Question: Every time I watch the news on TV or on the Internet all I see is negativity and bad stuff. This is so demoralizing and just sickening to see. I need to know what’s happening in the world but this is too much.
Answer: Bad things have been happening since humans inhabited the earth. And I don’t believe that more bad things are happening now than in the past – just different things. But one fact is significantly different than in the past. Everything – and I mean everything – can be reported at the speed of light. Unfortunately the media believes that no one wants to see or read happy news. This may or may not be true but it’s the hand we’re dealt. The net effect is that all the negativity is magnified because that’s all that’s reported.
Too many people ignore the news. I have talked to countless 20 and 30-somethings who tell me that they don’t pay attention to the news, primarily because it’s so negative. But that’s not the solution. We can’t afford to have a nation of low information citizens. Some sort of coping mechanism is needed to filter out the bad and the negative enabling us to understand what is happening in the world around us.
Here are two ideas that can work hand-in-hand to help us with this issue. Both involve perspective. First, when we read a newspaper, watch television news or surf the Internet, we must remember that we’re seeing what others want us to see. And what others want us to see typically imparts an element of their own bias – and often that bias is substantial. Remember in school how we were taught to abstract articles? Now is the time to put that into action. We can’t change the circumstances that may be negative, but we can focus only on the facts. A plane crashed and people lost their lives. Do we really need to digest all the gory details? If we stick to the facts we can lessen the negative assault on our psyche.
The second idea involves intentional awareness. Each day should start with our resolving to look for good things that are happening around us. Rather than allowing what we read and hear in the media to beat us down, we can notice the acts of kindness, friendly greetings, big and little wins, and other positive things that will never get the attention of a “journalist.” We have no need to filter what we see with our own eyes.
Intentionally looking for the good in our lives helps to cancel out the drumbeat of bad news and negativity that others are trying to serve up to us. And then the choice is ours for how we interpret what we hear and see in our world.
This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.