Does Watching the News Keep You Knowledgeable and Informed?
What’s News Got to do with It?
“The more wonderful the means of communication, the more trivial, tawdry, or depressing its content seemed to be.” – Arthur C Clarke
One very small yet very powerful change that I made in my life to create a more positive attitude and optimistic outlook was to stop watching “the news”. I was like so many people for so long. I woke up and turned on cable news while I ate breakfast to “get informed.” Or to “stay current” or to feel like I knew what was happening in the world.
I watched some news when I got home. Sometimes I would watch news if it happened to be on at the airport, the office, or anywhere else. It didn’t stop there. Then I would find fellow news watchers. We would all talk about what we watched on the news, how awful it was, or how nothing is going to change, or how corrupt this or that is, or how ridiculous some silly celebrity drama was.
In retrospect, I feel silly for having fell into such a meaningless and unproductive cycle of problem-oriented thinking. Having freed myself of this cycle years ago, I am now fully aware of how much time, how much energy, and how destructive this habit is for so many people – just as it was for me. However, I was not easily convinced to stop it.
I was sure that by watching the news I was somehow better for it. That if I did not watch the news, I would be ignorant. That I would be unable to communicate intelligently with friends and co-workers, and generally be a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal.
On the contrary, what I’ve found is that with more time on my hands, with a more positive outlook, and with an eye toward personal problems and solutions, I was able to make progress in all the areas I needed to improve.
So Much More Time
No longer did I research some far off problem or spend time posting replies to silly political articles about this or that. I turned all that energy toward my goals and dreams. Would it be worth it to stop watching the news if you could spend an extra three hours a week pursuing your goals? Perhaps you could spend an extra three hours reading books, or exercising, or cooking healthier meals, or connecting with your spouse, or mentoring your kids or any number of things which I am sure you would agree is time better spent than watching drama news television.
I challenge you to stop watching any news for 30 days. At the end of that 30 days take note of what you have done to replace that time and how your focus has changed. I dare you.
Here is to becoming extraordinary to live extraordinarily.