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10 Filters For a Conscious Life

10 Filters For a Conscious Life

Information. In-Formation. What you take in shapes your formation.

What kind of person do you want to be at the end of the day? How about in a month from now? How about in five years? Imagine the qualities and characteristics of this amazing person you intend to be. Imagine your form. Now think about all the media you are surrounded by. Will the information you take in form the person of your dreams?

Since what you take in shapes your formation, the only thing stopping you from leveling up are stronger information filters. Think about any sport. The best coaches say to watch how the pros play as practice; the visual information of a professional golfer swinging is what shapes the performance of a novice. Same thing goes for music; listening to virtuoso musicians helps a student to bridge gaps in their abilities. If we watched bad examples for our hobbies, we would never improve. So why aren’t we more conscious about the rest of the information we take in?

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Everything we perceive is information, whether visual, auditory, or otherwise, and what we take in is what we become. Here are ten information filters to help you shape a conscious life:

1. Does it encourage me to be a better human?

This filter limits any music or media that clashes with the person you want to be at the end of the day. If you really want to be a gangbanger, and if your greatest happiness lies in degrading women, then by all means continue to listen to the music that glorifies that life. If not, consider searching out better media. It’s hard to do because most of the popular options for music and TV are worthless, but if you search, you will find.

2. Would silence be better?

This filter is what all great musicians use to refine their compositions. Since your life is your greatest composition, try asking yourself whether a contemplative silence might be better than the noise from your earbuds or speakers. If your inner voice is more appealing than whatever content you are listening to, you’ll automatically look for higher quality information.

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3. Is it truthful?

This filter is tricky because it excludes almost 98% of news channels. But if the information you take in is not truthful, then you won’t grow into your full potential. Just like lies prevent meaningful relationships with other people, untruthful information will compromise your relationship with yourself.

4. Is it useful?

What can I take away from this information? What is the overall message? Will it help me to get better at x, y, or z? Is it good for relaxing when I’m stressed? Will I learn how to be a better husband or wife, or mother or father? If the information is of no use to the person you want to be, then find something better. The process is hard but rewarding, like pruning a garden.

5. Is it uplifting?

Does this encourage me to keep my chin up even when things get tough? Is the message something I can come to when things look hopeless? Does it reveal the goodness and decency of humanity? If not, you can either find something better, or consciously choose not to be uplifted.

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6. Is it inspiring?

Does this spark creative ideas for me to act on and shape a better world with? Am I inclined to more actively pursue my passions and talents through this information? Is this energizing me to create a brighter future through my gifts?

7. Is it challenging?

This universe is so immense, but we tend to get trapped in tiny world views when our perspectives aren’t challenged. So will this information challenge you to think outside of the box, even if that is uncomfortable? If not, the real world might pass you by, and your happiness with it. Life is where the challenges are; filter your information accordingly.

8. Would you want your kids exposed to this?

If sleaziness and raunchiness are part of growing up, please hand me my ba-ba (translate, milk bottle). If the content is suggestive of adultery, or behavior that would limit a family’s growth and success, what is the point in watching it? When you question whether a kid should watch or listen to “x” program, think about the needs of the kid in you. If you believe in lasting love, don’t let your information compromise that.

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9. Does it promote the dignity and respect of men and women?

If the information makes people out as objects for pleasure or lust, what good can it possibly do you? If you don’t consent to being dehumanized or hypersexualized, filter your media accordingly. Bad information corrupts our relationship standards and invites lovers who will use us only for pleasure or comfort.

10. Is it part of the mission for world peace?

This might be the most important filter because it forces you to think of your actions in terms of peace or war. Is your peaceful world built on happy families, committed marriages, and courageous people who do right even when it is the hardest thing? If your information conflicts with that peaceful world, it will also prevent you from adding to it.

Conclusion

Filtering your information can be scary at first because it excludes so many of the things that give comfort to a person. Most of our information is like a security blanket; we cling on to the music, movies and media that make us feel safe. But the question is, does your blanket have smallpox? These filters will help you decide, and it is up to you summon the courage to change.

Featured photo credit: NEC-conference-35 via flickr.com

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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