A mind is a terrible thing to waste.
As much as I love the digital age, it’s created a bit of a problem in today’s societies: echo chambers. People will instinctively seek out those who share (or at least they believe to share) their values, notions, and memes on life and society. One person says “I like this!” Another says “I also like this!” And that’s the end of the conversation. This is where intellectual stagnation originates, and it ain’t good for you. The mind is a muscle as real as your bicep, and it needs to be flexed and challenged in order to develop. Instead of sitting in an echo chamber all day, you gotta stimulate yourself.
So what are some good ways to stimulate yourself? Well, the tried and true method is simply… learning. Endeavor to learn something new every day. Nobody’s telling you to go out and disprove Einstein’s theory of relativity; just try to learn something you didn’t already know. Read some historical texts to learn about how people lived before technology. Take an online class to learn a new skill or language. Explore a virtual art exhibit and challenge your perceptions about reality. Learning doesn’t change the things you know, it expands them.
Speaking of altering perceptions, another great source of stimulation is conversation. Get out of that echo chamber and talk to someone with a contrasting opinion on something. It’s okay if you want to stay away from something really divisive like politics. As with learning, just pick something simple and innocuous. What do you like on a hot dog? What’s the best kind of music? Who was the better host of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (it’s Mike Nelson)? A conversation doesn’t have to change your mind to expand your perspective. People have reasons for believing the things they do, and understanding those reasons will help you understand people.
Intellectual wellness is just as important as physical wellness. Stagnation runs counter to the human condition. Don’t let yourself stagnate, be all that you can be.