Sunday, October 19, 2008

Benefits of a Low Information Diet

One habit I am working at changing is the time I spend browsing the internet. Often I get distracted by information, chasing a never ending quest to learn. The problem is it isn't productive. I get caught up in learning without a purpose. Even at school I would rather study what interested me in the moment, rather then what would help me pass tests. It is time wasting and a symptom of unfocused thinking.
To help overcome the distractions of the internet I started writing. Keeping a blog is a tool to help focus my thinking and the information I seek out. Here are some notes I took while reading The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss.
Information consumes attention, creating poverty of time.
Reading after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. -Albert Einstein
Problems, as a rule, solve themselves or disappear if you remove yourself as an information bottle neck and empower others. -The 4-Hour Work Week, Tim Ferris
My ultimate goal is to maintain a low information diet and avoid information excess. A successful lifestyle design increases output and makes you productive.

Most information is time consuming, negative, irrelevant to your goals, and outside your influence. -The 4-Hour Work Week, Tim Ferris
Is random information distracting you from focused thought?

Chris Anderseen had a qoute on his blog The Long Tale by Nassim Taleb, whose project is designing a lifestyle on how to live and act in a world we do not understand, and how to come to grips with randomness and the unknown. Nassim Taleb has this to say about information,
"Put wax in your ears. People are more afraid of flying than driving because the press does not report car accidents. I never watch the news. Only listen to news you get in a social setting, the things people talk about. Our brains cannot deal with the overload of information. Having a lot of data is not good for anyone trying to make a decision." -Nassim Taleb

Tips for a Low Information Diet
Read accounts that are:
  • how I did it i.e autobiographical
  • not speculative
  • be discerning

photo by Griszka Niewiadomski