Use Dunbar’s Number to Create Your Own Reality

“What you call love was invented by guys like me, to sell nylons. You’re born alone and you die alone and this world just drops a bunch of rules on top of you to make you forget those facts. But I never forget. I’m living like there’s no tomorrow, because there isn’t one..”
– Don Draper

I walk into my corridor kitchen only to find people laying in the couch watching TV.  They are watching some Harry Potter movie. They start complaining loudly in a surprised way when suddenly the movie breaks for commercial.

A fat girl yells out:

I love Christmas because this is the time of the year that they show the best movies!

I’m thinking to myself: what, you can’t download movies any day of the week?  Or is it that you don’t even know what kind of movies you prefer to watch?

The fat girl sees a commercial and screams:

Ahh, Avatar? I hated that movie, but then I watched it again and kind of liked it…

I ask her why she would possibly watch it again if she hated it.

Guess what she said?

Well… Uh.. I believe in giving things a second chance.

She was completely serious.


What we have here is a perfect example of how to live your life unconsciously.

This is the kind of person who has no purpose in life.

A person who places zero value on her time.

A person who is content to kill time by any means necessary to carry on her pathetic existence for no other purpose than to…  prolong homeostasis and eat more food?

A person like this is completely stuck in the leisure mindset (not valuing all her time equal) and will avoid temporary boredom at any cost.

This is the complete opposite of what you should be aiming for.

So how do you avoid becoming one of these people?

By carefully managing your inputs for information, stimulation, and your environment.

Here in this post I’ll go into a new aspect of how you can manage your inputs for information.

But before I get into that I need to tell you about Dunbar’s Number.

Respect Dunbar’s Number

Dunbar’s Number is a scientific finding within evolutionary psychology which states that humans have a cognitive limit that confines us to being familiar with a maximum of 100-230 other people. For some reason 150 is the number that’s usually being used when speaking about this, and therefore the number I’ll use as well.

So, what does this mean?

It means that:

  • These 150 people are the ones that you feel a sense of familiarity and connection to  they are the ones you perceive to be part of your tribe. Everyone else is perceived more or less as an outsider, and gets treated with much more suspicion and resistance.
  • Groups above 150 people tend to get increasingly disorganized the larger they become.
  • These are the 150 people that you’ll unconsciously tend to compare yourself with!

With regards to controlling your inputs for information, we are concerned mainly with the first and last implications.

But we’re not done.

There’s actually a twist to this and an important one at that!

The cognitive limitations described by Dunbar’s Number are NOT confined only to how many human beings we perceive as being part of our tribe, but to anything we perceive as a living entity with a personality.

This includes celebrities, imaginary characters, brands, and other things.

This is a major reason why companies spend large amounts of money on PR and marketing. It’s because they want their company to be perceived as a personality and to become one of your “150 mental buddies”  they really want to be perceived as part of your tribe.

Because if they do, then you’ll trust them and you’ll unconsciously drift towards buying their product over similar ones in the supermarket.

If you respect Dunbar’s Number you will not allow any of these things to be part of your tribe.

If you respect Dunbar’s Number you’re going to be VERY mindful about what 150 perceived personalities you allow into your life. Since you inherently trust, like, and feel connected to these 150 personalities, they are going to have a huge influence on the mental and unconscious aspects of your life.

If you respect Dunbar’s Number you will deliberately avoid poisoning your mind with celebrities, imaginary characters, brands, and other things that don’t serve as positive guide posts or role models for what you want to become.

What you’ll do instead is to carefully and consciously select the 150 most important influences that you want in your life and. . .

Stop Living in Hyperreality

Because your Dunbar’s Number  has big implications on your hyperreality, and this the reason why the vast majority of people are confused and misled about a lot of things.

What is a hyperreality?

–Hyperreality is defined as “a real without origin or reality”

Consider it the “reality tunnel” you are in. It’s relatively easy to notice someone else’s reality tunnel, if you pay attention, but it’s challenging (requires a lot of metacognition) to see your own reality tunnel.

It’s a hard concept to grasp for most people because they are so immersed in hyperreality that they can’t see it.

The best example of a creator of hyperreality is TV:

  • TV shows are 100 % fake. But most people don’t consider that. They unconsciously (want to) believe that the show is real life so. . .
  • Most people go around believing in fairy tales and other lies because it’s convenient (because they want to)
  • The large scale effect of this is that TV creates a (dumbed-down) massculture

And mass-culture is like a virus, you shouldn’t allow yourself to be tainted by it, unless you want to be mediocre and operate from an inferior way of dealing with reality (how success is achieved).

This is why I recommend that you stop watching TV forever.

Or you’ll become a stupid person who believes that all friendships and social circles should be like the gang of on the TV show Friends and that if you learn magic tricks and act corny, like Barney from the TV show How I Met Your Mother, you’ll become a ladies man.

It’s your choice.

Since many of people’s 150 most influential sources of information are occupied by useless things, they inevitably get a skewed understanding about what is important in their lives. They are influenced by things such as:

  • The mainstream media
  • Coca Cola
  • Justin Bieber

How do any of these things matter to you?

They don’t.

And this handicaps their ability to critically consider questions about how they should lead their lives.

They start unconsciously comparing themselves to completely irrevelant people. They justify their sheepish behavior by having seen Kim Kardashian do it on TV.

If Kim does it it must be good, right?

Today we are bombarded with more ads, social media, television, and other unnecessary sources of information than we ever have been before.

No one knows the exact amount, but the average person is subjected to about 5000 advertising messages per day.

There’s no doubt that this affects us.

Yes, even you.

How can you avoid this from happening?

By managing your inputs for information.

Just like the stupid fat girl from my corridor, most people aren’t very mindful of what sources they get their information from.

They just consume whatever information they can get without thinking about how it aligns with their goals in life.


Don’t even go there…

Just focus on yourself and manage your inputs for information.

Summary: Manage Your Inputs for Information

  • Remember Dunbar’s Number and be mindful about what 150 perceived personalities you have in your head.
  • Drop TV and mainstream media forever. Leave that to the ignorant masses.
  • Read books and direct your information search to things that have to do with accomplishing your goals.

It’s up to you to build your own reality, step by step – brick by brick, to slowly but surely create a masterpiece.

If you don’t, you’ll automatically be part of the pathetic mass culture hyperreality that 99% of everyone else is part of.

Remember, you ARE your inputs for information.

And if you’re watching TV, reading gossip magazines, listening to the mainstream media, and hanging out with ignorant people. . . What does that make you?

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  1. I’ve been thinking about this quite a lot – I love reading news online and watching sitcoms. You have many good points (and more appealing than the simple “ignorance in bliss”-view), but I cannot really agree with the conclusion, at least on a personal level.

    I see news more of constantly updating case studies of subjects that interest me, it also triggers me to learn more about different areas (e.g.Trump and the Republican movement in US).

    Sitcoms – well, if you take them for what they are, they can be great source of jokes and witticism in a concentrated and easy accessible while commenting on our present time.

    However, since listening to your podcasts my book, my reading has increased rapidly, which have given news reading (in any field), an enhancement and more angles, rather than competing against it .

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