Reduce the Noise to Hear the Signal

Kristina Ralston
3 min readJan 19, 2021

Is it just me or is it really damn noisy these days??

Everywhere, absolutely everywhere, there is Noise, determined to pull us in multiple directions. The Noise uses the dirtiest of tactics in its attempts to draw us away and in like the vile temptress it is, not caring about the signals we want to hear that aligns us with the people, possibilities, and energy connecting us to self and our purpose. To what’s real for us, and not imagined or pretended.

This past year has been one of stark reality, in our relationships, our levels of engagement, our communities, within ourselves. It’s been hard. Damn hard. I know I feel myself drawn to Noise because I haven’t wanted to see, delve in, acknowledge, change the reality that’s bubbled up for me. And sometimes, I’ve let Noise’s siren call overtake me. I told myself that it was better (easier?) to do other things, rather than keep the channels clear for the signals I needed to pay attention, and would ultimately get me going in the right direction. I’m a work in progress.

In the book, Before Happiness, by Shawn Achor, he gives four criteria of noise that I have found helpful to consider when trying to disentangle myself from the effects of Noise:

  • Noise is unusable: your behavior will not be altered by the information (noise).
  • Noise is untimely: you are not going to use that information imminently, and it could change by the time you do so.
  • Noise is hypothetical: it is based on what someone believes “could be” instead of “what is.”
  • Noise is distracting: it distracts you from your goals.

For me, the two that give me the most head and heartache are the “hypothetical” and “distracting” noise. I’ve gotten into a mode of hedging my bets over the years, instead of just going for things and trusting that it would work out. This mode has got me all bound up like a ball of yarn, which I’m starting to untangle, section by gnarly section, so I can see where the knots are, and then gently unraveling them, to be knit or crocheted into a new item that reflects me, today.

Distractions…I’ve blamed so much on so many things. To untangle that ball of yarn has been the welcome and difficult work of the past year. Without my normal comings-and-goings, I can no longer look away from what is staring me in the face. Time to rediscover what brings me meaning — today — what I’m willing to fight for, and allow myself to love so deeply that it stirs my soul into action.

One thing to keep in mind is that just because the Noise is loud, doesn’t mean it’s valuable or worth listening to. Most times, the thing to do is turn down the volume or turn it off completely and walk away. Close our eyes, take a deep breath, and redirect our energy. The stirrings of our soul, the calling of our heart, speak quietly, sometimes so faint that we miss it in the cacophony of noise around us. It is on us to reduce Noise, create a space for the signals to arrive so they sit down, stay a while, and share with us what they have to say.

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Kristina Ralston

Change strategist and leadership coach. Let’s change the conversation around change, together. Find out how at: empactchangeconsulting.com