You should consume in accordance with who you want to become.
I use "consume" in a very broad sense: anything you hear, watch, listen to or eat, drink, or surround yourself with - consciously and unconsciously. In other words, everything that influences you in some way.
Most people don't consume in accordance with who they want to become.
Instead, they consume whatever is popular, trending, or familiar. The latest diet, political outrage, or social media trend. They follow the masses and stay in their comfort zone.
By doing this, they suffer from many problems:
They are constantly nudged off of the course to become who they truly want to be. Thus, they repeatedly run into the same problems without being able to solve them. As a result of their futile effort, they feel stuck, frustrated, and desperate before eventually giving up entirely on changing themselves.
I know this pain because I experienced it first hand.
In my late teens and early twenties, all I wanted to do was play video games. Sad, but true. Everything else didn't provide nearly as much pleasure, fulfilment, or joy; so I avoided it.
If I would have been brutally honest with myself, I would have had to acknowledge to myself that this was not all I wanted. I sensed that there should be more to life than the sad existence I was living. If I'd been braver than I was at the time, I might have followed that sense and improved my circumstances sooner. But I wasn't and what I consumed was in large part responsible for that.
First, I consumed a lot of content around gaming. Thus, it was most of what I thought about. There was little space for consumption that wasn't aligned with gaming. Second, I had a big social network of fellow gamers with whom I played video games. So, there was a big social component that kept me playing games, and that helped me justify my massive time investment into gaming before myself and others. Third, playing one game led to playing others, so even when I quit a game, I just swapped it out for a new one. Thus, I kept playing video games for many years.
All of this changed when I had a call with a good friend of mine in the middle of a rough breakup. He recommended the Jocko Podcast to me. Listening to it exposed me to ideas, habits, and ways of thinking that were in line with the vague image I had of who I wanted to become: someone better, preferably physically to begin with. From there I learned about Jordan Peterson, Tim Ferriss, Naval Ravikant, and many more people whose content, ideas, and thinking were way more in line with who I secretly desired to become.
Per his recommendation, I changed what I consumed, and what I consumed changed me: I started to work out every day, read self-improvement books with a passion, and exposed myself to more and more ideas that shifted my perspective, inspired me, and brought me closer to who I wanted to become.
Before, what I consumed kept me trapped in a life I was unhappy with.
When I changed what I consumed, it helped me to change my life.
The Bigger Picture
But nothing I did was magic. All I did was bring what I consumed more in line with who I wanted to become. It is attainable: For you and for me.
Here are some of the things I did:
I carefully curated my social media feeds.
I unfollowed all accounts that spread drama, outrage, and negativity. Also those that reinforced my bad habits like gaming, eating unhealthy foods, and avoiding my problems in general. I replaced those with accounts that were in line with who I wanted to become: Jocko Willink for discipline, Jordan Peterson for meaning, and many other accounts that shared content that made me evolve, grow and learn.
I changed my social circle completely. This is hard, difficult, and painful - but so worth it.
Pretty soon after I began massively changing my life, I realized that almost all of my former friends weren't on board with the changes I made. Even parts of my family actively discouraged me. Sadly, this is a common experience, at least in part because improving myself shined a bad light on the parts of them that also needed changing but that they weren't willing to change.
As a result, I reduced contact with most of them relatively quickly and put myself in new environments and situations where I formed new friendships, relationships, and connections. My new social circle was much more in line with who I wanted to become and encouraged me on my journey instead of subtly trying to drag me down to my former level.
I created massive clarity for myself.
I quickly realized that many of my toxic habits, limiting beliefs, and sense of confusion in life were the result of having no clarity about my goals, my past, and my motivations - among others. So, I spend many hours each week journaling, thinking, and reflecting on why I behaved the way I did, why I thought the things I thought, and created an ever clearer vision of who I might want to become in the future. This process provided me with the clarity I needed to refine the influences I was exposed to and seek out new influences that would help me to become who I wanted to be.
I took extreme responsibility.
One reason that many people don't make these changes to their lives is that they don't take extreme responsibility for shaping their environment and consumption (again, in the broadest possible meaning of those words). They keep themselves stuck - mostly, and understandably because change and the unknown are extremely scary. I didn't let that discourage me. I realized how complicit I was in creating the environment that held me back and took full responsibility for changing it for the better.
You can start simple: remind yourself of the detriments of not consuming in accordance with who you want to become: frustration, stagnation, and lack of growth.
Then, remind yourself of the benefits of consuming in accordance with who you want to become: inspiration, improvement, and problems fixed for good.
If you're ready to take action, you can start here:
Unfollow all accounts on social media that aren't in line with who you want to become. Replace them with those that are.
Change your social circle in the same way. Bonus: See if some people from your social circle want to grow with you. You might become valuable partners of mutual growth.
Create massive clarity about who you want to become by reflecting, thinking things through, and journaling. This clarity will give you the direction that shapes your way forward.
Take full responsibility for making change happen. Stop making excuses and don't wait until someone comes to save you - no one is coming.