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  June 17 2011
It’s Summer...Relax a bit...


There is an old riddle that asks the question:

What can you sleep on, sit on and talk on?

The answer is of course...

...a bed, a chair and a phone

The above riddle illustrates a simple point...why do we feel the need to overcomplicate things looking for answers?  Sometimes the best answer is also the simplest.

With the overflowing amounts of information and endless choices available to us, our world has become truly too complicated for most of us to readily function.  We are easily distracted by the "noise" that surrounds us each day coming from every direction.

Today, there are more ways to communicate than actual newsworthy events to communicate about.

We currently have available to us:  cell phones, Bluetooth, land lines, Skype, Twitter, texting, webinars, conference calling, voice mail, e-mail, spam, web mail, broadcast radio, HD radio, satellite radio, streaming audio, music on demand, podcasts, newspapers, books, magazines, e-zines, e-vites, e-cards, snail mail, newsletters, blogs, social media (Facebook, Linkedin, Myspace etc), chat rooms, instant messaging, broadcast TV, cable TV, satellite TV, DVDs, Blue-Ray, streaming video, video on demand...oh yeah...and a conversation between two people in the same room...

There was recently a headline on MSNBC online that read "Conservative radio host voices concern over Sarah Palin’s comments on the President’s Palestinian speech to Israel’s parliament"...

So let me get this straight...some conservative radio host has an opinion about the comments of an ex-governor of an extremely small state about the president’s opinion regarding another sovereign country’s policy toward their own indigenous minority population... wow...that IS news!!

...and this was MSNBC’s lead headline!!

At what point do we say, "We don’t care...please give us our lives back".  Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is rampant.  We need to find a way to turn it all off.

There is so much non-vital information out there that it all becomes what physicists call "white noise" or simply static.  Static occurs when electromagnetic waves (radio waves) are diluted to a point where useful information cannot be decoded from them.  The resulting effect is basically static.  At this point, the only way to extract any useful information from the communication wave is to apply amplifiers and sophisticated filters.

Perhaps this is the next big thing on the horizon...we don’t need any new ways to communicate...we need methods to filter out all the noise that’s trying to reach us each and every moment of our waking day.  No one is satisfied with their 15-minutes of fame any more...we all want to be heard and we want to be heard often.

So what is the solution?...the communication genie is out of the bottle and there is no way putting back.

The answer lies in incrementally freeing yourself from the idea that you need to know everything that is happening (even when there is nothing happening).  Ignorance is bliss when it comes to all of the information that abound.

Here are a few ideas that I came up with to limit the intrusions into our daily lives:

  • Reset your internet browser’s home page (the page that opens when you first log onto the internet) to a site that won’t distract you with news headlines.  Instead log onto something like Google, your own company’s website or simply a blank page.  If you want to go to a news site...then simply type it in manually.

  • Try to read e-mail at specific times during the day.  To help this, turn off the automated e-mail delivery in Outlook and only have e-mail delivered when you decide to manually download your e-mail.

  • Unsubscribe to newsletters/blog feeds that you don’t read, want, need.  Any legitimate newsletter / blog feed has an "unsubscribe" button at the bottom (including this one).

  • Stop answering your phone and let everything go to voice mail.  If it wasn’t important enough for the caller to leave voice mail, then it probably wasn’t important enough for you to take the call in the first place.

  • Turn off your cell phone for periods of time when you want to relax.

  • Budget your time in front of the television.  You don’t need to eliminate entertainment.  Watch shows that interest you but turn it off once you start "channel surfing".

  • Try driving without listening to the radio (or talking on the phone).  Let your drive time be your "quiet time" to sort out your thoughts and develop new ideas and fresh perspectives.

I’m certain that there are hundreds of really good ideas to reduce the inflow of constant media oozing into our lives.

A few years ago I had the opportunity to raft down the Colorado River though the Grand Canyon.  For 10 days I had no cell phone, no radio, no TV, no internet, and no email. 

At the onset of the trip, I was concerned that something could possibly happen to my loved ones or my business during my absence.  A significant world event could occur such as the events on 9/11 or a tremendous earthquake / tsunami.   After a day or two, these worries subsided.  I was surrounded by friends and spectacular scenery.  The lack of communications was no longer a threat but a welcome reality.

In the same way we take responsibility for the food we ingest into our body, we alone are solely responsible for the content we ingest into our minds.

It is our lives...we have the control.

It’s summertime...unplug...unwind...relax a bit...

Thank you for your support of OptiFuse where we value your time.

Jim Kalb

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