28 | 🙍🏻♂️ Stop choosing to be unhappy
News = bad. Bad = unhappy. So what's the solution?
I avoid the news. I've never really been convinced in the value of consuming it.
During my short stint studying Radio Production, I learned how news shows put together the agenda.
The last item of news is always an uplifting one. Pay attention next time you find yourself watching the 6 o'clock news.
A new community event, a successful fundraiser, a funny kid at a local fair (note: he also doesn't watch the news).
With this, news shows finish on a high note.
An uplifting story to finish on is required, given that the final piece is preceded by story after story of death, incompetent politicians and unfair social divides.
On the whole, news is negative - on TV, in print, and online.
The news focuses on the exceptions in life - the bad ones in particular.
And so this makes me think. Why do I consume this everyday?
What do I gain from knowing about about local crime and ongoing lorry shortages?
Or watching the latest loudmouth shout over a guest, who has made an effort to show up at 06:50am to give the show something to talk about.
If I can't do anything to change these stories, why bring this negativity into my life?
I think there's almost an obligation to know what's going on in the news.
What do we learn? What do we gain? And how can you keep up when the news rolls on 24/7?
Don't choose to be unhappy
In Rutger Bregnan's final chapter of Humankind, he summarises his 10 rules for life. Number 7 states simply:
Avoid the news.
His reasoning lies in the fact that the news plays on our human predication for negativity bias.
We pay the most attention 'when people treat each other as nastily as possible'.
He makes the following point:
Neurologists point out that our need for news and push-notifications resembles an addiction in every way.
Addiction is an interesting choice of wording.
Bregnan's not the only person that recommends avoiding the news.
Mo Gawdat - a man who has made spreading happiness his sole purpose in life - said the following on his recent appearance on the Diary of a CEO podcast:
What do most of us do everyday? We watch negative news [...] We are drowning ourselves in negativity and then what happens? We get really good at being negative. We get really good at finding what's wrong with life.
In a way, the news is almost the opposite of a mindfuless practice.
If you're constantly watching news media, you're literally building your [mind] muscles that are concerned, and critical, and worried about the world. When, in reality, most of the time, you can't do anything about it.
Now - don't get me wrong.
Learning about those less fortunate than me through the news is a great way to be grateful, and understand my place in the world.
But, in my humble opinion, there's better ways for me to stay on top of what's going on in the world, and it's not via the news.
Perhaps give it a try - take a week off from all news. No Brexit, no COVID, no lorry shortages. See if you miss it.
Until next week - cheers.
If you found this interesting and useful, feel free to subscribe. I send emails like this every Tuesday - see you next week 👍🏼
This Week’s Recommendation 🔝
Podcast 🎧 - Diary of a CEO - Ep 101 w/ Mo Gawdat
A brilliant interview with a fascinating, multi faceted and nuanced thinker. The path to happiness is a lot more simple than we think. Steven is an excellent podcast host, too.
Photo of the Week 📸
This Week I’m: ⬇️
Listening to 🎶 - Exotica - Purple Disco Machine. It's a superb album - I dare you to not to love it.
Working on 📹 - New videos about motivation, listening, and my 1 month long everyday running challenge.
Thinking about 🤔 - Owning less (starting with clothes).
This Week’s Quote 💬
Pay close attention to what excites you and what drains you. Pay close attention to when you're being the real you, and when you're trying to impress an invisible jury.'
— Derek Sivers - Anything You Want
Let me know your thoughts by hitting <reply>.
Looking forward to catching up next week.