Recently, my family and I went to go grab a sweet treat at the local frozen yogurt place.
Typically, we don’t eat ice cream because it’s loaded with chemicals that are labeled to not look like chemicals.
But we find that being neurotic is also bad for your health. So, since our real estate agent gave our daughter a free frozen yogurt card, we decided that this would probably be a good time to treat ourselves.
As soon as we walk in, we’re greeted by the most polite fellow who was full of energy and loved the business. Turns out it was his company and he had opened it up just over a year ago.
We sort of all got caught up in his enthusiasm as he gave us sample after sample and told us about all of the toppings.
“When in Rome,” we thought…
So each of us loaded up on frozen yogurt covered with toppings. We were in a magical, charming, and lite-hearted place…the whole thing seemed innocent enough.
Here I was picking out rock chocolates and yogurt covered raisins. My wife was loading up on a very vibrant green pistachio flavor. And our kid was pouring on the skittles, gummy bears, and sprinkles.
After about 15 minutes, we were getting close to finishing the frozen yogurt. When suddenly we hit a huge wall.
So we stopped eating and discarded the rest.
Overall we were feeling pretty good.
That is, until we got to our next stop: the grocery store.
I can’t remember what it was about but my wife and I started having strong negative reactions toward each other and were screaming for what seemed like no apparent reason.
Then our kid absolutely melted down about another kid that she recognized that she might not ever see again. She was distraught. For several minutes. I’ve never seen her react like that.
Meanwhile, my wife and I are frantically screaming and the kid is in the back seat wailing like never before.
Suddenly we realized what had happened: we had poisoned ourselves.
Because we almost never eat artificial flavors, we all had an extremely intense meltdown-style reaction as our brains told our bodies to go into red alert mode.
Looking back, it was the merchant’s charm who completely disillusioned us from the fact that the entire shop was nothing but a chemistry lab…with chemicals that we were pounding like food.
And all of us felt horrible for hours after that. Headache, exhaustion, fatigue…
It was pretty wretched.
And I couldn’t help but to be amazed that some people can eat that kinda crap every day and feel fine.
Bodies get used to poisoning, and so they develop inflammation in order to attempt to protect the cells. Not a very good strategy, but our bodies didn’t evolve along with the artificial ingredients we have today. And it’s such a damn shame that so many people who are overweight think it’s because of fat when really it’s just inflammation…I digress.
The point of this story is to demonstrate that if you want to know if something is bad for you or not, the easiest way to get the correct answer is to polarize the results.
The way you do this is by creating two intensely different and sharply contrasting realities that you want to explore, and then set up an informal experiment.
For example, if you think that hanging around a particular person/group might be bad for you, then you would set up a two-prong experiment. The first prong would be hanging out with the person/group super intensely in regards to both quantity and quality. The second prong would be completely not hanging out with them at all for a set amount of time (maybe a week, a month, or even a year…whatever you feel is the most appropriate to give you meaningful results).
The reason why this is effective is because it is simple to do and easy to glean results from.
In our case, we gorged on frozen yogurt and we felt absolutely terrible as a result. This is informative data.
If we had only eaten a small amount and then felt a minor sense of discomfort afterward, we may not have even noticed at all.
But, because we created a sharp contrast between having not eaten the frozen yogurt and then eaten the hell out of it all within the span of 30 minutes or so, it ended up being obvious that what we were eating was in fact poisonous for us.
This is why we will not be going back to the frozen yogurt place…in this case, I do not think that “the poison is in the dose,” as they say. The poison is on a continuum by which the more you eat the more you poison yourself. The reason I believe this is because I can gorge on oranges, bananas, and broccoli and not have a bad reaction at all.
But you don’t need to do this experiment specifically. The results can be summed up quite simply in this way: if it is man made, then it is not good for you. Anything made in a laboratory should not be considered food. Anything with more than one ingredient is a processed box of poison.
Let me give you a few other scenarios in which this polarizing paradigm can be effective:
Jill wanted to know which hours of the day she had the best mental clarity. So for two weeks straight she forced herself to go to bed by 10pm and wake up at 6am. For one hour each morning, she would study for her exam. And at the end of each day she would estimate how much she retained. Then for another two weeks she stayed up until 1am and then slept until 9am. She then did the same study routine, only this time she did it in the evening from about 7pm to 8pm. Now, Jill might find out that her best study hours are actually from 3pm-4pm, but by polarizing her results, she can determine a general result from which to further customize…in this case, she found that she felt way more alert and was able to get way more productive work done during the early evenings as opposed to the early mornings.
Bob is a handyman looking to grow his business. In the past, he simply advertised himself as a general, all-purpose handyman. He noticed that he got all sorts of random, odd jobs that people hired him to do, but at a rate that was much less than he believed his skills were worth. So he made an educated guess as to which of his services he thought would be more lucrative and in-demand, and then he created a specialized advertising platform around that. For one month he was a framer and drywall hanger. In that month he made over $4,000 just framing in walls and hanging drywall. “Pretty good,” Bob said. But then for the second month, he advertised himself as a painter. Over the course of that month, he made $3,600 paining the interiors and exteriors of houses. “That’s not too bad either,” said Bob. Instead of choosing one profession over the other, he decided to do both. But the way he advertised was quite different. The results of the experiment showed him that it’s not about what you do, but how you do it.
Jane was one badass chick. She was known as a powerhouse in her office and never took “no” for an answer. But Jane had one problem. Her career stressed her out and she ended up drinking way too much wine to help her take the edge off. So, being the health conscious gal that she was, she decided to do an experiment. For one month, she meditated for an hour every single day. For that month, she assessed her stress levels throughout the experiment and noted her stress with a numerical value from 1-10. After the month, she found out her average stress levels were about a six, when before she felt like it was almost too much stress to handle…maybe a nine or ten. In this case, her experiment stopped here. After finding out that meditating really helped her stress levels, she decided to continue meditating for 20 minutes per day at the end of her lunch break. She was able to dramatically reduce her wine consumption and even found that it seemed like she had more hours in the day as a result.
Dave had been single for over two years and he was absolutely sick of it. But the women he tried to meet at bars and clubs were just not stimulating to him. So he decided that he was going to try online dating. Instead of just casually perusing the sites, Dave decided to regiment it into a system where he would attempt to go on three to five dates every single week. He basically made it his second job to try and find someone that he liked to spend time with. After six weeks, he met a few people that he thought were interesting. Instead of waiting to see if a relationship would surface, he proceeded with the second prong of the experiment. For the next six weeks, Dave went to the park, farmer’s markets, and coffee shops in his town. He made it a point to strike up a conversation each time he went out. After only two weeks, Dave ended up going on a date with someone very special. In only two weeks after that, he was no longer single.
As you can see, this method can be applied to a wide variety of scenarios, from health to finances to relationships. The key to this strategy, and indeed what separates it from simple experimentation, is the intensity factor.
Let’s say, for example, that my family and I ate a small bowl of frozen yogurt once a week. We might not notice that it’s actually bad for us, and the accumulation of such poisons would quickly force our bodies to adapt to the chemicals. This might be okay for the short term, but when you extrapolate this behavior over many years, it can easily lead to high risk health problems down the road.
But because we intensely polarized the results, we were able to discern that the frozen yogurt was absolutely not good for us. The results came shockingly fast due to the intensity with which we approached the experiment.
That is precisely what this strategy is all about: intensity and taking action.
By doing this, you get much sharper results that will give you a very clear answer to any questions about your life you may have.
When you behave tepidly, it’s easy to overlook things that may or may not be good for you. It is the intensity that will reveal the answers to you. Consider this quote from Revelation:
“So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” -Revelation 3:16