Mental Ecology – Part 2

Common ecological practices include the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  They also include clean and renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind, geothermal and others.

So in terms of our internal environment and harnessing our personal energy towards effective and productive uses; how can we apply these green principles?

To me reduce is closely tied to de-cluttering our internal and external environment.  Internally, how do we prune out the negative self talk, conditioning and images as well as our limiting beliefs about our own ability. How do we shift our focus from the challenges and obstacles to the opportunities and resources at our disposal.  Externally, two words: Stop Hoarding.  Take all the stuff clogging up your office and home and either find another person who wants or needs them, donate them if they are still useful or toss them if they are not.  That stack of old Life magazines you think will one day be worth a fortune on eBay would better serve humanity in post-consumer recycled paper products.  You know who you are! (Full disclosure, I moved a box of 1960’s Life magazines to at least three new homes before finally getting rid of them and I kept boxes of Wired Magazines from issue #2 on for close to ten years until they overwhelmed my attic.)

What about Reuse?  As I think about it, what comes to mind is collaboration.  Some of us have the ‘not invented here’ syndrome or the ‘lone wolf’ attitude.  We won’t ask for assistance because we either think that doing so shows some sort of weakness or we are tied into the whole image of the doer, the Alpha and accomplishment only feels good to us if we ‘do it ourselves’.  We also are so tied up by our own beliefs and biases that we won’t accept as valuable anything that doesn’t match what we already believe.  We have systems of belief that do come from our own experience (the Cog Sci term is schema), but we compare any new piece of information to what we already believe and we discard or literally filter out any new data that doesn’t match.  In the realm of Mental Ecology, we open ourselves up to the ideas from outside our own experience and to the input and assistance of others so together We get more done than I could ever accomplish completely on my own.

My take on Recycling is Externally=Do It; Internally=Stop It!  If you are recycling through the same thoughts over and over, capture those thoughts the first time.  Decide if there is an action or project associated.  If it’s a project, define the true desired outcome in as full as possible a manner as you can and then chunk it down to actionable steps (verbs) and track those actions until you are done.

In terms of renewable energy, diet and exercise are crucial.  So is your system of regularly reviewing so that you acknowledge all your good work and catch thoughts and actions that need to get out of your head and into your system. Both of those will free up natural energy from the most renewable source there is.  Ourselves.


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