Fri 30 Jan, 2009
Tags: Mind and Body
What is Noise? Well I guess from one perspective its just that loud stuff you hear. For some noise is Mozart. For others its hard core gangsta rap. For others its the noise coming out of other people’s mouths. At the end of the day, noise is what is typically referred to as a bad thing. Noise can be a minor annoyance like the beginning of your favorite radio station fading out, or it can be as loud as the cacophony of a high rise going up as you walk by.
Noise means different things to different people. What to one person is just a simple minor annoyance becomes a full blow explosion in another person’s view. Our guild is at one of those difficult stages in life. We are not big enough to effectively field a 25 man force, but large enough that we have a lot of overflow on our 10 mans. So for some, theres stress and noise everywhere.
Signal Vs. Noise
My brother would be proud. He’s an electrical engineer and I’m actually talking about something he deals with every day. Now in this case I’m using it as an analogy to real (Wow) life, but the concept applies in a sort of universal way.
What is Signal? Signal is basically the good stuff. Its what you enjoy. Its what gives you the good vibes. Its what keeps you playing WoW or any other game. In a guild its the companionship, the sharing, and the overall support you feel. For your day to day play it could be something like PVP or dungeoneering or raiding. Its basically the aspect of the game or hobby that you enjoy and brings a smile to your face.
What is Noise? Simply put, Noise is the stuff that hides the signal. Its the things that temporarily or permanently overwhelm the fun and make it into a grind or torture. Noise can take a lot of forms. For a raider, it could be a simple as one person who won’t shut up on Vent or refuses to use a flask and buffing food. For another person it could be that noob death knight who keeps purposely pulling and killing your mobs just to be an idiot. For others it can be that whispering nagging guy who abuses people in the guild.
Regardless, noise is bad. Noise is what makes it stressful to log in. Noise is what downgrades your personal experiences in the game.
Personalized Stress Reactions
Everyone responds differently, but in the end, humans are beasts like all the other creatures on this planet. We respond with fight or flight reactions, but unlike other beasts, we aren’t always the best at removing our pain points.
Lately I’ve recognized a lot of different signs in myself. I’ve been irritable. I’ve had a lot less patience with people. Some people I’ve wanted to ring their necks. Other times I just don’t know if I want to log in. Sounds like burn out right? Well burn out can have a lot of factors, but generally, unless your burn out is boredom related, burnout is probably most frequently caused by noise.
Humans unlike beasts some times will thrust themselves into situations where they get stressed over and over again. They’ll just keep coming back for more until they finally get smart enough and learn to just step away. An animal learns that you don’t walk next to a rose bush because when it did, it got hurt. Humans learn the same way, but for some of us, its not always easy.
What you need to understand is how you show stress. For some, they eat. They go grab a bag of chips/cookies/candies and just eat. Others build it up and start shaking. Others go ballistic. Others need to work out. Whats important is recognizing what your reaction is that shows stress and acknowledging that you are getting stressed.
Identify the Noise – Finding your stress points
Once you know your stressed, what you need to do now is identify what’s causing you pain. The biggest mistake a lot of people make is the assume that what triggered them last is what is causing them pain. Here’s an example:
Joes back hurts. Joe assumes that because his back hurts his back must need fixing. So he goes to a chiropractor and gets an alignment. This goes on for 6 months and Joes back keeps getting worse. In reality, Joe has a plantars wart on his foot that was causing him to favor his right side. Well Joe injured his right knee ages ago. So Joe started walking funny to compensate and in the end it threw his entire gait off and caused his back to constantly go out of alignment.
See how that works. Joe was getting noise from his foot, which was agravating the noise in his knee which was causing his back to cause even more noise. In fact in the end, Joe probably couldn’t even hear the noise in his foot because the noise in his back was overshadowing the noise in his foot.
Are they all pain points? Yes. But in the end, the noise amplyfies as it progresses and at the end, you can’t see the actual cause. Some times you need to look at all stress points and all the pain points to recognize where you need to really make a change.
Noise Sensitivity – Your Pain is not My Pain
The mistake a lot of people make is externalizing their noise and assuming that not only does everyone else hear it, but they agree that its noise. Humans have an amazing ability to selectively tune in and out noise and pain. Watch a newly married couple walk into the home of a set of parents with 3 kids. They are almost immediately overwhelmed by the sights, sounds and activities of the children as they move from room to room and play and run and just end up being kids. For the parents though, they happily chug along doing their thing almost oblivious to the fact that the activity is flowing all around them. Then out of the blue mom or dad suddenly warns one of the children to not jump on the couch, or wait for mom or dad to run to the potty.
The main problem we have is that we assume that because its painful for us, the world around us shares in our pain and sympathizes. Its not that they can’t be sympathetic, but they don’t know what your pain point is and why its there.
Amazingly enough most of the people in the world are not empaths or mind readers. If you want to know how someone is feeling on the computer you generally have to ask them. If you want to know whats bugging them, they have to tell you. We’ve seen a decent amount of strife in my guild lately because people forget that fundamental rule.
You have to communicate to get your point across
For us we’ve had probably 4-5 people who have either left the guild or left an officer position and in almost every case its very rare for them to give an explanation that makes any sense to the people around them. We stare in awe befuddled by what we see because we haven’t walked in their shoes. We don’t know what causes them pain and why they suddenly don’t feel that it can be fixed.
If something is causing you pain, even minor annoyances, there’s nothing wrong with sitting down with someone and saying, “Hey… it really bugs me when you do X, because it goes against my beliefs… or I have child … or….” That’s not guaranteeing that they’ll be sympathetic, but for the better people in this world, they’ll listen, they’ll process what you said, and try to be more sensitive to your needs if they can.
When we don’t communicate our pain or “noise” we then begin to internalize the pain and amplify it ourselves. It becomes this consuming and overwhelming noise that we stare at others and try to figure out why they can sit there and ignore our pain. Then in our own heads… we make the situation far worse than it ever appears to anyone else.