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4 Simple Habits for Turning Down the Noise

Scroggins Distraction

WE ARE ALL DISTRACTED, and we are faced with more and more reasons to be distracted. And while some distractions seem to be adding to our life, they are actually undermining our growth. Distractions take us away from what we should be doing and kills our momentum.

But the problem with distractions goes deeper than that. It’s an emotional issue. Clay Scroggins deals with the root problem and the impact it has on our leadership in How to Lead in a World of Distraction and offers some solid advice.

Sometimes we use distractions to distract us from what we don’t like going on inside of us.

When something we don’t like screaming inside us, we always find something outside—and external distraction—and turn it up. And it works. That outside noise distracts us for a time. In mutes the inner turmoil, the uncomfortable emotions, the pain, the inadequacy, the discomfort, the memories. It hides whatever we don’t want to feel or experience.

We allow our emotions to control our lives instead of taking control of them, and it puts a lid on our growth. “If we think the answer to our emotions is to cancel class, run to social media, or use masking tools to avoid what’s inside, it’s no wonder we’re getting the results we’re seeing.”

As leaders, we need to be aware of the distractions that affect us and deal with what is going on inside of us. “A leader that doesn’t know themselves is a dangerous guide.”

Scroggins offers four noise-canceling habits that will allow you to turn down the noise low enough and long enough to tune into the emotions going on inside you. “The only way to combat the old habit of distraction,” says Scroggins, “is to develop new habits to create space for emotional curiosity.”

1. Simplicity

Know your why. “Find that one sentence that defines why you do the things you do, and it can have massive repercussions on your life moving forward. When you clarify your why—and by that, I mean the answer to every ‘why do you do what you do’ question—you can start to live and lead effectively.”

He suggests we ask four questions of ourselves: What are the things I no longer need? What can I afford to get rid of? What are the things keeping me from what matters most? And how can I organize my life so that I know exactly what I’m looking for and I can easily see what matters right away?

Your why becomes the filter through which you can decide what you spend your time on.

2. Speaking to Yourself

Yeah. That voice inside our heads. That voice that tells us who we are and what choices we should make. The point is, it’s our voice so we can control what it says.

Distractions, like social media, create insecurities. And that insecurity takes us in all kinds of unhealthy directions. “That’s how the voice inside your head works. It snowballs the negative things you hear and say throughout your day in powerful ways. But here’s the good news: the reverse is true as well.”

The antidote is reminding ourselves of “specific truths that counter the lies perpetuated by our negative self-talk.” We have to regulate what goes in our heads. “Self-talk is the means through which you regulate what’s going in and out of your brain. It’s the way you control the narration, so the voice speaking to you adds value and makes you better.” He adds, “filter out the noises that aren’t adding value.”

Your self-talk should be about the kind of person—the kind of leader—you want to be. Scroggins offers two good questions: “What would a great leader do here?” and “What advice would I give someone else who was in this situation?” They give you some objectivity in your particular situation.

3. Silence

It is important to get away to a quiet place. It can be anywhere you can find some solitude. “Solitude means being alone with yourself long enough to learn who you are.”

4. Pressing Pause

You have to plan for a time-out. Create a “sabbath” your life. Taking a fast from social media is a good way to slow down and create some space in your life. But not just social media. “What keeps you from finding rest?”

“When you turn down the noise, you give yourself the gift of evaluation.” It also helps you find your rhythm. It helps you to re-center your life and realign with your why. You can step back from all of the noise and see the bigger picture.

One of his most important and insightful chapters is the last chapter, Master Control. Growing as a leader means taking control—mastering control. And specifically, what is going on inside of us. To begin, there are two questions we should think about:

What are you going to allow to control you?
Who are you going to allow to control you?

Positive emotions release dopamine and serotonin, and we keep coming back for more, and they can take control. So far, so good. But negative emotions will produce the same effect, and so we keep them around as well, returning to them again and again. In their own way, they also make us feel better. “Negative emotions can be intoxicating. And as with an addictive substance, the more you take the bait on them, the more your tolerance of them grows. And the more your tolerance grows, the more you create the patterns that keep you coming back for more.”

Scroggins observes:

The busier my life gets, the louder the nose. The louder the noise, the cloudier my future feels. The less clarity I feel about my future, the more I’m tempted to take the bait on negative emotions.

Clarity doesn’t equal certainty, but it is vital to your leadership. “You can lead others better when you feel like you know where you’re going in your own life.” So, raise the volume of your influence by turning down the noise.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 04:58 PM
| Comments (0) | This post is about Personal Development



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