On more than one ocassion I’ve been described as ‘the female Chris Helder’, which I consider to be the ultimate compliment as Chris is widely regarded as one of Australia’s best speakers. I’ve been lucky to share the platform with him 20 times or so and consider him a great friend and mentor. He’s certainly the hardest-working speaker I know and his energy is infectious — both on and off the stage.
It’s the same energy that shines through in the books he writes and his latest release, Cut the Noise, is no exception.
Chris’s stated goal in writing this book is to illustrate how noise affects us. And then to give tips on how to filter it and reduce the volume in order to achieve better focus.
Reading this book also reminded me that noise is both aural and visual. Not to mention everywhere and all the time. I know for me it’s a daily battle. When I’m vulnerable through lack of sleep and intensely busy periods, I feel like I’m drowning in noise; pings, dings, light, colour and movement, bips and baby boy are the soundscape of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I love my work and my beautiful baby boy; I’m genuinely grateful for having my busiest year of speaking to date.
But oh for some productive silence and a little less guilt about shifting goal posts and lower scores than I’d like or have set for myself.
This book in 200 Words
Cut the Noise begins with two fables. Chris knows that stories are powerful ways to convince and encourage. He reminds us that our lives are a ‘patchwork of interactions’. That multitasking is a wasteful ‘technique’. It’s laughable how we constantly attempt to be the best parent, partner, speaker, employer all while staying fit and never ageing.
Cut the Noise also offers a smorgasbord of ‘takeaways’ that serve to illustrate the stories and anecdotes. It’s not new to read that when we feel guilty it’s usually about a thing we cannot change or control. But this book is like a fresh coat of paint on a topic that will be with us as long as we are alive, with families to care for and work to do.
‘Actions and Anecdotes’ describes the true story of Chris’ mother, Carol Dey, a nurse. It is doubly arresting because Chris recalls what he remembers from his five year old self as he assesses his mother’s achievement with the additional perspective of a successful man who is also a parent. In 1975 Carol and a nursing colleague risked their lives and achieved their brave, bold and purposeful vision, Operation Babylift. They rescued thousands of Vietnamese babies, bringing them from wartorn chaos to safety. So Chris Helder rightly concludes that when our sense of purpose becomes a core belief, it forges courage and dispels fear and guilt.
Three Things to Action from this Book
- Don’t get too attached to an outcome – we’ll see what we see. Sure we can have strategies to manage stumbling blocks and goals for the end of a journey or project but pay attention to what’s happening along the way. I especially liked that this concept of seeing in the moment comes from Chris’ son, Billy and has become a mantra for the whole family.
- Love, money and accomplishment – this tool has so much to offer. Frame up every activity in your life; a love frame, a money frame and an accomplishment frame. It will help you find your why, and establish your purpose.
- 10 seconds of guilt…..move on! Real is better than perfect. There is a lot said about guilt in this book – and it rings true. Noise creates confusion and is a perfect breeding ground for comparison and guilt that get right in the way of our focus. So this tool, give guilt a mere ten seconds of your attention and then ditch it. It will take practice but we know that practice makes better.
Cut the Noise is a slim volume – just over a hundred pages. It lends itself to dipping in and out with time to process and reflect. It’s a multifaceted approach to a common drawback that affects everyone living and working on planet earth today.
It’s a book that helps us to recognise and better understand the noise that plagues us and then gives us a wealth of actions and tools to reduce the volume.
Get your copy here