I recently encountered a paper by Swiss entrepreneur Rolf Dobelli that advocates for completely cutting the consumption of news out of our lives.
“Out of the approximately 10,000 news stories you have read in the last 12 months, name one that –because you consumed it – allowed you to make a better decision about a serious matter affecting your life, your career, your business – compared to what you would have known if you hadn’t swallowed that morsel of news.”
The author lists 15 compelling reasons to excise news from your informational diet. Among these are:
It alters your brain
Similar to the way porn rewires our brains to crave constant sexual novelty, news rewires our brains to crave constant informational novelty. I never felt the need for a Twitter account until a couple years ago. A few months ago I started checking it more often. Now I find myself checking it several times a day, almost compulsively when I’m idle for a few moments. This is not healthy. Our brains acclimate to increasingly unnatural levels of stimulation and then demand them when they are absent.
It inhibits thinking and prevents understanding
Becoming accustomed to the 30-second soundbyte prevents us from exercising the deeper analytical capabilities of our minds. Though most people fancy themselves expert multitaskers, true introspection on an idea necessitates concentration that a constant stream of news renders impossible. Some studies even suggest that consuming news makes us worse decision-makers.
It is manipulative
The media is used to planting ideas, often furthering the aims of equalism, feminism, and political correctness. Politicians and corporations alike use media campaigns to manipulate a public who considers it completely normal to spend several hours a day consuming news on their computers and televisions. The lack of context clues makes it difficult for the average person to detect whether a story has a particular bias.
I suggest you read the full article, which is available here.
News is a vicarious time waster similar to sports. Nothing you see on popular news is going to help you get healthy, make money, or get girls. Even if you find the occasional useful tip on science or nutrition, you would have discovered it much earlier with more targeted independent research. The New York Times may begin singing the praises of intermittent fasting on a paleo diet in 10 years or so, but I’ll have a decade’s head start based on reading books, consulting with experts, and careful self-experimentation.
News, of course, isn’t the only culprit in our ever-growing hunger for useless information. Some people are addicted to texting friends on their smartphones, reloading their Facebook pages, or checking for bikini shots on Instagram. These are all time-wasting activities, but occasionally they give us some insight about how to live or some superficial interaction with others. News fills your mind with wasteful thoughts without adding anything that will make you a more well-rounded, knowledgeable, or successful person.
The solution? Stop consuming the news. Cull your Google reader, switch your homepage from NYtimes.com, and bring a book to the doctor’s office. You may just find yourself happier, sharper, and better equipped to dominate.
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