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Do you suffer from mental obesity? (4 signs to watch for)

by Vidya Sury December 16, 2020 3 comments
Do you suffer from mental obesity

Mental obesity is a serious matter and if you or someone you know suffers from it, it is crucial to deal with it as quickly as you can! 

I’ve always considered myself thirsty for knowledge . . . information. Whether or not I did anything with it, I have the compulsion to just know things. Now there’s a word for it. Mental obesity. Years ago, I came across the word infobesity – and I guess that means the same thing.

Growing up, I felt the constant urge to learn how things worked. I loved—and still enjoy—taking apart things. Which probably accounts for why I am a reasonably accomplished plumber/carpenter/mason – you name it. Even if I can’t always fix it, I enjoy tinkering with it.

As you can guess, the library was one of my favorite haunts. I remember those days when the folks at the British Library recognized me as that person who actually carried a sack of books to and fro – thanks to a generous corporate membership that allowed 20 books and 4 journals at a time, with no one else interested in that membership.

Life went on. I amassed a library of my own. Then along came the Internet, making it even easier to load up on information. And somehow, unlike those days when I actually read and absorbed everything I acquired, I started just acquiring. For later, I would tell myself. Still do.

The result?

Mental Obesity

Sure, I’ve admired numerous articles that talk about the futility of collecting information and not acting upon it . . . but you know, growing cloud storage and the availability of information online that can be stored at the click of a mouse make it all too easy to build up the clutter.

Tell me – are you, like me, carrying around far too much information and way more than what you are applying to your life? Are you reveling in the endless supply? Are you also always resolving to sort it all out knowing very well that this particular train left the station long ago? I am guessing it is the same with your email inbox. Overflowing, right? And seriously, no inclination to go through all that junk.

At some point, we’ll need to think: is this the best use of our time—collecting all the information we are never going to really look at? Is that information overload useful to our lives? And when we do get around to learning, are we ever going to apply that knowledge?

I’d define mental obesity as the desire to acquire—and the acquiring of—more information than necessary to optimize your life.

Sadly, we are overwhelmed and overburdened with information. We lack the self-management skills to effectively apply that newfound knowledge.

Truth is, many of the challenges of life are simple to solve. For example, if you’re overweight, you’re eating more calories than your body requires. The solution? Eat less. It’s that simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. You don’t need to learn another diet on top of the 20 you already know.

You also don’t need to learn another exercise routine. If you would simply apply what you know, you’d lose weight and could move on to something else.

Learning is also challenging for your brain. It sucks up a lot of mental resources. Unless you’re learning something that’s truly useful to you, it might be better to apply those resources, and your time, to something more relevant.

What is mental obesity find out now

How to find out if you have mental obesity?

Here are four signs to watch for:

1. You like to learn but never get around to taking action

You keep reading up on all those exotic places you want to visit. Or maybe you are fascinated by how certain things work. You keep learning about different ways to be successful and yet you don’t do anything about it. No action.

This is a certain sign of mental obesity.

2. You excel at planning, but rarely follow through

People who suffer from mental obesity are wonderful at planning and truly enjoy making grandoise plans. They go into great detail making plans for losing weight. They make plans for how to make a million dollars, or lofty plans for the most exciting year ahead. Problem? They never actually implement their plans. The plans remain as plans.

3. You believe that the answer to your challenges is to learn more

Mental obesity comes with that annoying feeling that there is just one more thing left to learn to find the ideal solution to the problem. And these people remain stuck there – with always one more thing to learn. Rather like Someday thinking – that day never comes.  

4. You are the most knowledgeable person you know, yet your life is a mess

Those who know you are dazzled by your knowledge but it leaves them wondering: why are you not successful? They are puzzled by your lack of achievement. And you, you are probably annoyed because some of the successful people you are acquainted with don’t seem to know much.

Mental obesity is a trap!

Mental obesity is likely a trap you fell into during school days, when being intelligent and knowledgeable was considered as a marker for being successful. Unfortunately, that does not apply to life as a grownup.

The truth is, in life, most challenges are easily solved or at least easily avoidable. We can manage to accomplish building our savings, staying healthy and fit, earning more, strengthening our relationships, cleaning our houses and other routine things fairly easily. Of course, the process is not always exciting or enjoyable, but these things are definitely doable.

So, before we dive into that ocean of knowledge made easily available by the internet, and become overwhelmed, we must pause to realize that we must apply what we learn. And perhaps only pick what we can apply right away. Anything in excess is just clutter, isn’t it? Mental obesity is as tough to struggle with as physical obesity and just as harmful for our health.

What do you think?

Read What is timeboxing? Or how to stop wasting time (15 tips)

Wednesday Wisdom is a series with short bursts of easy-to-consume wisdom in the form of inspiring stories, verse, quotes, anecdotes, reflections, easy meditation, thought-provoking questions and humor. Oh yeah, some days are not so short.

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3 comments

Erica January 1, 2021 at 3:34 pm

Hello Vidya,
I read many articles of yours to learn a lot from them.. I want to thank you to give such amazing information!!
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G Angela January 3, 2021 at 10:02 pm

Interesting post vidya, agree with what you have written, i need to sort my email s and books… thanks for sharing.
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ketamine clinics Denver January 6, 2021 at 2:27 am

Hello! Thank you for such an informative and really helpful article for people like me. For a long time I began to notice that I have an overabundance of unnecessary information in my head, and this information, in fact, I do not need at all, except that at that moment when I can tell some interesting fact or something else during communication. But this knowledge will never be useful to me in real life, and now I understand that my head looks like a cluttered room. I really need a digital diet, otherwise, it seems to me that my brain simply will not stand it and will refuse to work for me
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