What do you eat? No, you are what you think – News Couple

What do you eat? No, you are what you think

Written by Andrew McConnell, Co-Founder and CEO of rented.

Like most children, I often received a warning from my mother: “You are what you eat!” As a former competitive swimmer who easily consumed over 5,000 calories per day during training, I believe that the Big, Long Range diet helped make me who I am today.

As I got older and even better understood the importance of nutrition in my life, not to mention my ever-slowing metabolism, I began to think about how to apply this same concept not only to the food I consume, but also to the ideas I consume metaphorically.

As a founder and business owner, my number one personal value is growth in promoting the support and help of others. In my quest to live by this value in practice, I constantly read books and articles, listen to interviews and podcasts and watch presentations and TED Talks, all in an ongoing effort to grow personally and help my business do the same.

Although this is a different kind of “eating” than what my mother used to refer to in my childhood, I realize that all of this effort and time invested was due to the belief that my mother was actually right all those years (no surprise there!). If all the thoughts and teachings that I have “consumed” are of the best kind, then I will also improve. The right kind of books, articles, and podcasts would be like a superfood kale salad, which serves as a sustainable and sustainable fuel for my brain and growth.

Likewise, if what I consumed wasn’t the best—and worse, if it wasn’t junk—that would pollute my brain with junk food, burgers, and fries. Not only will I waste my time by spending my brain and effort consuming “empty calories,” but even besides its lack of benefits, these junk can have harmful effects as well.

what do you think?

Reading about a study by Harvard psychologist Elaine Langer made me re-evaluate all of this recently. In the reference study, Langer and her colleagues divided hotel cleaning staff into two groups. Members of one group were told “the work they do[cleaning hotel rooms]is good exercise and meets the surgeon general’s recommendations for an active lifestyle”. The control group was not given this information.

After four weeks, Langer and her team found that simply telling hotel cleaning staff that the work they were doing was exercise resulted in “lower weight, blood pressure, body fat, waist-to-hip ratio, and body mass index” compared to the control group, although neither group changed. for their actual behavior.

We usually think of nutrition as a simple equation of calories versus calories burned. Langer’s study, on the contrary, shows that what we think about both also plays a role. A recent study pushes this point home. In that, participants given the same milkshake had measurably different physiological responses to drinking that milk based on whether they were told it was “fun” 620 calories or 140 calories “reasonable” (in both cases it was actually 380-calories). thermal).

That being the case, I realized that it is not enough to consume great ideas and materials, nor is it necessarily harmful to consume a material that is not the best. What and how are we Think About the ideas in question plays at least an important role. Or, as Marcus Aurelius wrote long before my mother advised me: “Your mind will take the character of your most common thoughts: souls are imbued with thoughts.” Or in other words, we are what we think.

For example, I could read a book or listen to a podcast full of great ideas, but if my mind is constantly wandering while I’m reading, or I’m multitasking and not paying attention to what I’m listening to, I get nothing. The real value of my consumption?

On the flip side, even thoughts I encounter that are actually wrong shouldn’t be harmful to me or my business. Conversely, if I actively engage my mind in consuming the wrong thoughts, working to understand how and why they are wrong, and what it would look like to be “right” instead, I can actually come out on the other side better than before.

None of this indicates that what you consume, whether nutritionally or intellectually, is of no importance. Quite the opposite: when you are given a choice in both areas, you, your surroundings, your mind, and your work are better served when you show the discipline of choosing the “healthy” option.

All that being said, “good” consumption alone is not enough if the goal is to really evolve into something better and better. At the same time, “bad” consumption does not have to be the end of the world. Either way, if, what and how are you Think About this consumption, as shown by the hotel cleaners, can and will make a big difference for better or for worse.


Like a lot in my life, the older I got, the more I learned how right my mom was all those years ago. She was trying to help me consume wisdom even at that time which would have served me well if I had really listened and understood.

Or maybe if she had added a few more nuances, it would have resonated with me better and faster: You are what you eat, and you become what you think. Coming to this realization now, my goal in my work and in my life is to consume and think better moving forward.

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