.  For entertainment I had been listening to the latest James Patterson book on tape.

James Patterson is an incredible writer. He’s so good, in fact that all of the violent ugliness that took place in this book was all too real.  It felt as if I were a part of it and my brain reacted by releasing all the appropriate stress hormones that hit your system when you’re involved in or witness to violence.  I was in fight or flight mode and it was awful.

This was the day I realized that a good deal of my depression was self-inflicted.  The Law of Attraction says that you get more of what you focus on.  Choosing where to place your focus in essential to Passionate Self-Care.   We all know that, don’t we?  And yet most of us don’t practice it.  Take the news, for example. We think that following it keeps us well informed when in fact the news is simply someone else’s opinion about what happened.  It’s not “the truth” and it’s designed to whip us into an emotional frenzy. In fact, most of the news is none of our business.

We think violent movies, TV shows or games don’t hurt us but they do.  If they’re any good, they make you feel as if you are right there.  That’s great if you’re part of the dance sequence in Footloose but if you’re watching a movie where someone is being subjected to a horrific act it affects you mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. And once you get those images into your brain, they are there forever.  Ask anyone who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as I have and we will tell you—forever as in those images never go away. If that’s true, why not implant images that make you smile instead of grimace?

If you are truly serious about taking better care of yourself then being careful about what you feed your mind is a key component.  Watch movies and read books with happy endings or ones that are at least neutral.  Look for the good in others instead of the bad (including yourself).  Listen to happy music. If the paper’s lying around, read the comics or the Opinion Page but throw the front page into the garbage where it belongs.

When we do this are we denying the reality of how the world really is?  I say no.  What we are rejecting is the idea that life is mostly awful. We are saying to those who present it as such, “I’m no longer willing to listen to you.”  When I was in the midst of my worst depression my world was awful and most of it was self-created.  I watched maudlin movies, I read horrific books, I engaged in constant complaints disguised as intellectual discussions. My focus was on the travails of life and that’s precisely what I attracted.

Life is no different today but I am. Do I still have challenges? You bet I do. My life partner Bill has pancreatic cancer and it is terrifying.  What’s different is that I’m not making it worse by feeding my mind a load of self-pity or engaging in conversations about how unfair life is.  Do I talk about my fears to Bill and to dear friends?  Yes, I do.  But mostly I choose to focus on the incredible love we share and the fact that he’s here with me now.

The only real control any of us have has to do with what we feed our minds. Use this gift wisely and watch how wonderful life can be.

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