We live in an era of information overload.
And advice overload. And opinion overload.
Sometimes it comes at you like water from a fire hose, and other times it’s more of an annoying drip, drip, drip—but it never stops.
If we react to everything that comes our way, even subconsciously, we can develop reaction fatigue. Unimportant things get magnified, important things don’t get the focus they deserve, and a vicious circle turns an ordinarily reasonable person into a stressed mess.
I have read that smell is the only physical sense that has a direct line to the emotional center of the brain, because it doesn’t first go through information processing like hearing and vision.
Processing centers are limited. That is the nature of applied physics: it applies limits. We can’t fit all the data that comes in, and there’s no use trying for an ever-expanding mental inbox.
So I am here to remind myself and anybody else to triage. Actively at first, until it becomes automated (second nature). Clear the cache. Open a channel for garbage data to slide right out of the system—like the “in one ear and out the other” metaphor. Garbage data could be any information that’s not useful to you, any opinions or advice you don’t want, anything that goes round and round without doing you any good.
When I get a whiff of a perfume I don’t like, I hold my breath (to prevent further input), turn somewhere away from the source, and exhale (to output).
Now let’s do the same with useless information.