Every day hundreds, maybe thousands, of messages are exposed to your brain begging consumption of a brand name. Billboards, radio, magazine, newspaper, and television advertisements specifically designed to grab your eyes, lure your brain’s attention centers, and once locked in, spark your desires and redirect them towards their product(s).
What is a human brain to do when saturated day after day with all this input? Imagine opening 3000 programs on your computer and expecting the CPU to be able to process them without going freakazoid.
Research has suggested:
In the article ”Practical Advice from the Union of Concerned Scientists” by Michael Brower, PhD, and Warren Leon, PhD:
“The average American is exposed to about 3000 advertising messages a day, and globally corporations spend over $620 billion each year to make their products seem desirable and to get us to buy them.” Union of Concerned Scientists Website http://www.ucsusa.org/publications/guide.ch1.html
Its important to remember, this is only one perspective. If you are interested in more information, do some research and form your conclusions (while following the next step).
A Moment of Silence, Please
It’s important to take time each day to get comfortable, chill out, and spend some time in silence simply listening to…well, the silence. Focus on your breathing, the birds chirping, the waves foaming onto the shore, or my personal favorite, a ceiling fan on high speed.
Reflect on the day’s events, moments that make you happy, or that issue at work that’s been nagging you for the past week. Reflection will help you tune into your voice so you can focus on what’s most important.
In other words, turn off the TV and spend your mental energy on some quality time with You. Avoid being caught up in “what everyone else is doing”. If you are always in a rush, then you are putting yourself through unnecessary stress.
Ready for the list? Counting backwards but in no particular order:
5. Nothing is set in stone
Whether you are selling custom spacesuits for hamsters or designing maps for the military, every human being (or institution) has their own perspective and that perspective is subject to change over time.
Say you were building a business based on custom hamster spacesuits. To my knowledge there isn’t a niche market for this (yet), so theoretically you are in the position to set the industry standard for the future of hamster space fashion. However, ten years from now someone is going to come along and set a new standard. Did you see Lady Gaga’s meat dress?
To further illustrate, consider how information changes over time:
- the earth was flat / now its round
- Gore won / a few minutes later, Gore lost
- there are weapons of mass destruction / months later, “where’d they go?”
- neuroscientists once thought the brain was not able to adapt or heal itself / today they know the brain is indeed malleable and adaptive and is able to reroute signals in the event of trauma or damage
- during the 70s, through advertising, feeding infants formula became the “way to raise your baby”, breastfeeding was out (shame on you Nestle) / thankfully, we are well aware that mama was designed to make milk for a baby body that’s designed to consume it. 101 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Child.
Chill out. What is today might not be tomorrow. Nothing is set in stone. Be flexible. Take it easy and stay focused on what’s most important in your life.
4. Facts and stats are misleading
According to this site, 33%, or 2.1 billion, of the world’s population consider themselves Christians, including a long list of denominations who bicker with each other over silly technicalities. The next largest world faith is Islam which holds 21%.
So as it seems Christianity wins. However, the numbers only tell a small fraction of the story. Consider these inquiries:
- what qualifies a person as a Christian? (baptism? becoming a member of the church? attending every Sunday?)
- how many of those 2.1 billion have dedicated their lives to the faith? completely?
- how many of them only attend church on Easter and Christmas?
- how many of them joined a church and quit going later on? are they still counted?
There are many more questions that could be asked, but you get the point. Nothing is as simple as numbers and percentages. There are always a million factors (visible and invisible) affecting everything that happens in the universe.
Chill out, absorb the information, but do not take anything at face value. Always dig a little deeper and look at the situation from all angles. You will find yourself better prepared and less stressed as a result.
3. Nothing is ever as it seems
I had a job on Music Row in Nashville. I had my own office. It was pimpin’. I even got to work on the new Taylor Swift iPhone/iPad app.
But nothing is ever all its cracked up to be. I walked out on that job after one year to start working from home, spending more time with my family, and ultimately, build my own business from the ground up. It’s not easy, but it’s way better than having a boss. I’ve always been bad with authority; especially when I disagree with their areas of focus.
Most of all I missed not having the time or energy to make music. I start going loco when I don’t have that release.
When I landed the internship (which turned into employment), every one around me was proud. My brother told me our father told people about the gig with a big smile on his face. People started showing me more respect, my network started expanding, and things started happening. For a while it felt good, but eventually I was so caught up “in the image” my life at home started to suffer.
I wasn’t being paid what I am worth. I spent 2 or more hours each day commuting (hate 5 PM traffic). By the time I got home at night the kids were getting ready for bed and I was too tired and unmotivated to do anything but sleep. By the time I decided to walk away from the job, I had a long list of reasons why I needed to leave and only 1 or 2 why I should stay.
Worst of all, my beautiful woman was working (and going to school) and since we have kids we worked opposite shifts. We never got to hang out with each other…ever.
So I left.
Chill out, take some time to analyze your situation, and make sure you are 1) happy and 2) not caught up in “an image” or a situation that promises you too much too fast (you might be waiting forever to see it).
This (“the image”) includes all those advertisements being thrown in your face every waking moment.
2. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
Who defines beauty? You do!
Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.
Chill out. Stop trying to look like America’s Next Top Model.
It’d also be nice if the rap game would stop making a jail sentence the height of a superstar’s career.
1. It’s all about perspective
Humans and animals are genetically hard wired with a moral code.
Check out “An Evolutionary Theory on Right and Wrong”.
We know the difference between right and wrong without having to be told, taught, or punished.
So, yes, I am saying that religious institutions, movies, television, music, and any other institution that tries to influence your behavior, do not actually know right from wrong any better than You do.
They have their perspectives (and agendas), and You have Yours, but at the end of the day we all know right from wrong.
Chill out, listen to yourself, and have the confidence to stand up for what You believe in.
No one can take that away from you. Through fear, guilt, and other methods, they can suppress it; don’t let them.