Here's another fly in the ointment; choice. When I came to the UK I would have killed for ice cream that wasn't chocolate or vanilla. Then my country started to make 31 flavours. Then 1,310 flavours. It started slowly, strawberry, mint bubble gum, bacon with egg, alfalfa, no calories, no fat, no sugar, no ice cream. It can make you crazy now. Choice is ruining our lives, taking up precious moments. 99% of our lives are taken up by deciding. Supermarkets had 1000 products for the last generation to choose from, and now there are 40,000 of them. We need to ignore 39,850 items. We suffer from decision overload, we have a limit and then we hit neural fatigue.
Zillions of bits of information downloading through computers with more processing power than Apollo mission control are coursing up to your brain through your fingertips. In 2011 Americans took in five times as much information everyday compared to 1986. This is the equivalent of 175 newspapers.
Just to communicate with friends, not counting work, each of us produce on average 100,000 words every day. In there world there are 21, 274 TV stations that produce 85,000 hours of original programming every day - people watch on average of five hours of TV each day. This doesn't even include youtube, which 6,000 hours of video uploaded every hour. Each of us has over half a million books stored on our computers, not to mention information in our cell phones and the stripe on back of credit cards. We have a world with information with data figures that run in the region of three with 20 zeros behind it. We take in all that information at a cost; it exhausts us trying to figure out what we need and what is trivial.
We're so clogged up upstairs it's difficult to make sensible decisions; should I worry about cancer or getting the right toothpaste? Our brains are not computers, they don't need charging, they need to rest and there is no rest. Who has time to rest? It's a dirty word. You say you're resting, but the only time it's acceptable is when you go to the rest room and then you're forgiven. Otherwise you're fired or seen as someone old and senile. Every tweet, Facebook entry,and text is sucking out your energy that's why you forget where you parked your car. How can we manage in a world that is bombarding us with information? I'm really asking - do you know?
I'm on the road this autumn talking about mindfulness in a busy world - full details can be found on my website.