Jimmy J. Williams in front of console with recording equipment

Episode 153: Rise Above the Noise

Do you ever wish you could get a moment’s peace?  In this episode Lori and Jimmy share three strategies to help you rise above the noise of the day to accomplish your biggest goals.

Episode Keys

  • Why you must increase your cognitive abilities to overcome disruption and distraction.
  • How thinking negative thoughts can increase your chance for dementia.
  • Who should be allowed in your life and why you must not allow negative people to dominate your circle of friend or family.
  • Jimmy’s crazy morning routine that helps him start his day with a positive mindset and kickstarts his brain to solving his biggest challenges!
  • How Lori has made environmental adjustments in her life by reducing negative social media and other inputs.

Podcast Trancription

JW:

Good morning, everyone in Live a Life By Design land. I gotta tell you, this has been a beautiful day. The snow is now behind us. The ice is all melted. And yes, the world has come back to – Lori, would you say this is normal?

LF:

Oh, are we using that word?

JW:

Well, we don’t use the N word here on Live a Life By Design, like normal. I mean, normal? You know, I got to thinking, Lori, this is a great time for you and I to share with our wonderfully loyal listeners and subscribers about some of the things you and I do that help us rise above the noise of the day. All that chaos, all that disruption. What are some things we do? And I want to share a few things. Lori’s got a few things to share with you, but I believe when you leave from this episode today, I hope to have in your toolbox from Lori and me, some valuable methods that you can use to rise above all of the noise in your life. And boy, Lori, we got noise. Do we not?

LF:

Oh my goodness. I mean, it’s really loud noise, especially for a Monday morning.

JW:

Do you remember the old Blues Brothers movie where Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi were in the old rented police car and they put this giant horn, this PA horn, on the very roof of the car. That’s what I feel is outside my world from time to time, okay? That’s what I feel like.

LF:

Yes. I agree. Circling the block. Yes. Like that car circling the block around your house.

JW:

That, that, that could happen in our city. By the way, I won’t further, you know, so one of the greatest negative outcomes, and that’s a sounds of a crazy word, but one of the greatest negative outcomes from the past two years has been the noise around us. In today’s episode, we will explore and discuss various strategies. We utilize to keep us focused on those goals that move the needle in an financial way while others are distracted by the noise of the day, the improvement of our environmental space from reduced pandemic impact has now been jolted by war in Europe. It just never gets quiet. It is critical that we don’t diminish the importance of being empathetic to our dear friends and people in Ukraine. But we obviously want to make certain that we not ignore, but give acknowledgement to that noise, but move and rise above it so we can help them in ways that we probably haven’t thought in the past. So today we’ll share our top three strategies to continue progress in this noisy world.

LF:

Okay. But can I just for, I dig for a second, you know, I, I really, when we talk about noise and, and different things in pandemic, and now the situation in Ukraine, do you ever just stop and say to yourself, I no longer want to live in unprecedented historical times?

JW:

You know, I’ve gotta be honest with you. I’ve never said it in that elegant phrase, but I, I have said, you know, I think I’d like just a calm, quiet day today. You know, nothing, nothing where anyone’s got a bomb going off. Yeah. I’m with you. No,

LF:

Like I IM ready. I’m ready almost to go back and talk about things like, oh, I Don Y2K.

JW:

Oh, wow. Take it way back. Old school, like way,

LF:

Two years. Right? Like those were the things that we were talking about. Not

JW:

The reason, the reason Lori wants to go there. Folks. She was seven. OK. I mean, gimme a break.

LF:

No, pretty close. So like I said, I digress on a morning, listen, we’re gonna have to it in, I’m gonna have to know, get center to get focused. But I, I do think that I’m ready to, to stop living in unprecedented historical times. But this morning, this morning, we’re gonna talk about our first strategy. And that is of cognitive measure. So Jimmy, what does that mean?

JW:

Well, to me, the brain is everything, right? So, so you gotta strengthen your brain’s ability to a positive and focused on important task as hand that is so critical to your success in reaching your goals. Admittedly, Lori, I was distracted during the time of disruption for the last couple years. From time to time to a point I simply had to construct and approach in my day to day function, that eliminated reporting of the pandemic. Yep. I said, I’m just not gonna acknowledge it. I’m done with it. I can’t fix it. I can’t help it. I can do my part, but I’m moving on. And to be very Frank with you, most of those stories on the news were obviously negative about how many people’s been lost, how many lives impacted. I just don’t do well with that stuff, cuz I don’t wanna feel my with all of that.

JW:

And since, you know, I hate to say this most news is negative and you know, so I suggest maybe consuming very little or none at all to keep your positive mindset. But you know, I hung, you’re gonna laugh. Lori. I hung cheerful, colorful paintings and pictures throughout my study here at home and my office you know, and listen to very positive light jazz music. I really kind of dig that stuff that kind of set my tone. There’s no singing, it’s just a guitar plane type thing. I really set the environment to give me that cognitive strengthening opportunity and, and the purpose of this environmental change is based on the premise that your mind performed only one primary primary initiative. Do you know what that is?

LF:

Drinking coffee.

JW:

Yes. Coffee, but no you’re incorrect.

LF:

OK. Oh, OK.

JW:

But nobody’s a loser on this show. Everybody wins. Coffee is number two, no number

LF:

Two,

JW:

No number one was survival, right? To protect the body. That’s all it is really built for. And our brains are what keep the body safe and functioning physically our heart rates regulated by the brain releasing chemicals or hormones in the body. A study performed in 2018. Lori reported in an article by Terry Small and chartered professional accountants of British Columbia magazine. That’s a mouthful.

LF:

I was gonna say, say that three times bad

JW:

Reported that’s as bad as what did you call these times?

LF:

Unprecedented historical times.

JW:

Yeah. That’s that’s good. This article reported that prolonged negative thinking diminishes your brain’s ability to think. Whoa.

LF:

Wow. I kind of agree with that though. I mean, that’s a very, that’s a very honest statement. If you really delve into that, we probably all suffered from that during the pandemic.

JW:

Absolutely. It says basically that essentially you’re draining your brain’s resources. Like you, you literally only have enough decisions. We’ve said this on previous episode, you have certain amounts of decisions you can make per day. That’s why you see that mark. Zuckerberg’s only wearing the same hoodie every day of the same pair of jeans. They never have to change colors. President Obama always wore the same color shirt. It seemed like he might change once in a while from a fried shirt, a white shirt to a blue shirt, but very seldom. Did he get in any colors of any different, same types of ties, that kind of thing. So they could use their brain’s thinking power for the number of decisions they need to make that are more critical. Right? And there was another study. Lori reported in the journal of American academy of neurology that found that cynical thinking. And I’m sure there are some people in the world like that. I don’t know who they are that also produces

LF:

They’re not on your friend list.

JW:

They’re not. And that produces a greater risk of dementia. Now think about that folks. Oh wow. That is very critical to your long term. Mortality. Dementia is enhanced by thinking cynical. Wow, that’s incredible. So by changing your thinking, Lori, increasing your capability for cognitive measures is a way that you change your life. Start by acknowledging the stress you experience when facing a negative situation or comment. Too many of us, us just wanted to get away from us, get away from us. Don’t do anything. Don’t acknowledge it. And the study came out and said, basically you need to channel your thinking at those times to a positive thought or image to allow the motor neurons. And that’s a big word for me. I’m not brain surgeon, big word, but the motor neurons of the brain to act in a certain way, which creates then joyful and happy feelings. Tom Hopkins, the fame sales writer once said being miserable is a habit being happy. It is a habit and the choice is yours. I thought that

LF:

Was really good. I, I, I love that. And I absolutely think that that’s a daily, that’s a daily choice. You know, some days are great. Some days are not great, but ultimately you have the you’re in control of your emotions. You’re in control of your thoughts. And I think when we talk about cognitive measures, such pretty words this morning, woo. This is so deep.

JW:

It’s unprecedented. We used it. Yeah,

LF:

That’s it. You are going to get your brain completely filled this early on a Monday morning for the entire week. Ladies and gentlemen, just, we’re just throwing it all out there for you this morning. But I, I definitely think that, and that ties back into mindset. Like if you can control what, in what you’re inputting into your brain, you can control the output because if we focus, like you said, turn the news off, walk away, be done. Don’t turn it back on. Because for so long we knew what that was going to be. And it was almost dreadful to kind of tune in or read or watch or listen. And so having those healthier habits and, and knowing the difference and having that choice, I mean, that’s really, really important. That’s good stuff.

JW:

And keep in mind, the brain is really not a muscle Lori in the sense that we have muscles in our arms or legs, but it does have to develop like a muscle. The more it’s used in a positive frame set, then you have to let it rest. I E that sleep that we all need at night, at least eight to nine hours, right? The brain works in the way similar to a muscle. So you work that muscle out, you strain it, get some tears in it. Then you rest that muscle day and it grows the same happens to our brain. That’s why I’ve always loved to read. I believe in challenging myself. I don’t just read real soft, easy books. I like to read difficult to read books that caused me to really think about what’s the writer trying to tell me. And a lot of it’s historical, a lot of it’s maybe to have to do in scientific things. I just enjoy that. I’m reading a book now that’s on Russian. And just because of what’s going on on Russian history and it has been phenomenally challenged because this guy’s a writer from Russia where they went in and they basically took Russian writing and turned it into English, writing. They converted to English. And I gotta tell you, they don’t have the same syntax as we that’s all I can tell. Wow.

LF:

Well, and I think it’s interesting too. Like, you know, a friend of mine always says that, you know, you’re, if you’re living your learning and it’s, it’s a true statement. I, I think there’s, you know, there’s constantly something that whatever that trigger is, if it’s, like you said, if it’s the, you know, Russian and Ukraine right now, or if it’s that you picked up a new hobby or it’s that you finally decided that you’re going to, you know, deflect whatever, you know, negativity, but to learn from it and to research from it and to understand it and have a better grasp of, of where you’re going. And we’re always, if you’re living, you’re learning and I, I, I love that. And I try to implement that and, and do it. And, and I don’t do it every day. Let’s be honest. I mean, today, I’m learning a lot though. Let’s just, we’re just, we’re learning. So strategy two positive action requires your total focus. And we talked about this before, but Jimmy, how do you attain total focus like total hundred and one, not a hundred, but 101% focus.

JW:

Wow. So the glass is more than full, you know, I’ll, I’ll channel my inner Sheldon Cooper from big bang theory.

JW:

She, you can’t get more than a hundred percent of something anyway, you know, that’s a great question, Lori. So one of the best tools for me retaining my focus on project is to review those important goals each morning. It’s that simple for me. If I wake up first thing in the morning and I turned on the boob tube and hurt all the negativity for the day, guess what your brain goes to work on? That stuff. You just negative fed it. Yeah. And so don’t laugh. I don’t even use an alarm clock in the morning. Why? Because alarm is a negative tone who wants to wake up to that? You know that to me, it just sends your girlfriends flying. Now you’ve got all these chemicals going in your body. You’re scared to death, right? Fight or flight from the first moment you wake up.

JW:

Instead, I use a alarm clock that’s out by Phillips. And it actually is not an alarm clock so much as it emulates the sun rising, you set the time you wish to get up. And it’s a big, bright light that sits right by your head on your, your nightstand. And as it gets brighter and brighter, it emulates to your brain, Hey, the sun is rising. Now I get up between five and five 30. There’s no sun rising this time of your, but they, that emulates that to help me get my brain in the right mindset to tackle that most important thing, which is to look at my goals. First thing in the morning, it’s crazy, but I have some don’t laugh. It’s actually taped inside the shower, have it sealed up. It’s all been, you know, sealed and plastic, but that get outta here.

JW:

Don’t laugh. It lets me focus on two things at once. And you’re saying, well, how do you get complete focused? I’m looking at my goals and showering at the same time. It really there’s no more peaceful place on earth. There’s no one there to bother me. There’s steam coming up for my steam shower, but I’m still seeing those goals. It is really a great thing for me. So that’s how I start my day. And then I evaluate the progress made on that goal and determine, Hey, do I need to make any changes in my strategy? Now, Lori, you don’t ever change your goal. If you get a roadblock or something comes along, that didn’t work out as you planned, but you do change the strategy to attain the goal. And here’s my logic. If that goal was that important to help you grow, cuz that’s all goals due.

JW:

They really just help you grow from where you were to where you wish to be in different ranges of life, emotionally, spiritually, physically, whatever, financially, whatever. So don’t change the goal or get rid of, just change your strategy. Right? And so my focus in the morning is, is not disturbed by any outside noises. I don’t have any manmade technology, no alarm clocks. I just don’t do that stuff. And that helps me get my day off to a good start. But another area of focus in my morning routine is I study my values, how I wish to be to other people, to myself, to my team, my family, and to me, honesty and character can never be compromised if that’s the case, you’ve lost all meaning for the day, in my opinion. And perhaps even longer by reviewing thinking about my values, I’m bringing the important basis for which I will function in my day and make decisions about important matters that come to me.

JW:

And when each of your decisions measured through a lens of honesty, integrity, and fairness, it is a lot easier to stay focused and positive. In my opinion, it’s only those times when you speak about someone or something in a negative manner that your brain becomes negative and stress begins to increase in the body. Once I’ve engaged in an activity with total focus, Lori, I simply ignore all environmental aspects that don’t look at the clock. I don’t listen to the phone. I don’t have music playing. I’ve got nothing. I am in the zone lady. That’s what I call it.

LF:

How can you not? I mean that, that whole strategy right there is basically a framework for how to live your life. I mean, one day when I grow up, I wanna be like, Jimmy,

JW:

I don’t think you wanna go that path.

LF:

No, yes I do. I, I, I do. I think there’s a lot to take away from that. I think there is a lot of positive attributes. Like I never thought, I mean, I’m still the person that has the alarm clock that’s going at, you know, I, I never even that. And you’re so right about you just, you load that sound like you can wake up early and roll over and look at the clock and think, oh, it’s six 20. And I know in 10 more minutes, I’m gonna hear that sound, but I’m gonna go ahead and pretend like it’s not gonna happen. And then you are angry from the word go. So if I’ve not learned anything this morning, I’m getting the sunrise alarm clock. It’s gonna be revolutionary. It’s gonna change my life. So aside from everything else today, Lori’s getting the sunrise alarm clock. So I did not even know that existed. So if you don’t and they say, you can’t learn new things listened to me. I, this is gonna be awesome.

JW:

Go on Amazon folks, Phillips it’s the Phillips daylight alarm clock. So you,

LF:

You love it. The memes are the TikTok videos that say I was this old when I realized, I mean that, I just had a moment there, like when you were explaining all that, it’s so true. I mean, and to set your goals like that in the shower though, I don’t know. I don’t know if I could do that. Like, well, there’s

JW:

Two things that have

LF:

To happen. You have like a marker board or

JW:

No, no, no. So it’s, it’s actually just written on paper with a magic marker so I can see it in there. It’s written on piece of paper and then we’ve run it through our laminating machine.

LF:

Oh, there it is.

JW:

Tape it to the rock. So I have a steam shower, so it’s rock and all this stuff in there. So you tape it to the, the rock and you don’t do it right under the shower heads. And we have like six of those. So you gotta do it to the side. But my point to all that is is, is a couple of things about that. Lori, what it does for me, it allows me to gain clarity from the first moments that my brains starting to kick in about out, Hey, I’ve gotta move his feet, move his legs. I gotta get him ready to shave. I got, you know, whatever. And a lot of that is really just normal automatic function. But when your brain reads something that positive and you look at it again, well it goes to work on, okay, well, I know that’s a goal he is working on and here’s his top three items for this week.

JW:

So let’s, let’s see what we can do to get this one done. Here’s number one. And it literally starts my thinking. I know it sounds silly, but it starts my thinking from the time I wake up, when I read those goals, Hey, I know how to tackle this. Now, now one of the thing I do, and as I get older, this is something I think we all need to think about. I have to get up from time to time at night. And so, so, so don’t laugh. What I’m about to tell you. So to stay focused on my sleep, I do not look at the clock on the nightstand, cuz it’s real low. I’ve got it dimed. As far as the numbers can go, it’s not bright enough for the sun yet. It’s not time to wake me up because once you do that, what it does, it takes you outta your total focused mindset of your brain to say, I’m in relaxation mode, I’m resting and rejuvenating mode.

JW:

If you ever look at your phone, you ever look at that clock, anything that goes through the eyes goes to the brain, you with me. So this is what I tell young people don’t get involved in things you shouldn’t be seen. You know, there’s an old big little church song about the little eyes, you know, don’t let me see things. I should. Yeah. The same thing as adults work with us when we have to get up maybe in the middle of the night for some reason. So I don’t know if it’s two o’clock, three o’clock. I don’t know what time it was. I went back to bed because if you wake up and look at something, not only does it activate your brain, but your brain says, oh, wait a minute, we gotta get up in two hours or three hours. It will not take you back to the deep rim sleep that you need to fully rejuvenate.

LF:

Wow. I’m ready to go to bed. Now

JW:

We just got her outta bed folks. No, you’re not going back. Hey, well, you know, so this third strategy, Laura, you’ve got some interesting ideas. I’m certain let’s talk with our fans who here and our listeners about this important area, environmental adjustments to gain focus. So Lori, what are some environmental changes you made during the past couple years that allow you to focus better on as we call ’em your big, hairy audacious goals?

LF:

Yes. And that’s another thing that I’ve learned through out this podcast and, and for everybody that’s listening I did not know what a beag was. And so I have learned, and I’m telling you it’s so much fun at first, it was really kind of daunting to think about a big ambitious goal. But honestly, it’s kind of fun because once you set that goal and you attain that goal, you’re like, okay, great. I get, you know, I get to have another BHA and I’ve told so many people about that story and they look at me like, I’m crazy. I’m like, listen, no, trust me. Let me explain. And so after you explain, people are really excited about it because if you’re excited about it, then you’re just spreading the excitement. So,

JW:

And that’s a good person. So if a goal doesn’t excite you, why have the, a goal? I mean, exactly. You’re not gonna grow, don’t set the goal. That’s kind of what I that’s right. Gotta stretch

LF:

That’s right. Well, and, and not only that, but you know, we talk about goals all the time. I mean, I feel like it’s kinda a tired word. And so, you know, being able to kind of put it out there as a, B a is a whole lot more fun than just the word gold. So I mean, you should probably, you should probably copyright that Jimmy, if, if you haven’t,

JW:

I think someone else thought of that I may have.

LF:

Well that’s okay. Don’t steal. We borrow.

JW:

It’s unprecedented that I would’ve thought of that.

LF:

I love it. Catch that word hashtag unprecedented 20, 22. See it. So when you talk about environmental goals or in adjustments to maintain focus, it was really hard in the beginning of the pandemic because we were so afraid of everything on the outside that we just really cocooned ourselves on the inside. And so what do you do you focus on the internet, the television video games, anything that was just something you could do inside, but as you spent more and more time doing that, you just, I mean, it was like carrying a backpack full of extra weight. Like my chest was heavy. My head hurt my eyes hurt. I mean, I, I almost like a, a sense of impending doom for, for the first little while there. And I really had to start blocking things out from, within which that kind of doesn’t make sound like.

LF:

It makes sense, but you, you block out the things that don’t serve you. And like you mentioned earlier, the news, if it’s negative, don’t do it. Social media for me was the biggest thing because that’s what people my age are into. That’s their go to, they use it for everything. They can diagnose themselves, they can be, have a political opinion. They can get a PhD in whatever it is that they know if they study it long enough. And so I really had to just stop. I, I couldn’t look, I couldn’t respond. And at first it was really difficult because I was so ingrained and indoctrinated into, well, let’s see what’s going on. Let’s look, I’m just gonna look. And so limiting that for me was a real challenge and then beginning. But now that I have lessened that in my life, it’s so much, it’s so much more freeing.

LF:

I, I, people say all the time, you know, in the office. Well, did you see on, on Facebook or Instagram? No, I didn’t. And it’s okay. I’m not missing out on anything. I, you know, we have this constant fear sometimes as adults, whoa, we’re missing out on something, but we’re not, if we’re focusing on what’s important to us. And so goal setting at that time was really important for me managing job stress keeping the people that I needed to keep in my circle small. That was another thing that during COVID I really learned that the people that were important to me you know, professionally, personally, and, and my friend group, it got smaller and it wasn’t necessarily, you know, out of an argument or angst or a disagreement. It was just that I started really to hone in and focus on the things that I wanted to do versus the obligations that, you know, we’ve talked about this before. Lori’s a yes person, I will say yes to whatever, because that’s just who I am. I, I want to serve, I want to be available. I want to help. I want to volunteer. And so I, that, that is another other environmental adjustment that I had to make. It’s okay to say that other N word and that’s no.

JW:

I can’t believe this folks, but she just admitted to how I actually talked her into being a cohost on this podcast. She cannot say, no, it’s true. It’s at work Lord, please. Would you please help me? Okay. Okay.

LF:

No, you did not have to twist my arm, not by I, but, but in doing the podcast, it, it also really helped me focus on something that was not only, you know, fun but positive. And it’s really helped me set goals and maintain goals and figure out by listening, you know, to every week’s episode, you, you take a nugget here or there and before, or too long, you start putting those small things into practice. And you’re so much happier. I I’ve been so much happier since the pandemic. And I know that sounds crazy. And, and don’t think I haven’t had have, I haven’t had moments of sadness or grief because we all have, but you, you can’t focus on those. You have to kind of move forward and, and making those environmental changes are so important. And they’re ongoing. I, I, I think now that we’re coming, hopefully towards the end of the pandemic or getting towards that direction, however we’re referring to it, what other, I don’t know what other unprecedented historical event is coming, but I’m sure it’s something it’ll be –

JW:

Unprecedented.

Speaker 3:

We

LF:

Just have to continue to make those efforts. And, and I think that’s the main goal is that as long as you’re making an effort and, and really trying to hone in on those things, you can’t go wrong there. I, I think you’ll be happier, healthier and probably a little wiser.

JW:

This is gonna sound crazy. But at, I too went through the process of physically Mo removing myself when I’m around people that are being negative. Yeah. Now, folks, it’s not like I’m gonna be rude, but I will ease myself out of any conversation. And all of a sudden someone walks up interjects comments. It’s just to me, superly negative. I mean, just all they’re doing is running someone down or all they’re doing running down a certain group or whatever it could be. I just do not appreciate that. Or if they use a lot of profane words, just come up using things I don’t wanna hear, I just kind of ease myself out and you’re gonna laugh for a guy that’s six, two weighs 240 pounds. It’s not easy to ease yourself out of anything, but I do because I wanna protect that, that input to brain I really do.

JW:

And you know, at the end of the day you got hit the nail right on the head. Lori, I think the issue of environmental change to me is, is way we have to go in and adjust what we’re doing and allowing to be input. That’s it, you know there are gonna be sad times. We’re not robots, but at the end of the day, we don’t have to focus on those. We can always look at the bigger, better, bold day ahead. If we focus in that realm and think positively. And if you find yourself in your journaling time or whatever you do to help kind of dump the brain out and get it on page, if you see you’re writing a lot about negative stuff, that’s really good, Lori, because that’s getting the stuff off your brain and getting it somewhere where it’s analog. It doesn’t call you out at night. It’s not gonna talk to you with a bright light. It’s not bringing a horn, it’s just get it out. Right?

LF:

Yeah. I, I absolutely agree. I, I definitely think getting it out is, is so helpful. And I, I think that’s where we see a lot of issues with mental health. You know, we’ve been so conditioned that you don’t talk about certain things or you don’t share certain things, or you just don’t tell people or show emotions and feelings. And, and I’m really glad that like, we’re finally figuring out other outlets to do those things and it is not good to hold it all in and, and to find a healthy way to do that.

JW:

Oh, that is great. Great stuff, lady. How about, what’s our challenge this week, Lori?

LF:

Oh, we got a good one. We got an unprecedented challenge.

JW:

We’re burning that word up tonight.

LF:

We think we’re comedians in the next life. Like I D will be my next life. I’ll be a comedian, not a chance, but our challenge for this week, if you wanna crush your goals in 2022, it is critical that you rise above the noise dis of distraction by increasing your cognitive abilities to think positively achieve total focus for your best performance and make those adjustments in your environment to mitigate or eliminate unnecessary noise.

JW:

Well, guess what, Lori, we did it again. Folks see us here next week on Live a Life By Design for your Monday morning moments of motivation and as Lori and I like to end each episode…

Both:

…Live A life by design.


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