I recently read the book Sapiens and really enjoyed it. Author Yuval Harari does an incredible job of covering 2 million years of human development. I really recommend the book and am grateful to Nick Ducoff for suggesting it.
I found it fascinating to read how early humans survived by hunting for animals or foraging for wild plants. I was amazed to read that those ancestors who survived their first year of childhood tended to be healthier than those later humans who had lived as farmers. Sounds contrarian, but the hunter-gatherers had a more varied diet while farmers subsisted mostly on one food item (wheat, rice, or potatoes).
I also found it interesting how the advent of the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century (not that long ago in the grand scheme of 2 million years), and the Internet Revolution that we are seeing right now, has forced many humans into situations for which their bodies were not created: super-dense cities, office work for many, and much less human interaction and connectedness.
All this made me think about many of us are drawn to activities such as running, hiking, swimming, fishing, hunting, golf, etc. Our bodies want the exercise and our minds want to be outside and master a task to find “flow.”
We also seek community. I think it’s why so many of us watch professional sporting events on TV, and why so many of us can be so emotionally involved with “our” sports teams. It’s odd, isn’t it? Those teams are businesses and most of us no longer play the sports that draw us in so deeply.
So, the Paleo diet is common, but I’m thinking about a Paleo mindset. After thinking about it, here’s what I’m trying to do:
Vary my diet. I’m struck by how I often eat the same things over and over. There’s a particular cereal that I eat, for example, most mornings. So, this morning, I ate some raspberries and nuts. I ate “what was available” as I looked in the fridge and pantry. For lunch today, I had a huge salad loaded with a high variety of various food items, including things I normally wouldn’t eat.
Check email and social media less frequently. I’m feeling incredibly tethered to my iPhone. I feel like I some days am pinging from one digital property to another. In fact, it feels like an addiction. So, I want to “be more present” and focus more. My plan is to check email and social media only three times a day. People who need to reach me urgently, text or call anyways.
Avoiding near occasions of stress. This morning, rather than stressing out about the pile of Monday office work awaiting me, I decided to take a scenic route during my drive to work. I also didn’t turn on sports radio, as I didn’t want to feel other people’s anxiety about yesterday’s Patriots’ loss. It was a very pleasant drive and took up only an extra 10 minutes.
Continue to be mindful. I am trying now to “observe my thoughts” rather than get wrapped up in them. All people ruminate and worry. I’m among the best. As I wrote previously, I’ve started to be more mindful. It really worked during the recent holidays, which can be a stressful time for me.
Building relationships and minimizing transactions. I’m fortunate to have a tight circle of real friends. I have many more casual friends. These relationships have been very meaningful to me.
Keep up with self-care. Here is how I re-charge: not check email on Sundays, exercise daily, fly fish, read, write for my blogs, seek out new and amazing people, avoid negative people, go to church on Sundays, and attempt each day to live authentically (my definition of “authenticity” is here). I’m also a part of two discussion groups, one linked to my church and the other involving other entrepreneurs.
So, Sapiens is a cool book. I really recommend it. It really pushed my thinking.