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Thursday, June 7, 2012

I Can't Hear Myself Think!!

Was I the only person that heard that as a kid?? Without fail I'd be listening to music in my bedroom, jammin out to something super awesome...like Matchbox 20 or 98 Degrees (hey, don't judge!) and my mom would just walk in...she didn't knock or anything!! Ok, she may've knocked and I just couldn't hear it!
Anyway, she'd come in and invariable say something very close to,
"Geez! Your music loud enough??? I can't even hear myself think!!"

And I, of course, would respond with something brilliant like,
"It wasn't THAT loud!"

Here's my question:

Do you ever feel like saying today what your mom said to you then?

"Geez, it's so loud, I can't even hear myself think!"

We live in a loud world. We are bombarded with information from the moment we wake up to the second our eyes shut at night.

We wake up and what's the first thing we do?? Check our favorite blogs (I don't drink coffee, so it really is the first thing I do, haha). We check our email, maybe flip on the news or the radio. We read a paper or a magazine. Then we head for work or otherwise start our day. Favorite CD in the changer, music, books, podcasts on our phones.

Our phones are on 60 second repeat of dings, chimes, and rings from calls, texts, twitter and Facebook.

Get my point? It's so loud, you can't even hear yourself think. It's not that any of these things are inherently bad, it's just a constant onslaught.

What's my point?

Where are you going with this Mark??

Do you want us all to become Tibetan monks?

Sacrifice our iPhones on the alter of Greater Enlightenment?

Take a vow of silence pertaining to all things electronic, 140 characters or not?
No. I don't.

Here's my point: 

Lately I've started just shutting off the radio, turning off my favorite podcasts and just thinking. I know. How boring and old fashioned of me! Old man. Grinch.
I dont turn it off all day, and not every day.  But I turn it off for 30 minutes  here, an hour there. On my drive home from work or as I'm going about my day.

And here's what I've learned:

1. I'm more relaxed.

 Just thinking to myself calms me down. I can work through what I'm facing. I can plan my day, evening, week. I can sort through what I think about situations I'm facing. Heck, sometimes I even relive a funny joke or conversation from earlier in the day (burnt rice or nitrous anyone??) Maybe people who meditate are onto something....

2. I can solve problems.

     Without the distractions I can logically think through problems I'm facing. I can figure out what the actual problem is (it's not always what I think), I can think through my options, I can come up with a plan of action. And if there's another person involved I can try to understand their perspective. I can overcome obstacles.

3. I can get new ideas.

      This has been HUGE for me lately. As I'm working to move my dream of business ownership forward I have ran full speed, head first into a mental wall-- more than once!! Thinking has provided me with multiple ideas that I believe could be very beneficial, very successful, and very profitable. Will I use them? Some. But even more important than the ideas themselves is that I'm teaching myself to think...

4. I'm (re)learning how to think.

      In our fast paced, high energy, information packed lives, it's easy to get caught up in just taking information and storing it. Don't get me wrong, we need to, and ought to, learn, study and grow. What I'm saying is that God gave us a filter and a processor.  I believe He expects us to analyze the information we receive and add to it out of our own reasoning. We need to reason, deduce, question with boldness, and create. In short, we need to think. Quiet time with just our thoughts trains us to do so.

5. I come to know God.

      Elijah learned that the Spirit was in the still, small voice rather than the wind or the earthquake or the fire (1 Kings 19:11-12). I too have learned it is easier to hear my Heavenly Father speak to me when I turn off all distractions and shut my mouth. I haven't heard an audible voice, but I have felt that still small voice in my soul.  It is worth every missed song on the radio and every podcast I put off until the next day. 

Spending time with just my own thoughts has been one of the most enjoyable and rewarding decisions I have made in my life recently.

Question: How does spending time quietly with your thoughts help you personally, professionally, and/or spiritually?

Twitter: @Skropp2

If yo appreciate these posts, please pass them along to all your friends and relatives...after you finish your quiet time!


  1. A great reminder, Mark. Often when I am overwhelmed with everything life has been throwing at me, the best thing I can do is get out for a walk or bike ride where there is peace. I can sort out the real issues, clear my mind, clear the frustration, and move on. It often helps me get over a brick wall.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Nick!! It's amazing how easy it is to remember to just sit back for a second. I always thought I was doing the best thing I could by listening to podcasts every moment of the day, I was learning, right? But i realized that moments of quiet and thinking are JUST as important as learning. Both serve a purpose in my growth and development!

  2. Great post Mark! I think we information junkies secretly value the thoughts of others to our own. Just look at the ratio of thoughts we ingest: at least 90 / 10 others to ours. I couldn't agree more with #4 He likes for us to add our own rational to our learning. I'm also down with the less stress thing, but I'm not quite ready to call it meditation. (Sounds to NEW AGE for me.) Kudos on a great post man, I enjoyed it. - @CabinetDoork

    1. Haha. Great point Jeremy! I don't think I'll be calling it meditation either. Sounds too flowery and fooffy for me!! But I definitely know taking some time and just being quiet is super helpful!!