I was listening to a Tony Robbins Power Talk the other day about guarding your mind. In it, he mentioned a simple formula: (I) X (F) = Personal Reality. I is information and F is focus. In other words, your personal reality is based on the information you focus on. I think the simplest thing to remember is just like you are what you eat, you are the information you feed on.
Information Shapes Your Experience
You get to choose what channels you watch, what stations you listen to, what Web pages you browse, what people you listen to, what friends you hang out with, what books you read, and what feeds you subscribe to. It’s easy to get locked into hype or react to buzz. It’s easy to have how you feel, shaped by the media. Tony points out that media, such as newspapers can be a problem, for a couple of reasons. For one thing, pain sells more than pleasure. If you pass a newspaper and it looks like blue skies ahead, you walk on by. If you see that there is a big storming coming, you’re going to stop and read it. The other issue is that media has to simplify and generalize for the masses. I’ve started to pay a lot more attention to the sources I draw from and what I fill my mind with. I used to passively take in information from all sorts of sources. Now I more proactively tune into smart people, smart books, and other smart sources of insight. Some are timeless, others are timely, and I measure the information using a simple ART test (is the information accurate, relevant, and timely?)
Focus Changes Everything
Two people can have the information, but focus on different things. For example, in an economic downturn, one person might focus on loss, while the other might focus on ask the opportunity. You can tell the focus by the questions they might be asking. While one person asks “why me?”, the other person might be asking, “how can I thrive?” … or “what are my best plays for this scenario?” I periodically check the questions I’m asking myself to make sure that 1) I’m focusing on the positive 2) I’m focusing on the future and 3) I’m focusing on things that give me energy. Sure it’s fun to moan, groan, gripe, and whine, but a key to sustainable results and thriving versus surviving is focusing on the right things.
One of my favorite questions to ask people is what information sources they regularly draw from. For example, I like Ted Talks, Charlie Rose, and Dilbert. So then, what are your favorite information sources?
Photo by basheem.