We generally go by ‘The Spotlight Effect‘, we always think about what others think about and assume there is a greater chance of people noticing each and every thing we do and form an opinion about it. On the contrary, every one else has very less time to think about others and often think about themselves.
As observers we do notice a lot about things and give our opinions on it, but generally we lack the expertise and we are not the person in the arena facing the situation. Nevertheless our opinion as an observer gets voiced out, but most likely our opinions will change given our experience changes.
Change the tables around, the public has a lot of opinion on us. Some of us go way too much that we go about changing a lot about ourselves to make sure the public opinion about us is good, but the public opinion is fickle. People have a lot of other work to do and many at times they don’t even remember the opinion they had on us when we meet them.
Remember the story of the deaf frog who emerged victorious, learn to listen to yourself than spending energy on what others should think about you.
We are increasingly surrounded by things what we want to hear and see, which traps us into a small circle of our own echo chamber. Before internet targeting something for someone is quite hard, a person has to do a great deal of research to find something useful about a person. Now it is just a click away and we are giving it away in a few clicks.
We are in an era that our attention has been targeted like never before and with great precision. We are giving away a lot when we message someone, when we talk to someone, when we read news articles, when we like our friend’s photos, when we order food, when we buy something, when we watch a movie, when we use maps, when we use search engines; there is not a place where we can control what we can give unless we put in deliberate effort.
All this creates a profile of us and then feeds us what we have liked and used so far. I chose to listen to jazz music one day in an app, from that day onwards I keep getting jazz music prompts and I have to wrestle my way out to find something else. Music was obvious, news is not. If I had clicked on a type of news in Facebook then I would keep getting the same kind of it and subconsciously I will be primed to think that is the only thing happening around me. The same applies for anything I can think about, as a first step I unsubscribed to all the emails and thanks to GDPR it made my life even more easy to unsubscribe. I also uninstalled Facebook from my phone and use it as a way to find some old friends and get their contact through the browser.
The next steps I began to do was to go under the radar. It may be hard to go under the radar especially when we use social networks and messaging apps but we can control a lot of things what we do on the browser. I stumbled on a link that helps us to stay private in the era of mass surveillance, I started cutting down on ads & trackers; it is easy to do even if you are not a full time developer. Privacy is getting increasingly hard, if we don’t seek it we will get stuck in an echo chamber, listen and see only what we want to not what is happening around.
During my school days, I have noticed doctors prescribing glucose to patients with weak digestion due to a recent illness. I was curious and asked one of the elders about glucose and got to know that it readily provides energy, you need not to wait for it to digest like food. I got so impressed that I decided to have glucose instead of food. Bought a box of glucose from my pocket money and started having it instead of my regular meals. Just within a day I fell sick because of not having enough food.
I did not realise why I fell sick but the elders at home scolded me a lot and made me eat regular meals. A few years later I studied more about the digestion system and nutrition in my biology class. We do not need just energy like how cars need only fuel to run, we need a balance of minerals, nutrients, some complex compounds and energy food in terms of not only glucose but also complex carbs, fat, protein and also undigestible roughage.
Undigestible roughage? Why would someone eat something that cannot be digested, I came to know later that it is as necessary as any other nutrient you have because our systems are designed to process food moving through the digestive system and roughage is the train that passes through the system unbroken. We are not machines, we are an assembly of symbiotic cells.
On a parallel; for people who are deep into work and only work for a long while, we can see them taking a wild break sometimes not even returning back to the same intensity that they were involved earlier. Similar to our digestive systems, our mind also requires roughage; we can’t keep hammering on high intensity work for ever to achieve great heights. Our mind should get a sense of living through the days instead of working through the days. Roughage for the mind can be anything that is done in leisure but not on targets and deadlines. It can be reading, gardening, walking around, playing etc. Go ahead and go easy on those long days. Find the balance, have enough roughage.
All work and no play makes anyone a zombie.