I do this thing in the morning.
Pick up my phone.
Check my messages.
Check my email.
Check the weather.
Check pinterest (if boyfriend is in the shower and I have time).
And based on all these things I (subconsciously) decide if I’m going to have a good day.
If I get a lot of likes on a photo or if it’s going to be nice outside – all these notifications tell my brain lovely things and therefore I’m in a jolly ol’ mood.
But if I read Skimm or see a ranty post on social media, I’m done. The world is going to hell and I might as well sleep in.
All these seemingly benign external sources are shaping my perception of the world.
I love the idea that you are the average of the top 5 people you surround yourself with. The same theory applies to everything we encounter throughout our days.
Since watching this talk from one of my favorite authors, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this. At 23:00 Austin Kleon brings up the concept of outer demons.
These outer demons show up in front of our screens.
They show up as advertisements, news stories, social media algorithms, notifications, TV shows, and movies.
They’ve got an agenda.
They are selling us their vision of the world. And that vision may or may not be the one we want to live with.
And if we stop paying attention, we’re kind of stuck with what they’re selling us.
If we don’t take back some of that time for ourselves, we won’t know how to create our own vision – what we want our world to look like.
Especially if our day gig requires us to sit in front of a screen all day – we’re stuck. We’re too tempted to check our email, social media accounts or favorite news site.
You do this at work. Don’t lie. I won’t tell your boss.
It’s a reason I love practicing yoga. And cooking. And hiking. And travel to other countries. They all force me to put my screens down.
I can’t google.
I can’t check my likes.
I can’t watch Friends for the 100th time.
I have to talk to people to figure out where I’m going.
I’m focused on the thing I’m doing and that’s it.
These things create the space for me to see a world that gives me joy and pleasure.
I meet people I normally wouldn’t meet because I’m not checking my phone. I discover things about how my body moves because I’m present and aware on my yoga mat. I experience wonder when I’m served Bún bò Huế because I don’t have internet service to google what it is.
Individually these experiences don’t mean much. But in absence of any of them, it’s easier for that fear and the agendas of others to take over our brains.
This isn’t an email where I suggest you put your phone down while you eat dinner or shut it off for 3 hours every night.
But find the thing that’s going to help you shape your version of the world – without the outer demon’s influence.
Meet a friend for coffee.
Take your dog for a walk.
Pick up a real camera.
Introduce yourself to someone in a workout class.
Read a novel.
Tell me about it.