Every year I decide on three words that I will focus on as my goals for the New Year. My three words for 2015 were charity, creativity and insight. This blog post is about my focus on insight.
Each day I spend about 10 – 14 hours on the internet. This means that this year I’ve easily spent around 2,100 hours staring at a screen of some sort. Without referring to research, this is not healthy for the mind.
It’s time to revaluate, and without being too personal in this blog post, change how I am living my life. Why? Because my current internet-based existence is far too woven into my professional and personal life – discovering they both have a distinction is important.
Passivity leads to a kind of intellectual apathy; leaving the mind lethargic as it swallows short form internet based content, most of which designed to influence or evoke response. A healthy body is akin to a nourished mind. Primary school teachers know this about their pupils, but it’s now something I’m discovering about my own life.
There is a time and place for social media, but it must be balanced with physical and mental fitness.
I recently came across the story called Death in Tehran:
A rich and mighty Persian once walked in his garden with one of his servants. The servant cried that he had just encountered Death, who had threatened him. He begged his master to give him his fastest horse so that he could make haste and flee to Teheran, which he could reach that same evening. The master consented and the servant galloped off on the horse. On returning to his house the master himself met Death, and questioned him, “Why did you terrify and threaten my servant?” “I did not threaten him; I only showed surprise in still finding him here when I planned to meet him tonight in Teheran,” said Death.
It’s possible to read many messages from this story but the one I take away is this; sometimes our actions, or lack of action, have absolutely no bearing on the outcome we desire. Even when a situation seems dire, we tend to automatically assume the worst, when actually the polar opposite may be true. To add credence to these words, some of you may recognise this story as told by Viktor Frankl in ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’, a psychologist who survived the holocaust (one tough guy).
In today’s society, which Frankl draws parallels up to the 90’s, our search for meaning is largely based on achieving success – when this is really an outcome from finding a meaning in life. When the servant escaped death, he instead secured his fate. You could say he should have stayed in the garden (following ‘his meaning’ rather than running for success).
I’m not a believer in hard determinism, our actions have outcomes. I know through better health and a balance of internet based activities, I’m discovering that meaning again. It will take time and it’s all positive – my mind and body already feels fresher.