It’s not about daily increase, but decrease—hack away the inessential! – Bruce Lee

Here is a list of stuff that pisses me off (er, stuff that doesn’t work):

  • Routine passive TV watching – this habit is so lame. If you can tell me intricate details about characters from two or more shows your life needs a complete readjustment. I don’t hate TV, but using it as an adult pacifier is pathetic. And if you’re overweight, this is one of the first things to ditch.
  • Facebook – what a piece of garbage. It’s not about connecting people, it’s about sucking people in like that device in Batman Forever. It’s about sucking up your mental space and taking any minute of free time and hooking you in. Facebook is a steel-jaw leg-hold trap that is messing up your life!
  • Gossip – man, we have to watch this one. Here is the rub: when talking about others, when using words to express feelings towards others, don’t use words charged with negative emotion towards the other person and assume they are doing their absolute best and remember you have no idea what their life is like.
  • Excessive news watching – “I have to be informed!” BS. News is generally thought pollution about how bad things are. Sure, get the high-level, spend 30 minutes a day or so. But jeez, don’t get sucked in to those awful news programs that focus on murder, war, death, destruction, inequality, and all the worst-case scenario stuff.
  • Dumb smart phone stuff – Stop whipping the phone out and checking weather, sports, email, or whatever else it is you do with that thing. Seriously, the phone is a tool, but if you can’t control your usage, you’re the tool.

Now, it’s a matter of replacement. Nature abhors a vacuum. You need to replace these activities with something else. One thing you can do is take a period of 15 minutes each day and do nothing. This gives you space to get off the roller coaster of life and just be. If you struggle with this, you’re probably too mentally active.

For Facebook and other dumb smart phone stuff, just stop. Chances are you’re doing things like going to the bathroom and doing dumb smart phone stuff. Some people walk and do dumb smart phone stuff. Waiting in line? Dumb smart phone stuff. Just stop! Pay attention to your surroundings. Strike up a conversation with someone! Try just pooping instead of having to continuously be using your phone.

Any endless scrolling thing spells trouble. Endlessly scrolling news sites, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. If you can keep scrolling, you can go braindead. Look for information you want to read—don’t let information just come into your life because you can’t control your scrolling. Stop feeding the computer algorithms designed to get you hooked to a scrolling feed.

Finally, gossip. This is a killer. Thinking bad stuff about other people or just talking about them is bad news. Watch it! I like the Good Will Witness meditation because if forces me to send good will to everyone I interact with during the day. That feeling makes it really hard to engage in any kind of gossip about anyone.

Here’s the thing: all this stuff is distracting. It takes you from an overall purpose and prevents you from finding an overall purpose. Life demands our FULL attention. Oh, and by the way, if you’re one of those people with every beep and ding on your phone and computer turned on, what the heck do you think you’re doing to your attention? Scattering it. Scattered attention is weak and stressful. Focus. Focus. Focus!