As a copywriter who focuses on alternative health, environmental, and wellness brands, I'm constantly on a mission to shift, progress, and propel my clients and myself into new states of being. This requires continuous exposure to enormous amounts of new information.
When I point-and-click my way through the day, as nearly all of us do, it's hard to ignore headlines of conflict, gloom, and contradiction. How much of the "good fight" can you fight when the messages you encounter look like one step forward two steps back?
“The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.”
It's difficult to feel more confused as a result of additional knowledge. It feels like a big pile of not so much awesome, right?
That study says this.
This news outlet says that.
But over here, Mr. Xyz Jones says that the sky will crack open and angels will sing if we all simply take 32 paces toward True North, stand on our heads, stay true to our personal brands, and hum "ring around the rosie" while eating spoonfuls of peanut butter.
Okay, it might not be that ridiculous, but sometimes it feels that way. It's tempting to check out and robot-style your day away so your brain doesn't feel perpetually scrambled like an 80s drug commercial.
Checking out and going robot-style rogue doesn't leave too much room for awesome nor is it healthy for your well-being.
No matter the industry you're in, staying inspired and engaged is crucial to your sanity. No one wants to work (or live for that matter) feeling confused and compartmentalized. No one wants to feel as if individual actions are swallowed into the ether of blah-blah-blah-blah-blah static.
Social media streams and ongoing connection are becoming essential to every career and business. Many feel as if there's no alternative to such things. Some of us like it. Some of us don't. Like it or not, all of us must sift through ads, news, and a barrage of opinions to get to the goods. If your eyes are also trained on sustainability, social justice, and other arenas in highly charged progression, you're even further subjected to conflicting ideals, contradictory knowledge, and competing speculative projections.
Staring at these things day-in and day-out can leave us sapped of energy, feeling pulled in multiple directions, and wondering what exactly is the point of our work.
I have my fair share of days where it feels like an avalanche of overstimulation might bury me alive, but keeping the following techniques in the mix helps me stay inspired. Let's all do our best to keep ourselves and each other sane, striving, and moving forward without all the mixed messages dragging us down.
BE CURIOUS... AND HUMBLE
Ignoring the world doesn't make it go away, so you need to stay open to all those crazy messages coming at you. Don't worry so much about what they say. Your number one concern should be how you judge the information.
Placing a positive or negative label on each message that comes your way only further imprints its existence on yours. Once you judge something, you start churning it around in your mind under a preconceived assumption that creates positive or negative emotions within you.
This bogs you down.
Be curious. Question things. Why is the message even an issue? Why does it bother or motivate you? Can you gracefully incorporate into your life?
Answer these questions, but then, let the issue go.
If it's something you truly feel passionate about, it'll come back around. You'll make time to work with the topic. This is where the humble comes in. Ego and pride hand us anger, confusion, and possessiveness. When we get worked up by landslides of information, we carry the negativity with us. We want to fix everything. Remove the negative effects by glancing at something in the moment, seeing it in a larger context, and quickly letting it go.
This doesn't mean we agree. It means we witness something, hold its essence, and release that which will disrupt our overall focus. Removing our judgement frees up attention for the things that truly inspire us.
REMEMBER THAT YOU'RE NOT GOD
My use of the word god has nothing to do with religion, so atheists and agnostics, you're not off the hook on this one. I use it to encompass the concept of all that which rules... well... all.
It's beautiful to want to do good, save the world, create sustainable energy resources, eliminate poverty, buy local, communicate global, create jobs, manifest joy, spread universal sunshine, and have the most epic home life, but you, my friend, are one person.
Yes, one person can influence much, and that's what you need to focus on - that which you can influence. Running around trying to fix a million things at once will only dilute your power. Know what's important to you, and keep your eye on that ball.
You can create change in the world, but you do not possess a magic fixy wand.
When the need to fix or pay attention to everything lifts, you're lighter, you create gaps within your inner dialogue to fill with new energy, and you are able to collaborate more with like-minded folks to create truly inspiring progress.
Routine can get dull. Add adventure to your life every day.
Make a commitment to not allow any two days to look alike. Even if it's simply choosing to engage with your spouse, friends, co-workers, or family differently, do... something... different.
It's easy to get buried under all the messages when you feel like you're on a hamster wheel. Take a different route home. Walk to a new lunch place. Change up your workout routine. Volunteer at a nonprofit that operates outside of your typical focus. Make an impromptu art museum visit.
This one isn't about planning grand mountain climbing trips, but please, go for it, if the fancy strikes you. This one is about never letting life feel too familiar. This one is about letting the unexpected take place.
Stability is great and has its place, but getting stuck in the ho-hum makes us susceptible to frustration. Change keeps us ready. It draws us to new people, new places, and let's us continue to grow. Grow every day.
There's a reason this one's on so many lists. It works.
How does emptying your mind inspire you? It chills you out, calms your nerves, and establishes a procedure for you to follow when you get overwhelmed.
You can Google well over a million ways to meditate. Gurus have books full of instructions. Some people say moving meditation works for them. Some folks call cooking a version of meditation.
I advise actually sitting down for a chunk of time, closing your eyes, breathing deep, and being quiet. Yes, thoughts will come. Yes, you will learn to detach from them after some regular practice. Yes, that will assist you as you're overloaded with mixed messages throughout the day.
Meditation will propel you into new spaces of being. If you already do it, do it a little more. It's one of the greatest, cheapest avenues to inspired awesome that you can give yourself.
This doesn't necessarily mean you should run around hugging everything, but it wouldn't hurt. Studies show that hugging reduces stress. (Sidenote: On the physical hugs front - I'm not advising anyone to get all Creeper-McCreepsies with strangers, but with all the phone/computer time we log, it wouldn't hurt to actually hug our loved ones more, hold a hand or two, and actually offer a pat on the back instead of a thumbs up emoji.)
What this is about is much broader than an actual physical embrace. It's a mindset, a life approach, and an axis upon which to call home.
All those mixed messages? They're created by your fellow humans. All those contradictions, conflicts, and gloomsies? Ditto. Joy, caring, giving, art, and an infinite number of other incredible things you find inspiring are also created by those with whom you share the planet.
Embrace them. Embrace the experience. Embrace the totality of it all.
This world is a mosaic of all of our perceptions, contributions, beauties, stumbles, triumphs, heartbreaks, and disappointments. We're overstimulated because so many someones were brilliant enough to give us that opportunity. How we each utilize those gifts is up to us as individuals.
We're all creating our own universes, and all of those universes spill together to create this spectacularly fascinating existence we share. Yes, there are moments of horror, confusion, and indifference, but we're all in this together.
Embrace that reality.
Let it make you brave.
Let it let you feel things.
Let it let you look at things that make you want to turn away.
Let it allow room for forgiveness, understanding, and mixed messages.
Let it let you constantly continue to step forward, accept the confusion as part of the journey, and be... inspired... every day.
*this piece was originally posted on linkedin.com/in/jamienloken.com
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