Sorting it Out, What Stays and What Goes

Working through the chaos of information overload

Can you say, overwhelmed? How could you possibly make sense of all the information, directions, advice, restrictions, opinions, ideas, research, statistics, and more? It’s impossible. Oh and wait, you had your own before you heard anything else. Being in this chaotic state might encourage you to shut down as you try and process it all or to be defensive, as you shelter and protect your own ideas. Well, relax, it’s not an all or nothing situation. Life is evolving and you are evolving too. Maybe not at the same rate but there is always room to grow and expand your ideas. Now, what stays and what goes?

You might be settling in with some decaf or an adult beverage, propping up your feet, pen, and paper in hand OR you could be in the car looking for positive alternatives to get from point A to point B. At any rate, we will be breaking it up with three musical breaks. I’ll play something fun and meaningful but the idea is to get some space to let a little of this soak in and cause you to generate your own questions.

Let’s first find the source of the chaos. It doesn’t take a genius or an extensive study to uncover the fact that today, everyone has a platform. Before 24hour news coverage, the internet, and social media, people shared ideas with their family, coworkers, and close friends. It was more of the telephone game which had it’s own pitfalls altogether but now, you can inform the masses of how you feel on any subject under the sun at any time. And it’s not just you, it’s everyone. Information overload! At the same time, our brains are revolting saying – ENOUGH. I’m not reading all that so instead I will scan. 

Hey hey brain, the marketers beat you to it. Add sensational headlines, breaks in the text, different font, color, and size, embedded videos, and jumping ads. They are working to get your attention and leave an impression one way or another. No wonder burying your head in the sand is still a popular option.

But if you can sort through all the hullabaloo to find what fits for you, you might have a chance to shift your perspective in a healthy way. 

What happens when all the information just causes you to feel worse. Worry, anxiety, fear, anger, and helplessness. Your positive energy replaced by the negative energy you absorb. Some of us can’t practice; I’m rubber and you’re glue whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you. 

It’s important, to be honest with yourself to develop a healthy boundary and strategy that works for you. Finding gratitude first thing and keeping it throughout your day is paramount in a healthy lifestyle. There are those who haven’t uncovered this secret yet and will test you daily with their negativity.

Choose wisely, what you participate in. Ask for permission to share, not by raising your hand but by noticing the other person and where they are. This models the behavior you expect in return. Now, it’s slow going. Our culture has become accustomed to oversharing so you might have to be patient. 

Start a conversation with a positive statement and avoid the feeling to, “me too”. This means to allow someone to share a story and then move on without your input. It isn’t always necessary or productive to share your relatable event as a way to connect. While you’re at it, restraint is a wonderful virtue. It’s ok for someone to share their opinion without opposition. Listening to someone is not agreeing with their position, it’s just listening. Allow them to speak their mind, when you’re willing, and then move on. A conversation at the water cooler or even on social media is not the place for an educational moment. 

What could you glean from this avalanche of information? What stays?

Adopting new ideas and gaining a new perspective is all apart of your new vantage point. Let’s crawl back up there and look at the mouse maze that is information overload. From this height, you can see the pitfalls (mouse traps if you will) that lie and wait for you at every corner. You have the power to share, learn, and grow while creating healthy boundaries to avoid these danger zones. 

It starts with knowing yourself. What’s important to you? Not protecting an idea or belief that was handed to you to guard but really exploring your own feelings and eventually, taking your own path. 

Without a strong core belief, it’s easy to get pulled into the majority mash-pit and before you know it, you’re being transported to the stage on the hands of others.

Trust yourself. Sit with your own ideas in a quiet space and believe in your intuition. Don’t feel right? Instead of ignoring those feelings, explore them. Doing your own research starts with asking questions and challenging beliefs. Talk to people you trust, read articles from reputable sources, then be still, and listen to your heart. 

I’ve been in sales my whole life. Polite persistence using the power of persuasion. Even though I’ve had a very successful career there is always room for improvement. Do you think you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? You’re wrong. Do you believe you can’t change the fabric of who you are and your core believes? You’re right. So as always, let’s find a healthy balance. 

I love going to sales conferences. The energy and enthusiasm are contagious and you leave feeling that Rocky moment of being on top of the stairs in Philly pumping both hands in the air. Bring on Monday! Now, for a sales veteran, I might say “eh, I’ve heard it all before. No reason to fix what isn’t broken”. This means I shut down and just enjoy the snacks and comradery. 

But you can always learn something new so keep your eyes peeled and your ears open. Send new information through your filter. Ah-ha, that’s very interesting. How does that apply to what I already understand? Could this enhance my perspective and give me some additional tools on my journey? What steps will I take to adopt and practice this new idea?

The idea is, not everything should or will be absorbed. But you should be open to the possibilities of picking up something new that could enrich your outlook, inform you ideas, and assist you in challenges ahead.

Hopefully, you found a few nuggets to help you get through the chaos, know what to unpack, and what to send packing. Every day it’s a constant stream of information, ideas, and opinions and if that isn’t enough, everyone is sharing their own as well. Taking what you can use to enhance your own, avoiding the negativity sess pool, and letting go of what doesn’t serve you is a healthier alternative to burying your head in the sand but even that, has its place.

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CHALLENGE: take what you want and need, release what you don’t, and know you are in charge of the process. You have the power and the intuition to sort through and be selective. Find your gratitude and fight to keep it for a healthy protectant to get through the chaos.

I Know YOU Can Do It!