I'm working in a little restaurant cafe.
An all-the-time news channel is on the TV.
Wow, it's distracting.
They pump every story as if it's of crucial importance, but the majority of them are trivial and will be forgotten tomorrow.
There's nothing to help influence individual or group decisionmaking.
Nothing for development.
Lots of political squabbling, talking about violence, and the occasional (less than 10% of the time) positive "human interest story" mixed in.
I set down to work, and was tracking it by time... I lost 40 minutes, because I kept getting sucked in. "XYZ Important Thing In Iran -- Could This Be The End Of The World? Stay Tuned."
It's mind-scrambling, almost entirely negative, irrelevant, has no practical effect on any important decisions, doesn't guide action...
...it's no good at all.
I'm still in the restaurant, but I've got electronic music on with no noise.
Do you have ever have news on around you? You might want to rethink that somehow, even if you can barely hear it. This stuff seems like it's designed to scramble your mind.
I was a journalism major. It was a sin to NOT read the news. I picked up the habit out of necessity. I am older now and I am not so sure. It's like a scene in the show Portlandia.
"Did you read this blah?" "Yes, did you read that blah?" "Yep, I did."
I am wondering if people read just to size each other up.
I used to watch the news every day, or read it. Now my life is so much more stress free just by avoiding it. There are cultures that avoid the news and it doesn't harm them. In fact they are happier, struggle less with depression and are not swayed by consumerism nearly as much as ours.
It's also important to mention that the information you get from the news can actually harm you.
The news is almost always sensationalist, biased, one-sided, unverified or otherwise worthless. Most news stories either push forward some hidden agenda or try to attract your attention by saying that the world is about to end. Have you ever wondered why economic crisis, natural disasters, crime and other urgent crises are so prominently featured on the news? It's because those are the stories that sell. Most people won't care that something good or important has happened in the world, but if you tell them that the economy is about to collapse, it's all of a sudden essential that you know what's going on. The crisis probably wouldn't even exist if nobody was talking about it, but that's a different story.
Also be cautious when the news talk about science. They always get it wrong, often on purpose. I've seen how legitimate neuroscience research is changed into "eating chocolate improves your decision making" type of BS. That's the kind of news story that sells, but it couldn't be further from truth. Don't trust the news.
Leo Babauta has inspired millions through his writing on Zen Habits, where he's shared his experiences in building up great habits, cutting clutter and junkfood from his life, learning about great parenting and building a wonderful family, eliminating debt, increasing his income and productivity, and living a life that's more happy through and through.
Leo is now graciously participating in GiveGetWin with a practical class on "action-oriented contentment", and he sat down with Sebastian Marshall to share his thoughts on what motivates him, around what contentment is, on trusting yourself, on being compassionate and compassion as an impetus for action, on self-compassion and treating yourself well, and happiness in general. Enjoy:
"Practical, Action-Oriented Contentment and Compassion" by Leo Babauta, as told to Sebastian Marshall
There are certain websites we need to use everyday.
It's 2013, so email is pretty much a must-have. Facebook used to be a social network but now it's a necessity if you want to keep some semblance of connection with old friends. It's also used for events and group messaging and whatnot. Point is- some internet facets have become more than just websites and are now societal norms.
Unfortunately, a lot of these websites, in an effort to gain ad revenue, go beyond their functional purpose and take on an entertainment role. They can become quite the time sink, and since you need them to function properly, you can't just fire up leechblock and block them altogether.