MORE IDEAS FROM Five Things You Notice When You Quit the News
Watching the news doesn't inform people particularly well.
The news provides information in infinite volume but very limited depth, and it’s clearly meant to agitate us more than educate us. Every minute spent watching the news is a minute you are unavailable for learning about the world in other ways.
A common symptom of quitting the news is an improvement in mood.
We don't get a sample of what is really happening in the world. TV selections exploit our negativity bias. They select what’s unusual, awful, and probably going to be popular.
Watching the news makes us feel like we’re doing something when we’re not.
We feel bad ignoring the bad stuff that happens in the world. So we keep watching: Because watching disasters unfold, even while we do nothing, at least feels a little more compassionate than switching off.
A month after you’ve quit the news, it’s hard to name anything useful that’s been lost. It becomes clear that those years of news-watching amounted to virtually nothing in terms of improvement to your quality of life, lasting knowledge, or your ability to help others.
You were never actually accomplishing anything or get informed by watching the news.
...are common thinking errors that harm our rational decision-making.
We don't always see things as they are. We don't simply glean information through the senses and act on it; instead, our minds give that info their own spin, which can sometimes be deceptive.
Got a new car? Nobody cares. You’ll get some gawkers for a couple of weeks—they don’t care. They’re curious. Three weeks in it’ll be just another shiny blob among all the thousands of others crawling down the freeway and sitting in garages and driveways up and down your street.
People will care about your car just as much as you care about all of those. Got a new gewgaw? New wardrobe? Went to a swanky restaurant? Exotic vacation? Nobody cares. Don’t base your happiness on people’s caring, because they won’t. And if they do, they either want your stuff or hate you for it.
Most people think that we have a responsibility to remain informed, but keeping up with the news can make us feel increasingly anxious, angry and demoralized.
The constant flood of information has the potential to overwhelm our ability to process it well, but there are ways to become better consumers of news.
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