Gather information, ignore data

Thanks to fitness trackers, we are all flooded with a large amount of data.

We can all know our resting heart-rate, real-time heart rate or the amount of time we spent last night in REM sleep, deep sleep, light sleep, or laying awake in bed. We also have a count of how many steps we took, and how many minutes we spent at an elevated heart-rate each day.

Despite having all this data, only a minority acts upon it. Only a fraction of people set fitness targets, track them and use them to get in better shape. For the rest of us, that data is harmless at best. Data we cannot / do not act upon can turn into a source of stress – more so if those metrics fluctuate.

More data isn’t always a good thing. Data that we act upon is information. Data that acts upon us, but we do not act upon is a liability.

What’s on your mind?

Here’s a revealing 10-min exercise. Think of whatever is on your mind in this moment and write down the first thing that appears.

Later, sit down with your eyes closed for 10 minutes. Focus your attention on the breath. When your attention wavers, try and find out the one thing that your mind most drifts toward – the center of gravity of your thoughts.

Oftentimes, you will notice that whatever is on the top of your mind is different from the center-of-gravity of your thought.

The top-of-the-mind is what we end up acting upon. The center-of-gravity is what we ought to act upon. This difference lies beneath much of whatever stresses us out.