Much of our stress is caused by too many thoughts dancing around in our head — worries about the future, regrets about the past, what people think of us, what’s going on in the news, etc. Stop and listen to the birds for awhile. Be selective about what you expose yourself to.
There’s a lot out there to confuse us and stress us out if we allow it into our life. But very little of what is happening outside of our own home needs to be brought into our thoughts. More information does not always make for a more informed person.
Those whose job it is to have an opinion will always have one, even if it is uninformed. People who always have to be saying something have little time to listen. Listening is where real learning begins. The one who can sit and listen, and think, is the one we should want to hear from. You can be that person for yourself if you want to be.
The influence of culture has a greater impact on us than we usually realize. We identify ourselves too much with the rest of society. Especially our peers. Once we recognize this, we are able to prevent some of our poorer decisions from taking place. When we stop and ask ourselves what we really want, we realize that we would be better off without many of the things society says we should want.
Nassim Taleb sums up my thoughts on this quite nicely:
“I believe that I cannot have power over myself as I have an ingrained desire to integrate among people and cultures and would end up resembling them; by withdrawing myself entirely I can have a better control of my fate. I am currently enjoying a thrill of the classics I have not felt since childhood. I am now thinking of the next step: to recreate a low-information, more deterministic ancient time, say in the nineteenth century, all the while benefiting from some of the technical gains, all of the medical breakthroughs, and all the gains of social justice of our day. I would then have the best of everything. This is called evolution.”