What Goes in Must Come Out

Bill Abbate

What goes in must come out is a fundamental principle that applies to everyone and everything in the universe, material or otherwise. Case in point — what we put or allow into our brain eventually comes out in our thoughts, words, and actions.

Let’s look at this principle, how it applies to our lives, and how to use it to our advantage.

What goes in must come out

Food and water go into your mouth and are expelled after being processed by your digestive tract. Similarly, what you see, hear, and read are expelled after being processed by your brain. The difference is the digestive tract produces waste, while the brain produces useful or unuseful outputs through thoughts, words, and actions.

Unfortunately, some of the output from our mind can be worse than the excrement from our body. In some cases, it can be harmful, destructive, or deceptive. Fortunately, we also have the opportunity to create good, constructive, and helpful output.

Isn’t life like that? Good and bad, creative and destructive, helpful and harmful, and everything between the two. We get to choose what we put in our mouths and our brain. We can consume healthy or unhealthy food and open our minds to healthy and unhealthy inputs. In either case, it is a daily choice.

Our bodies and mind are like a computer. Take, for example, an acronym from the 50s, GIGO, which stands for garbage in, garbage out. If you put garbage in your mouth or in your mind, you get garbage out.

Why not use your body and mind for something good? Put healthy things into your body and mind and create health in each.

Create? Yes, create! Everything you do in life creates something, including every choice you make.

You have a choice. Do you want to create bodily and mental health, or do you want to feed on garbage and junk?

Feed on healthy food for a healthy body, and open your mind to healthy input and information for its health. Change GIGO from “garbage in, garbage out” to “good in, good out!”

For example, the input into our minds is learning from what we do, from others, and from experience. Our mind processes this information to make sense of it. We then act on the results of this processing (thinking) to create something through our thoughts, words, actions, or behaviors.

You can write this sequentially as:

Input + process = output.

Simply put, the input (learning) is processed (thinking about and making meaning or sense of the input) to output (action or behavior) a creation. This pattern exists in every thinking human being.


As a writer, years of learning and accumulated knowledge gained from others, books, videos, education, experience, etc., have input much information into my brain. I process this data in various ways, often learning even more during the process. From this process, I get writing ideas from which I take action.

The action results in outputting (creating) an essay, article, book, social media post, journal entry, or another form of writing (and soon YouTube videos). Ultimately, the input to my mind becomes an idea or thought that births something tangible through action.

This pattern of input + process = output is so common you can find it everywhere. Why not use it to your advantage? All it takes is the right input and processing.

What are you feeding your mind?

As consuming food is nutrition for your body, what you allow to enter your mind is nutrition for your thoughts and subsequent action or inaction.

“Your future is only as bright as your mind is open.” Rich Wilkins (1954-present)

Do you feed your mind with new things that open and expand it? Are you providing it with positive thoughts? Are you feeding it with something that will make a difference in your life?

Everyone must make a fundamental choice whether they feed their mind with negative, neutral, or positive things, each of which inputs something bad, indifferent, or good.


I consciously reduced watching and listening to negative information sources about a year ago. How was I allowing it to enter my mind? Via the news, talk radio, social media, politics, and other sensationalistic sources. Why allow someone or something to fill my head with negativism when I could choose not to listen to or watch their nonsense?

So much content is available in today’s world you can binge-watch, listen to, or read from countless negative and positive sources. So why not choose what is better for your mind and health?

Yet, some thrive on sensationalism and enjoy the negative. Why anyone would choose such a thing is practically beyond reason and common sense when you think about it.

“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948)

Instead of allowing the negative to feed my mind, I now choose 90+% positive, which is great for my sanity! I allow for some regular television programming, which I call bubblegum for the brain, but only in limited amounts. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to eliminate all negativity from life.

I prefer to feed my mind with uplifting, inspiring, knowledge-building sources that create positivity in my life. These sources include good books, church, selected videos from YouTube, TED, some great podcasts, music, and articles written by many excellent authors on such platforms as Medium.

What result are you creating?

Examine what you are feeding your mind. Are you happy with your results, or do you want something different? You only need to change the diet you feed your mind to change your results!


In the last few paragraphs, you can see what I was creating in my life and how it has shifted. When I was consuming so much sensationalistic news and talk radio, it produced anxiety to the point that it affected my health. I had ignored the fact that I could choose not to watch or listen to it and change what it was doing to my mind and creating in my life. The input kept me in a state of addiction to the negative. What I had allowed as input to my mind created far too much output in the form of stress and poor behaviors. Not a good thing!

“The more you feed your mind with positive thoughts, the more you can attract great things into your life.” Roy Bennett (1957–2018)

Things have changed since I took control and drastically reduced the amount of negative fodder, replacing it with positive food. I can now use this positive input, with some thought (processing), to create (output) a great deal of writing. I have continued publishing an article daily for years, almost without fail! Not only am I enjoying life far more, but I am enjoying the better use of my time while creating something new each day!

Final thoughts

I ask you to look at what you allow to enter your mind. Pay attention to the sources of input and constantly ask yourself the question about each source, “What is its effect on me?”

I adjure you to make a conscious decision to find all the positive, uplifting, knowledge-building sources of input to feed your mind.

What you put in will determine what you get out. Remake the old acronym GIGO to stand for good in, good out of that 3-pound “computer” in your cranium called the brain.

Remember, you are a creator who can create anything you want, including a healthy mind and body. All you need to do is feed them the right things. Oh, and a little exercise is good too! The choice is yours.

I leave you with some wisdom from a nationally renowned economist from the 19th-20th century. Take his words to heart. They are as true today as they were more than 100 years ago.

“The inlet of a man’s mind is what he learns; the outlet is what he accomplishes. If his mind is not fed by a continued supply of new ideas which he puts to work with purpose, and if there is no outlet in action, his mind becomes stagnant. Such a mind is a danger to the individual who owns it and is useless to the community.” Jeremiah W. Jenks (1856–1929)

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Semi-Retired-Leadership/Executive Coach -Personal & Career Growth Expert -Editor and Leadership Writer at Illumination -Author

Richmond, VA

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