Too Much Information

Like me, you probably find yourself scanning information regularly – on TV, Facebook, blog posts, websites, magazines, books, other social media, online courses, forums, heck, even instruction manuals.

It seems like a no-brainer in the Department of Good Ideas. We’re told that information is power. That investing in your education is gold. That it pays to be (and sound) informed. Isn’t that what credibility is?

But for some time now I have recognised that my ‘need’ for information is based on shonky assumptions that are leading me into a vitality void.

It’s like falling into a giant vat of M&Ms. Sounds intriguing at first. It promises much but ultimately fails to deliver, and when you finally come to your senses you realise you have been eating your way through an ocean of mind candy for nothing but a headache and an extra centimetre around your waist.

The time it took is gone forever. (And how do you get out of a vat of M&Ms?)

I mistook my mindless consumption of information for ‘research’. I was reading blogs who swiped information from other blogs and then restated their ‘facts’. Repeated often enough, drivel becomes ‘truth’.

The health and weight-loss industry is a poster-child for such misinformation, but I’m guessing that you know other industries where this is equally true.

One reason that people are so confused about how to eat more healthily is because they have too much conflicting information from too many questionable sources (hello certain fitness trainers, celebrity chefs, and movie stars). Yet the answer is head-slappingly simple.

Go to the authorities. The experts who base their advice on sound research.

In Australia, we have government websites that combine the best evidence-based ideas and serve them up plain and simple. One is

That said, here is almost everything you need to know about eating for health:

Eat a variety of mostly unprocessed and minimally processed nutritious foods, whose fats, carbs and proteins are in roughly the right ratios daily, and in sufficient quantities (for your needs). Vary it according to medical advice.

There’s little more you’ll need, but it’s there on one authoritative site. The universe of dietary information out there, if it is any good, just riffs on this simple message.

I think that our need for ever-more pointless information reflects three deeper issues that are worth reflecting on:

1. Could it be that we troll information sources more for info-tainment than for any real information needs? It costs time, energy and clarity. I’m already a bit short on all three these days.

2. Do we feel that we don’t yet have enough wisdom and skill already to do what matters? What if we put what we already know to good use? What if we learned more by consistently doing, rather than just passively absorbing?

3. Is ‘research’ merely a slightly-more-sophisticated excuse for  procrarinating on taking the actions that count?

I can honestly say yes to all three of the above. And so I am doing a feng shui of my life.

* I am not watching the morning news anymore. In fact I rarely watch TV at all. I stay informed via (good) weekend papers only. My mornings have never been more peaceful. And my daughter actually likes me before 8am now.

* I have unsubscribed from 90% of the blogs I used to read. No more bloated inbox. Happy days.

* I am being very fussy about what books I read. Book summaries and reviews help me decide whether I want to invest any more in their ideas.

* Social media? Only what I need to run a business. No more, please no more!

What about you? If you were to feng shui your life, what information could you let go of?

Let that beautiful breeze of chi waft through your mind as you do what matters, rather than just reading about it.

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