I was in a check out line earlier this week and was bombarded by all sorts of information and sounds. The check out lines were electronic so we had to pay attention to the announcement for the “next available” message. There were televisions at each aisle so you didn’t get bored waiting, there was music playing over the loud speaker, and three people in line all had phone calls in process on speaker or FaceTime, which meant everyone in the store got to hear every word. Other people were talking in line louder than normal to be heard over all the music, and there was the store manager barking out to the people restocking the shelve. I stood there with no doubt why people live fractured lives…even the simple process of making a purchase has become exhausting and overwhelming. No wonder people mostly shop online.
There is too much out there for us to be able to process it all AND make some sort of sense of it. Most of what we ingest is noise – information we don’t want or need yet someone thinks it is important enough to still bombard our brains. It is up to us to filter it out, avoid those settings or tune into a different channel. We do not need any more information, it is readily available at our finger tips. What we need is knowledge.
As people we are starved for knowledge – self understanding, truth, wisdom, and even the ability to decipher for ourselves what we want and what we don’t want. We plod along so easily with brains filled with mush that we forget some days that we are in charge of our lives, our thoughts, and the information we choose to digest. Knowledge is power and we need to exercise our power more than we do. Which means changing some of our habits into better, more positive practices.
What is a positive practice? It is actively choosing to do something for a reason. Read a book to relax or gain knowledge. Take a walk to release our frustrations or just get some fresh air. Turn off the phone and talk to our family instead of hiding behind apps that dull our mind. Or maybe just sit in a room with silence in order to let all the stuff in our brain settle, process and make sense. Even taking a deep breathe after a long conversation before starting another one, so the first one has time to land and our ideas have time to reveal themselves. If you notice, most of these things do not require equipment or electronics, they demand intention and quiet. Two things we often leave behind as we tackle the deluge of things flying around us each day. Knowledge only comes when we allow our brains to focus and process, and then turn the information into action. Anyone can watch a uTube video about CPR, that information means nothing unless the brain absorbs it and practices it to get it right. I wouldn’t want to trust my life to a paramedic who only watch videos, would you?
We are indeed drowning in information and starving for knowledge. So let us become intentional about what we DO with all that information. Block it out, turn it off, tune it out, or act on it and improve our lives by gaining knowledge. Let us embrace silence in order to become better versions of ourselves. And let’s control our own contributions to the information madness by being intentional about the information we share with others.