The Value of Zero Thoughts

“So how much data are you gonna get on this new plan?” my friend asked. “I think it’s 20 GB per month,” the other friend said. “But do you really need 20 gigs? You’re never gonna use that, are you?” Then came the lesson: “Some things in life, I just don’t want to think about.”

Lately, my wifi at home has been super slow. So every now and then, to watch a movie or zoom with my girlfriend, I’d turn on my hotspot and use my phone’s data instead. I’m on a 10 GB per month plan, and a single TV show episode can easily take half a gig, so at first, I was constantly fretting: “How much data is this gonna cost? Should I try switching back to wifi? What if I run out halfway through the month?”

After I heard my friend’s take, however, I changed my approach. I decided that, at 31 years old, my mental space was too precious to be sacrificed over an extra 10 or 15 euros per month for more data. When I get home after a long day at work, I want to talk to my partner without the connection constantly breaking up, and I want to watch TV without tapping my fingers on the table every five minutes because the show is once again buffering.

So, new policy: “If my data runs out, I’ll buy more. Period.” I cannot tell you how liberating it felt to make that decision. More than it should have. But that’s the value of expending zero thoughts towards a topic: It’s not a little less than “a little.” It’s a lot.

It takes more space in your mind to create a new section dedicated to a novel issue than it does to think a little more about a problem you already have. Therefore, eliminating a single section entirely will bring more relief than dialing five challenges down to “I now only have to think about this once a week.”

Just like a bad habit is often easier to abandon than to practice in moderation, thoughts improve exponentially the more focused you direct them. Don’t short-shift yourself by wasting your mental power on trite problems. Remember the value of zero thoughts.