The expression garbage in, garbage out (GIGO) goes back to early data processing days and was a favorite expression used by computer programmers in the 1960s. If the code they wrote was flawed or incomplete, it was considered garbage — non-useable.

We have certainly come a long way in our use of technology since that time. New smart phone apps are released daily; and updates to existing apps are released monthly (if not weekly), often using the common expression of “bug fix” to describe the reason for the update.

This got me thinking – what sort of information are we putting into our minds? Is the material garbage or is it of great value? Consider the following:

  • You Become The Average Of The 5 People You Spend The Most Time With – This is your inner circle. We all have inner circles whether we know it or not. Who is in your inner circle? Are they wiser than you are? Or do they like to play the role of ‘devil’s advocate’?

Trust me, this role is generally overrated: the devil doesn’t need an advocate just like you don’t need someone criticizing and questioning your intentions at every turn.

Have you intentionally selected those in your inner circle to match with your dreams and desires? If you have not been very particular in this selection, chances are good you may be listening to garbage. GIGO.

  • The Journals, Articles, And White Papers Read – Leaders are readers. There is never enough time to read all the material available to us, so we must be selective.

Do the materials you read inspire you or bring you down? Do the materials spur you on to new, useful ideas, or do they talk about how difficult life is and preach a survival mentality. Do the materials teach valuable lessons and suggest ways for you to apply those lessons?

If we are not selective when choosing the materials we read, to ensure they will inspire us and help us to grow, then we are allowing garbage in. GIGO.

  • The News Sources – It is no secret how bad news and tragedy increases readership. Whether the story appears on the front page of a newspaper, online, or on TV or talk radio, when readership is high, the source attracts more advertisers who will pay more for their message to be seen or heard. It seems we rarely find a “good news” story which inspires us or leads us to take some positive action.

Some people rely on online sources such as Facebook and Twitter to inform them. I admit I do check into Facebook, primarily to see if anyone I know has a birthday. When I see someone verbally bashing someone or something, I just let my thumbs scroll faster and do my best not to allow the negativity to infiltrate my awareness.

Although somewhat drastic, the solution to this is to shut out the news sources.

Personally, I gave up watching the evening news years ago. Putting aside the conflicting agendas and biases many newscasters force on listeners, I find I have a more focused and positive outlook without the negativity of the bad news stirring around in my mind, impacting how and what I think.

When some very significant event happens in the world, I have faith I will hear about it somehow. Until then, I avoid the constant barrage of the daily news cycle. The more I allow the negativity in, the greater the negative output I provide. GIGO.

  • The Advice Of Consultants, Mentors, Board Members, And Coaches – Similar to my first point above, while these people can be of immense help and value, they must be carefully selected. If we allow them to influence us, we must ensure their motives are pure and not manipulative to meet their needs over our desires. Choose these folks wisely, otherwise you are allowing garbage to enter in to your thinking. GIGO.

The information and influences we allow in to our awareness can have very subtle, yet powerful consequences. For better or worse, these sources help form our thinking. We then have the tendency to conform to group think which is not really thinking at all.

Only a small percentage of people actually do the hard work of thinking. The rest of us follow along what the group believes, or we continue to do things we have always done somehow hoping for different results.

Don’t buy into the false teaching which says there is nothing new to be discovered. This is the belief of the lazy! From October 2016 through September 2017, there were almost 350,000 patents issued in the US alone! While these may not all be new ideas (some patents being a revision of an existing product or process), new products and processes are being imagined, developed, and released every day!

I frequently remind my coaching clients of a simple truth – I will never know their situation as well as they do. In this regard, my job is not to just come in and offer nice-sounding advice, but to share ideas and best practices based on the breath of my experience working with smart, successful leaders for over 25 years. The right input will yield profitable results.

How do you monitor what information you allow to enter into your awareness? Are you intentional about who you allow to influence your thinking? I’m curious. Let me know.

Best regards,