Overwhelm is the most common word I heard throughout 2020 – other than “unprecedented” and “You’re-on-mute”. Staying connected, whether at work or with friends and family has been an intensely challenging affair – how can you do that when the world seems to be heading to hell in a handbasket? Jean Gamester, writing in the Toastmasters journal has three ideas on coping.
Steven Pressfield’s new self-published novel “A Man At Arms” is out, and despite being an award winning author/playwright/you-name-it, he still feels way out of his comfort zone promoting his work. And yet he does it, because:
We can’t let ourselves be too scared to sell ourselves.
Got made redundant, & looking for a new job? Wanting that promotion at work? Telling your secret love how you feel about him/her? Unfortunately, most things involve selling.
When there are thousands of things to do, how can we make an impact? Any one of those things can feel meaningless, because they’ll barely move the needle. Sometimes the feeling is that we’re just spinning our wheels, or treading water, and not making any progress. And at the same time, so many things are coming at you.
Like nearly everyone else over the last few months, I’ve felt I’ve had more than my fair share of overwhelm.
I turn to reading in these moments. The Stoics or more contemporary philosophers (I doubt they will call themselves that, but whatever), they all offer help in their own way.
One of my regular reads is by Leo Babauta, whose writing I’ve long cherished, for its simplicity and yet profound applicability of ideas. These ideas aren’t new, for sure. But they’re timely. And that’s what matters. His recent post resonated strongly, reminding me of how to focus on what’s important.
Why do we feel exhausted after hours /days / months now of videoconferencing? What is Zoom (or Teams) fatigue really?
Stanford University’s Jeremy Bailenson has some ideas worth considering. Some – not all – of the solutions to this problem are trivial design implementations that the big tech companies haven’t yet gotten around to.
Anyone who speaks for a living understands the intensity of being stared at for hours at a time. Even when speakers see virtual faces instead of real ones, research has shown that being stared at while speaking causes physiological arousal (Takac et al., 2019). But Zoom’s interface design constantly beams faces to everyone, regardless of who is speaking. From a perceptual standpoint, Zoom effectively transforms listeners into speakers and smothers everyone with eye gaze.
Ten years later, I still love this incredible rendition of Toto’s Africa. While Mike’s voice has only gotten better with age (check out his nearly daily live streams on YouTube), Jeff’s casual (!!!) backing vocals are what make this version stellar for me.