It’s true. I don’t read the newspaper and I don’t watch the news on TV. If you think that’s strange or unwise, then you’ll really be shocked to find out that I haven’t read a daily newspaper or watched the news on TV for over 15 years!
There are several meaningful reasons why I avoid the news, but before I explain my actions, I need to point out a couple of things. The first is that, in this age of information, it’s virtually impossible NOT to become aware of significant, impactful events. (And yes, I periodically skim the headlines on specific topics just to make sure I’m aware of anything/everything significant.) And the second point I want to make is that over all the years I’ve avoided the news, not once has it negatively impacted my work with clients.
As I stated above, there are three meaningful reasons why I avoid the news. Here they are (in no particular order):
Most of the news is irrelevant to us. While it’s true that every event is relevant to some people, the truth is that the majority of the news is not relevant to most of us. An accident, a fire, and a murder are each a sad and alarming event, but unless you are among those involved, the events have little to no impact on you or your life. If any of those events happened to people you know, you will undoubtedly find out about it either directly (phone/email/text) or indirectly (social media).
The same holds true for international events. A terrorist bombing, an earthquake, and a currency collapse are all devastating. But they’re mostly devastating to those involved. Yes, visiting an area plagued by bombings would be unwise, but can be avoided by doing a little research prior to making travel plans. And yes, if you’re inclined to help relieve the suffering of those affected, then being aware of those events would be important. But as I said earlier, it’s hard NOT to become aware of major events. And yes, the collapse of a major foreign economy can have far-reaching effects, but for most of us, we won’t and don’t need to take any actions as a consequence of it.
I avoid reading and watching the news because most of it is irrelevant to me and my life. I only dig deeper when something is relevant.
OK, some people might find this next perspective of mine a bit harsh, but here it is nevertheless. I find that when it comes to the news, people are hypocritical. People will declare how important something is and how important it is to stay informed about it, YET THEY TAKE NO ACTION.
People become glued to their TV sets to watch the aftermath of a tsunami, shaking their heads about how terrible it is and state how important it is to stay informed about it, but then do nothing about it. They don’t travel to the area to help with relief efforts. They don’t support organizations promoting better early tsunami warning systems. They don’t even donate money to help. The whole of it is hypocritical.
The same pattern of fixation and inaction repeats itself with trials, shootings, bombings, scandals, etc. People behave hypocritically when they say something matters but then do nothing about it.
I avoid reading and watching the news because I don’t pretend that most things matter. Most things don’t matter. I pay attention to and act on the things that matter to me.
The third major reason I don’t read or watch the news has to do with attitude maintenance. Our reality is determined by our perspective, and our perspective is strongly influenced by our attitude.
Our attitude affects how we experience life. (Most people say I’m one of the most positive people they know.) A person’s attitude affects how they approach challenges. A positive person sees an obstacle and sets about creating a way to overcome it. A negative person sees the same obstacle and decides that it’s proof that something can’t be done.
The key to having and maintaining a positive attitude is to control what goes into your head. If you don’t control what you put into your brain, then someone else will. One thing that pretty much everyone agrees on is that the news is almost all negative. If you want to change your reality, shift your perspective, and improve your attitude, then stop reading and watching the news with all its negativity.
I avoid reading and watching the news because I control what I put into my head and proactively maintain a positive attitude. If you want to change your reality, stop reading and watching the news, and start feeding yourself with positive input.
If you want to change your life and achieve greater success, be true to yourself. Focus on the things that matter to you, act on the things that matter to you, and change your reality by changing your attitude.