I wasn’t doing too well yesterday morning. Nearly three hours after I’d woken up I’d accomplished nothing. I’d spent the first three hours of my day browsing the internet in the most unfocused way possible.
I’d see an interesting video then open up another tab, then I’d see a cool picture and open up another tab. Mind you, this wasn’t even “research” I was just bored and seeking stimulation. Three hours later, I’d finally snapped out of the low level trance I was in and felt disgusted by how I’d spent my morning.
It wasn’t the first time I’d gotten lost in the endless stimulation of the internet, but I’d made the decision that it was going to be the last. I disabled my computer’s internet, had my father put a passcode restriction on my iPod’s internet, and committed to doing work.
The result? In the remaining 11 hours of my day I’d written three blog posts, cleaned my entire closet, meditated, put in a two hour practice for juggling, eaten several meals, paid my fees for the continued use of the cameronchardukian.com domain name, edited two blog posts, edited an upcoming v-log, and freestyle rapped for half an hour.
That’s more productive than I’ve ever been! Even more interesting than that, however, was my restlessness whenever I wasn’t doing something. In between tasks I had the constant urge to check email, to listen to self-improvement Youtube videos, to read blog posts.
Whenever I wanted my mind to remain calm and present to the moment it wandered. I was disturbed by this. I realized I needed to gain some perspective in my life and change was necessary.
For the next thirty days I will all but eliminate my consumption of media. The only website I will be allowed regular access to is my blog. However, I do need to continue uploading my v-logs to Youtube as my blogs posts are published, but I’ve set a strict restriction of five minutes per day. If I try to spend additional time on Youtube, WasteNoTime will automatically block me.
I also will not be checking my email, Twitter, or the blogs I’ve subscribed to via my RSS feed. I may allow myself to skim my inbox once as a security precaution halfway through the experiment, but I will not read my messages nor check it more frequently than that.
In addition, I will not watch television (which I haven’t in years), play video games (which I haven’t in years) or read books, magazines, newspapers, etc. I will continue to read blog comments, and perhaps I’ll read an instruction manual if it comes with one of my Christmas or Birthday gifts, but that’s it. 😉
I also will greatly limit the amount of music I listen to. The only times I’ll listen to music are on the morning car rides to school as I don’t want to burden my carpool buddy, background music that’s otherwise unavoidable, and I’ll also continue to listen to beats while practicing freestyle rap. In total I expect to be listening to less than an hour of music per day.
The big exception to all of the above is school. I’m reading a novel in English class so it would obviously be impossible to not read at all, but I have less than 100 pages remaining in the novel so this is a relatively minor caveat. On occasion we also use the internet or listen to foreign language music at school, but again, it’s a minor caveat considering the rarity of these occasions.
I also plan to be reasonably social about the experiment. I’ll still go to basketball games to socialize even though they often play music. If my friend asks me to look at a funny picture on their phone I’m not going to be a douche about it.
Overall, however, I’m still going to be consuming very, very little this month.
What’s The Point Of The Experiment?
Of course this entire experiment is obviously strange. Why intentionally remove yourself from some of the greatest conveniences in human history? The answer is exactly that. They’re conveniences.
(1.) I think the internet is a great tool, but many people (myself included) have never learned how to properly use it. Books are great too, and I don’t plan to stop reading the rest of my life. Sometimes, however, I engage in unconscious behaviors that do not properly leverage these tools and as a result I want to take a step away from them to break bad habits and gain perspective.
(2.) I also want to develop my attention span. It’s pathetic that I can’t eat without cravings for consumption and my mind growing restless. I’ve desensitized myself to stimulation, and because of that I require relatively large amounts of it to remain engaged with life.
Once I reduce external stimulation I should be able to appreciate less and create my own internal stimulation. I should be able to just enjoy breathing, the cold breeze, and the sensation of food on my tongue.
(3.) I want to eliminate my dependence on others to think for me. Whenever a question pops into my mind I immediately run to Google without ever thinking about things for myself. That’s just not right. Consulting others on their opinions is fine, but at some point one has to learn self-reliance as well.
(4.) I want to produce more unique blog content. I’ve noticed that often my writing oscillates to the consciousness of whoever I’ve been consuming a lot of lately. For example, my last post sounded an awful lot like Eckhart Tolle. I’m not saying I copy the people who I consume from, I balance the things they say with my experiences and perspective, but at the same time I often end up speaking in a very similar tone to them.
I think picking the brains of successful people is extremely valuable, but I’ve already read dozens of books, and tens of thousands of blog articles. I’ve already got more than enough information and perspectives in my head for the time being, and I think my big epiphanies are going to come through the development of my own unique voice, and ideas.
(5.) Finally, I think this detox is going to allow me to attain an entirely new state of productivity. I’ll be spending less time in the gray area of neither resting nor working, and as a result should be able to produce a lot more.
In addition, I believe that when the brain doesn’t have access to external stimulation it’ll need to learn to stimulate itself. Therefore, if I’m not consuming dozens of self-improvement theories, my brain will then stimulate itself through the pondering, and creation of its own theories.
As strange as it may sound this entire experiment is extremely exciting to me. You may not be interested in going to the same lengths I am, but I’d invite you to create your own stimulation detox if you’ve noticed similar cravings and restlessness within yourself. I think this experiment will be hugely beneficial and insightful for both of us. 🙂
Picture is of me obviously having way too much fun in a bouncy house. (Picture from July 2013)
Merry Christmas from me to you! 😀
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