Surround Sound

Our experience of life is, for the most part, the result of the stories that we tell ourselves.

…and the mood of that story is colored by the soundtrack playing in the background, sung by the people surrounding us.

Situational MotivatorsThis post (#10 out of 27) revisits a quote from Winston Churchill about what to do when you’re going through hell. Recently, I positioned that quote just above the base camp of a metaphorical mountain, depicted here on the left.

When I originally posted the quote last June, it was during a particularly challenging time in my life. While I was experiencing some time-demanding Professional Bests, I was also experiencing some soul-testing Personal Worsts. Gritting my teeth and relaying that quote was pretty much all I could offer for blogging purposes. Beyond that, I went on a strict social media diet, deactivated Facebook and pretty much stopped reading the news. Looking back at it now, I see I was operating in pure survival / perseverance mode.

Half a year later, I find myself back online and back up at the Strong Performance (aka “Madonna Ciccone”) side of the metaphorical mountain both professionally and personally. Yet, I’m once again feeling like turning off Facebook and the news. Yeah, all it took was a few months.

Social Contagion

[*grumbles something about correlation not implying causation and too much Pharell*]

Our electronic media have gotten too good at creating a single instantaneous worldwide Hive Mind… and the emerging collective psyche is highly susceptible to infection… or hijacking. Loud voices of blame and punishment shout down the softer words of praise and encouragement, causing good people to waste their efforts on backwards-looking concerns.

As a single human being — a mere synapse among 7 billion others —  I want to protect my mental and emotional bandwidth and focus on more productive pursuits.

That said, I don’t want to check myself into a permanent Laughter Yoga retreat either. I still want to learn. I still want to be challenged. My friends post fascinating, inspiring and thought-provoking stuff on Facebook… from time to time. Once in a while (though more rarely), an interesting article will even show up in my news reader.

There’s an incentive for me to venture out into the din of negativity so that I can hear some wise voices. But then, why should the price for enjoying a few fleeting notes of a beautiful melody be a barrage of angry screeches which cannot be un-heard?

(Social media plug-in idea: Rose-tinted-lens Social Media Reader, kind of like an ad-blocker for negativity.  Yeah, yeah, I know… deeply Orwellian and would just lead to even further degradation of public discourse due to selective listening. Also, sort of already exists thanks to the balkanization of media publishing. Even still… it could be one more tool in the growing set of social media coping mechanisms, e.g. Social Media Cleanses, Facebook Friend Purges, Digital Sabbaths, and so on.)


Selecting our connections

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

-Jim Rohn


That quote from Jim Rohn — which provides a neat summary of Social Constructionist theory — holds especially (and exponentially) true in a world characterized by large quantities of social media exposure. Like it or not, the newsfeed on your mobile device counts as one of those five people… and as it scrolls past your thumb that ‘person’ is dragging down your average. 

Last night I had a wonderful non-social media (aka, “real world” or “meatspace”) experience that I’d like to have more often:  Hanging out with people who inspire me and who make me want to become a better version of myself.

Specifically, last night I was at a dinner event honoring two of my friends who are outstanding role models and community volunteers. They are wise, potent and ambitious individuals who inspire others to be the same.

In other words, they are exceptional leaders.

I’d like to listen to the soundtrack of exceptional leaders, more often. Exceptional coaches, too.

In conclusion, to revise the Churchill quote:

If the music is starting to suck, turn the dial and keep dancing. 

(Just not always the same song.)


About danspira

My blog is at: My face in real life appears at a higher resolution, although I do feel pixelated sometimes.

Posted on January 12, 2015, in Inspiration, Leadership, Learning, Life, Networking, Positivity, Productivity, Social Media and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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