“Shut your eyes and see.” James Joyce (Irish Novelist and Poet)

According to The Lancet Planetary Health Scientific Journal, the average child is exposed to 554 brands over a 10-hour day, or nearly a brand a minute.  No wonder my kids want name brand things.

According to Zippia, the global advertising market is worth around $766 billion.  Of that amount, U.S. advertising spending reached $261.1 billion in 2022.  Of that, $171 billion was spent on digital ads.  Google, Facebook, and Amazon (in that order) accounted for 64% of all U.S. digital ad spending.  That’s a lot of money.

Did you know the average internet user sees 1,707 banner ads per month.  The average American is exposed to 4,000 – 10,000 ads per day.  That’s double from 2007 and over five times as many ads as the average person saw in the 1970s.  To which I say…Wow!

Isn’t it mind bending to think of how many ads, billboards, TV advertisements, etc. cross in front of our eyeballs daily?  Yet, I get it.  There are 8 billion humans on the face of this planet.  Many of which earn a living wage, and as such, have money to spend.  And if you own a business, you want them to spend their money with you.  Yet 90% of American consumers find targeted ads intrusive and annoying.  This can actually lead to adverse effects to the business by actually annoying the consumer that may have spent money with them.

I recently returned from a conference in Los Angeles where our Life Coach, Scott Miller, and I were invited to speak.  The 1-hour drive from LAX to the conference venue was absolutely littered with ads.  There was nowhere, and I mean nowhere that your eyes could gaze that you couldn’t see a billboard, sign, or neon sign trying its best to attract your gaze.  LA is one of the most densely populated cities in the country, all these ads vying for your attention…and your money.

This experience was in sharp contrast to my family’s trip out West last summer.  Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, and the Grand Canyon.  Not an advertisement to be found in any of the millions of acres of God’s beautiful creation in these National Parks.  At one overlook, the view of the Grand Canyon was absolutely breathtaking.  Yet, the stillness of the moment was ever-present.  A light breeze, the sun shining, no one else around.  I closed my eyes…and saw.  I tuned out the noise and chaos of the busy world I’d left behind at work and blinked away the chatter vying for my attention and time.  And I just stood there.  Eyes shut, heart open, pushing down the voices of what’s next, and instead, being there.  Being present, being…me.

You’ve had those moments, yes?  Those moments that are still, silent, reflective, meaningful.  Been awhile?  Ads and meetings and deadlines and traffic and screens and parenting and expectations have you frazzled?  What’s your happy place?  Nature?  Museum?  Sunday drive?

Turn the music off.  Podcast off.  Phone off.  Distractions off.

Peace.  Calm.  Tranquility.

Breathe.

Shut your eyes…and see.