A few years ago, I quit watching mainstream news. In fact, I go way out of my way to avoid it.
I used to enjoy it. It makes you feel like you're getting informed, and know what's going on in the world.
Today, I wound up seeing the news over a late dinner. The lead-in was a murder. Then there was someone on drugs who was trying to escape a police checkpoint and hit two people with his car. Then a story about gas prices rising, and a look at the consumer shopping season.
And that was enough for me.
You do need to stay current, but you'd do well to stay current primarily in your chief vocation or field of interest. I follow technology-related news and I'll subscribe to some newsletter or check out a forum related my core focus is at the time -- which is sales at the moment.
Being current is good, but not at the expense of being bathed in negativity. If you spend some time studying how the mind and memories work, you'll realize your mind doesn't encode frequency very well; rather, your mind is very likely to remember the dramatic, the sweeping, the highly emotional, the highly dangerous, and so on.
A rare, highly negative event will stick in your mind like glue, adding a little more fear to your step and taking your focus off staying on top of your game.
Skip the mainstream news. Spend the time with the trade journals, magazines, and websites related to your profession and chief interest or two. You'll be much better off for it.
"I believe a key to success is focusing your inputs. In a world of facebook, reddit, and the like it is easy to consume tons of information from many aspects. And many try to sidetrack you with emotionally driven headlines and discussion. But, if you want to succeed at something, focus to have inputs in the areas that contribute to your goals. It can be health, your business, industry, mentors, anything and many. Consume the information and eventually gain an edge on competitors - in whatever form they exist - solely based on continued progress and applicable knowledge."
I couldn't agree more. I can't stand the 'news' that's on mainstream media. That's why Twitter and custom news feeds, RSS are so great - they collectively become your personal news channel for everything that interests you. Mainstream media news is for amateurs.
I don't watch/read the news, either, although I'll admit I got a little bit sucked into the election, watching a couple debates. The problem with the news is that it's not a representative slice of what's actually going on, and it's largely things you have no influence over. I consider it to be the least entertaining reality TV show around.
This follows on from "On Getting More Done – Top-down, or bottom up?" - the basic idea behind that post is you can get a lot more done by either taking on a lot more responsibilities, which forces you to adjust and use your time better - this is the "top down" strategy. Alternatively, you can slowly build and reclaim time from your life, moving your time from less meaningful areas into more meaningful areas.
But let's get more specific. I read a lot of books. Most smart people want to read a lot of books, but don't find the time to do it. So, how to read more?
This is where the bottom-up approach shines. You slowly move time from less meaningful areas to more meaningful areas.
"Sebastian, I just want to read more. I don't care about this tracking stuff."
You know what, I don't wanna write this hour.
Screw you, words! You have no power over me! My kind created you! You are naught but strangly assembled lines, existing outside of tangible reality and only in the ephermal pixles that my kind has also created!
What power have you, beyond the power that I give you?
Well, sure, you have to power to catch my attention. And to make me understand concepts whether or not I desire to have read you. You and I have grown so close that my mind instinctually reads you and strives to understand you.