With a world more interconnected than ever, there is consequently more and more information to process; an abundance of data flying around as freely as light necessitates the consideration to avoid the news.
Given that news consumption can absorb a significant portion of a person’s life, its effects on productivity are a concern; people spend extraordinary stretches of time “keeping up to date” yet the benefit-to-time-invested ratio is incredibly poor.
Nevertheless, people — maybe you — will argue that it is important to stay current with worldly matters. After all, how else are you going to vote strategically?
In fact, I would argue that avoiding political news would actually lead to a more intelligent vote. We’ll see why that is later…
For this topic, I have split the contents into two main parts: why the news is largely unhelpful and why it is possible to avoid the news. In this article, I will put forth my argument as to why you should unhesitatingly shut off BBC News right away!
(So, prepare for a follow up to this article!)
insert_linkWhy We Should Not Watch the News
You’re not the one who benefits from the production of news reports. If you have ambitious goals of achieving great things in life, avoiding the news is a must.
Every second wasted on the news is a second you could have spent taking you closer to your goals. Why would you want to throw away your time on matters that keep you from your dreams?
insert_link1. There Is More Information Than You Need
Firstly, and perhaps most critically, you do not need to know everything that the news is pushing at you!
This is due to the fact that no one size fits all. In other words, not everything reported in the news applies to everyone.
As a matter of fact, even something that does apply to you is seldom worth knowing about.
Do you really need to know about the conflicts in Syria?
Do you really need to know about how much drugs Michael Gove consumed all those many years ago?
Is it actually necessary to know how well OCR FC are doing in the world cup?
For 99.9999% of people, this answer should be a strong and stable “no”. Yet, we feel that we need a good awareness of the affairs of the world.
Here’s a little question for you, and answer it honestly: approximately what percentage of the news you consumed over the past year have you used?
Let us also remember that what is relevant soon becomes irrelevant; and, between these two points, you are unlikely to ever really use that information to bring you success in life.
If you truly evaluate the time spent on news compared to the real benefit on your life, you will inevitably find that the news degrades your quality of life.
And guess why this is:
insert_link2. The News Is a Form of Entertainment
“Reality TV is for the less evolved human population, whilst the news is for the serious, intelligent, hard-working people.”
How much truth is there to this statement?
Indeed, I would say that news consumers are more evolved than those choosing to watch poor-quality entertainment. However, the concept of a “hard-worker” does seem rather incompatible with the concept of the news.
After all, watching the news is still blinding feeding off the meaningless fluff of the media. It is not education, but rather entertainment.
Firstly, the mainstream news is designed for the masses, hence designed to cater to that audience.
Is the mainstream really looking for meaningful information, or are these people passing their time? Out of boredom? For entertainment?
Of course, most people aren’t truly seeking real, meaningful information — nobody genuinely requires the vast sea of worldly information. As a result, news companies produce much of its content for the purpose of entertainment.
Why else would reporters need to use catchy headlines and strong, emotive language?
Secondly, newsworthy events occur inconsistently. Despite this, you could bet your eldest son that each day you’ll get a fresh, new newspaper with an abundance of “interesting” news stories.
Avoid this; avoid the news.
News companies are undoubtedly here to make money, so they’ll invariably find something to report about. But just because the news reported something does not make it significant in any way.
Be the seeker, not the sought: How to Stop Wasting Time Online: My Proven 5 Step Strategy
insert_link3. The News Promotes Negativity
Leading on from the idea of news being entertainment: you’ll want to cautiously avoid the news purely due to the effect it has on your thinking.
If you’re aware of the idea that watching the news makes you depressed, you shouldn’t be surprised here; the news is not designed to uplift, but rather to entertain.
Therefore, it exploits the irrational nature of human psychology.
We humans, unfortunately, have a natural tendency to pay special attention to negative information. Just like fleeing a dangerous situation, this is due to a basic human survival instinct.
(For a primitive survival machine, knowing the dangers improves the likelihood of survival.)
However, nowadays, this attraction to negativity is wholly redundant and thus irrational; we don’t need it.
By contrast, embracing a positive attitude reflects the mindset of success, as circulated in the personal development community. Pessimism will always prevent exploration and risk, but you’ll never regret at least trying.
In his legendary book, As a Man Thinketh, James Allen emphasises the importance of keeping the mind pure with positivity. Planting the seeds of negative thoughts will subsequently lead to corruption and misfortune.
This basic concept is virtually everywhere in philosophy, hence best not avoided.
Avoiding the news, though, is something you should do to keep your mind clean of pointless negativity. Above all, you are a product of your inputs, whether they’re the news, your friends, or the books you read.
insert_link4. The News is Misleading
The book Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman sets out to explore the innumerable errors in human judgement.
More specifically, one of the many things it sets out to describe is the statistical error in interpreting the news: why some things get overrepresented and other things underrepresented.
By the way, this bias is caused by the media’s aim of exclusively publishing the stories that are bound to get your attention.
To illustrate, there is an overwhelming community of people fearing air travel. Many also think that Tesla cars are insanely dangerous due to exploding batteries etc.
Although, this is in spite of the fact that, statistically, aeroplanes are significantly safer than cars. What’s more, Tesla vehicles are probably the safest road vehicles available to consumers.
So, why would people believe the contrary of the truth?
The clear, evident answer: misrepresentation in the news.
Also learn about: Why Is Time Management Important for Students?
insert_linkEvents Are Disproportionately Represented
Consequently, people tend to heavily overestimate tragedies simply because they do not see the countless positive events.
For example, imagine a news site that accurately presents worldly events: for every plane crash reported, there are 11 million news reports on the flights that flew successfully.
While this heavenly news site gives people a better perspective, it would do a terrible job of entertaining and thus go bankrupt.
Additionally, there is great irony in that rare events are emphasised for the wrong reasons. For instance, Tesla battery fires are reported because they are so unusual.
Ironically, this leads to the perception that electric cars are dangerous, even though petrol cars explode far more frequently. But, because the latter is frequent (and usual, to an extent), it is rarely reported!
Those who avoid the news do not have their world perspectives skewed in ways it ought not to be.
Also, violence has, in reality, declined whilst news reports of it have increased as the world becomes more interconnected.
Favouring selectivity, the news is not designed to act like the all-seeing telescope in the sky.
Not to mention, you’ll find that news sources are often wrong or biased in the reports themselves. I don’t feel like I need to elaborate on this point.
insert_link5. Your Time and Energy Are Best Spent Elsewhere
However, you may be wondering what to read instead of the news.
Firstly, that’s the wrong mindset to have — you have no compulsion nor valid reason to stay current with the world.
Secondly, you need to go after specific information proactivity rather than let it come to you in a feed.
If you don’t use most of what the media puts out, then consuming it is a waste of time. Conversely, “just in time learning” is a strategy whereby you learn exactly what you need when you need it.
In this, way you exercise control.
So, when making educated votes, you would spend some time (not too long) on reputable websites comparing the sides of each argument. In addition, you would seek out each candidate’s unaltered pitch on their own websites.
Read books, too, not reports.
insert_linkYou Don’t Need an Opinion — Drop Your Ego
Moreover, the media indoctrinates people into thinking that they must have an opinion; that you must take a side on a debate.
In this way, news sources have substituted the old Catholic Church with regards to its supreme dominance in influencing and controlling the victim population.
You do not need opinion (or, even worse, a belief) on any particular matter.
- It is a waste of your valuable time and energy
- You are consequently more likely to be closed off to opportunities to see things from a different perspective. (Humans are naturally stubborn in their thinking.)
- It encourages heated debates and arguments, which — quite frankly — are just not needed.
What will come of that political argument with a friend? Even if you do sway their mind, does it matter that much? When you embrace ignorance and avoid the news, frivolous arguments are immensely improbable.
Better ways to self-educate: My 3 Miracle Secrets to Absorb Knowledge [Super Quickly!]
insert_linkConclusion: If You’re Reading This, You Should Avoid the News
Is it important to avoid the news? That depends. Do you want to…
- Live life in a tremendously productive and fulfilling manner?
- Become fantastically successful in the work you do?
- Transcend your primitive instincts thus experience abundance and positivity?
If you, you must avoid the news — it is an essential time management strategy that not enough people employ.
In this article, I’ve shown that the news…
- Is more information than anyone needs
- Is primarily entertainment, and useful, meaningful information is the second priority. (Actually, no, it’s the third-most priority — money is more important than productive information.)
- Promotes negativity
- Misrepresents the world
- Wastes your finite time and energy
Time is something that you cannot get back, unlike money. For this reason, I believe time is your most valuable asset and my emphasis is on effective time management strategies that allow you to achieve staggering feats.
In conclusion, we should not watch the news — we should avoid it.
Even if ignoring the news is disadvantageous, the benefits to your life success far outweigh the drawbacks. Always do what will bring you the most results in life, not what others try to justify as “essential”.
For further reading, I found this stellar article on the topic.
insert_linkMy Book Recommendation of the Week
The topic of the media misleading entire communities leads nicely onto the following book — about why violence has declined. Currently, I am in the process of reading it, so I can attest that this is some important insight.
The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker
While I do think declining violence is a result of human development, it is equally important to keep an even wider perspective. Thus, (not to invalidate the decline of violence) here is an essay on possible statistical errors:
On the statistical properties and tail risk of violent conflicts
Having pitched my point of view, I’d also like to hear your thoughts about the news. Therefore, I invite you to leave a comment below:
Do you follow the news? Why? / Why not?