Influencing your audience's brain through quality content & tapping into the subconscious
There are so many diets around, so many theories about what you should eat and shouldn’t eat to optimise your physical performance and health.
And it’s a fact that however hard you train - you cannot out-train an unhealthy diet.
Besides unhealthy food affecting your physical health, it is proven that it also affects your brain function. (Check out Dr Daniel Amen for more information on all things brain health)
In the same way, physical exercise strengthens your body, mental exercise (of the right kind) improves your brain.
Holistic health starts in the head and looking after your brain – just like looking after your body – involves exercise AND nutrition.
Then why are so few people talking about feeding your brain with more than nutrients – about feeding your brain with content that has a positive impact on your brain?
Another fact is that (mental) rubbish doesn’t just go in on one end and comes out at the other – at least not without leaving some mental clutter behind in your subconscious mind.
Anything that you process in your brain has an impact on how you think and act. It has an impact on who you are.
As a rule: Just as we need to be careful with the food we eat, we need to be careful with the content or details that we feed our brains.
If you think about it – negativity and disaster dominate the headlines whereas achievements and positivity don’t often make it to the front page.
This article is not about fluffy clouds and unicorns – it is about how we can optimise our minds (and the minds of others) and allow ourselves to show up as our best possible selves.
The quality of the content and information you consume is probably more important than you think…
And I believe that we should care about what we put into our brains and be advocates for the creation of (positively) meaningful content that elevates our minds.
For that, I am using some recent content from Brendon Burchard as inspiration.
We are a creation of the input that goes into our bodies.
Our personality is a result of genetics, socialisation, learning, and experiences.
Every story that we listen to, and every experience that we walk through shapes us and leaves us changed.
Traumatic experiences leave us changed and can lead to life-long suffering. Positive experiences also leave us changed and let us thrive. We learn and react to positive and negative reinforcement.
Negative experiences trigger negative emotions whereas positive experiences uplift and inspire us to be better.
Think about it (and I’m being intentionally provocative here)…
If you are feeding your brain vast amounts of video games, horror movies or low-quality social media content then you are putting your brain on a diet equivalent to a diet on trans fats, burgers and sugary drinks.
Everything that we put into our brains influences who we are as a person.
Knowing that, we should consume mental “health food”. Things that we can reflect on, that are thoughtful, educational, kind, or inspiring.
Or things that challenge, stretch, and develop us as human beings, professionals, colleagues, family members or friends.
Only if we can imagine a better world, can we create a better world.
And the mind food that we consume feeds our imagination and empowers our brains to grow and develop.
This means that we should be selective and critical about the content that we consume. The books we read, podcasts we listen to, movies we watch, conversations we have…
We should also be mindful of how we feed our brains with content. Endless scrolling, for example, causes decision fatigue and overwhelm. Multitasking while consuming content allows us to capture and process only a fracture of the message.
Intentional and conscious positive content consumption means for me to take the time to fully focus on a well-selected piece of content and to give you the opportunity to reflect on the content you just consumed.
And that leads to…
In my life, I have collected a few degrees and I am a confessing learning addict. Learning works best for me and has the best results when I am able to take notes (often only mental notes), reflect and journal on ideas and concepts that strike me as significant.
It is this process of reflection that elevates pure content consumption to the next level. A level of true understanding and often improvement and application.
Recently someone took a video of a training run that I did during our dog agility class. Watching that video allowed me to analyse why at a certain obstacle, I “lost” my dog and she ran off in the wrong direction. Only that she didn’t run off in the wrong direction but my body language told her to run in that direction. Understanding that, I was able to correct my body language and do a much better run next time.
The same applies to any books we read or videos that we watch. It’s reflection that enables us to process the information we have consumed, make connections to existing knowledge and create new understanding.
Journaling, silent reflection, or discussing content that we have consumed processes the ideas and concepts that we just learned and allows us to consciously remember them and act upon them.
And that, in turn, allows us to be more present and more intentional about our content consumption.
But it also improves our content creation. If we want to create content that “sticks around”, then we need to create content that is worth reflecting on. We need to share ideas that others can pick up, discuss, apply or add to.
Consuming quality content fosters the creation of quality content. The more great content you consume, the better you write.
When you consume high-quality content, you get a feeling for the components of high-quality content. It gives you a feeling for the topics, structure, language, style etc.
High-quality content is purposeful. People who create high-quality content think about their content. They plan their content and define the outcomes they want to achieve.
Setting a clear intention for the outcome that you want to achieve with your piece of content elevates your content almost automatically above the mass of “scroll & forget” content.
Think about what you want to happen after someone has consumed your content. What thoughts do you want to plant in your reader’s brain? What actions do you want them to take? What mindset shift do you want to bring about?
Starting any piece of content with the end in mind is essential to creating content that is meaningful, inspires, and leads to reflection.
But let us talk a little more about intention…
Anything that you do with deliberation and thought-through intention is likely to be more successful or of better quality.
Take a TED talk for example. TED talks are engineered to leave you with an idea to reflect on. An idea that can shift how you think about a certain topic. TED talks are meant to be inspiring. They have been carefully and intentionally prepared and rehearsed for a specific effect.
They hook you from the first to the last line and they leave at least your thinking inspired or changed.
You have the same opportunity to achieve as much with every piece of content that you share with your audience.
But that also means that you have to be intentional about what you are sharing. It means that you need to spend a little more time on the creation process. Planning and structuring your content well, researching the topic and ensuring that your audience is interested in the topics you are sharing.
Creating meaningful content requires understanding what’s meaningful for your audience.
That knowledge comes from understanding yourself (and what you want to share) and your audience (who they are and what they want to hear).
And just on the side…
If you need more clarity about the messages that you want to share, then send me a message and we can discuss how I can help you.
But the main thing is, that you can create content that your audience has the intention of consuming with intention and full focus.
That is what lets you grow your audience and your subscribers.
As I mentioned above. High-quality content consumption drives high-quality content creation.
Focusing on the consumption of high-quality content doesn’t only improve your writing, your mind and your brain – it also saves you time.
Being a high-quality content consumer ends endless social media scrolling, binge-watching, and mindless content consumption because your awareness changes and your time becomes more precious.
You become more selective and your mind will thank you for it.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t relax and watch movies with your spouse, read a comic with your kids, or comment on social media posts.
You can do all that but you do it more deliberately and with better intention and focus.
I’d like to challenge you to assess your content consumption and creation habits and reflect on whether and how you could improve them.
Experiment a little and maybe write a few posts in different scenarios…
After scrolling through your social media feed, listening to a self-development podcast or watching a TED talk…
Does consuming low or high-quality content have an impact on the content that you create?
I’d love to hear from you!