My brother got some great noise canceling headphones a while back. I was skeptical at how well they would work, how much can earphones really cancel the noise around you, but once I tried them I was impressed. Sliding them over your ears and flipping a switch, all extra noise around me began to filter out, leaving me in silence.
This got me thinking about how these headphones work. When you switch them on they begin to, in real time, filter out the noise around you. Any sound that appears to be persistent in the background will be tuned out, leaving the remaining sounds "clean" and unobtrusive.
I wanted to do this in my own life. I analogize the background noise I hear before switching on the headphones to the information that flows through my brain on a daily basis from my TV, the Internet and all the other mediums I use. I've actively been working on becoming my own "noise canceling" technology; removing the unnecessary forms of distraction and extraneous information I wasn't even paying attention to anymore. The result has been much more time to think, write and even a little time for absolutely nothing. Just quiet.
I have yet to perfect this art, I still check my Facebook, email and other social networks too much for my liking, but I have reduced both the amount of time I'm on these sites and the number of people I let ping me with their updates. I hope to continue trimming out the excess noise, as I find I'm more productive and attentive to real life when it's gone. I love being plugged into the world and living on the pulse of a global community, but at a certain point I wasn't even listening anymore.