You are what you...

“You are the books you read, the films you watch, the music you listen to, the people you meet, the dreams you have, the conversations you engage in.  You are what you take from these. You are the sound of the ocean, the breath of fresh air, the brightest light and the darkest corner. You are a collective of every experience you have had in your life.  You are every single day. So drown yourself in a sea of knowledge and existence. Let the words run through your veins and let the colours fill your mind.” -Jac Vanek

This is the mindset version of “you are what you eat”. We are what we consume. In this modern world of ours, it’s very easy to absorb content unintentionally at all hours of the day. Ads in between Youtube videos, actual youtube videos, posts friends share on Facebook, billboards, music on the radio, and so on ( you get the idea). How much of all that do you actually intentionally seek out because you want to consume it?

We are bombarded with all these inputs that we have become so used to it all. I think that’s why it’s fairly easy to fall into a lifestyle or habit without even thinking about it. The best way to put it is, someone else decided for you, and you let them.

Game of Thrones

For example, your friends are huge Game of Thrones fans. They are always talking about it and coming up with plot theories. Not only that, but all your friends and pages you follow are sharing Game of Thrones content too! You feel left out and start watching Game of Thrones to see what all the excitement is about. Maybe you don’t really like it, but your friends keep telling you it gets way better in season 2, so you keep watching. Next thing you know you’re talking about the show just as much as your friends are and spend the next few months binge watching to catch up before the new season. How much time did you just lose because of a TV show?

The reason you started watching Game of Thrones wasn’t because it really interested you, but because it was all around you. You were absorbing GOT content whether you decided to our not. So, you jumped on the bandwagon! Who’s ever done this? Oh, just me? Got it...Ha ha


Decision Making

We make a lot of unconscious decisions everyday that turn into habits. We have the same thing for breakfast every morning, we drive the same way to work everyday, we go to the same grocery store, or we load the dishwasher the same every time. Now, that list of unconscious decisions have grown exponentially with our level of content input. Most of which shouldn’t be unconscious decisions.

We need to be paying close attention to what we allow into our minds. For me, I have to be careful not to listen to rap very often. Not like that’s a problem because I’m not a huge fan anyways, but I get really angry when I listen to rap! Even if I’m listening to Christian rap. It’s the weirdest thing! But if you think about it, most rap songs are very angry in context and are very fast paced music. So, I made a decision that I would no longer listen to rap.

Your mindset is so heavily influenced by outside sources. We have to guard our minds against all the negative input. We are told by magazines they we need to lose weight, but on the next page we are told to treat ourselves and should bake this cupcake recipe! Almost none of the content our minds take in actually fits together. They all contradict each other.


Influence

We have to learn to pick and choose what we allow to influence our mindset. We have to be intentional with what you watch, read, listen to, and see. I challenged myself recently to not watch any TV for a week. That included Netflix, Hulu, movies, and all. I put my remotes away in a drawer on Monday and didn’t take them out until the following Monday. You know how much I missed it? Not at all. I barely even thought about it! The only times I was tempted was when I decided I was bored and had nothing to do.

So, I had to learn to not allow myself to feel bored and keep myself occupied with other things. I read more, I went on more walks, and I spent more time with friends. I felt like I actually had time to think. No easy distraction to just turn on and make my mind go numb. I now watch way less TV than I used to. Amazing what a little intentionality can do!

It was amazing how my thoughts and mindset changed so drastically in that week. I no longer was looking for ways to fill my time, but instead looking for time to do the things I love. I actually sat down to sketch and doodle, which I hadn’t done in a long time! I felt more fulfilled and joyful.

The shows I was watching wasn’t adding any value into my life. It was only taking up useful time I could have been doing something else with.

When I was younger, my parents were fairly strict on what my brother and I were allowed to watch, but in a very different way than most of our friends. Most of the time, our friends weren’t allowed to watch shows that had witches or magic, but they were allowed to watch Spongebob and the Rugrats. Us however, we were allowed to watch fantasy shows and movies, but weren’t allowed to watch Spongebob and Rugrats.

When I got older, I asked my mom why that was. She told me that she wasn’t worried about the fantasy movies or shows because it was very well established that it wasn’t real. It was all based on imagination. But, the shows we weren’t allowed to watch glorified stupid behavior and disrespect towards parents and adults. She didn’t want us watching shows where the dads were portrayed as idiots or the kids had terrible behavior and were rewarded for it. With that being said, pretty much every Nickelodeon show was off limits!

The reasoning behind this decision made total sense! Why would you let your kids watch a show where the kids are little terrors who disrespect the parents all the time if you don’t want your kids to do the same? Same concept goes for us now as adults. Ever heard the phrase, “you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”? Same concept goes for all types of influence.

Challenge

So, I have a challenge for you! What’s one thing that you could do to drastically change your mindset? What’s one bad habit that you formed out of not being intentional? I challenge you to cut whatever it is out of your life for one week!

An idea for you: How many times do you pick up your phone in a day? iPhones now track that for you if you want to know! Maybe you need to set a screen time limit on your phone for a week. Maybe you need to delete Instagram or Snapchat for a week and have some real face to face time with friends. Or maybe you need to stop getting Starbucks on the way to work every morning and just make coffee at home. You choose what you need to do.

I’d love to hear how it all goes! Tag me on Instagram with your results!