Where is that coming from? That noise? Those thoughts? This feeling? It seems louder, constant; feels unsettling. I wish they would stop it. Somebody make it stop.
I am listening. I’m thinking. And while this is not an account of actual conversation, a single exchange between me and another, it is a cumulative thematic reflection of the expressions interpreted through any period of time.
As I listen, think, and try to understand, I often find myself pondering, “where are these people getting their information?” “Who are they surrounding themselves with and why?”
Having the occasional opportunity to actually ask these questions, it starts to make sense – and I’m saddened by hearing the answers. Very often, it is ‘the news’ and streaming ‘rants’ from political associations, celebrity quips, and other people they do not know. “Why,” I ask. “Because I want to know what’s going on,” is the common answer.
What’s going on is that you’re reaching for something you cannot touch, attaching your mind and emotions to random others while yelling “stop” into that void, which you’ve chosen to focus on. The saying, “you can’t help someone until they are ready for help,” is not always true, but as in addiction and other behavior struggles – and in these cases, it is true.
In these moments, I find myself fading into a slow head twist, back and forth, as thoughts of the voices I hear, the information I consume, conversations and people I engage in and with, and I’m swept into peaceful gratitude for the people around me.
I think of the podcasts from friends, Garry Turner (Value Through Vulnerability), Kevin Monroe (The Higher Purpose Podcast), Marcel Schwantes (Love In Action). I pause. Whoa. Read that again; personal insight, growth, and vulnerability; greater meaning, intention, and purpose; self-care, self-worth, and outreach with care for others. Amazing. Grateful.
I think of the communities and people I interact with, the authors published on BizCatalyst 360° and the overarching ethos of 360° Nation with Dennis Pitocco, the HumansFirst global network simply inspiring humans, and my work with companies of people seeking positive change.
I mentally scan books from friends: Kimberly Davis (Brave Leadership), Ozlem Brooke Erol (Create a Life You Love), Melissa Hughes (Happy/Happier Hour with Einstein and her gratitude journal), Jeff Ikler and Kirsten Richert (Shifting), Heather Younger (The Art of Caring Leadership [coming soon] and her podcast Leading with Heart), Mark LeBusque (Being Human and the Little Book of Human and his podcast Simply, Practically Human), Heather Hanson Wickman (the Evolved Executive – the Future of Work is Love in Action), and so many, many more.
Look at those titles. Look who these people are. See it, feel it, there are incredibly gifted people sharing their gifts openly, engaging, and bringing dialog, truth, perspective.
By choice, every day, there is an ocean of information to consume that does not cause me to question the “noise,” want it to stop, or feel unsettled. I’m lucky, yes. But “lucky” by choice.
Those I sympathize with, listen to, and feel their struggle, also have choices. While they feel victimized, their choices are fueling that narrative. Much of it is self-inflicted and they resist steps to emotional and mental fitness. They remain fixed in their patterns of information and continue to surround themselves with voices of blind/manipulative allegiances and comparative identity. The opportunity is to stop themselves, rather than shout pleas of conditional change into the void.
Whew. Wow. Thank goodness for the influence of those around me.
We all have the ability to change our lives. In Believership – The Superpower Beyond Leadership, I share the tenets that pointed me to “lucky:”
- Stop self-sabotaging
- Have a plan
I diligently and thoughtfully curate and choose my information sources. I am kept very aware of the depth I choose. Nearly 5 years ago I turned off TV news. I am smarter, not dumber. Better informed, not less informed. It was a habit, not information seeking. Try it for one week – seriously, no cheating, not peeks just to see the weather (get an app), and there are no sports so that’s easy. I believe this little test will change your life. Most of you won’t do it. You’ll defend your habit rigorously. I get it and appreciate you and your choices.
Want one more fun little experiment? You know when you hear something you don’t agree with, or someone cuts you off in traffic, or see someone not wearing a mask these days; you pierce your lips slightly together, partially close your eyes, and shake your head side to side. Ever count how many times you do this in a single day? How about a week?
Here you go – choose a friend as a fun/accountability partner. Each day text/communicate how many times you caught yourself in the act. Guess how many times this happens in a week and see how many days it takes to get to that number. Each time you catch yourself in the pierced-lip, indignant headshake, SMILE at the fact you recognized the thought/action. You’ll be amazed at your ability to flip a switch from negative to positive and break a pattern.
I wish you great conversations, supportive influences, and a fabulous day. Choose well those around you.