By Allon Raiz
You are what you eat, the saying goes. Your physical and even mental health are highly dependent on what you eat (or consume) on a daily basis. There are four fundamental factors of a system – input, boundaries, purpose and output – and all systems are mostly defined by the combination of these four factors.
A professional athlete will be very diligent about what they consume in order to achieve the best possible outcome, and sprinters will have different guides and regimes to marathon runners. Essentially, high-performing athletes curate their input, or design their own lives, to produce a favourable output. The same is also true for the high-performance entrepreneur – they too should be curating their input, but not just in terms of what they consume through their mouths but, more importantly, what they consume through their ears and eyes.
A few years ago, I began to recognise that, even though I might wake up in the morning in a good space, by 10:00 I would be feeling negative regardless of my daily practices. I had already established the discipline of recording and recognising my successes on a daily basis, as well as repeating daily affirmations and visualisations. Yet within a few hours of starting my day, I found myself in a negative space. I couldn’t figure out what was causing this but after some analysis realised that my daily routine included listening to talk radio on the way to work, catching up with the news on Twitter before my first meeting, and reading the morning paper which was neatly laid out on my desk. It quickly became clear that my negativity could be attributed to my over-consumption of bad news.
Each communication platform, from Twitter to radio to newspaper, has the power to depress anyone who consumes their news, but the combination of all three was toxic to me. It affected my mood, concentration and, invariably, my output. In a single decision, I decided to eliminate these three platforms from my daily “diet” and instead curate a different morning experience to see whether it would change the output. Instead of the radio, I decided to listen to either music or an audio book; instead of Twitter, I decided to call a friend; and I simply didn’t renew my newspaper subscription. The results were instantaneous!
This experiment set me on a mission to see what else I could deliberately curate and design, so I began to strategically design my life to inform the successful and positive output that I desired. I subscribed to online newsletters that were informative and thought-provoking, such as Brain Food by Shane Parish; I cajoled my management team to begin listening to audio books at the same time that I was doing so to ensure that we included positive discussions in our bimonthly meetings; and I ensured that there were always three litres of water in my immediate surrounds to encourage a healthier lifestyle.
In case you haven’t experienced the light-bulb moment yet, the simple explanation is this: all systems have inputs and outputs, and the quality of the input results in the quality of the output. If you see yourself as the curator of your input and as the architect of your environment, you can start to create the inputs, set the boundaries and define purposes to result in the output that commands entrepreneurial success. If something really effects the quality of your life – whether it’s your attitude, your mood or the clarity of your thought processes – it’s time to re-look the design and start to curate an environment that is conducive to your success.
And, if you’re concerned about missing out on what’s happening, always remember that, if a news report or update has a direct impact on your life, the chances are high that you will hear it through your friends and family.