Almost three years ago whilst working in an office which had Sky News rolling 24/7 on large TV screens I came to a simple yet important realisation:
- The vast majority of news coverage is negative
- I never have any influence over the news events unfolding
- Being aware of current affairs is rarely beneficial
Since those realisations, I stopped watching and listening to any news and I don’t read any newspapers (with the exception of the odd Sunday paper!). I now focus on what I hope will be lasting knowledge from books and podcasts rather than ephemeral information from TV bulletins, newspapers and news websites which has no bearing on my life.
The media’s focus on negative messages gives us a very distorted view of the world and one that our minds start believing. Media outlets are more in the business of competing for your attention than giving you a balanced picture of the world. They fundamentally care about page views and advertising money. As a result, you likely perceive murder rates, terrorist attacks, and other negative events to occur far more frequently than they actually do!
Do I worry that I’ll miss important information? No. I’ve found that anything truly significant; weather warnings, referendums, and elections etc. are discussed so incessantly that they will cross my radar. Do I feel out of the loop and uninformed? Again the answer is no. It’s actually quite refreshing to ask informed friends to give me a 60 second summary of any notable trending topics.
I highly recommend trying the information light diet for a week and observe the delights of a world free of negative headlines!