Musings on designing experiences & (re)engineering complexity

Jul 2023

Cutting Through the Noise

Misty rusty car by Mister Ash via Flickr

Apparently, I’m getting older. And saying that because more often than not these days, am looking for areas where it’s quiet. Or more specifically, where the noted decibel ranges somewhere under 50 dB, and that’s not a bad thing, we know there’s a connection regarding noise, pollution, and our ability to be productive. And then, we all know about taking times to meditate, and how a consistent focus towards meditating adds years to your life (almost literally). So, I do believe all of us are trying to cut through the noise of life. Not so much to find something quieter. But to find something landing in a space of a more acceptable sound. A means of flowing with life, instead of fighting against it.

However, there are some moments where we can’t just find quiet. Where we have to either generate cancelling sound ourselves, or find a way to cut through the noise. For many clients and friends who are in the job market, they are most attuned to this point. There are many more people than usual looking for jobs (in knowledge based fields). And, in addition to the increased number of stated open roles, there is increased friction for posting and responding to them. There’s increased friction in interviews (frequency, pacing, requirements, etc). There is increased friction all over the place. The data supports that most new jobs come from the people you know, or those second and third-degree connections. In these days and times there’s just more noise when looking to be compensated for your skills and talents. So how does one cut through the noise?

A mentor and I often talk about “getting real with ourselves.“ Where, we are not just saying things to puff ourselves up, but getting to the base reality of ourselves in the moment. If that means we are tired, then we do not over extend. If it means that we have capacity to be there for a friend, then we’d be present with them (and not also sidetracked by being on our connected devices.). Part of the activity held with those persons who are looking to move forward towards a new role, a promotion, or a better work experience is to help them get real with themselves. To define “what is actually the reason why you wake up every day,” and “why this activity must happen so that you have value to reach for after you do wake?“

For some, this journey towards cutting through the noise of their own life is right, with even more questions and more noise. We find with some of us that we don’t have the ability to even communicate what it is that we would like to do because we are encumbered by the language of where we are or where we came from. For some of us, we have a superhero complex. (insert the picture of Edna saying “no capes“) for some of us, we actually do know what it is that we would like to do, but we exist in some other reality, where we have to do something else, instead of putting our energies in our time towards what we really want to do, and what would be more fulfilling if we were to go ahead and do it. Cutting through the noise, requires a level of discipline and faith that requires from us to be quiet with ourselves. And after that moment of quiet to find the type of action, that leads us to evaluating, not the future, but the end of the day, as being “one step closer to our goal, or expected end.“

Some of the steps for cutting through the noise means to establish or reestablish boundaries spiritually, emotionally, mentally, socially, or even within one’s family. Some of the steps for cutting through the noise needs small disciplines, things that can be repeated on a daily basis, which lead to large gains overtime . Some of the steps for cutting through the noise doesn’t look like steps of cutting through the noise at all, because it means adding a voice where it wasn’t present before. Or adding experience, knowledge, and understanding, where it was forsaken. Cutting through the noise is not a one time event. It is an active, engaging type of behavior. One where you both bolster yourself, while also leveraging your environment to uplift (or calm down).

And what happens after you have cut through the noise? Well, the shape of the universe is best described in the word that says “entropy.“ What exactly does that need to mean for you? Probably something along the lines of finding contentment in whatsoever state that you are in while also contending for a better future for yourself, your family, and your community.

image by Mister Ash via Flickr