“For somebody that’s unemployed right now, you need to turn off the news,” he said. “It will affect the positive attitude you need to have. You’ve got to be positive, because it’s not easy. All you read is the job cuts: It can be very depressing.”
The suggestion is made in the context of unemployment, but I think it’s a good suggestion that apply to many situations. I won’t be as drastic as recommending you to cut off the news completely (though some people literally do that), but I think it’s a good idea to reduce your news consumption. There are at least two reasons why reducing your news consumption is good:
- Most news is negative. As the quote above says, there is a lot of negativity in the news. While you may treat the news as just facts, exposing yourself continually to them may affect your subconscious mind. Reading negative news about the economy, for instance, may make you think that you have no chance, that there is no way for you to get the great future you want. It won’t do you any good since it will only make you discouraged. Even worse, the negative thought may eventually become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
- News is biased in nature. To understand what I mean, you might want to watch this video from TED. In the video, you will see that news coverage is not proportional. Some issues get covered more than they deserve while some important issues don’t get the level of coverage they need. Reading news may make you overestimate some issues while underestimating some others. This will eventually affect your actions.
I can still think of other reasons but these two already make the point: excessive news consumption could distort your thoughts and actions.
So what should we read and hear instead?
I don’t have a conclusive answer to this question, but I have an idea: consume timeless materials. Consume materials that will be useful and relevant for you not just now but also in the future.
One activity that meets the criterion is reading books. Reading books can give you timeless principles and lessons that will always be useful for you. Instead of reading something that doesn’t last, why don’t you read something that lasts? So, if I may suggest, reduce your news consumption and use the time instead to read good books. You may start with some recommended books or classic books.
It’s just my opinion, of course. What’s yours?
Photo by Evil Erin