Yesterday I woke to a strange sound. A cat was outside my patio squawking in a strange way. I investigated and found a mother cat with a huge pregnant belly. She saw me and darted away.
Later that night, my sliding glass door was open, and I saw her peeking her head into the opening and scanning the family room. She was probably looking for a comfy place to drop the new kittens. I approached her and she bolted away, back into the bushes beyond the yard.
That was my big news story for the day.
It affected my life directly. “Could I be the unwitting recipient of a litter of kittens?”
It’s what really happened to my life that day.
There were other stories. My kids moved up a grade. My nephew graduated from high school.
The “Real News”
What else happened?
All kinds of things were displayed across websites, news channels and even the screensaver on my cable TV screen (they’re forcing inane headlines onto that now).
Some general info that’s mine for the taking:
- Trump, Trump, Trump
- Scandals at the state level
- Rate hikes at the Fed
- Murder, fire and traffic
So what should I do about all that? What can I do? No much.
What is My News, Exactly?
The news that mattered to me was the graduations and the cat. It was pretty simple. Those things affect my life and should be front and center.
But the “real news” aggressively competes for my attention. Heck, even my email inbox has news and stories by professional marketers that are just begging for attention. And, those people are utterly fantastic at grabbing my attention with subject lines and lead hooks.
What are we supposed to do about this basic conundrum? The question to ask yourself every day is: Where are you training your focus? What are you paying attention to and why?
What you need to do is question your needs and motives – then discard the “news” that has no effect on your work and goals.
Sounds simple? It is.
If you look at all that other news that’s begging for your attention, and if you actually consume it in any quantity, you need to ask yourself some more questions.
To what end do your readings lead? Complaints? Gripes? Emotional disturbances? Most of the mainstream news is designed to generate all that.
Where does it lead?
Well, how does it feel when you get into political discussions with your friends about subjects upon which you disagree? Is it useful? Do you feel good about it?
Do you hear your friends talking about news re-hashed via Facebook? Is this familiar?: “I saw somebody post something on Facebook the other day, and it made me so mad.”
What allowed them to permit that anger into their lives?
Why would they place value on a stranger’s post?
Why would they be mad that one of their connections reposted it?
What good does it do?
What difference does it make in your life?
Why, Why, Why?
If you have a business or constructive reasons to follow politics and economic trends, I’m not saying stop keeping up. I’m just suggesting that you apply “why, why, why” to everything you consume.
And, yes some news is fun for water cooler banter.
But, remember, the information you put into your brain is a metaphysical food source. Don’t deny that it doesn’t affect to you (apologies for the double negative).
A Small Recipe for Clarity and Sanity
I recommend that you back away from the big news and headlines of the day generated by the media pros.
Go backwards, from national, nightly news or the big metropolitan newspaper/site you read, back into your local county paper, read the state news and or even more local news. Get down to the Daily Pilot or whatever your local paper is. As an experiment, read that news for a week or two and see if any of it pertains to you or your family.
Then, finally, journal your daily news, the real news like the story about the cat and the graduates, and appreciate how it directly affects on your life. What’s your pregnant cat? Did your kid do something worth talking about? Make that your discussion at the dinner table. Share that with your coworkers.
And remember, if a certain piece of news is important to you, you’re probably not going to find it on social media. Try to avoid that rat hole. Or, use it to your advantage, as opposed to your distraction.