Control Your Inputs
In a time where attention is a top commodity, it’s imperative to invest yours wisely, to control your inputs and guard the gates of your mind. Doing so will not only help you improve your thoughts and emotions, but it will also ensure that your outputs are of high quality. It will help you bridge the gap between you and your desires, while also allowing you to become the person you aspire to be.
The reason for this is that your inputs govern your outputs which ultimately becomes a feedback loop that either serves or hinders you. This loop is a self-fulfilling cycle where you have thoughts and take actions from your current level of awareness. Both of which influence, and are influenced by the inputs that you allow into your mind, which also governs your thoughts and actions — all of which continues to feed into one another over and over again.
What consumes your mind, controls your life. — Unknown.
When it comes to instances where one wants to improve themselves and their life experience, it’s imperative that we break this cycle with actions, thoughts and inputs that support the version of you that you want to embody. To do this, we must be intentional with what inputs we take in, and actively look to focus on things that serve us, and the person we wish to be.
Essentially, we must reclaim control over that which we allow into our awareness, instead of allowing distractions and externalities to govern both our emotions and perceptions. We must be purposeful with where we invest our attention, and mindful about reducing that which provides a negative return while doubling down on that which provides a net positive.
Throughout my own efforts in doing this, I have found that controlling one's inputs is far easier than one might initially think. Considering that I am a person who likes to keep things simple, I've come to find that the most efficient way to control my inputs, in essence, is to starve my distractions.
To do this, I've employed a variety of tactics and lifestyle changes, things such as —
— Not watching the news
— Being purposeful with who I follow on social media
— Allocating specific times of day for social media usage
— Turning off device notifications, and utilising aeroplane mode
— Following a routine that promotes distraction-free work
— Allocating time for daily meditation and self-reflection
Now, upon initial inspection, you might find these to be somewhat simplistic. Yet, it is the simplicity of these tactics that make them both sustainable and effective. They are all easy for me to do, with little downside, maximum upside and all have remarkably positive compounding effects. What's more, is that each of these tactics allows me to live a happier, healthier and more productive life.
How this is effective, I believe, is because the majority of these tactics focus on reducing external distractions, which is abundant in today's world. However, the irony is that by not paying attention to reality, my reality has improved because instead of facing reality, I am instead creating my own version. Furthermore, by controlling my inputs and prioritising distraction-free work I also allow myself a clear connection to my own focused thoughts. This is especially true, first thing in the morning when my phone is on aeroplane mode and I'm able to get my highest quality thoughts out of my head and onto paper.
However, what I’ve also come to realise, is that none of these would be as effective without my daily practice of meditation and self-reflection. Both of which are imperative when looking to control your inputs, not only because of the direct effects of experiencing not-thinking or the lessons one learns through self-reflection — but also because of the fact that both of these helps you be more aware and better able to process contrast when it pops up into your awareness.
So, instead of allowing distractions and externalities to determine and govern your reality and emotions, I urge you to reclaim control over your inputs. To be purposeful with where you direct your attention, and to be mindful about reducing the distractions that are actively manipulating you and your emotions.
In doing this, also remember to take the extra step of focusing on and seeking out that which brings you joy and helps you expand and grow as a person. Things such as engaging with growth-focused individuals, reading high-quality books, watching useful content and having conversations that help you grow and evolve.
At the end of the day, your inputs govern your outputs so it's imperative to be intentional with the inputs you take in.
Now, I'd like to hear from you! Do you control your inputs? If yes, how do you do so? Let me know in the comments below.