Sink Or Swim: All The Noise You Should Clear From Your 20-Something Life

by Paul Hudson

Our lives are noisy -- especially nowadays. We all have so much going on that it’s surprising we can manage not to lose our minds. Well... most of us anyway.

Human beings have never in the history of our species processed as much information as we do today.

I’m not saying that it’s all quality or useful information, but it's information nonetheless. As we grow older, it’s pertinent that we learn to clear out and keep out what noises we can. Here’s a good place to start:

1. The literal noise.

We live in an age in which entertainment is constant. We are just about always listening to music, watching TV, watching movies or socializing.

I understand the appeal; all of this noise serves as a distraction from all the unpleasantries of life. You don’t always want to be in the moment -- some moments you don’t especially want to savor.

Each of us spends a great deal of our lives going through the motions, and such distractions make the mundane more bearable.

Getting into the habit of distracting yourself, however, makes living in the moment difficult even when you want to be in it. Distractions are fine, but never allow them to become your resting state.

2. All that extra mental chatter.

Distractions don’t only come from outside forces. Our minds may be capable of incredible things, but they have their limits. A cluttered mind may still be a great mind, but it isn’t reaching its full potential. You want to ensure a little breathing room.

I have a difficult time keeping my mind calm. When you have a fast-paced lifestyle, slowing down feels almost unnatural. Nevertheless, if we don’t make sure to remove the clutter regularly, it all catches up with us.

People are often stressed, distracted, frustrated and lost because they have too much going on up there. Sometimes there’s so much going on that it’s difficult to think straight. Meditation -- in any of its many forms -- is really the only solution.

3. The voices telling you that you can’t do it.

What "it" is doesn’t matter. If you have people in your life who like telling you how little you can accomplish, stop hanging out with them. Avoid them at all costs.

If you hear something enough times, you’re likely to start believing it yourself. Once you believe you can’t succeed, then you never will.

Of course, often the people closest to us, who know us best, fail to be as motivational as they ought to be. Sometimes our friends and family members have a reason for not believing we will succeed -- not because they don’t believe we are capable, but because they don’t believe we will follow through.

If this is the case, then you may need to take that negativity and use it as fuel to force them to see you as a winner.

4. That voice inside your head telling you that you can’t do it.

We all have that little voice in our heads. Sometimes it’s only a whisper. Other times, it’s a drill sergeant screaming in our ears. What you should understand is that even though the voice may be saying, “I can’t do it,” it really means, “I don’t want to do it.”

In case you haven’t caught on yet: Lying to yourself never ends well. If you don’t want to do something, then accept it. If you’re not happy that you don’t want to do it, then start wanting to do it -- those are the only healthy options. If you can get rid of the nonbeliever within you and learn to be honest with yourself, you will have managed to clear the toughest hurdles.

5. The people in your life who always manage to take, yet always forget to give.

They are never the voices you want to hear, as they're always asking for a favor. They act like your friends when they need a helping hand, but are never around to give a helping hand when you need one.

Some people like being charity cases. Others still feel like they have the right to use other people for personal gain. There are a lot of morally poor individuals out there -- be sure that you call none of them friends.

6. The past you’re trying to hold on to.

Unlike many people, I don’t believe you should leave your past in your past entirely -- because it’s impossible. You are and always will be a combination of your past, present and potential future.

Nonetheless, there are bits and pieces of our past that need to stay in our past. Some things, some memories, some people we hold on to for too long. It may not be what you want to hear, but some things in life are meant to only survive for a passing moment.

7. Those illogical urges that egg you on to break you.

I say illogical as when we feel most of our non-physical urges, they contradict what most people would argue that we logically want for ourselves. We want to be healthy and happy, yet manage to do things we know will leave us less than healthy and less than happy.

They make a lot of noise, but they only make it briefly -- that’s what makes them so difficult to ignore... they’re impulses. Instead of ignoring them, you need to learn to listen to them, pinpoint them as soon as they come over you and then make a decision to do what’s best for you.

8. The bad habits that make the rest of your life more unpleasant.

We all have our guilty pleasures or our less-than-ideal habits. There’s one little secret to life that most try to ignore: Bad habits are what make life feel so good.

Unfortunately, the more often we indulge in these habits, the less enjoyable they become. It’s best to delay gratification a bit. Let the yearning build and then truly allow yourself to enjoy yourself the next time around. Humans need change in their lives to feel that they’re living. Too much poor decision making and debauchery quickly take the fun out of life.

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