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.
Act I: The Discovery of Conflict Invigoration
I recently discovered a phenomenon common among many highly successful people. I'm calling it "conflict invigoration" - this is a personality trait, a mixed blessing and curse. It's the kind of person who can move heaven and earth when inspired, but doesn't do as well when they aren't... and who is always invigorated by a fight.
I first noticed conflict invigoration among a number of the most successful people I knew personally. See, I don't think this is an entirely new observation, but a lot of the people that reach stratospheric levels of success are kind of deranged. You almost have to be, to keep going after you've "won" by every conceivable measure, to work yourself to the bone at the expense of your sanity and longevity and vitality, to neglect so many of the basic human needs and pleasures and comforts.
I saw this trait in lots of successful people, and then I started paying attention to biographies and histories. Indeed, many of the most expansive people in our generation and previous ones are conflict invigorated - they've perhaps always got a baseline of creativity and striving, but it really comes out when a fight breaks out.
"Competition is always a fantastic thing, and the computer industry is intensely competitive." - Bill Gates
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.