My name is Anthony Middleton and I am an info-whoreolic.
It’s been only a few minutes since my last pointless information binge, and this is a desperate cry for help.
A couple of days ago I found myself unconsciously Googling; ‘nutritional guidelines for pregnant women.’ That would be perfectly fine and helpful if I was a pregnant woman, or if I had recently put a bun in a lady’s oven – but none of that (as far as I’m aware) is the case.
I’m just your average trailer trash information whore.
I love to know things. I feel like I need to know things. Before the birth of the internet, I would read up on a vast amount of subjects – most of them that had no positive influence on my life whatsoever. I was always the kid who asked; “but why” (which went down LOVELY in my secondary Catholic school) and I’ve consistently been somewhat of a skeptic for most of my life.
I’m as sure as the sky is blue, that I’m not alone in my recent obsession, which is; American Politics. Hell, I could hold down a conversation about USA politics profoundly easier than I could about my own country’s. I remember it like it was only yesterday when my mate (who is two years older than me) came around my house at midnight, not to see me – but to watch the 2000 US presidential election with my Stepdad, which finished around 5am.
I thought to myself; “what a loser” and took my cup of tea and Basic Instinct VHS to bed like any other normal British teenager would.
But soon after, something changed. I opened myself up to what all of the fuss was about and politics from over the water had me by the balls with a vice-like grip. Just like Monica Lewinsky and an inviting Cuban cigar from an unnamed silver tongue devil – there was no way back from that provocative moment.
Their matters of state always seemed so…much more dramatic than ours, and most people, whether they choose to believe it or not – are attracted to the delicious seductions of drama.
It’s the serpent in the tree that you know deep down is bad for you. You tell yourself, it’s ok – other people are eating the apple so it doesn’t really affect you – and that’s exactly what the serpent wants you to think.
American politics gets a special mention here because it’s one of the many things that I feel that I’m wasting my precious time on, but to be honest – it’s only a little wee-wee (that’s a pee-pee for my American readers) in a very big ocean.
For I am an info-slut. I just can’t stop info’ing. Some days I plan to work, but in a blink of an eye, I find my day lost in an orgy of PubMed articles (peer-reviewed though, bro) and I think that I may have possibly read the Vitamin A Wikipedia page at least 20 times.
I’ve spent the last two years consciously learning about nutrition, which I would argue is a good thing to spend time on – but even that has spiralled of control. Knowing where to get foods that offer optimal health for your vessel is a good thing, but when you feel anxious straight after busting a nut because you don’t have enough pumpkin seeds in the fridge to replenish the zinc that you’ve lost to a sexy vixen, whilst taking her to funky town – you have to admit that you have some issues.
Is Ignorance Really Bliss?
I have friends and family who proudly brag about their ignorance to current world affairs. Admittedly, I always looked upon these individuals with disdain and pity – how could you not want to know what’s going on in the world?
However, since quiet reflection over the last few weeks after seeing my stress levels rise, productivity relapse, and happiness levels slump – I’ve started to wonder if they were actually onto something! Are those who volunteer to be uninformed happier deep down? Or is it simply a case of; ‘everything in moderation?’
Back to the nutrition thing, and the golden question – if I care so much about what I am putting in my body – why do I willingly put so much impotent shit into my brain? Surely the brain is similar to the stomach, with regards to the fact that there can only be so much value (or lack thereof) consumed in one day?
If I have made the decision to respect my body so much, why have I not given synonymous consideration for my poor little overworked brain?
Too Much (Of The Wrong) Info Has Made My Life Regress
I try my best to hold myself accountable for my life, my actions and my outcomes and this is a perfect time to call myself out publicly and tell myself that I’ve been completely full of shit as of late. When I left Colombia, my Spanish was a 6.5/10 – it’s now a fake 5 on a good day.
I tell people that oh, it’s because I work a lot in English so I have not been able to use it enough. But the truth is that I could have spent many hours brushing up on my español, but I have chosen to fill in that time reading material that doesn’t help me and my personal goals.
I also follow a lot of social media pages/channels for ethical insight, but the reality is I know myself and what I stand for and I don’t need to read the same abhorrent thing over and over again until I become desensitised to the very nature of what I’m against – I’ve already made the right choices regarding these subjects and I feel at this point any more is overkill, or that I’m just stroking my delicate ego.
Info-Whoring Knocks Your Focus
The start of last year was really crappy for me, but I turned it around and decided to make lemonade out of my lemons. I started making some serious money again, I redefined my goals, gained hyper focus on my path and salvaged my lost identity during my previous dejection – within months I was on the right track and nothing was going to stop me.
But my promiscuous nature for information got the better of my intellectual loins, and I fell back into the shifty arms of false enlightenment for one last fling – which lasted several months.
I have taken on a mammoth secret project since basing myself in Mexico, which has been harder than any ventures that I have ever taken on. It’s costing me money (and weekends) yet I have faith in it and I think it has legs.
Ever since I left home on a one-way ticket to Malaysia 5 years ago, my main priority has always been financial freedom. However, I will not achieve this if I am wasting my time with data that is not aligned with my current goals/products. Also, my blog (this one) has suffered and went well and truly off the radar because of my overindulgence of unhelpful info.
I truly love writing and it’s a passion of mine, it’s good for me as it’s cathartic and it helps drown out the noise in my head and centre me, which enables me to see where my headspace is at. Also, public accountability has been good to me since day one, sooooo….
Rules For The Challenge
Without rules, we are beasts! Ok, maybe not beasts, but I find that if I don’t set myself strict rules in times of such awakenings – I lose track of my own bull’s eye. So for the next three months at least (then I’ll report back to base with my findings) this is what is going down:
. I will unsubscribe/unfollow all Youtube and Facebook channels/pages that are unrelated to my new project/current blog
(Travel, personal growth, nutrition, exercise, and anything related to “Project X” are safe – anything else is getting broken up with).
. I won’t buy any more unrelated books, but I’ll finish this one
(Ironically, I wanted to buy the book; “The Information Diet,” but I never got around to it because of all the information that I was consuming 😛 I’m currently reading; “Infidel,” by one of my matriarchal heroes, Ayaan Hirsi Ali. It’s one of the most captivating, raw books that I’ve read in a long time and I won’t forgive myself if I don’t finish it. I only have a few chapters left).
. I will only allow myself a maximum of 5 nutrition articles per week
Nutrition is on the special list of not being completely naughty, but not being completely good either. Online nutrition is a psychological minefield and almost every industry has a vested interest by preaching their bias. I’ll make sure I choose wisely with my 5 articles per week.
. No Politics
Politics is the sexy mistress who always seduces me back for one more shot of hanky-panky. I have to treat her like heroine for these three months and go full on cold turkey. If my friends talk to me about political stuff (which they undoubtedly will) I will politely listen to their opinion and try not to get emotionally involved/committed and then cascade into an online marathon later on. If I do the latter – I will have failed.
I was just a better person when I meditated consistently a few years ago. I don’t know why I ever stopped – I need to get back into that magic. For those who are suspicious of it – I was too! Trust me, it’s a game changer.
. Throw Myself Into My New Project And Blog
I will fully immerse myself with information about ‘Project X,’ and anything related to getting this blog back up and running. I will only subscribe to podcasts that help me with these goals and I will unsubscribe from those that do not.
There you go, a bit longer than I wanted it to be, but I feel that I’m not the only one who will benefit from a selective information diet in this breakneck speed information age that we have evolved to live in. I think it’s amazing and I don’t understand how anyone can be bored in this day and age – but you can definitely take in too much of the wrong information, just like you can eat too much delicious junk food.
Come and join me on your own selective information diet and see how you get on – ask yourself and answer honestly – does the majority of your daily information align with your life goals, make your productivity and happiness levels flourish, or does it just make you feel miserable and futile?