Simpler Days

Simpler Days

May 18th, 2022

 

I got an email from a client last week who said they’d read a recent email I sent out where I encouraged folks not to watch the news. His point was that it made him a little nervous when anyone told him not to watch the news. His point was valid…if you don’t watch the news, how do you know what is going on?

I understand his point 100% and I agree with him. He is right. We should be informed. If one of my clients feels this way and takes the time to let me know how it comes across, then there are likely others who may have the same thoughts. I thought this would be a good opportunity for me to clarify my stance on our consumption of “news” as this is something I have referenced many times.

News nowadays is defined much differently than it was 40 years ago. Back then, most people gathered around their TV’s to watch the evening news. Walter Cronkite is usually mentioned when we take this trip down memory lane, but there were a few others. However, most people got their news from one of the 3 main networks and possibly a Sunday paper.

Of course you could also hear about events of the day on the radio, but our access to news was somewhat limited because of the sources that were available at the time.

Fast forward to today, and current events are in our face at every turn. The news cycle is now 24/7- 365 days per year. We never get a break. 1,440 minutes of every day must be filled with something to keep these media outlets afloat. Every minute of every hour of every day. News, news, and more news.

So where we do we draw the line on how much to consume?

I think it is different for everyone but all of us should be informed. I think this is where part of the pushback came from my client.

I 100% believe we should all be informed. It’s important that we know what is going on around us because an uniformed society is not good. Uninformed people make bad decisions. Uninformed people are also more likely to be duped by someone else because they don’t know all the facts of a situation.

I don’t have a problem with anyone being informed, what I have a problem with is someone overconsuming news. It has consequences.

I’ve made the point in the past, and I will stick to it that people who consume the news of the day, all day, every day, wind up being more cynical about the world. This is mainly because of what the media reports. Headlines that grab our attention are key and the stories behind those headlines are rarely good news. Why? It’s because they know we consume gloom, doom, tragedy, death, scandal, deceit, and dirty laundry.

I know that some retired folks (not all) are at home more than other folks. For many of these people, it is natural to have the TV on in the background. Some of these folks just have the habit of putting the news on and have it playing while they go about their day. They come in and out of the “TV room” and that channel may play the news on some type of loop.

Even though we may not watch it like we would our favorite TV show, subconsciously we are hearing the message…over and over and over. And because they rarely report on good things, the negativity seeps into our minds.

I have seen how this changes people. I have seen how it changes me. If I sit around and watch the news all day, I get grumpy. It really doesn’t matter which station I watch.

Here’s how it happens for me. I’ll do my best to stay out of politics here, but we know this is where much of negativity in our society comes from.

These are my thoughts when I watch news on TV.

Channel I like- “Yep, they are saying pretty much what I believe. I don’t see how the other side doesn’t see the same thing. It’s common sense, why doesn’t the other side get it? I sure wish everyone could watch this and hear what they are saying, but they are watching the network with an agenda.”

Channel I don’t like- “Unbelievable, this reporter is an idiot. They can’t possibly believe what they are saying. How do they say this with a straight face. I know it’s a lie, and they know it’s a lie.  How do they get away with even saying this stuff? The worst part is there are actually people out there that believe this! No wonder our country is where it is.”

 

I don’t know how it is for you, but this is how it is for me. Should you be in the know about what the “other side” is saying? I think you should. I just don’t think anyone of us needs to go overboard on our consumption of news from any source.

Remember, there is nothing we can do on a daily basis to change the news. Our lives are likely more impacted by things that happen in our own local communities and there are always opportunities to make a difference locally. My encouragement for you is to do other things and remember what I always say: don’t allow the news of the day to steal your joy.