I’ve been the star of an iPhone video show for the past few years called “Stupid Shit Your Husband Does.” It is shot and produced by my wife, Adee.
There is a central theme to these videos and it has to do with my spaciness.
For instance, the time I was food prepping 20 chicken breasts on the BBQ pit.
I got some awesome rub from Salt and Time in Austin, and I seasoned them up. I heated up the grill and threw them on. While I waited I took a quick phone call.
45 minutes later I emerge from our meditation room and start telling Adee about the awesome conversation I just had.
As I’m doing that a smell enters my nose. I’ve smelled this thing many times before.
“What is that?” I ask myself.
Ahh something is burnt.
Then in .06 seconds I think, “OH SHIT! Did I do that!?!?!?!?! Did I leave 20 fucking chicken breasts in the BBQ pit on high heat for 45 minutes?”
And then, “Yes. Holy shit yes I did.”
I run out to the BBQ pit and discover a massacre of blackened chicken breasts that could now be used as blunt object weapons.
Stupid shit your husband does.
I’ve done this type of shit pretty often throughout my life. I would say it’s a bit of a family trait (I’m talking to you Dad). It’s something I’ve been working on for a while, and I think I’ve identified one of the key sources.
I think constantly being plugged in and consuming too much content contributes to me being distracted quite a bit which leads to these sorts of mistakes. Here’s one thing I’m doing about it.
Media Consumption: Red, Yellow, Green
I’m always trying to take even better care of my mental health.
A big part of being healthy seems to be adopting more of the habits of our hunter gatherer ancestors:
- Eating nutrient dense, whole foods
- Sleeping with the rhythm of the sun. (i.e. go to sleep around when it goes down and wake up when it rises)
- Spending plenty of time outside
- Moving a lot and working with our hands and bodies
- Spending lots of time in community
These are all things that there is a ton of consensus on regardless of diet or philosophy
It also seems like doing less of the things that can bring us comfort but can make us unhealthy in excess like:
- Eating processed foods
- Sitting all day
- Spending all day indoors
- Staying up late watching TV then waking up early to hustle and grind
- Overusing technologies like phones, TVs, video games, and computers
There is another area of health that I’ve been thinking about a lot the past several years.
It’s our consumption of content. Social media, books, articles, podcasts, YouTube videos, newsletters, online courses, audiobooks, TV, movies, documentaries, etc.
I think it’s time for our society to start creating media diets to answer questions like:
- How much content and media is optimal for us to consume?
- What types are better than others?
I’ve been tweaking my Media Diet for years, and there’s one thing I think I know for sure:
In creating this diet, I think a red, yellow, green model can be useful. Very much like the bulletproof diet roadmap.
As far as content is concerned Red is what I would consider to be the cigarettes.
The things that bring some brief sense of satisfaction and give you a dopamine hit but ultimately don’t enrich your life at all and actually are just a waste of precious time when consumed regularly.
Yellow are things that have some benefit, but should still be consumed in moderation.
These are the hardest because the benefit they do provide could distract you from the fact that they aren’t moving you in the direction of what’s most important to you RIGHT NOW.
Cal Newport introduced a concept related to this called “The Any Benefit Effect.” Talking about apps in particular, he says that we tend to assume that if an app (and I’ll say media as well) provides any benefit at all, then we should use it.
What we miss though is the downside. We don’t take into account how distracting these things can be, how parts of them make us feel, and the opportunity cost of not doing something else more valuable with that time.
Green are things that are truly nourishing and beneficial. These will probably shift depending on what your focus in life is and what you really need at the time. These are things that make you love yourself, others and your life even more. They are things that you can consume the most of.
Here is my personal media roadmap
- The vast majority of social media
- Fear mongering articles
- Mainstream news sources
- Reddit or YouTube rabbit holes that don’t align with a goal I have. Such as the time I started on the Shower Thoughts subreddit, then going to Funniest things on reddit, etc. and then I come up for air 2 hours later having had some laughs but wishing I had that time back.
- Reality TV shows
- A few highly valued social media accounts when consumed in moderation (I’ve never been able to have social media apps on my phone and moderate my usage much). So I haven’t had them on my phone for years. And I don’t follow anyone so my feeds are boring AF and keep me from “going down a rabbit hole.”
- Long form podcasts that go deep into a topic that I care about or something that teaches me something new
- Entertaining or educational TV shows, documentaries, YouTube videos, newsletters, books and audiobooks.
- Online courses
- Great music
- Books/audiobooks that have a profound impact on your trajectory at that time of your life (very hard to predict which ones these will be). For me books like A New Earth, Deep Work and Digital Minimalism, Daring Greatly to name a few.
Then there’s the Gold category.
Gold is a category that I don’t hear being talked about by many people outside of “woo woo” spiritual types.
This is a category that I believe is the most nourishing of all. It’s the superfood of the mind. It’s the thing we can consume an infinite amount of, and of which we have almost NONE of in today’s society.
The only thing in the Gold category is…
Pure, unadulterated silence.
I’ve spent years plugged in almost 24/7. When I’m not staring at a screen working, you’ll usually find me listening to a podcast or audiobook while I walk with my son or dog. Doing the same when I drive anywhere. Reading kindle books and articles before bed.
For a long time if I wasn’t working or hanging out with someone, I was ALWAYS consuming something. Albeit most in the yellow and occasionally in the green category, I was always consuming someone else’s thoughts or beliefs.
The only times I’ve gotten silence in my life has been meditation and solo nature trips.
This has been one factor leading to me feeling distracted and overly stressed out at times because I don’t give myself space to just be with my own mind.
One of the 3 main themes of the Soul Searching Adventures that I lead is helping people tap into their own Inner Teacher. Inner guru if you will.
In my belief, the place inside all of us that has the answer to our “problems.” The place inside of us that is always centered and always at rest. In order to do this we really have to be able to listen to ourselves. To our own intuition, which I think are like tiny whispers in our bodies. Subtle cues and sensations.
This is much harder when we are feeding ourselves a steady diet of other people’s thoughts and beliefs.
On the week leading up to the trip, this week, I invited the men to start to Tune In to themselves and to completely fast from consuming any outside content at all.
I’ve been joining them and here’s what I’m experiencing:
- For the first 24 hours I felt a sense of FOMO of information. Like if I’m not constantly learning something new then I’m falling behind in some vague way. I also felt boredom and agitation.
- Since then I have felt a sense of clarity, peace, and a “slowing down” of life in general
- I know from experience that in doing this I also open up the possibility for more insight, “aha moments,” and reconnecting with myself and what matters to me. It also leads to me being more present in everything I do and with every person I interact with.
I don’t think this gets much airtime at all for the same reason that topics like “get more sleep” and “drink more water” didn’t get any for so long. It’s harder to profit off of this advice.
It may be hard to imagine, but I think there’s even a Platinum Gold category, and that’s extended silent solitude.
Things like vision fasts, Vipassana retreats, and solo nature excursions. There is a reason that there are accounts of the leaders of all the world’s major religions doing this:
Moses on Mount Sinai, Jesus in the desert for forty days, Muhammad in a cave outside Mecca, Buddha under the bodhi tree.
Maybe not L. Ron Hubbard, but all of the legit ones.
Over time it becomes easier to hear our own inner voice, to receive revelations from some higher power, the “collective unconscious” or just a deeper place of intuition within ourselves.
Going through regular periods without consuming content and outside information is essential for our health. I also suspect that it could have helped me save the lives of those 20 innocent chicken breasts.
If you’re interested, join us by tuning into yourself and fasting from all content for the weekend. Or as a bonus for an entire week. Let me know how it goes.
Being the steward of your partners dreams
Years ago I heard this beautiful quote from executive coach Bryan Franklin in reference to his wife:
“My intention is to be the steward of her dreams”
This is my aim with Adee. I intend to do everything in my power to help her realize every dream she has in life. I am such a flawed human being and husband, but at my best this is my aim.
I believe we are living that out. The way we support and encourage each other as leaders at WAG. The way I support her in working less and spending more time with Shai and her friends. The way she encourages and makes it possible for me to lead my Soul Searching Adventures.
If I’ve learned one thing it’s that it’s best to start with giving the other what they need first without any expectation of anything in return.
How to find your mission
There’s definitely not a right answer to this, but here are a couple things that have been helpful for me in my journey of moving closer and closer to my mission in life:
- I read the Lion Tracker’s Guide to Life in which the author, Boyd Varty, says that finding your purpose in life is a lot like tracking a lion. You have no idea where the lion will be in 4 hours. All you can do is find the next first track. As soon as you take your mind off of the next track, you get lost.
He says, “I don’t know where I’m going, but I know exactly how to get there.”
This has been the single most important thing I’ve learned about this topic, and it’s been so damn relieving. What I think he means is that we don’t have to have some grand vision about our purpose on earth or the impact we’re here to create. We don’t have to know where we will end up. We just have to listen to our hearts and take the next step forward.
- I’ve also thought a lot about “when is the right time for me to find my purpose?” and “is it responsible for me to follow my heart if I don’t know it will make us enough money to live off of?”
I recently read a couple great things in Soulcraft that really put this in perspective:
- “Harley Swift Deer, a Native American teacher, says that each of us has a survival dance and a sacred dance, but the survival dance must come first.”
- “Once you have your survival dance established, you can wander, inwardly and outwardly, searching for clues to your sacred dance, the work you were born to do.”
A couple other awesome quotes I’ll leave you with:
“Our calling is where our deepest gladness and the world’s hunger meet.”
“What I must do merges with what I want to do; work and play become indistinguishable.”