What Gets In Your HeadBlog / Produced by The High Calling
While on the road recently, I stopped in at Sheetz, my favorite gas station. If you’re not familiar with it, Sheetz is a chain found in Pennsylvania and a few other mid-Atlantic states. The draw? A great touch-screen order-to-go food service. Yummy subs. While waiting to pay, I noticed a peculiar array of products by the register. A rack full of "energy shots" sat next to a bottled concoction going by the name "Instant Relaxation". So, to get this straight: for $3 a pop, you ingest the first one to get going. For another three bucks, the second shuts you down. At least in theory. I didn’t try it myself. Outside of the fact that "instant" relaxation seems a bit paradoxical, this product placement reminded me how these days we seem to let a lot of odd things into our bodies. And into our heads, for that matter. I recently spoke with an Amish businessperson on the recession. He felt it hadn’t affected his people as much. He had an interesting theory why. Paraphrasing: "We don’t listen to the radio in the morning, or watch TV, or follow news on the internet. So we don’t get all that bad news all the time." His point: the Amish were less likely to hear about how they should be having a tough time economically, and so this affected their behavior in subtle ways—everything from their attitude to their expectations and even some business decisions. They were certainly aware that there are greater economic difficulties—but weren’t getting it pounded into their heads from 12 different directions on a daily basis. So does taking in less negative news mean Amish end up healthier? Better placed for success? Could be. I was later reminded how this works while staying with Amish friends a couple of days. Odd for me to go that long without checking email. But oddly head-clearing, as it usually is. I also recalled my days in sales, and the importance of controlling your environment. In a job when you are dealing with seemingly endless rejection at times, it’s important to be your own best friend. What you let into your skull can make the difference between a big week and a goose egg. I think we’ve got some control over this. But if you’re not vigilant about it, the junk inevitably finds its way in. There’s certainly plenty of it around. Doom-laden headlines. Comment trolls. The negative co-worker. I’m not talking head-in-the-sand. "Shutting out the world" is a fantasy and nothing a healthy individual would want to try. It’s rather about being a little more aware of what we ingest. That of course can take a change of habits. Ignoring what you would otherwise be tempted to engage. That can be hard. It is for me. But seeing "Instant Relaxation" stacked up next to the guarana potions in that Sheetz, it struck me that we might do well with a little less stimulation—and a little more contemplation—about what we let in the front door of the temple. That’s my take. What do you think? Post by Erik Wesner. Photo by Elizabeth Weller.