Stay Above the Noise

I have a confession: I'm an amateur radio operator. I have been for 22 years. I have conversations with people down the street, across the country, and on the other side of the globe – all over the air. I also enjoy listening to podcasts, and naturally I’ve found some podcasts that combine these two interests.

The host of one of my favorite podcasts, Christian Cudnik, (100 Watts and a Wire) signs off with a phrase that got me thinking. He ends his shows with "Try and stay above the noise."

On the air, we need to worry about something called "signal to noise ratio." While it sounds complicated, signal to noise is simple to understand. The signal is the person who I'm trying to listen to. The noise is everything that isn't that signal.

Think back to the days of AM radio. You wanted to listen to a station, but during the daytime all you got was static. As night fell, you started to hear the station and by midnight it was booming in. What started out as a low signal to noise ratio (no signal and all noise), turned into a high signal to noise ratio (lots of signal and very little noise).

The phrase "Try and stay above the noise" has a figurative meaning that is relevant in our everyday lives as well.

Signals are easy to see. The task I'm working on for a customer, taking care of a friend in need, spending time with family. But what about the "noise"? The noise is all the distractions in life. A loud conference call right outside your office, a lawn that needs to be mowed, the show on TV that's distracting you from doing chores.

Back to the radio, we have tools like pre-amplifiers, filters, and attenuators to lower the noise and raise the signal. In life, we have tools as well. Calendars to keep a schedule, a volume control on our cell phones, and respectful communication to sort out disputes.

Staying above the noise isn't about eliminating the noise, that's impossible. It's about limiting the noises' impact on our signal, not letting it run our lives.

I leave you with a question: What are you doing to "Try and stay above the noise"?

Until next time…we are Advoco, make every minute count.

About Michael: Michael is a Technical Solutions Consultant who has been part of the Advoco team since 2013. Michael has been working in IT for the manufacturing industry since 2000 but his depth of experience includes product development, production integration, and electronic technician work. When Michael isn’t solving complex technical issues at Advoco, you can find him biking, hiking, and camping or tinkering with his radios and home automation systems. Have a question for Michael? Send him an email.