I can’t take it anymore. The news just makes me either angry, sad, or disgusted. I have been drifting away from mainstream news for awhile, and am trying to go cold turkey. A few years back, I read some business books saying that watching the news or reading it, is a grandiose waste of time. If you are trying to build a business, the news is a solid time waster. I took note of that and starting paying less attention as it made sense to me. How can the news help me grow a business? It really can’t.
As technology has evolved and we live in a time when we can direct our attention to whatever we want, we can CHOOSE what we want to see and read. This has helped me a great deal. I use the Flipboard app to curate the news that comes to me through my phone or ipad and I can decide what I want to see. My topics in Flipboard are, Apple News, Technology, The Art of Manilness, Parenting, Rolling Stone, Entrepreneurs, Social media marketing, Golf, etc. So I can bypass all of the news stories that do absolutely nothing for me.
I grew up watching the news and reading local and national newspapers. The information in those publications do very little to make me a better businessman, better father, a better husband or a better friend. When I read something, I am reading to try and improve who I am or what I do. I also read to be entertained.
I recently heard my buddy Gary Vaynerchuck say, “don’t judge people’s escapism”. I love that. If people want to escape reading tabloids, or playing angry birds or binge watching Orange is the New Black, I think that is wonderful. I will try and get better giving someone a free pass if they really care what Kim Kardashian is doing today. Why should I care if you need that to escape a long day?
I do know that many of the stories that are put out in front of millions of people do nothing for me. The world we live in is a complicated messed up place and the more trips I take around the sun, the clearer that becomes for me. There are awful, terrible things that happened and I feel I am better off just not knowing about them. These awful events have zero impact on my life. Let me give you a snippet of todays news. Let’s start with CNN shall we?
The first 5 stories on CNN involve Donald Trump and how his campaign manager got fired. The next one is how much Hillary Clinton is spending on Ads. Politics will dominate the headlines for the next 6 months due to the looming election. How many of these stories will paint a picture on how these candidates will help our country moving forward? None. There will be stories on why Trump thinks Hillary is an idiot and how Hillary thinks Trump is a buffoon. There, you don’t have to read any more political news for the rest of the year.
Let’s see how many stories we can find about death. Here’s one. Deadly Heat in the Southwest. and another Man tried to kill Trump. and another Who doesn’t want to hear the 911 call right before someone murders 49 people? and another Here is a story of a teenage that was found dead in a rolled up gym mat. and another Here is a story about a NAVY Seal who got killed in action. and another Here is a story about a 27 year old actor killed in a car wreck and how the Jeep he was driving was due for a recall. and another How about a story and the video of a man getting killed while livestreaming on Facebook?
These are the first stories on CNN.com for today. Now when you see these headlines, what causes you to want to read them and how do you feel when you do? You probably feel bad, feel sad or disgusted. If that is how you want to feel, than this is perfect for you.
There was a conversation in my office last week about the toddler that was eaten by an alligator. You could not imagine a more traumatizing event. Do I need to hear about it or know about it? NO! These kind of stories dominate the mainstream news. Imagine if it was dominated with stories of love, support, caring, giving and hope. They pepper those stories in, but by the time I get to them I am so exhausted from the sheer amount of death destruction and fear, the story of the mom saving a child from a cougar is too little too late.
If a story is going to be about a tragic event, why not share how we can help? Take the Orlando shooting for example. Tell us where we can donate funds, or give blood, or reach out to those in need. We live in such a connected world, we should have instant access to assist people in need instead of just read of their misery.
At this point in my life, I want to learn more about things that directly impact my life. The knowledge of these other events is zero calorie information that makes me feel that there is more hate in the world than good. I take an active role in what I choose to read. I choose to stay away from stories or headlines that are meant imprint fear directly onto my soul.