There are simple truths that take a while to sink in. They are blatantly obvious, a little cliché even, but you never hear those words the way they sound, till you do on the day you actually “get it”. Such is my experience with the words, “Cancel the Noise”.
As a driven young woman with audacious goals, there is a lot of noise. Whatever is noise is repetitive, annoying and distracting. Because of this "noise", it is hard for you to focus on what you know and believe. It causes you to doubt your ability, competence and the overall possibility of your ambitions. It steals your focus.
It can be loud, persistent and distracting and when you give it attention, its influence on you grows the more aware you become of it.
I’ve had to face several experiences, learning to identify and cancel the noise. In retrospect, sometimes, you could get used to the noise, and you forget that it's noise, and that it is distracting, till you cancel it.
Yes, this whole analogy has a little bit to do with noise cancelling headphones. Have you ever used one? You go into a different world, and your focus is laser sharp. Why? Because the mental bandwidth your brain needed to analyze the noise in the background, can now be dedicated to fully listening, fully experiencing, and producing more effective results. It’s a little similar to life.
Noise will come in different forms, Woman. Sometimes in the most unfortunate of places, the most unexpected of forms, and sometimes you realize it a little too late. A few things are important to identifying noise.
The one pattern I now identify in my life as noise, is fundamentally when it distracts you from what is important.
Before you can identify noise, it is important, in my opinion, to have some sense of clarity on who you are, what is important to you, and what you don’t want. Occasionally, the best path to knowing who you are is knowing who you are not. This is the foundation that will define what you perceive as noise.
Occasionally, the best path to knowing who you are is knowing who you are not. This is the foundation that will define what you perceive as noise.
Noise sometimes will come in form of people who love you
Sometimes, family and friends who love you will be noise. This is particularly hard because they often mean well, and want the best for you. Most of the time this will come in the form of their suggestions of safe options for you; experiences which worked for them and which they think will work for you.
Sometimes, they are just protective of you. You can be in the midst of noise and cancel it, once you identify it and assign the required weighting to it. Then it becomes less distracting and you become less reactive to it.
Noise sometimes is inside your head but as real as it can get
This is the absolute worst. It is typically fed by some slightly related event of things not going according to the plan you had in your head, and then you extrapolate it to mean that everything is going wrong and you can’t do anything right.
It is important to know what your self-talk sounds like, and when you begin to get noisy and negative. This distracts you, draining energy that would have otherwise gone to achieving your goals. We don't want that.
Noise is sometimes people who don’t believe in you
And that’s okay. Not everyone is going to think that you are great or that you can do what you want to do. In fact, some people are going to downplay your achievements, explain away every amazing thing you’ve done, and highlight all your imperfections.
That’s okay. What you won’t do, is internalize that. No, you won’t. In the famous words of someone’s grandma on Twitter, “What people think about you is none of your business”. Face your business, do your thing, and keep doing your thing. It’s quite hard to argue with consistency and diligence that produces quality results and even then, don’t crave the applause so badly that its absence is distracting to you.
Noise is comparing yourself with some "standard"
My mother will say in Yoruba, my local language, “Don’t use another person’s wrist watch to tell your own time”, a way of saying, work at your own pace.
Comparison is such a distraction. Time you could spend building you, you're expending measuring yourself against someone else's journey. Cancel this, by constantly reminding yourself that you are on YOUR own journey and that has no comparison. Do you.
Posts like this are almost always a simplification but even in simplifications there are gems. Amidst the variables, there will come a time when your experience culminates, you hear the words differently, and something clicks.
On that day you actually “get it”. Cancel the noise.
Read Next Post: Stop Asking For Permission, Woman