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Input

What you put into yourself in any way is what you get out.  Put in trash, receive trash.  Put in gold and… well you’ll probably have to take a visit to the emergency room, but you get the idea.

– Thomas James

Okay, so I fudged the quote.  I wasn’t able to find anything famous quotes about, so I made one myself.  I will leave it up to the quotation guru’s of the world to decide whether or not it makes it into the quote hall of fame.  (To those quote guru’s reading: I CAN PAY YOU LOTS OF MONEY.  LATER.  AFTER I’M FAMOUS FROM MY QUOTE.  Look, just trust me.)

*Ahem*

All joking aside, I have come back from my honeymoon to extol the virtues of higher quality input.

What is higher quality input, you ask?  Why, dear reader, I’m glad you posed the question.  This is why we get along so well.

I shall start at the beginning.

Input, a Beginner’s Guide

You’re not really a beginner, I just put that there to fool you into feeling safe and comfortable.  But, now that you’re here I can tell you that you’re no stranger to input, and maybe no stranger to higher quality input.

Input is, very simply, anything that you experience via your senses.  Touch, sight, sound, taste, smell and whatever you feel may be a sixth sense if you believe in that kind of thing.  So, basically, TV, music, movies, video games, people, radio, images, locations, experiences, activities, your job, your home life, your spouse, your family, your friends.

On a very basic level, input is everything.

And, as I said in my famous quote: Trash in, trash out.

I talked about this in my post about choosing who you associate with and that who you spend the most time with is not only how other people view you, but how you will become yourself.

Well, it’s not only true about people but about everything you do.  Human Beings are quite incredible adapting machines.  In the end that’s all we really do, when you think about it.  From the moment you’re born, all you do is adapt.  You start by learning body language as a baby and by imitating your parents.  You imitate the way they act when they’re happy, when they’re mad, sad and so on.  Then you start imitating their language, including their accent and every nuance of their speech down to the finest parameters.

So if you think that you can’t act or that you’re rubbish at putting on accents or learning other languages, you’re wrong.  It’s not a coincidence that you speak your native language like a native.  That didn’t take genius or a special ear for languages.  You just adapted like everyone else and changed yourself based on your input.

Contrary to popular belief, that process never ends.  That’s why you find these social cliques in high school;  The jocks, the nerds, the goths, the emo kids, the teacher’s pet, the class clown.  And then that continues into adulthood depending on your career choices, your income and your social circles.  It’s all adaptation based on input.

And that input can have a profound affect on your life.

If you’re an avid listener of music, you may notice that when you’re feeling poorly, when you’re sad or you’re angry or you’re just having a crummy day you listen to music that reinforces that–  Music with a slow tune, or a sad melody or angry lyrics.  You listen to it because that’s how you’re feeling– it’s a pretty natural thing to do.

But, that music actually perpetuates the mood you’re in.  So if you’re looking to stop being sad or angry or have a better day, listening to sad music is only going to make you feel sad for a longer period of time.  I’m not talking a couple of hours, either.  What may be a bad mood from stubbing your toe on your bed frame in the morning can be extended for the rest of the week, the rest of the month or in some cases years just by reinforcing that mood through your input.

You wouldn’t know it though– it’s not as if you’d be fuming a week from now about how you stubbed your toe, but rather the mood would stay.  You’d find other things about your life to be annoyed or upset about and then that would snowball.  That’s how people get into depression and even how they get into deep depression.  And most of that can be changed if their input changes.

We don’t like to admit it, but we’re not as steadfast in our opinions or our personalities as we’d like to believe.  Because, as I said, what we really are is biochemical adapting machines.  Sometimes that adaptation takes a few months or even a few years, but it happens without our knowledge or our input.

You know how some people pretend to be something for so long that they actually start believing their own lie?  That’s because they’re adapting to their input– the more they tell themselves something is true, even when they know it’s false, the more their subconscious mind starts to sway into believing the lie.  Eventually they are converted to an opinion or a view of them-self that they would have scoffed at years earlier; Something they would have fought tooth and nail against.

Monitor Your Input

Adapting is something we do naturally.  You can try to fight it, but you would fail.  That’s just the way that we’re wired.  We’re like water, (Insert science-y, the body is made mostly of water joke here.) and we’re able to adapt to any circumstance given enough time.  Adaptation doesn’t need to be a bad thing, just as no fact is a bad thing.  It’s just a fact.

You can use this fact to your advantage, and avoid any shortcomings it would cause you if you went through life acting as if it didn’t exist.

By monitoring your input, you can ensure that music, television, radio, movies, people, situations and everything else in your life that is a negative influence, talks about a negative influence or simply makes you feel badly is minimized.  By minimizing it, you minimize its affects on you.  The adaptation process isn’t instant.  It takes prolonged exposure to an external stimulus before you start to take on its traits, and this is especially true for something that is contrary to your current views, actions and opinions.  If you minimize the negative inputs, your mind and body never have a chance to adapt to them and thus they don’t take their toll on you.  This is especially true when you’ve already set up a lot of positive stimulus and have adapted to it.

You can take it a step further, if you wish.  Instead of just monitoring your input, you can manipulate it.  Put in what you want.  Have a goal of being a scientist?  Hang around other people in your field of choice.  Hang around those who have achieved what you want to.  Start listening to and watching programs about what you want to study and achieve.

The same is true of simple, less material things like happiness.  I’m not kidding (And you can trust me, since I’ve done this myself.) when I say that you can quite literally adapt yourself into being a happy person.

I know, I know.  ‘But I don’t want to fool myself into being happy if I’m not!’  Yeah, you are ‘fooling’ yourself, but that’s all life is.  You were fooled into being depressed or unhappy in the first place based on your input.  A bad childhood, a TV ad that told you that you needed the latest and greatest, your neighbour who has something better than you, a co-worker, a friend, whatever.  You’ve been ‘fooled into’ things for your entire life, and you adapted and survived.  You can’t be fooled into moods, because that’s the only way moods come on in the first place; Through input.

Your resistance to changing your input and thus changing your mood is just your brain’s reaction to change.  We humans don’t like change because of old instincts that have been passed down through thousands of generations.  Your body and mind on many levels are still operating using a rule-set that was very useful and critical to survival in the wild but that is considerably less useful in modern-day society.

Back when humans lived in the wild with the rest of life on earth, the brain found a routine that allowed you to survive.  Once you were still breathing, eating, sleeping and safe on this routine, the brain sets up neural connections and then reinforces them so that you can continue your routine and thus continue to survive.  There’s no provision in instincts for improvement.  There is only alive and dead.

And since you’re still alive, your brain latches on to your routine– including your methods of thinking, behaving and adapting, so that you can continue to survive.  Thus when you start to change stimulus your subconscious has a bit of a panic attack and tells you to stick with what you’re doing.  It will tell you that it’s ‘the real you’ or whatever else it needs to tell you to prevent you from changing, but believe me when I say that the ‘real you’ can be whatever you make it with some consistency and the right inputs.

Monitoring and manipulating input can, very, very simply and easily, change your life and make it much, much better.  It did for me.

So do it.

Monitor your input.

Monitor your input.

Monitor your input.

Monitor your input.

Is it working yet?

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