Are you addicted to meaningless talk?
We have gone a bit Talk Crazy these days. Well, do be honest, it’s not just a bit. We have a full fledged new addiction: GadgetTalk. I simply call it the Talk Crazy addiction. It has reached epidemic proportions. If you don’t believe me, look at people as you walk down the streets. Look around in the bus or waiting rooms. At least 5 out of 10 people are talking as they walk, drive or wait. At least this is the New York Experience.
This blog helps you to take a quick informal self-assessment test to find out if you are Talk Crazy, while giving you something to think about when you consider how you communicate.
Mind you, if you realize that you are Talk Crazy, this doesn’t mean that you are crazy! This is just an informal assessment and the term a humorous way at looking at our communication age.
If you score high in the Talk Crazy scale, it may mean however, that you need to find a more meaningful and balanced way to communicate, relate to others and above all, communicate with yourself.
The Self-assessment questions below help you to:
- Find out if you are Talk Crazy
- To what degree are you addicted to GadgetTalk or meaningless talk
- Discover what aspects of communication you are neglecting
- Discover how you can enrich your communication experience.
There are four types of points for the score.
- T points
- F points
- I points
- M points
They will be explained at the end.
SEGMENT A: Communication tools
How many of these you have?
- Cell phone or
- Email account (1)
- Social network- one
- Email account (more than 1)
- Voip Services (Like Skype)
- Chat service
- Social network- up to 3
- Other document sharing, photo or video sharing services
- Social network- more than 3
- I access my social networks through my cellphone/blackberry
- Online community, memberships, clubs, etc.
- One T-point for each checked from items 1-5.
- Three T-points for each checked from items 6-8
- Five T-points for each checked from items 9-12
There is no good or bad when it comes to how many communication tools you use or possess. Only you know what your personal and professional needs are. If you are in business or in communications, marketing, security or public relations fields, you may need a high level of communication gadgets. High or low scores here are only the basis for further assessment.
There is however, one question you may ask yourself.
Do I really need all these gadgets?
Having a lot of gadgets and services does not necessarily enrich the quality of your life or of your communications. The next segments will help you assess if this is true. If it is, then they will also let you know what areas you are neglecting now and what you can do to enhance the quality of your communications, relationships and of your lifestyle.
SEGMENT B: Frequency
How much do you use each of these gadgets and services in any given day? Choose only ONE option, the one that is the closest to your experience.
- I use some of these once or twice a week, but not every day.
- I use my cell phone/blackberry less than 5 times a day and the rest of the gadgets about once or twice a week.
- I use my phone/blackberry around 10 times a day and at least two of the rest of the gadgets or services once a day.
- I use my phone/blackberry around 20 times a day and at least three of the rest of the gadgets or services a minimum of three times a day.
- I am on one of these at least every hour.
- At any given time in any given day, I am using one or more of these gadgets and services to communicate.
- One F-point for item 1
- Two F-points for item 2
- Three F-points of item 3
- Four F-points for item 4
- Five F-points for item 5
- Six F-points for item 6
Once again, there is no judgment about the frequency to which you use your communication gadgets, because only you know what you need personally and professionally. If you are in security or if you are a doctor, you may not be able to turn off your cell phone, for example.
On the other hand, you may be using your gadgets as tools of avoidance. The question you may want to ask is this:
Am I using my time, attention and energy effectively to enrich my life and attain my goals through my communications?
If your communication frequency is distracting you from using your time, attention and energy in ways that manifest your dreams, deepen your relationships and enhance your finances and your quality of life, then it is addictive or at least needs to be balanced.
Yes, but…. Are you communicating?
You have the tools and you use them more or less frequently, but are you communicating?
Here’s the catch. Communicating has two meanings. Here’s what the Encyclopedia of Public Health says about communication.
“Communication is the production and exchange of information and meaning by use of signs and symbols.”
This presents us with a challenge. There are TWO different aspects of communication: information and meaning.
Let’s do another level of self-assessment to distinguish how you are using each of these aspects.
SEGMENT C: Information and Meaning
In a scale of 0-10, 0 being never and 10 always, how much do you communicate about any of the items below while communicating with any of the gadgets above? (Give yourself a score of 0-10 for each item.)
- What I am doing.
- What I did.
- What I plan to do.
- What just happened around me.
- Information about logistics: where, who, what, when, etc.
- Information about problems that need to be solved.
- What happened to someone else or what someone else did or say.
- About something I am hearing or reading (music, book, etc.)
- Venting reactive feelings, like anger, frustration, etc.
- Communicating my opinion on what is happening.
- How I am feeling about myself and my life.
- How I perceive the situations going on.
- The meaning that I perceive in this situation and how it affects my life.
- About the dreams, desires, goals and challenges that I am facing and how I feel about them.
- Sharing the beauty or blessings that I see around me or that I experience internally.
- Reflecting on the meaning or consequences of things that are happening in the world.
- Listening to the other person attentively, to be there for them.
- One I-point for each item for scores of 1-4 in items 1-10
- Three I-points for each item for scores of 6-10 for items 1-10
- One M-point for each item for scores of 1-4 for items 11-18
- Three M-points for each item for scores of 5-10 for items 11-18
Information to meaning ratio
If you are like most people, you scored high on items 1-10 and very low if at all in items 11 to 15. What this means is that you are using only the first definition of communication. You are exchanging information. But you are rarely sharing meaning.
This is, in part due to the nature of the new gadgets. They are used on the run, in public or in an unsecured medium.
But it has more to do with our own addictive society.
In this society we are not taught self-intimacy. We are not guided in the knowledge of how to process emotions. We are rarely given support or time to reflect on our lives. This creates an addictive society in which people are constantly doing, talking, focusing outwards and keeping busy as a means of avoiding their personal truth.
Now we have the perfect tools to exploit our Talk Crazy addictions. We can talk 24 hours a day every day. We can even talk while we sleep, thanks to scheduled emails and messages!
We can escape from ourselves by talking to others.
That is my definition of being Talk Crazy.
Are you Talk Crazy?
Here’s one last set of questions to get your score:
SEGMENT D: The Experience of Meaning
During each day, I take time to do any of the following:
- Commune with nature
- Just being
- Reflect on my dreams and goals
- Receive and give thanks for my blessings
- Do some body awareness practice or discipline, like Yoga, Tai Chi, Chi Gong, Pranic Healing, etc. (Movement for body awareness and connection to the inner body, not to lose weight or stay fit.)
- Time to eat in peace and quiet.
- Creative time to paint, draw, listen to music, sing, dance, etc.
- Time to talk with a friend about our feelings and to share our deepest experiences or reflections.
- Write in a journal about life, my experience and my spirituality.
- Read to enhance my perception and understanding of experience.
- Seek or share inspiration.
- Write a poem or story to communicate what I’ve experienced.
- Send an email, letter or other communication sharing these experiences to my friends or list.
Three M-points for any item you select in this list.
The Experience of Meaning
It may sound strange to you that I talk about the experience of meaning. Isn’t meaning something you think about? That belief is at the core of our social addiction and the way it creeps out in our communication.
We are dissociated from the physical, sensual, soulful and spiritual experience of the meaning of our life. In this isolation, there is a sense of orphanhood, meaninglessness and vacuum that we then try to feel with activity, external actions and focus and by thinking and talking. We use talking as a mask that hides this existential black hole.
The cure for this Talk Crazy addiction as well as to all the other control addictions that mask our emptiness is precisely the experience of meaning. When we experience the meaning of our life, we heal. This experience requires the integration of:
- Our body, our inner experience of our body (vs manipulating our body from the outside to fit into some mental ideal)
- Our soul, our Unique Essence and its wisdom, its knowledge of our life purpose
- Our emotional truth, felt authentically instead of used for drama, blaming, acting out or repressing our personal truth
- Our spiritual and energy being as experienced in the vibration of our energy body and our higher wisdom.
This integration happens organically as we practice Conscious Living. The last segment of this self-assessment gives you the experiences of conscious living you need to begin healing your addiction or bring your Talk Crazy obsession into balance.
Let’s find out what your score is and what that means about your communication experience.
Add up all your points and gather them on this way:
SEGMENT A: Total of T-points
This is your score for Communication Tools. If it is high, then this means that you use a lot of communication tools. This is neither good nor bad, depending on the rest of the score. After all, you may NEED these tools. That’s why they exist, because they help us!
SEGMENT B: Total of F-points
This is your score for Frequency of use. If it is high, again, this only means that you use your communication tools very frequently. You may need to, so that by itself doesn’t make you TalkCrazy. You could consider if you really need to use them as much as you do. But the important factors are the Information to Meaning ratio and the Meaning Experience score below. These let you know if you are using your gadgets to engage in your addiction or if you are using them to convey your message to the world and facilitate a better life for yourself and your family.
SEGMENT C: Get your I/M ratio. This is your Information/Meaning ratio. To get this, add your I-points (information) and your M-points (meaning). Now divide your I-points by your M-points. That’s your I/M ratio.
30 I-points/10 M-points=30/10 ratio. This means that you may be communicating 3X more information than meaningful communication.
10 I-points/ 20 M points= 10/2o. This means that you may be communicating twice as much meaningful communication as you share information.
Depending on your purpose and expertise field, you may want to keep or to recalibrate this ratio. If you are in the business of facts and you got an disproportionately high Information ratio, you are doing fine. If, however, you are in business and you are using your gadgets and services to communicate and sale, you may be missing the point altogether. How are you making your prospects feel through the mood, emotions and knowledge that you consistently communicate? Are you addressing their dreams, needs and experiences? Addressing these issues will bring your meaning score up. If you communicate for personal purposes and you got a high information ratio, you may be in the habit of talking about facts and news to cover the void left by your lack of self-intimacy or of intimacy in your relations. Use segments C and D to improve this.
Total of M-points
Add your M points from Segment C and D. The results is your Meaning Index. This index conveys not only how meaningful your communication may be, but how you convey and experience meaning in your life.
If you score between 69 and 45, you may be communicating and experiencing meaning in a rich manner, including feelings, reflections, knowledge and experience.
If you score between 44 and 30, you are probably sharing enough meaning for your particular field or goal, though you may want to examine any area in which you can improve.
If you score between 29 and 20, you need to examine how to communicate more meaning, not just facts, in order to enrich your communication. Unless, of course, you are in the business of just facts.
If you score less than 20, examine carefully how you are living and communicating. Unless your job is to convey just facts, you may be engaging in GadgetTalk addiction as a means to escape your personal truth, avoid intimacy or as a learned limitation. Use Segments C and D as a guide to enrich both, your communication and the experience of meaning in your life.
Light and love,
The Dream Alchemist
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About Maria Mar
Maria Mar is an author, speaker and ceremonialist poet. She is also a spiritual teacher and an internationally known shaman who helps you to break through the hidden interference to your success, to unleash your Greatness and manifest the life of your dreams. She offers books, digital products and coaching, art that heals and transforms as well as performances, speaking engagements and other live and online events to help you become the protagonist of your life and the creator of your destiny. Find out more at Catch the Dream Express.