The Power of Consistent Exposure

Last night I was having a conversation about the shift in how people discover new music – from radio in the 90s to the internet in the 2010s. 

The theory behind pop radio is to sell audience attention to advertisers, so the songs need to sound “similar yet different” to other pop hits so that people don’t change the channel when something “new” comes on.

But songs also “grow on” audiences with repeat listens. 

I remember the first time I heard “Sexy Back” by Justin Timberlake.  I thought it was a terrible and nearly unlistenable song.  Now, it feels like part of the bedrock of my generation’s musical landscape.

Consistent exposure to anything is a powerful force.  Consistent exposure to the sun or radiation can cause cancer.  Consistent exposure to another person can cause two people to fall in love.  Consistent exposure to loud noise can damage hearing.  Consistent exposure to encouragement can help someone feel confident and secure. 

Because the effects of consistent exposure are so powerful, it’s worth examining what we allow ourselves to be consistently exposed to in our lives. 

Do we hear negativity from our peers on a regular basis?  Does our default news channel spout fear and distrust every day?  Do we read blogs that antagonize us or elevate our blood pressure?  Do we watch TV shows that are filled with dysfunctional relationships? 

As much as consistent physical exposure to radiation or noise can damage our bodies, so too can constant mental exposure to negativity damage our minds. 

People who judge you or doubt you sap your resolve to take action towards meaningful change in your life.  A frequent stream of fear and anger on TV or online can cause you to mistrust people around you and act in judgmental or illogical ways. 

Identifying these patterns is a crucial first step towards improving our physical and mental well-being. 

Take a minute to think about the opinions and media that you consume on a regular basis.  Do they make you a more centered, positive, and confident person?  Do they inspire you to take action that improves your life and your community? 

Once we reflect on the things we are consistently exposed to in our lives, we can replace the media, situations, and people who damage our capacity to love and create progress in the world. 

Have you seen the power of consistent exposure impact (positively or negatively) your own life?  I’d love to hear your reflections in the comments below.

Posted on March 27, 2015 .