Start small. Start local. Do nothing.
In a recent edition of The Story of Telling, Bernadette Jiwa noted that a Google search of “how to create a sense of urgency” found nearly thirty-five million hits. Yesterday, I typed in “breaking news alerts” and found almost fifty-seven million results!
You get the emails—we all get the emails—advising us to “click now!” and “time is running out!” and “your account will be locked!” and “video proof that [insert celebrity name] had a meltdown!” And, we hear the “news” screaming (!) at us if we let it.
The intrusions into our Inbox are at once obnoxious and laughable.
Suffice it to say that the media—in its various forms—has mastered the art of raising clicks and heartbeats. If we give permission, they can influence and set our personal agendas.
Last week my wife and I enjoyed the quiet solitude of the Arizona desert. We remained off the grid for 5 days. No TV, no email, no social media, no Internet, no news, no interruptions. Just time to be with each other, ourselves, and our thoughts. The only alerts came from nature and the horses that led us through the desert passes.
What did we miss?
Nothing that could not wait. Nothing that was urgent. Nothing that required our lives to stay on alert.
Did meaningful and significant events occur in the world? Of course they did. Did we need to know about them immediately or as soon as possible after they happened? Did we need to spend energy on them at the moment of impact? Did we need to scan the endless social media posts to stay abreast of what was important to us?
And the nothing was mind-expanding. I brought a journal to the desert in case I had any epiphanies. After 36 hours, ideas started coming to me. They did not have to compete for cognitive resources. Within the next 72 hours, I had completed 16 journal pages of ideas, musings, directions, and creations. These thoughts became my “breaking alerts” and will influence my agenda moving forward. Not some marketing tactic geared to scare, entice, and grab attention.
Once we raise our awareness of what (and how much) we allow into our swipe-left-swipe-right world, we then need to understand the assumptions behind why we do what we do.
And…you do not need the desert or an out-of-town trip. Start small. Start local. Do nothing. Experience the wonder of your thoughts.
Video recommendation of the week.
Click here and see one “experiment” that suggests that “nothingness is actually important.”
Pearson Education publishes my student textbooks for life success—Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff? (3rd edition).
(c) 2017. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.