Two of the biggest things that hold people back from making big-time progress toward their health and wellness goals are information overload and the search for the next big thing. Let’s take a look at these and how you can overcome them.
Information overload. We’re fortunate to be living in the information-packed Digital Age, but this blessing can also be a curse if we just bathe in “stuff” without ever doing anything with it. And in this unprecedented time of self-tracking (e.g., sleep, macros, heart rate, and so on), I find that most people, figuratively speaking, are like hamsters spinning on a wheel; they’re trapped consuming information and collecting data—without doing anything with it.
If you really want to personalize your healthcare, seek to apply relevant knowledge. Instead of tracking more measurements and compiling more dependent variables, gain wisdom through application. By no means is that meant to discourage you from testing and collecting objective data, which is indeed very important. What I’m saying is that rather than gathering more information, we often need to use the information we already have in a better way.
As author Ryan Holiday says, “When intelligent people read, they ask themselves a simple question: ‘What do I plan to do with this information?’” (Yes, that goes for this blog too.)
Looking for the next big thing. This trend (which probably isn’t going anywhere any time soon) piggybacks on the one mentioned above. As functional medicine clinician Dr. Bryan Walsh recently said on in an interview, “How many people buy a whole bunch of books on a topic because they’re looking for the answer when the answer may have been there, but they just didn’t really sit down to apply it?””
The crux of it is that as soon as we start looking for “the next big thing,” isolating variables or looking myopically at individual markers, systems of the body and pieces of the puzzle, we often miss the forest for the trees. For Dr. Walsh, “My antidote is to go back to the basics. Forget all this fancy stuff.”
If you keep chasing that next shiny object, chances are you’ll never stick with anything long enough to move the needle, and if you do, you may never know what worked. This isn’t meant to disparage innovation nor is intended to discourage scientific discovery; rather, as we reach new frontiers, the encouragement is to connect the dots rather than isolate variables.