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This is true all the time, but it’s more relevant than ever in months like the one we’re having, and probably for several months ahead: it matters which voices you listen to.

Here are two recent quotes from Seth Godin about this – the first about who shouts loudest, who we listen to, and our choice to lead instead of reacting or responding*:

We’ve piped the voices of a billion people directly into our brains. The loudest, angriest, most frightened people are the ones that are amplified the most.

Everyone sharing what’s breaking. The visceral angst of this very moment, over and over.

Just as it’s almost impossible to make a profit as a day trader, it’s difficult to be happy when you day trade emotions. But there’s an alternative:

Buy and hold.

Stand for something.

Stick with it.

Seth GodinDay trading emotions

The second is a timely reminder that we need to be aware of the voices everyone else is listening to too, and act accordingly:

While calm is a damping agent, it’s not nearly as effective at spreading itself as panic is.

The library is usually a quiet place because the dominant cultural narrative in the library is to be quiet. Because it’s dominant, the coefficient of its spread is sufficient to keep it that way. We have to expend effort to create environments of calm, because calm has a coefficient that can’t compete with panic when it comes to spreading.

And Twitter? Twitter has been engineered to maximize panic. Calm is penalized, panic is amplified. And if you are hanging out in real life with people who spend a lot of time on social media and news sites, you’ve invited all of those people into your circle as well.

Seth GodinCalm also has a coefficient

Keep calm. Do the work. Think about who you’re listening to.

*See also, React, respond or initiate?

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommended resources...