Sunday, July 10, 2022

Sometime in the 16th century, the Swedes introduced the brännvinsbord which translates to “table of spirits.”

The brännvinsbord was kind of like an appetizer table that included finger foods like bread, butter, cheese, cured meats, fish, and spirits like vodka and brandy.

For over a hundred years, the Swedes enjoyed the pre-meal brännvinsbord. It then became the star of the show – the meal itself – which they now called smörgåsbord, meaning “open sandwich table.”

I have to say that I much prefer table of spirits to open sandwich table but I’ll get over it.

A smörgåsbord is set up in a specific order and is meant to be enjoyed in a particular way that encourages you to take your time and socialize with guests.

While there is a lot to choose from, you don’t go crazy filling your plate willy-nilly.

Unlike at the typical all-you-can-eat buffet where that’s perfectly acceptable, if not encouraged.

Not surprisingly, the all-you-can-eat buffet originated in Las Vegas.

In the late 1940s, Herb McDonald was working at El Rancho, the first hotel in Vegas on what would become the Strip.

One night when he got hungry, he laid out all the makings for a sandwich on the bar. Some casino-goers saw the spread and asked if they could have some and loved it.

McDonald and El Rancho saw an opportunity to keep people inside and gambling by offering cheap all-you-can-eat food 24 hours a day.

Herb’s original bar smorgasbord became the Buckaroo Buffet. For one dollar, you could eat as much as you wanted.

Profit was not the point here. They made more money from keeping patrons in their casino longer.

Kind of gross.

Today, information is like an all-you-can-eat buffet.

It’s very cheap, usually free, and available all the time. To be consumed whenever you want. Keeping you looking at your screen longer.

Most of the media companies and platforms leverage their users’ content to keep you consuming so they can make more money through advertising.

Kind of gross.

But like food, content and information consumption can be more intentional.

We can take in information like a true smörgåsbord. Taking our time, being specific about what we add to our plates, and using what we learn to connect with people.

How can we do that?

We can start by carefully selecting our sources of information.

This can be specific websites, courses, programs, platforms, or creators.

Then limit how much you visit those sources and when you do, take your time and let the information sink in.

Do what you can to turn it into useful knowledge.

And also recognize that it’s possible to be full and have all that you need for a while.
To have enough fuel to do things instead of taking in too much which keeps you stuck (and lethargic).

I’ve just now realized that my tendency to binge information is not fuelling my creativity, it’s stunting it.

I’m not sure what my information smörgåsbord is going to look like yet. But I’ll be sharing what I find out as I leave the all-you-can-eat buffets behind.

Lynn xo


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