I stopped reading newspapers years ago, and stopped watching the nightly news even earlier than that.
Earlier in life I was a financial adviser (I think all those graphs and charts appealed to the visualist in me…) and I felt that it was my responsibility to know what was going on in the world that might effect the performance of the investments that we were recommending for our clients. The only problem was it made me cry myself to sleep on a regular basis.
I decided that I couldn’t possibly ever have children, why would you bring them into a world that was so doomed and so full of hate and badness?
I realised that I could make a choice not to participate in the negativity…the old ‘if it bleeds it leads’ mantras of the news world took their toll on my mental health. I decided that just reading the financial review (which yes, could be scary itself…but in a different way) was enough, and now I restrict myself to the Weekend specialty magazines and supplements and the local papers – usually they are not too much of a downer.
I have had my share of criticism for this strategy – but my argument remains that how is it going to help the world if I know that 10 people were mugged and stabbed and 5 kids were abducted from their beds, and 3 travellers in a lovely overseas destination were kidnaped for ransom and the list goes on. I can’t change the past, I know bad things happen – they always have, and they always will. Whether I know about it or not won’t make a difference to the world. But it will make a difference to me.
I will get an anxiety attack every time my children leave the house, every time my husband or children don’t answer their phones, travel on a train or bus, play in the park, drive a car, go to a nightclub, travel overseas. I simply would not be able to function.
I rely on both the cheerful news bulletins that I hear in the car (though not all that often as I do listen mainly to podcasts…a much more productive use of my brain!) and my husband to tell me the important things I might need to know – funny though most important things find their way through.
It was wonderful to listen to Peter Diamandis’ talk recently at the TED conference and his opening lines (after the dramatic initial 20 seconds of terror headlines) that explain why our brains are geared to focus on the negative news. He goes on to look at the achievements over the last 100 years that we have achieved globally, and with great confidence posits that the next 10 will be amazing!
It is an uplifting watch, and if you can spare the 16 minutes do yourself a favour. But if you can’t just take Peter’s word for it – Abundance is our Future! Over the next 10 years we will see 3 Billion more voices added to the internet, their health will be better than ever, their productivity will be better than ever, their education will be better than ever…these 3 Billion people will bring “Contributions we can’t even predict!”
OMG did you get the enormity of that? “Small teams driven by their passion with a clear focus can do extraordinary things.”
“We are now more empowered as individuals to take on the grand challenges of this planet. We have the tools with this [exponential] technology, we have the passion with this DIY innovator, we have the capital of the philanthropist, and we have 3 Billion new minds coming on line to work with us to solve the grand challenges. To do that which we must do. WE are living into extrordinary decades ahead. Thankyou”
No Peter, thankyou for giving me the hope that the media so greedily took away.