What Do You Do in a World of Too Much Noise?

Seth and Dave Are Right

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Last night a trackback didn’t make it here. I saw the link in the list at the broken Technorati index. Dave Olson was asking, “Is it getting really noisy in here?” Dave mentioned that Seth feels it too.

On the other hand… it also seems to be getting harder and harder to find original content. Seth Godin noted that yesterday. Too much noise… not enough signal.

Brings up an interesting phenomenon I think. When given too many choices, people often opt out of the whole decision.

I’ve been thinking about the same thing for some time. As I look back at what I’ve been doing my answer seems to be how I always respond to too many voices shouting at the same time.

I’ve backed away to get some perspective. I’ve tried to sort the messages into meaningful chunks. I’ve gone outside. I’ve talked to people who don’t listen. I’ve listened to people who don’t talk at all.

Now I talk to one person at a time and when I do, I talk as softly as I might.

It’s easier to listen to what folks are saying if we don’t shout back to be heard. It’s easier to hear whether their noisy words have meaning when they are away from the crowd. It’s far easier to know whether the crowd’s talking wisdom when we check in with the world on the ground.

Maybe our circle has become too focused on the people inside.

Dave’s blog post ends with “What do you do?”

I finely tune my personal frequency — that value I most admire. I adjust my signal to a low decibel and broadcast my strongest message as clearly and as often I can.

Head, heart, and meaning are important.
Head, heart, and meaning are the keys to life.

What do you do in a world of too much noise?

–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz!!
SOBCon08 is May 2,3,4 in Chicago. I’m checking in the hotel today!


  1. says

    LOL Mark

    Hi Liz

    Depends on the noise I think, I love some type of noise(s?) so I seek those out and try to ‘earplug’ the others.

    Doesn’t always work like that of course, but I manage somehow and listen/learn from the beautiful noise I let through to my head/heart.

    Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)

  2. Abby says

    Liz I love your blog. I found it via your article today on the Freelance blog.

    I live in a world that is “noisy” all the time. Too many choices everywhere you go! Coffee shops (lattes, mochas, regulars and oh, a scone to go with that?), bookstores (overwhelming choice), clients.

    It’s hard to escape all the stimulation that is out there today.

  3. says


    Thanks for the post. This challenge is definitely something we need to learn to deal with efficiently and effectively. I do not believe life andor business is going to be getting less noisy any time soon or maybe ever. As you point out, the trend is that it is actually getting worse.

    My suggestion is a 20th Century solution to a 21st Century problem; proactively schedule Covey Quadrant II quiet meditation, contemplation, study and planning time. When I say, proactive, I mean PROACTIVE. You have to block out time with recurring appointments on outlook to protect those blocks of time out to infinity. This time can’t be penciled in or even written in ink. It needs to be written in blood.

    The amount of Quadrant II time you need to block out depends on you and your roles and responsibilities. My suggestion for starters is usually 20% of your work week. This is just using the rule of thumb from Pareto’s Law. This 20% of your time will yield you 80% of your long-term results.

    This is the time you use to separate the noise from a real signal to borrow Seth’s metaphor.

    Thanks again for all of the time you devote to your blog.


  4. says

    Hi Abby,
    I know exactly what you’re talking about. The other day, in a restaurant, someone asked where I’d like to sit and answered that I’d really appreciate it if she made that decision. :)

  5. says

    Whoa now! this quote is pretty grim:

    “self-realization that most of what we do is unnecessary and adds no meaning to our lives.”

    That’s not a “killer app” that’s the statement of the dilemma we all face — I think finding meaning in the world requires engaging in observation, learning and conversation to enrich and enhance one’s own meaning quotient – and it starts for me with stating one’s purpose and seeking ways to achieve it.

    As David Weinberger says in his very thoughtful book “Everything is Miscellaneous” in the face if the myriad of stuff on the web and in the digital and “real” world, David suggests that we “filter on the way out”Thoughts Illustrated: “filtering on the way out”- David Weinberger

  6. says

    Hi Dave,
    Yeah, you’re right. I think I needed a nap. I’ve had one now.

    What I meant was that we’re often looking in the wrong direction and not paying attention to what means most to us.

    Thank you, thank you. Words count. :)

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