With the world on lockdown due to the coronavirus right now, you may be receiving more input these days than normal.
More news, more alerts, more information, more Facebook posts, more all-the-things.
What I want to teach you about today is how to manage that input so that it doesn’t hurt you.
Yes, the news can increase your suffering unintentionally. And it doesn’t have to, but you have to be really intentional about it.
If you want to listen instead of read, here’s the podcast episode that goes along with this post — Input Vs. Output.
Consuming Information Vs Taking Action
Input And Output (Aka Consuming Vs. Producing)
First I want to better define input and output for you so you understand the difference.
Input is anything you let into your mind.
It’s the TV that you are watching, podcast you are listening to, instagram scrolling, the news.
Input is what you CONSUME.
Output is anything you produce, create, take action, and get results.
It’s starting an online business, going for a run, cooking a meal, managing a household.
Output is what you DO.
Input is external information that you’re offering to your brain as thoughts to believe.
For example, as you read a book, your brain decides to believe that information.
The same is true for the news.
You’ll likely adopt all the news you hear about as fact unless you understand that what they’re reporting isn’t all facts.
I think the best way to really understand this is to understand what’s happening in that brain of yours…
Here’s some great resources on your brain:
- When Your Brain Tells You Something Is Wrong (blog post)
- Increasing Your Happiness With Brain Chemicals (podcast)
- How To Improve Your Mindset (blog post)
- Mindset Hacks (podcast)
Your Primitive Brain And Danger
There are two parts to the brain I want to talk with you about here: your primitive brain and your prefrontal cortex.
Your primitive brain (or your toddler brain, as I like to call it) is wired for survival. All it wants to do is avoid pain, seek pleasure, and also conserve energy.
It focuses on what’s dangerous so it knows to avoid that danger so you stay alive.
This is not a problem, in general.
We all want to stay alive, right? 🙂
Then there’s your prefrontal cortex where you can plan your future and think rationally (unlike your dog, who is not focused on anything other than getting treats and sleeping).
Your prefrontal cortex makes the best decisions for you.
It’s not primitive. In fact, it’s very rational.
It decides that you should eat vegetables, limit your sugar, and also exercise.
The problem is when your primitive brain overrides your prefrontal cortex and your prefrontal goes “off line.”
For example, if you’re watching the news on repeat about the “dangers of the future” (as your news station is going to call it), your primitive brain is going to think that’s incredibly important and that you should watch it all day and night.
This is where you have to constrain your positive and negative input so that your primitive fight or flight brain isn’t in control 24/7.
I have a very new and different way for you to this: balancing negative with positive input.
- Emotional Childhood And Adulthood (podcast)
- Emotional Childhood (blog post)
- How To Live An Intentional Life Right Now (YouTube video)
- The Best Way To Predict Your Future (blog post)
Input: Positive And Negative
Positive input is anything that you listen to, watch, or read that offers thoughts that feel good to you.
Examples of positive input:
- Listening to a podcast
- Reading a book about how to improve your relationships
- Watching videos on how to start an online business
Anything you allow into your mind that is externally positive is positive input.
Positive input makes it so easy for your brain to think positive thoughts.
Negative input is anything you listen to, watch, or read that offers negative thoughts that feel bad to you.
Examples of negative input:
- Watching the news all day
- Scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
- Talking with people about what they saw, heard, or watched that’s “plaguing the country”
When you allow something into your mind on repeat that’s negative, your primitive brain thinks it’s VERY important. It also thinks you need to pay attention to the danger. In addition, it thinks you’re going to die if you don’t.
Now, notice here that input doesn’t mean you have to think positively or negatively about it.
Input is neutral.
For example, you could read a news article and think it’s not true and you’re not going to believe it or feel bad about it.
But the more input you have that’s in a specific tone or that has a specific agenda, the harder it will be for you to think oppositely.
For example, if you are watching the news and reading news articles all day that talk about the “crisis,” give stories of job loss, and paint a really grim picture of the future, it’s very hard to think the oppositive of that is true.
Enter the 1:1 rule.
Add some positivity to your life with these resources:
- A Quick Way To Have Better Relationships Right Now (blog post)
- How To Fix A Bad Relationship (YouTube video)
- How To Solve Any Problem (podcast)
- Online Business Free Course (free training)
The 1:1 Rule (For Every 1 Hour Of Negative Input, Listen To 1 Hour of Positive)
I have a new rule that if you listen to will change your life (crisis or no crisis).
The rule: for every one hour of negative input, match it with one hour of positive input.
For example, if you spend one hour scrolling on Instagram, match it with one hour of a motivational book.
If you watch one hour of the news, also listen to one hour of a positive podcast (you can listen to all my podcast episodes here).
This allows your brain access to ideas and thoughts that are bringing your prefrontal cortex back online.
Basically, this will help you get you out of the primitive fight or flight mode.
It works because it gives your brain new thoughts to think that balance out the fear-based, negative thoughts.
When you take control over your input, you’re taking control over your brain.
It’s a way to change your environment to give your brain the best shot at living from your highest self (and not in survival mode).
An even greater step you can take is to take a step back and bring awareness to the fact that all of it is circumstances that you can decide what to think about.
- Thinking Time (podcast)
- Possibility Thinking (blog post)
- Thought Plateaus And Massive Thinking (podcast)
- How To Use Your Imagination (YouTube video)
- Grow You (coaching)
Take It One Step Further: Separate Facts From Thoughts
Everything you read, listen to, and watch is a circumstance.
It’s a fact outside of you.
Examples of circumstances (facts): I watched the news for one hour. An article said this doctor said coronavirus is 10x more deadly than the flu. The news reporter said this is a dangerous pandemic.
A circumstance is something that happened or something that someone said. In fact, it doesn’t create a feeling.
I repeat: circumstances don’t cause feelings.
Coronavirus doesn’t cause feelings.
What the article said doesn’t cause your feelings.
What someone says to you directly also doesn’t cause your feelings.
What causes your feelings is what you think about the circumstance.
Your thoughts cause your feelings.
This is freedom, my friend.
You get to think whatever you want about it.
So, what I want you to start doing is having your own intentional thoughts about what you input.
After you read that article, ask yourself what YOU think about it.
You can decide whether to believe it or not.
Take back that oh-so-powerful thinking of yours. (You can listen to one of my favorite episodes called Thinking Time for more on this.)
You don’t have to agree with it.
You don’t have to go into fear.
You don’t have to repeat it.
You don’t have to give it any time of your day (or mind!).
When you decide to create your own thoughts and beliefs, you’re thinking on purpose. You’re taking control of your life. You’re doing the work.
This is powerful and it’s life coaching.
It’s also the way you create the exact future you want.
And when I say create, I mean DO. Take action. Produce.
That’s the other part of this that is so important for you to know about…
Check out Grow You if you’re interested in life coaching.
Output: Positive And Negative
Switching gears a bit, this next part of input vs. output is what “output” you’re producing.
Positive output is anything that you do, create, or produce that leads to a result you want in your life.
Notice that it’s about the results for YOU and not anyone else.
For example, if you desired and intended to gain 20 lbs and that could be a positive result. But for someone else, the same result would be negative.
So whatever you do that moves you in the direction of your intention (and not away from it) is a positive output.
More on this here: Direction Vs. Intention (podcast).
Examples of positive output:
- Writing a book
- Sticking to your meal plan
- Creating an online course
- Getting a new job
- Making more money
- Moving across the country
- Getting married
- Doing daily activities with your daughter
- Buying a house
Any action that you produce that creates a step forward is positive output…. even if it’s a “fail.”
If you produce a webinar and only 5 people show up out of the 50 you set a goal for, that is still positive output even though you missed the mark. It’s you taking action and also producing in an effort to move forward.
Contrast this with negative output…
Negative output is anything you do or create that goes against what you desire most for your life.
You’re creating results all the time. If you stayed the exact same weight as last year, that’s a result. So results aren’t just positive; they’re negative, too.
For example, if you want to start an online business, but instead are looking for a new corporate job, this is negative output because it’s against what you desire.
So, for you, when you’re creating and producing something that is the opposite of what you deeply desire, this is what I call Negative Output.
Examples of negative output:
- Having multiple one nightstands when you want to meet someone seriously and get married
- Gaining weight when you want to lose weight
- Spending money and getting into more debt when you want to save and invest money
- Massive Results (podcast)
- Massive Results (blog post)
- Why You Need To Set An Impossible Goal And How To Do It (YouTube video)
- Visualizing Your Future Self (podcast)
- How To Visualize Correctly To Achieve The Results You Want (blog post)
Output Is Hard For Your Brain
News flash: taking action is a lot harder than consuming.
Your brain loves to read, listen, and watch.
It feels safer to consume information than to produce.
I talk about this in the Massive Action podcast.
Again, this is your primitive brain at work.
If you get ALL the information there ever was, and you keep repeating your past, you’ll create the exact same future as what’s in your past, and your brain LOVES this. It knows you stayed alive in the past, so doing more of the same will keep you alive in the future.
What your prefrontal cortex knows that your primitive brain doesn’t, is that you were made for MORE.
You can take action, produce amazingness, and also design a future from a completely white, blank slate.
In fact, the way you do this is by being aware of what’s going on. You can also combat this resistance with Positive Input AND plan to take Positive Output.
You plan ahead of time what you’re going to produce by putting it on your calendar in advance.
It sounds so simple.
And it is.
What’s it’s not: easy.
Expect resistance when the time comes to produce and don’t make it mean anything.
This is just your brain. It’s totally fine.
It doesn’t mean stop, slow down, or quit.
Do what’s on your calendar anyway.
- How To Change Your Past (podcast)
- How To Stop Repeating Your Past (blog post)
- How To Write A Future Self Letter (YouTube video)
- Design Your Dream Year From Your Future (podcast)
- Grow You (coaching)
Plan Your Positive Output
To ensure you are acting from your highest self, in your best interest to grow and create the future you want, the best thing you can do is to plan ahead of time.
- Plan what you’re going to do with your kids this weekend.
- Plan what you’re going to eat tomorrow.
- Plan how much alcohol you’ll drink at least 24 hours in advance.
- Plan the trips you want to take.
- Plan how much money you’re going to make.
Put this ALL on your calendar.
Don’t make these planning mistakes that I see all the time.
Focus on PRODUCING, not on time, not the activity, not busy-ing. Producing.
When you focus on creating, you’re focused on the value you’re providing—whether you’re a stay at home mom or a CEO of a million-dollar company.
When your brain focuses on producing, it’s energizing and creates positive momentum.
A Final Note!
You don’t need to work on time management.
You need to put constraints in your life that make it easy for your brain to win.
Implement the 1:1 rule and plan your Positive Output ahead of time.
Let go of the Negative Input and Negative Output, so you give your brain the best shot at designing that oh so beautiful future you deeply desire.
Up Next, watch the YouTube Video…