Years ago, I was at my gate at the Atlanta airport surrounded by TV screens and CNN. I caught a sound bite that put me on high alert.
“…the Washington DC area was plunged into darkness this evening as storms raged…”
Plunged? Darkness? Rage? Well, that can’t be good.
I called my mom.
When she picked up, I said, “Hey! Are you okay?”
She was surprised to hear from me. “Yes. Why?”
I told her that I had just seen the news about DC.
“Yeah,” she said, “well, the lights went out. So we lit candles.”
So, no one plunged. Nothing fell. In fact, there was no descent to speak of.
“The lights went out.” (How boring.)
But that’s not news, is it? Raging, on the other hand…now THAT’S news.
And this, my friends, is how it works. It’s how we get hooked, no matter how smart we think we are.
It’s those subtle twists of language skillfully wrought by seasoned staff writers, cajoled by CNN to sell more of the sponsor’s products.
And we, as consumers, get hooked. Which is good for business. Because if we don’t get hooked, then we don’t need to find out more, do we?
If we don’t need to find out more, then we won’t be watching when the commercials run.
Let’s say the anchorman tells you: “It’s all good.”
That just sends you on your way, doesn’t it? “Phew! Everything’s fine. Back to my day.”
But “plummeting,” “crisis” and “slumps” (oh my). Those get us every time.
And it just keeps escalating. Now we’ve got headlines in our sidebars and pop-ups on our screen. Texts roll in from the giant scary news feeds. A headline might send you clicking down rabbit holes that keep you on sites for…well, for long enough to pay for ads.
So, be aware: Your attention is the new currency.
In other words…
you being unconscious…
you being addicted…
you being hook-able…
…this is the goal of much of today’s economy. Look closely enough and you’ll find lots of slimy business strategy out there, my people.
But there’s a super-power to be gained from all of this.
It’s called autonomy.
For our purposes, let’s look at all of this noise out there as our “training.”
Consider your muscles. Whether you’re a world-class athlete or someone who works-out to stay in shape, your muscles don’t grow without meeting resistance.
Resistance training is required for building strength – even if it’s just the weight of your own body, as in pilates or yoga.
So, why would it be any different with your mind, or with creating new thought patterns and stronger responses to the world around you?
Actually, it’s not.
So instead of waiting for the negativity to stop and for people to cease all their damn drama so that you can feel okay about the world, use it all as practice.
It’s a form of resistance training. It’s helping you become a better creator, a clearer decision maker, a better sorter-througher of facts, a stronger leader of your own life, and someone who can self-generate happiness and results.
And the pressure is part of the practice.
Here’s my challenge to you:
1 – Take a moment each morning to choose the thoughts you want to believe or the focus you wish to have. Align with that centered place.
2 – Every time you hear or see language that hooks you, or you catch yourself diving down a rabbit hole of emotionally charged anxiety-laden stories, become an observer. Or an athlete. See how your mind responds to the resistance.
3 – Understand that you won’t always succeed and that no one goes into a gym for the first time and bench presses 100 pounds. This takes practice, awareness and self-compassion.
4 – Congratulate yourself any teeny tiny time you are aware enough to unhook yourself, even if it’s hours later. Once you have caught your pattern, take 5 deep breaths and call yourself back to center.
5 – Keep this practice going daily.
When you get good at this, you’ll see powerful results. You’ll notice when you instantly see through the drama and the language that used to hook you.
And best of all, you’ll recognize that your thoughts are far more powerful than anything that plummets, descends, rages or hooks.