A few weeks ago, I was playing with my daughter, the television was on, somebody was yelling on the street outside, and my phone started ringing.
So. Much. Noise.
It’s common to have several sounds competing for your attention — especially as an entrepreneur and new mother. Even before my daughter was born, silence was hard to find as social entrepreneur living in New York City, where there isn’t a horn that lacks for honking.
When was the last time you experienced complete silence? Unless we are highly intentional about finding silence, there is almost always some sound or distraction surrounding us. Unfortunately, strategies for being intentional often feel like work — and that’s the whole problem. We shouldn’t need to escape our daily lives to find peace and quiet.
But by developing strategies for finding short periods of silence and stillness we can set a positive example for students, who have grown up in a world of notifications, likes and comments, and often “noise” from people they don’t even know.
Incorporating Silence Into Startup Life
I’ve made it a point to prioritize silence and stillness in my life. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been worth it. The energy I receive from these moments gets me focused, creative, and excited to get back into the mix.
I’ve been calling this “The Power of Pause” and it can be used in ways big and small. From hopping on a plane to escape for a week to taking five minutes during a busy day, the Power of Pause is extremely important in today’s busy and noisy world.
Let’s take a look at some strategies you can use to find silence and harness the Power of Pause in your daily life:
Noise canceling headphones: Headphones or earbuds will quite literally help us find silence. However, they are typically used to block out noise so we can focus on something specific. Have you ever tried turning them on so you can focus on nothing?
Public libraries and museums: These former staples of society are overlooked in a world run by digital technology, but they still have a lot to offer. In this case, silence.
Turning the radio off: You might not listen to the radio anymore, but you almost certainly listen to something while you are traveling. In doing so, we distract ourselves from ourselves. It’s truly amazing what we will observe about ourselves, the people around us, and the places we’ll see on the way to our destination, if we give ourselves the opportunity to do so.
Download different apps: Goodbye Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. Substituting 20 minutes on social media for 20 minutes of meditation has done wonders for my stability. Instead of getting my mind racing by reading the latest sensational headline, I focus on breathing. I focus on my intentions. I focus on what I need from the day.
It’s time to bring the focus back to ourselves and remember that there are always opportunities to find stillness in our lives. We must become comfortable with and find appreciation for the silence. We need to open ourselves up to the Power of Pause to unleash our full potential.
Photo Credit: Sara Potler LaHayne