“It is not the daily increase but the daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”

-Bruce Lee

When I first get clients they always want to add things.

Addition is a first world Amazon Prime disease. I don’t have time for it. I have so little time for it that my wife and I are moving to the jungle to live in a 400 square foot cabin. I love her. She regularly walks through the house and starts throwing things away. Right now, I have two blenders and for that I am eternally sorry.

You could spend thousands at the container store to organize your life. You would then have an OCD house full of toxic plastic, when you could have spent zero dollars and just decluttered your life.

We tend to all agree on these types of subtraction wins. We also see through the twisted rationale that our brains try to pull on us in the food/nutrition realm. For instance, we would all agree that the following statement is ludicrous, “If I have two extra servings of fish oil can I eat strawberry pop tarts?”

NO!

But, sifting through the noise of addition can be much tougher than extra blenders and avoiding processed garbage. That is why I always ask the following questions:

How does this addition serve you?

What habit does it help you uphold or build?

What are the potential side effects?

Sometimes additions will be great. For example, say an IT professional wants to purchase a grounding pad and blue blockers. Fantastic. But could he or she have just subtracted some of his or her workload and instead unplugged at sunset and spent more time outside? Do these additions mean that this person will use these items to justify working longer hours and not playing with their kids in the park?

These are very individual questions that take individual answers. Also, as I have said previously – fail fast.

If it isn’t helping, return it or trash it.

I bought a PlayStation 4 last year because Davis and I wanted to occasionally play Madden against each other over the interwebz to connect and compete more. As I was staring at a screen in my living room and getting mad at the dogs for disturbing me because they had to eat, I realized that this was a horrible idea and returned it that night.

The most common addition I get asked about is monitoring devices. We have been monitoring people for a while now and these devices are becoming more and more popular and main stream. In the beginning, I thought everyone should be doing this!!!!!!!

But, now I only want people to monitor if they will benefit from it, if it fits into their life, and if it won’t fill their life with unneeded worry.

AKA someone who does not have the fundamentals dialed in has no business monitoring chaos.

“Well, it looks like you’re not recovered – what did you do yesterday?”

“I worried all day about whether I would be recovered. Then I ate ice cream and forgot to sleep.”

Not helpful.

The same thing goes for all these fitbit thing-a-ma-bobers. They scare the living sh#t out of me and the heart rate functions tend to be inaccurate and insensitive. These wrist calculators remind of these two girls in high school who would walk around feverishly between classes to burn more calories. They were not healthy. But, hey if it serves you and makes you get outside to get in more steps. Fantastic.

However, if you become a neurotic mall walker, smash that bastard wrist band into a million uncountable pieces.

Also, don’t monitor if you are not prepared to change. You didn’t invest your time and money in this data for it to tell you what you wanted, you invested in it in an attempt to unravel a rather unsolvable and always changing biological system. You invested in it to gain clues as to how you can live a healthier life. It is great to start by being the watcher and just collecting data, but eventually you will have to take action.

There will always be people and businesses telling you that you need to add things to your life and even if you move to the jungle shiny new objects and content will still be there calling softly, “hey, you need me.” But always take a moment to ponder…

How does this addition serve me?

What habit does it help me uphold or build?

What are the potential side effects?

And finally ask yourself if you could get the same result through subtraction.

Hack away at the unessential.

Be Well,
Ben

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