How do we rise above the noise of life so we can stop blocking our success? First we need to define noise and success.
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste, experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
- Eleanor Roosevelt
According to the Oxford Dictionaries the word noise means “a sound, especially one that is loud or unpleasant or that causes disturbance.” If you ask a professional photographer or videographer what noise is they would say it is visual disturbances in the film grain of the image. Whichever definition you go with, noise is considered a disturbance or an interruption of a peaceful/harmonious state.
We all have to define success for ourselves, because when we accomplish something that is important to us that is success. A successful act for one person can be tying a shoe while for another person success involves being published by a major magazine. Both acts are successful accomplishments for different reasons.
Some of us have learned over time to ‘sweep’, the noise in our daily lives, to the back of our mind to be dealt with another day. The problem with that is it doesn't result in any type of life improvement, instead it creates stress. When we can remove the disturbances in life we can rise and find our true strengths and what makes us happy.
“One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals.”
There are several methods we can use to quiet, reduce, or eliminate the noise in our lives.
Write a list of the things you enjoy and/or find therapeutic. This list can consist of monetary or non-monetary items. For example, here are a few of the items on my list
Who I am and what I treasure:
Spending time with my husband
Talking to my daughter
Dancing in the kitchen
Hugging my father
Care packages from my mother
The sun on my face
A walk with my dogs
The anticipation I feel the day before traveling
The scent of flowers floating on a breeze
Lights moving in sync with music
Watching leaves floating off trees
Visiting a new place
Cuddling on the couch on a rainy day
Creating works of art
Once we have a list it can be referred back to it as often as needed. Or even better we can take our top 7 items, add them to our electronic calendar, so each day one item will pop up as a reminder of what we treasure most. I’ve done this to my calendar and it makes me smile every time I see an item from my list.
Look at the disturbance as a opportunity to improve a situation. It may take time but when we are able to see a problem as an opportunity the noise it causes will start to subside. An example of this in my life is when I received a lay off notice at a corporate job that I had invest years of my life in. At first I was devastated, talk about a reality check. A few days later I embraced the lay off and realized it was actually an opportunity. For months my husband and I had been talking about moving to a different state, so the lay off notice gave us the push we needed to make that dream a reality. In addition, it motivated me to find my strength and work towards higher more rewarding goals
“The highest levels of performance come to people who are entered, intuitive, creative, and reflective - people who know to see problem as an opportunity.”
Clean up our lives like we would clean out our closet. Let go of people or things that are energy draining, this will help reduce stress. How can we tell if something or someone is draining our energy? If we meet with someone (or go somewhere) and leave more exhausted than when we arrived, then that person (group/place) is energy draining. Get rid of it or figure out what is causing the energy drain and try to eliminate/reduce/restructure the issue/relationship. My clean up is ongoing and currently includes educating myself through books, podcast, YouTube, etc, and moving towards a more minimalistic life.
Find the magnitude of our character by strengthening the areas of life that matter most. The list from the first point may help each of us figure out our strengths. It’s amazing how doing something we enjoy fills us with energy and purpose. For instance, several years ago I learned how to paint because understanding how to change one thing, a tube of paint, into something new and different, an piece of art fit for a wall, it make me happy. Every time I look at one of my paintings I feel a sense of accomplishment and awe that ‘I made that.’
Be you, be genuine, and stay true to yourself. Do things that make you happy and don’t worry about what others think about you because of it. In this day and age it seems like people are competing for attention through social media. But we should ask ourselves, do we need an online friends to valid whether or not our life is fun or that what we are doing is important. I sincerely hope your answer is ‘no’. My answer is no because I will dance by myself in a empty parking lot or crowded department store if the mood hits me, because that is who I am and what bring me joy.
Need an example?
Here is how my treasured list and success combine:
Success is import to me because it allows me have a deeper and richer conversation with my husband about things that excite me and new things I learned. Success allows me to give my daughter life advice and help her think about how she will deal with certain situations as she grows into adulthood. I can dance in the kitchen, take time to enjoy nature, and laugh because making myself happy is my definition of success. I can make lasting connections through designs, help people brand themselves and their business, teach why a specific design lay works, and design t-shirts because creating balanced and impactful designs is my success defined.
When we strengthen our character, enjoy the little moments in life, and just strive for our own happiness the noise surrounding us will begin to subside. Our focus shifts, success becomes important for specific reasons because we now have clarity on what matters most. It takes time and effort to rise above the noise of everyday life, but I believe we all can do it.