The sun has yet to rise, and the alarm goes off. Wake the kids up and get them ready for school. Hop in the car and make your way to work. Soon after, you set at your desk and turn on the computer. Answer a couple of emails. Then the phone rings. Answer the call. Finish the call. A co-worker swings by your desk for a quick conversation.
In a few hours, you break for lunch. Arrive back at your desk to a few voicemails, and a project folder is on your desk. Before you get started, you hear the chatter of someone else in the cubicle adjacent to yours on the phone. You find yourself wondering when the afternoon break will arrive. As you are about to punch the clock at 5:00PM, one last item needs your attention.
Drive home to a house of hungry children ready for dinner. Throw your bags on the floor, whip together a quick meal. Hurriedly finish dinner, so that you can unwind, make sure homework gets completed and kids to bed on time.
At the end of the night, you find yourself craving a few minutes of silence before heading to bed. Before you fall asleep, you set the alarm and press the repeat button – tomorrow will be similar.
Noise as a Distraction
You are programmed to listen to your surroundings and to hear all that is going on around you. And when you don’t want to listen, you might choose to walk away. Hell, you might even put in your earphones and listen to some music. In the midst of all that you are exposed to, it can be difficult to ever find yourself at a point in time where you are in true silence.
The noise, or clutter, that fills your life distracts you. It causes you to lose focus on what your mind is trying to do. How do you filter out all the unwanted sounds and noises that are infiltrating your ‘space’? How do you keep focus on what it is that you want, and more importantly, how you are going to get there?
It’s easy to see the noise in your life as a distraction and something that holds you back or frustrates you. If the noise persists, it will win, getting the best of you – unless you choose to change how you view the noise.
There is Silence in the Noise
This past week, I was fortunate to be on vacation for a week in San Diego. It was the perfect trip to re-energize and re-charge. There is a liberating feeling in being ‘unplugged’ and just being where you are in the moment and appreciating that experience.
As I mentioned before, it is truly difficult to completely escape the ‘noises’ of our normal daily lives. In the first few days of my trip, I simply sat on the beach listening to the ocean. The waves were crashing with strong currents, the birds were next to me eating food scraps on the beach and children were playing all around. I was completely surrounded by noise – by chaos.
Surprisingly, it didn’t bother me. In all honesty, what I experienced was peaceful and quiet. In a way I heard silence. But how? How can there be silence when so much is going on around? It has everything to do with perspective and environment.
You are in Control of your Perspective and Environment
I was able to experience silence amidst all the noise because I chose to take the perspective that it was quiet. Had I chosen to see it as noisy, and out of control, then I likely would have been frustrated that the birds kept swooping down next to me every couple of minutes. Had I not chosen to put myself in an environment that I felt would bring relaxation, then I would have never escaped the ‘chaos’.
But you might be saying, ‘who cares; you’re just one person and lucky to experience what you did’. So can you. There is no reason that any individual can’t experience the joy of finding themselves experience silence when encircled by so much noise. So, how do you do it?
- Choose to take the perspective that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. If you’re frustrated, annoyed or unhappy with all that is going on around you, then work towards finding what does make you happy. Then you will find that the noise becomes comforting.
- Put yourself in an environment where you feel comfortable and relaxed. Why escape one ‘loud’ environment only to put yourself in similar environment with different people and interactions? Make your daily habits, tasks and encounters be something that occur in an environment that plays to your strengths.
- Keep listening. Listen to everything. And when you hear something that makes you smile, stop where you are – it will provide you with the remedy you were seeking. It is through that remedy that happiness will be abundant.
Dare to listen to what you feel is right. Be bold and walk away from your frustrations and struggles. Know that there is more noise ahead in your future. If you work towards it, then you will find it. It will be a melody like you have never heard before.