Your mind is like a car full of gas. Everyday tasks deplete it of energy. You only have a certain amount of fuel in the tank before you run out.
So where will you spend your mental energy, because everything has a mental cost. When your mental energy is depleted, you make the worst decisions without even realizing it. Don’t pick out a wedding cake when you’ve got zombie mind. The cake will taste disgusting and make your guests vomit.
There are many daily activities, people, requests and categories associated with mental drain. Here are the things that are definitely not worth the mental cost.
An invitation you instantly search for an excuse to decline
A bloke I know on another social media platform asked me to speak at their $9 USD writing course. That’s right! Nine bucks and you can change your life. The moment the message came through, I was talking my way out of it like a hostage negotiator.
“Step down from the ledge. Don’t touch anybody. I have a chicken dinner on that particular Thursday night with the in-laws. You won’t miss me. I’m a terrible writer. Nobody reads my work. You don’t want to do this. Ryan Holiday is available. He told me so. Give him a call and tell him I sent you.” (Sorry Ryan — desperate times call for desperate measures.)
If your instant reaction is to search for excuses to a request, the request is not worth your time. Say no politely and don’t feel the need to justify your decision. If they think you’re an a-hole then that’s their problem not yours.
Social media comments
Content goes viral, not comments.
Everyone’s a critic but not a creator.
A comment is not fact. A link is not fact. A hateful message doesn’t solve world peace or give food to the hungry. Take action on comments sparingly. If today is an overwhelming difficult day then you can get back a little mental energy by staying out of the comments section.
Emails from people who are having a bad day
If you dare say anything on social media then you’ll get emails from random strangers. Some of these emails are going to accuse you of heinous crimes you were never present at.
People have a bad day and send you an email. Tomorrow’s a new day. It’s not worth the mental drain to have an argument with a stranger to prove yourself right. They had a bad day. These are uncertain times.
Put that stranger on the auto-forgiveness list and move on.
A person who throws you under the bus at work
I call them ladder hoppers. They want to climb the corporate ladder and get rich. Then they reach the top and realize there is nothing there.
Why? It’s not their business. If you climb the ladder of a business you don’t own then someone is going to take a royal piss on your parade. This is why I don’t get the game of snakes and ladders.
People who throw you under the bus at work are not worth your time because their problem is not with you; it’s with the game they feel they’re forced to play so they can succeed.
It’s easy to cast blame on someone. Blame doesn’t make you guilty. Therefore, don’t waste your time on it. Those ladder jumpers are eventually going to throw enough people under the bus that someone sees what is happening. All you can hope is that they change their ways — and they usually do. The casualties in the meantime are sad. Don’t be one.
Items that create clutter in your home
Stuff in your physical space depletes your mental energy. Clutter is secretly taxing your brains energy. Your mind loves a clean space; it just never tells you. Try doing creative work in a room that has crap all over the floor. It’s hard to ignore the mess and be creative.
Strategy 1: Put things in their place.
Strategy 2: Throw out stuff you don’t need.
Strategy 3: Don’t buy stuff to make you happy in the first place. Learn to live with less. BAM.
A clean home helps bring mental clarity, so you can live your beautiful life the way you want.
TV shows that offer no value
Just because everybody is watching it doesn’t make it a good show. Follow the TV show sheep and you’ll drain your precious mental energy on screen time that leaves you worse than you started.
Here’s a thought that helped me: the less tv shows you watch, the more time you have to be fully present with your partner or read a book. You don’t need all the TV Netflix recommends to you.
Movies that predict the end of the world
These uncertain times are difficult enough. Another conspiracy theory about why we didn’t really land on the moon is unhelpful.
Another movie saying this health crisis is man-made by the government is going to enable your brain to come up with possible doomsdayer scenarios. You’ll start thinking about what countries you can move to.
Rather than a zombie apocalypse — how about a story of hope to get you through the socially distanced times we live in.
Clothes that don’t fit — and never did
Marie Kondo that shit out of your closet.
Choosing clothes takes mental energy. Every decision you make — no matter how small — takes away precious mental energy.
I used to hold on to clothes that didn’t fit me. I had buff man shirts from back in my twenties, when I went from 60 KG to 100 KG in a year. Those shirts don’t fit anymore and the buff legs have gone back to chicken legs.
If you have to think for more than five-seconds about an item of clothing then it probably should be donated to the local homeless shelter.
A person who plays music in public via a loudspeaker
You know the ones. Headphones are too good for them. Noise pollution is their right and your peace is theirs to take.
Don’t get angry and drain your mind. Change train carriages.
Direct messages covered in a can of SPAM
I get lots of these messages every day. Someone’s selfish desire is supposed to be my daily focus. “Write about my company so we can sell more widgets.”
How about no, Scott?
Your startup is none of my business. Just because someone wants to take your skills, use and abuse them, and not even give you a few bucks for your time, doesn’t mean you have to accept or even respond.
It’s okay to say no to a direct message by not responding at all.
The spam messages I recommend you do respond to are the ones that are genuine. They may fit neatly into the spam category but the human being who hit send shines through loud and clear. I send these people a long reply and often a small gift for their demonstration of humanity. Doing the right thing is always the right thing. Highlight those people.
An argument when you’re tired
Definitely not worth your time. The solutions you need to get out of an argument won’t come to you when you’re a sleepwalking mummy wrapped in toilet paper.
Skip the argument and address it in the morning. You may find the problem has gone away or you have a new list of solutions that are constructive rather than destructive. If you’re tired, go to bed. Or take a nap ASAP.
An anger bomb when you’ve got a headache
Same applies to headaches. A headache is a sign to shut down your body’s operating system for a while.
Hydrate, rest, and nourish your body with food.
Being late to meetings
A lovely way to disrespect someone is to be late to a meeting with them.
It shows you had more important things to do. But more importantly it causes mental anguish. You have to deplete your precious mental energy worrying about how late you’re going to be and what your excuse will be, today.
Show up fifteen-minutes early to as many meetings as you can. It will change your life man.
A text message that requires an instant response
There are texters who have an odd etiquette. They expect you to read an unannounced message and reply straight away. The mental cost of thinking about when to respond to text messages is wasting your day.
If you’re like me and get tempted by red bubbles with numbers in them, turn on do not disturb or disable notifications on your not-so-smart phone.
No message requires an instant response. If the message was urgent, they’d call ya pal, the old school way.
A job that requires you to be on call
Or work seven days a week.
Maybe you’ve worked one of these jobs. You look good based on what time you respond to an email.
The leader in charge sends out emails requiring responses at weird times to see who’s playing the game. Last one to respond loses. If you didn’t see the email in time then do you really care about your job?
Screw being on call. Constantly having to stress about being available for non-urgent business matters is exhausting. You can’t live a nice life with your family knowing that every minute you’re on call like a hospital nurse.
Solution: exit one company and go to another. ***Does happy dance***
A boss who secretly destroys your dreams
Opt out from these peeps.
You know who they are. You can see what they’re doing. A good test is this: would they take time off work to be at your mother’s funeral?
There are exceptional leaders everywhere and you get to choose one. Leave the dictators in the waste paper basket where they belong (until they change their ways).
Work that has zero passion
Imagine worrying about work that you’re not passionate about — what a waste. Passion looks like energy and the transference of emotion. You deserve to do work like that and rejuvenate your brain in the process.
People who give zero f*cks about you
There are about roughly fifty positions in your life to fill. (That’s referred to as your social network.) Beyond fifty, they’re not relationships.
Reserve a seat for someone who cares about you.
The ones who don’t care about you forget to call you when you lose your job. Or they text someone while you’re chatting on the phone — you can hear the distraction in their voice.
Choose people who care about you rather than those who drain your energy.
Every day you are gifted a finite amount of mental energy. Don’t waste it. Use your mental energy to enjoy your life with less stress.
Seek mental clarity, and people/places/activities that give you back energy — rather than take it away and deliver no value.
A brain drain is a nightmare.
A clear mind full of energy is a gift that makes your life awesome.