It’s long been said that you’re only as good as the people who you surround yourself with, but is that still the primary determinant today?
My sense is that, today, it’s more what we listen to than with whom we associate. Social media and the pandemic seem to have lessened personal contact and opened the door to messages from anyone expressing an opinion.
Don’t get me wrong, social media has its place as a forum for expressing ideas. Indeed, this blog goes out to Twitter and LinkedIn each week. The point I want to make is that what we listen to, whether it’s the news on major networks, 24-hour streaming news channels, social media or any other information source, what we pay attention to has a significant impact on our personal well-being.
Negative impacts on you
People who focus on the “if it bleeds, it leads” stories, often experience higher levels of fear, anxiety and depression. These people tend to believe the world is far worse today than it has ever been and there’s no turning back. The reality is that the stories depicted in the news are no different than what existed before; they’re just being described more vividly and more frequently than in prior decades.
Those who focus only on reports that support their beliefs become more rigid in those beliefs which, in turn, limits their ability to reach solutions with those with whom they disagree. This is especially true of what we see in social media; people express opinions in ways that brook no contradiction. If anyone disagrees with them in a comment, the person disagreeing is either assigned a derogatory label or marginalized in other ways. This often results in both parties becoming more defensive and, hence, more rigid in their already rigid thinking.
Positive impacts on you
Most of the successful people I know begin their day with some type of affirmation…messages that:
- Elevate them spiritually and emotionally.
- Encourage them to pursue their dreams.
- Encourage them to use their skills and resources in the service of others.
- Bring them joy…joy that they want to share with others.
These folks still listen to news reports, but are less impacted by them because they are aware of what they can control and what they can’t. If a news report moves them to take action, they do so with a confident, can-do, will-not-be-denied mindset.
You have a choice in what you listen to. You can focus on negative news stories and rants of those rigid in their thinking or you can choose to avail yourself of affirmations that exist in many forms…audio, videos, music, books, books on tape…whatever fits your style.
Shortly after rising each morning, remind yourself that you’re going to look for the good that exists in the world, in the kindness you see in everyday exchanges among people. Set aside a two or three minutes to review affirmations, then recall all the good you’ve enjoyed in your life and commit to sharing that joy with others.
In the evening, shortly before retiring, recall the good that you witnessed and experienced during the day…including your success in spreading joy and encouragement to others. You’ll find that life is not only easier, it’s a lot more enjoyable.
For our kids
Live this message. Kids place more value on what they see than what we say. Kids are masters at seeing both congruity and incongruity between what’s said and what’s done. When they see your words and actions being congruent, they’ll employ them in their daily lives.
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Readers would love to see your thoughts and experiences in a comment.
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