Certain moments of our day require one put the books, earphones, and phones away. Sharing a meal, star-gazing, making love… the list goes on.
But we live in the spectacular and sometimes frightening age of information. We use information to bring our ideas to life, to communicate, to learn. But with such power comes responsibility: we must take care of our minds.
The mind is in center stage in this world of information. Yet, the same energy that compels our minds to spot opportunities and make progress on our projects is the same energy that distracts us, (over-)analyzes situations, and criticize others, ourselves, and situations.
The solution is not to run away from information. That’s like walking away from a beach because you don’t know what kind of castle to build.
Instead, we must skillfully use digital tools to manifest our personal purpose at work and in our relationships. Taking care of our minds – harnessing their power while taming their wildness – is crucial and the stakes are too high to leave this to chance. Tools must emerge to help us do it better.
Should these “mind-optimizing” tools be non-technological? Sure – books and meditation are examples. But it makes even more sense to ensure digital mediums themselves can help.
Look around and you’ll see “mind-optimizing” tools and products emerging: apps to trigger work breaks, music shown to improve focus, guided meditations with game mechanics, and services that connect you with personal coaches. YouTube has 1.3M videos about “meditation”, and Google has 29M hits for “mindfulness”. They are beginning to be indispensable tools for those creating sandcastles in beaches of information
How important is your state of mind when you are doing an interview? Programming? About to give a presentation? Planning your day? The un-stressed brain is not reacting to threats and so can devote energy to executive processing and complex decision-making. It can sustain focus longer and the nature of that focus is not fear-based but possibility-driven.
The product we’ve built, Spire, helps take care of the mind by surfacing meaningful changes in one’s state of mind – so one has better information with which to achieve their personal goals. Even when that goal is to have the mind step down and let the heart speak.
As humanity evolves, it’s imperative that the tools we create also help us live more mindfully, more aligned with our values, and with balance. After all, what good is having all the world’s information if we our minds aren’t prepared to use and enjoy it?
Update July 2015: We have just released free email courses on being more mindful and productive, sleeping better, and reducing anxiety. Check them out at www.spire.io/courses.