I have to admit I was quite interested in the topic of the influence of social media or just media influence in general. I always knew media could impact greatly in a number of ways, some positively and others, well quite negatively. Media influence is real. How it affects people really depends on their ability to differentiate credible information from opinions, reality from fantasy, and the good stuff from the noise of negativity that some media bring.
Admittedly, I'm not sure my brain is not wired for today’s times. There’s just way too much noise. Everywhere I turn there’s noise. News outlets, social media, technology applications, work expectations, personal responsibilities. Everything just runs together like a beautiful painting, water leaking onto its canvas. I wonder how many others are experiencing the same challenges of moving and grooving through all this noise. Your colleagues perhaps? What about your family? Do we stop and think about how this noise is affecting our loved ones? Our parents?
A generation that didn’t have the latest, greatest innovative stuff are now completely immersed in stuff, all kinds of it. In some ways it’s maddening. I observe the elderly at stores that only offer self checkouts, and unfortunately many retail stores ONLY offer self checkouts. Where there once was a checker to bag the goods and transport them to one's car, now there's no one. In my world where relationships matter most of all, I find this to be just nuts! And what about these new wave quick shops. No one approaching their vehicles to our parents and grandparents pump their gas. And they better know how to insert that credit card and operate the pump, because that's the only way to pay - unless they go into the shop to pay in advance. I still long for the world where we helped our elderly navigate this very complicated world in which we all live.
And what about our children? Do we even think about how all this noise will influence their very being as future adults of our world? We discuss how we must change to keep up with the technological shifts occurring all around us; after all, staying globally competitive requires our workforce to continually shift to more innovative ways. Perhaps we should be asking ourselves whether these significant technological shifts in all areas of our lives are paths we want to follow.
It's shocking when I think about the amount of information available to human beings today, comparatively to the that which was accessible during my formative years.
I was a quiet child who would work and play independently. My verbal skills weren’t developed until a bit later but I would learn about the world as I experienced it, taking in every piece of information I discovered. This would begin molding me in ways that established my whole being.
Conceptualizing terms and operations in procedural ways created substantial challenges for me as a high school student. I was a big picture thinker who depended heavily on the use of imagination and the arts to gain understanding of the world. Breaking ideas apart in pieces and examining how they could fit together differently intrigued me.
Through the lens of multiple experiences, I began seeing the world differently and thus dreaming of what could be became my new way of planning for the future. I was definitely a dreamer! Confidence was reared through relationship development, as working with others and taking note of their style and adding some of those various pieces to my own personal repertoire established the leader in me.
Driven in a selfish sort of way to contribute more greatly to the community became my motivation. The realization that I could do more for others and feel more satisfied with myself was a critical factor in my personal and professional growth. Establishing big goals with aspirations of achieving each one became my driving force. Building relationships and delving into my hobbies with others along the way was an essential step in finding success.
Placing those I served first was the professional path to which I strictly adhered. It also became my personal mission. If success is measured by promotions and titles, I found it. Maintaining an organized professional and personal life was a struggle. Balancing family and work was a goal never achieved- and I erred greatly along the way, both professionally and most definitely personally.
Too much noise with limited interaction in a world where building and maintaining relationships are central to who I am as a professional, an educator, a leader, a wife, a mother, and a friend is deafening and defeating. Navigating this new normal creates sleepless nights. My thoughts are overtaken by those little neurons that fire off sounds in the mind at warp speed that resemble a mac truck backing up, creating undeniable brain static.
I can’t help thinking only too often: I wonder if anyone else feels this way. Actually, I know, without a doubt, others do. The question is this: how do they navigate today’s times in a way that calms their mind with no overthinking, overdoing, overstimulation, which causes their thoughts to be clouded- which in turn affects everything.
Fortunately, I found some answers, those that work for me. I put them into play to help my life make sense. Perhaps they are not fitting for everyone, but my hope is one can walk away after reading this with something that is helpful in navigating the craziness of life as a result of this extraneous noise.
First, Just say no! Say no to social media and media influence. Take a break from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn. Step away from the television. Perhaps read books or listen to the audio versions. I mean think about how many hours you spend on social media or watching television. You can be an influencer without being on these platforms 24/7. Instead, build relationships, help others, send cards, texts, emails as a way to check in with others. Reach out via telephone. Dial away. Let others know you are thinking of them.
Take some time to read Dale Carnegie's "How to win friends and influence people." The art of communication is a fine art, indeed. Establishing competencies in communicating with finesse will lead to professional success and personal growth. Sometimes turning to classic works with traditional self-help cues is just what is needed to change the world or, at the very least, change yours for the better.
Take time to view the following videos. They provide some deep insights to the influence of media:
Second, Exercise daily. It’s the potion, the prescription to better health, as it reduces stress and calms the mind. Beginning the morning with a walk outside will increase blood flow to the mind, calming it and improving one's thought process and memory.
Train your mind to adopt this simple idea. Love others. How do you do this? Start reading. In fact, listen to audio books while walking- unless you find a walking partner. Books like The Secret, The Alchemist, The Greatest Salesman in the World, Tuesdays with Morrie, among so many others inspire greatly.
Get out of the rabbit holes and start meeting new people, enjoying all experiences. I began challenging myself by meeting as many new people as possible. My mantra - One person a day, hey whatta ya say - motivated me completely. Whether on the shuttle to the airport, on a plane or train, or visiting schools or hotels, I would approach different folks, introducing myself and asking questions. Did I ever meet some interesting and fun people! Explore the landscape and visit new places, embrace a new hobby, or meditate. Whatever you decide to do, make your activity meaningful and worth every bit of your time, for time is your most precious gift.