North America has a serious obesity problem (have you noticed?). Two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight, and a full one-third are deemed medically obese (ouch!).
What caused this? Some say it because our food system has become industrialized, producing an overload of mass-produced, cheap and fatty foods that is constantly at our fingertips.
But that’s not why people get fat. The food doesn’t fly into their mouths unassisted. People have to choose to pick it up and put it in their mouths. They could say no thank you and walk on by, as many do—you know, those insufferable lean and fit people (damn them!).
There is another obesity problem taking place here in North America and elsewhere—one that is less visible but maybe even more toxic and deadly to one’s life and potential.
We live in an era of ever-increasing information overload. News, radio, podcasts, blogs, online commentary, social interaction, TV shows and more are coming at us from every direction and every device, all day, every day. Most of it is low-nutrient junk information, and we’re consuming it in mass quantities.
Physical obesity is not caused by the overload of available food; it is caused by the overconsumption of low-quality food. The same is true for mental obesity. It is not the overload of available information; it is your overconsumption of low-quality information. And mental obesity has consequences just as dire—hypertension, decision paralysis, loss of concentration, and diminished creativity and learning.
The solution to a fat head is the same as a fat body: You need to go on a diet, an information diet. Avoid all high-calorie, low-nutrient information such as sensational television, useless celebrity trivia and other mind-numbing online commentary. Just because it’s around you doesn’t mean you need to consume it. Yes, you will be tempted to indulge yourself at every turn, but trust me, if you can abstain for a prolonged period, you’ll lose your taste for it altogether.
Then devour several servings of head-healthy, nutrient-rich information every day. Eventually you’ll build your mind into a specimen that will be the envy of all your friends and the scourge of all your competitors.