I just finished Shawn Achor’s Before Happiness, and I really appreciated the section on noise cancelling.
For someone who doesn’t own a TV and doesn’t watch the news, this chapter was right up my alley.
His definition: “Brain “noise” is any information that is irrelevant, useless, hypothetical or distracting. And noise saps our brains of the energy to process the actually relevant information.”
Achor has six steps that he suggests to limiting our noise consumption, you can read the full six here.
For this post, I’m particularly interested in step 6: Do not read articles on tragedies you cannot (and I’ll add: will not) effect with your behavior.
I skim the HuffPo brief headlines everyday, only because I write a daily blog and feel as though it would be irresponsible of me not to stay at least somewhat informed. Otherwise, I wouldn’t even do that.
Funny, I’ve never missed a storm, never missed a big event, and hardly feel out of touch. Plus, it’s a great way to get someone to feel really important when you say, “Oh, I hadn’t heard. Tell me all about it.”
Tim Ferris talks about this too in the 4-Hour Workweek. We waste far too much time reading, listening, watching predictions and skewed stories that add very little to our lives at the end of the day.
It’s like all the assholes who slow down to look at the wreck, right? And when it’s your turn to drive by and peek, what do you do?
Media lures us in in the same fashion.
I have watched none of the Ferguson news and yet I still know quite a bit. I know enough to know that I shouldn’t have an opinion because no matter how much we tune into anything, we still don’t know the whole truth.
In fact, a story like this is a great practice for drawing up new perspectives. Another terrific point Achor makes in his book about growing our positive intelligence: our perspectives, especially culturally, are quite limited. We take things on as fact, rather naively. We have even come to trust things we see with our own two eyes, only to find out later that it wasn’t exactly as we saw it.
I could go on about how media is a business and how we’re being sold information–I have an undergraduate in advertising and journalism–but we all know that.
It’s kinda like me telling a smoker, “Cigarettes are bad for you, dude.”
We buy the information because gossip and negativity and threat are all things that satisfy our primal brain. All that negativity was imperative for survival when we were fending for ourselves, caveman-stlye.
Now that things are a little more civil, I think we can chill on the pessimism and be more mindful about our choices of noise intake.
It is definitely a practice. I won’t lie. I got sucked into a Cosby hole the other day that I wasn’t proud of. I read an article and then shared my horror with Elisa, which prompted her, of course, to seek out more of the story.
I totally fell for it.
I work diligently everyday to be mindful of my
crap clicks. I am lured by the same headlines, “Dad Drowns Five Babies,” “Kim Kardashian Bares it All,” “T-Swift Pulls Out of Spotify.”
I saw Kim’s glossy ass on FB in my newsfeed. I was probably better off NOT knowing about the psycho dad. And wanting to know more about T-Swift’s new tactic for world domination, I asked my crew at bootcamp.
When the biggest excuses I hear about health and wellness: fitness, meditation, eating healthy, etc. is “I don’t have enough time,” I wonder where all the time is going.
We all have the same time in the day as Beyonce and Oprah and Richard Branson, right?
I don’t know about you, but I’ve got dreams to accomplish … so limiting my noise intake is not only good for my psyche, it’s good for my goals.
So be the boss of your time, our most precious asset. Click mute on the noise and find yourself much happier, much more productive and much less of a sucker. Nobody likes being a sucker.
I leave you with this: Begin a practice of resisting the
crap clicks. You’ll be surprised how difficult it is and yet how much freer you’ll feel.
Kat Hurley is a transformational author, speaker and personal development coach, making over motivation @The Year of Magical Dreaming. For the full 411, visit kathurley.com, yo!