If you’re thinking about noise, don’t just think about what you can hear.
Think of noise as an unwanted sound that interferes with whatever it is you’re trying to do. There can be a fair bit of it, actual or potential, in all our lives. Road traffic and aircraft overhead are probably the main culprits for most of us. So far, so obvious.
Now think of noise as any unwanted distraction from your intentions, coming at you from any source. With that definition, living in ‘an endless bombardment’ is a description of how life often is. It can make anyone feel ratty, put anyone in a bad mood, make anyone feel unhappy.
Justifiably, social media gets a lot of blame as the primary cause of noise, but there are plenty of other sources. Think of all the activities and pursuits we are told we should be interested in. Buy this, own that. Do this, be that. Experience this before we die. Whether explicitly or less obviously, via how things are presented on TV, in films and magazines, on social media channels or in any number of other places, these days we’re always being told about the crucial things we should be doing, owning, embracing or experiencing before it’s too late.
For most of us, for most of the time, it’s all noise. Happiness isn’t going to be found in more-or-less blindly buying, consuming or doing more. It lies in doing what you’re actually interested in. And to do that you have to be free to focus on it, free from distractions. You have to be free from all the ‘nags’. They’re just noise.
It’s possible to make things change for the better. Gaining freedom from nags is the way to gain control over your own life, and there are achievable tactics to adopt to make this happen. Simply turning off the sources of the nags – which is pretty well all media, social or otherwise – for large blocks of your time makes a huge difference. Stand back and assess everything – social media and anything else – in terms of the difference any of it actually makes to your quality of life. What does yet another dribble of information into your consciousness do for your happiness? Do you actually want to do this or that activity, which just happens to currently be in the marketing spotlight? Do you actually like whatever it is that’s been forced onto your agenda?
But it’s one thing to think of these as achievable tactics. Competing with anyone’s efforts to gain control over how your life is being led, there’s a lot of pressure on us all to ‘keep on keeping on’ with what we currently do.
No-one wants a ‘crab bucket life’*, being dragged down by others. A moment’s reflection and we all know that what others want isn’t the same as what you want yourself. Of course none of us wants to be nagged. We can see that if we want a happier life we need to gain as much control as we can over what we do. We can see that gaining focus and getting free from pointless distractions is do-able and that on the face of it there are few or no real barriers to stop us. And that’s despite all the pressure to ‘keep on keeping on’ and change nothing. We can have all these positive thoughts.
But if we want change, first we have to want it enough.
As with talk, thoughts alone are cheap. Action isn’t so easy. But experience tells me that if you know the route ahead will be tough and if you know that sometimes you’ll find it hard to stick to it, you’ve a good starting point to move from. Forewarned really is forearmed.
* An individual crab in a bucket will crawl out. If a crab in a bucket with other crabs tries to escape, the other crabs will pull it back down. Fishermen know this – they never need to put a lid on a bucket of crabs. The trouble is, humans are vulnerable to the same fate, living our lives being pulled down by others.
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