For most of my life, I gave little thought to the food that I ate. Whether for a meal or a late night snack, if I liked the taste, I’d eat it. This was the extent of meal planning.
Minimalism actually made me a healthier eater. It brought intentionality into my life in ways I never imagined—health, exercise, and diet included. Recently, I gave up sugar. I doubt the discipline will last a lifetime, but it’s been a helpful experiment just to see what life is like without it and how my body responds.
And my body will respond. It always does. Everything we place into our body has an effect on it—either positive or negative.
What we consume always determines the lives that we live.
We can see this, most easily, with the food that we eat.
But this is a principle with further reaching application than the food we eat. This is a truth that rings true with almost everything we choose to consume: books, music, television, websites, just to name a few.
Think about it. If you choose to read books and listen to podcasts primarily about business and productivity, your mind is going to sharpen its focus on those things. You will begin to see the world in this way and act accordingly.
If you choose to receive your news every evening from the Drudge Report or Fox News, you will arrive at a much different view of the world (and political parties) than someone who consumes their news exclusively from MSNBC. Equally so, if The Daily Show is your only source of world news, your worldview will become defined by it.
Even the music we listen to shapes our minds and our hearts. It carries dramatic influence on the focus of our mind throughout the day.
I think this is important. What we choose to consume determines the direction of our lives. We know this to be true concerning food so we adjust our diet and meal plans.
But for some reason, we are less vigilant when it comes to the other influences we allow into our lives. It is wise for us to pause often and review the influences we are allowing into our mind and our body. Let this serve as a warning.
But this post is not just a warning. It is also an invitation.
We can also use this truth to our advantage and use it to bring about the positive changes we desire to make in our lives.
Are you trying to get healthier? Intentionally consume books and articles that encourage you to do so. Lots of them.
Are you trying to become a better parent or spouse? Surround yourself with people who are trying to accomplish the same.
Are you trying to become more successful in a specific line of work? Absorb as much as you can about the topic.
More specifically, Becoming Minimalist is a community of people who are dedicated to finding more life by owning less stuff. But this approach to life is countercultural. Our society seems built and supported by the complete opposite approach. If we are not intentional concerning the influences we allow into our lives, we make the journey even more difficult.
Are you struggling to conquer the clutter in your home or overcome consumerism in your life? Choose carefully what you surround yourself with. Put down the sales catalogs and the glamour magazines. Mute commercials or turn off television altogether. Read more and more websites dedicated to owning less (I recommend Zen Habits, The Minimalists, Be More with Less, Frugaling, The Art of Simple, Slow Your Home, or No Sidebar). As you do, you will find the changes become more and more natural.
The changes we desire to make in life become increasingly possible when we change the influences around us. What we consume always determines what we become—whether for the good or the bad.