Your inputs determine your outputs. If your input is bad, your output will be bad. If your input is good, your output will also be good. Therefore, never let anything bad come into your mind. Allow only the best resources to take your “time share” and especially your “mind share”.
But how do you do that? With the abundance of information around you how can you make sure that only the best resources get into your mind? Well, this is also my question and here are some things I’ve found to be effective:
- Turn off the TV
For years I’ve watched TV only occasionally. My estimation is in one whole week, the cumulative time I use to watch TV is no more than two hours (often much less actually). I remember that years ago I could spend three hours or more a day watching TV. Well, that no longer happens. Of course, there are a lot of good programs on the TV. But, with some exceptions, I doubt that those are the best inputs I can give to my mind in those particular periods of time. In almost every case, I can get something better to feed my mind with.
- Evaluate before you read, listen or watch
Reading, listening and watching needs a commitment of time. Therefore, you should always be sure that those books/audios/videos are the best way for you to spend your time with. Evaluate first to ensure it. This is especially true for something that takes long time commitment such as reading books. What happens if you already spend days or even weeks reading a book only to find at the end that it is actually not worth your time? The longer the time commitment needed, the more thorough the evaluation should be.
- Avoid impulse usage of time
Impulse buying is the term used for spontaneous purchase which is not originally intended, but is eventually done because of the stimuli from the environment. Impulse usage of time is similar. You plan to spend your time on doing A, but somehow you get distracted and do B instead, which is not in your plan.
For me, it is especially true in browsing. Initially I have a clear purpose in browsing, but somehow in the middle I get interested to something else. Before I realize it, I already waste too much time there and my initial purpose is not fulfilled. Such impulse usage of time almost always feeds our mind with something less than the best because we do it before evaluating the options.
By reminding ourselves not to do impulse usage of time, we keep our “time share” and “mind share” from being spent on something worthless.
- Get the best suggestions
There are places that can help you get the best resources for your mind. For books, check the best-seller list in Amazon or New York Times. Naturally, best-seller list is a good place to find the best books. Besides the overall best-seller list, I recommend you to also check the best-seller list for specific categories that interest you.
Additionally, Amazon can give you personalized recommendations. If you have an account in Amazon, it will give you personalized recommendations based on your preferences. I often find good new titles from those recommendations.
For articles/audios/videos, social bookmarking sites can give you the best suggestions of what the best resources are. Look at del.icio.us popular page, Digg front page, or StumbleUpon buzz. The items you see there have been filtered by thousands of other Internet users, so chance is you get the best resources to spend your time with.
- Explore new things
Maybe you think that you already feed your mind with the best inputs. But I am sure that there is always something new out there you haven’t yet discovered. So keep exploring. Visit new web sites, go to new places, subscribe to new podcasts, read books in fields you are not familiar with. Expand your paradigm and perspectives. See things in different ways. I believe that there is no end in finding the best resources for our mind.
Do you have other suggestions on how to give the best inputs to our mind? I’d love to hear from you.