A Short Pause for Reflection
Written by ANDREW EALES
“Be like the explorers of old. What they acquired for themselves will always surpass those who merely read about their exploits.”
Deng Ming-Dao: 365 Tao Daily Meditations (199)
Do you often get to the end of a day feeling exhausted from sheer information overload?
It’s a contemporary phenomenon which seems to be part-and-parcel with the internet age. We feel this way whenever we receive more information than we can realistically process, internalise, or act upon.
We are bombarded daily with information that ranges from the useless )such as Instagram pictures of what a friend eat for breakfast) to the academic (sometimes interesting, but often offering little possibility for application).
And then there’s the depressing 24/7 news cycle, that too often leaves us feeling anxious and bewildered rather than informed.
When the quest for an encyclopaedic knowledge, cutting-edge insight, and a full understanding (however noble these are) leaves us feeling worn out, it’s time to step back, take a break, and learn to be kinder to ourselves.
Simply put, it takes time for us to properly process all this information and actually do something with it. When we amass a vast wealth of knowledge but put too little of it to use, we are left with a sense of underachievement. We don’t cope well, becoming easily distracted, frustrated, and we can feel overwhelmed.
Knowledge ultimately has to be lived, put into practice.
The trick, it seems to me, is to focus on processing the most useful information:
- information about people, subjects and music we care about;
- information we can put to practical use;
- information gleaned from our senses and experiences;
- information which feeds or arises from reflection.
Instead of leading to fatigue, such information can open doorways, bring joy, excitement and a sense of playful adventure. And often, as we take care to be more balanced in our consumption, we will find that the information we actually need is more manageable than we previously thought…
In the picture of the overloaded bookshelf above, there’s actually only 14 different books – count them! Not so scary after all!
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