Since I was a kid I’ve always been interested in solving random mysteries of the world. I collected a ton books on the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot and aliens and spent most of time reading non-fiction. I even tried to solve the murders of Tupac & Biggie, pouring over hip-hop magazines and watching tv about the cases. To this day I still find myself fixated on things of this nature. Though the subjects are more based in real world applications, they’re still not always good for productivity, albeit very interesting.
It hit me the other day that it serves my life no purpose to invest time into learning these types of things. The time I spent learning about anyone of those things could’ve went towards learning a new skill that would’ve added much more value to my life in the long run. I thought about how consuming things that don’t DIRECTLY add the most value to my life is no better than a person that sits and reads celebrity gossip all day or watches 5 hours of tv a night.
The most insidious part of me consuming so much bullshit information is that for awhile I actually believed that I was ALWAYS reading valuable information. Because of how I viewed myself, I was biased in that I thought most of what I consumed was beneficial to myself. Luckily I was able to become aware of this cognitive bias and realize that some structure had to be implemented to discipline my learning. It helps to be critical of yourself for self awareness and growth to occur more frequently.
I’ve created a simple framework for observing ones own activities with a critical eye. By holding your habits up to this framework you should be able to make the correct assessment for where you are best allocating your time.
- Does it physically make me healthier?
- Does it get me closer to the things I want to accomplish in life?
- Does it help me add value to the people around me and to the rest of the world in general?