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
I work all day (and far too often part of the night), then, when I get home I'm too tired lazy to do anything. I sit on the couch and watch whatever is on TV until it's time to go to bed. My wife and I both have a black belt in Netflix for the Wii, she can find a teen dramedy and I can find a mindless sit-com faster than you can say "TV's done nothing but gone downhill since they ended Seinfeld." We've gone all the way through The Office, Greek, Psych, Stargate, and Scrubs multiple times.
I want to be the "Man of the House," but I'm nothing more than the "Man of the Couch." (oooooooh see what I did there!)
This is the story of me doing something...anything that takes energy from my muscles or my mind. This is the story of me doing new things, learning new skills, getting out there, and living life.
Here's the best part, I want you to be part of it. I want you to learn new skills along with me (and probably teach me a thing or two), I want you to experience new things with me, and most of all I want you to get off of the couch too!
So what do you think? Do you want to join me?