Want a happier life? Avoid the news

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Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

What are you willing to give up to have a happier life? What are you ready to do to ensure that you live the rest of your life in this world in peace, tranquility, and happiness? You already know from the title what this article tells you to give up, so I won’t bother going at length in that. Instead, I’ll focus on the question that you are currently fighting with. “Why would you say I shouldn’t watch the news?”

We often deceive ourselves a lot in life as pertaining to many things. But when we are challenged, we are quick to go defensive. Here is a question; ever since you have been watching the news and following the news trends, what good has it added to you? This is not a rhetorical question. Some can have good things they can point out to. But I want to challenge you to take a minute to list out the benefits you enjoy from watching, listening or reading the news (from the media).

If you wrote down something, I’m curious about what you wrote. This is because we watch the news because we are baited. It adds no value but the society has forced the thought on many that they are missing something if they are not in tune with the news. Although I believe in information and the power of it, information from the news is mostly useless to a lot of people (except for the feeling of being among).

Professional journalism has dangerously evolved over the years. When the journalism media system started many years ago, the purpose was to bring to the general public information from important places that affected the people (or a significant percentage of the general public). But now, the world has outgrown that purpose. We no longer need journalism to tell us what is going on. Information flies at the speed of lightening so behavioral pattern of the public towards journalism has changed but journalism still pretends to ride on its old purpose. In the past, we turn on the TV and heard what happened from newscasters. Nowadays, we hear what happened and then turn on the TV to find out why and how. This simple change has turned the news networks from newscasters to news analysts.

There is one problem with analysis; picking of sides. Whenever things go to analysis, they become opinionated and biased. And that is not a bad thing if the news media comes out clean and honest about their new position, but to retain unspoken influence over people by subtle tweaking of information structure, they pretend like they don’t know what is going on. So, this change has made them educational institutions rather than facts dispensers. They of course still pretend to provide balanced insight, but the insight cannot be balanced anymore because they now seek to educate rather than inform. That’s because we get the information before we turn to them.

Most journalism outlets have evolved into some form of activism. They now have core values and principles they believe in as an entity that should govern people’s lives. So every time they bring up an analysis of their underlying ideas for the society is hammered in the background. They are busy trying to win people over by their arguments.

Meanwhile, the clueless listener swallows up the fish, the hook, the fisherman, his boots and the entire boat.

If you want a happier life, the things you want to eradicate are confusion, frustration, contention, etc. And these are the very things sown into minds in the news. I think about the last presidential election in the USA and I feel sad for a lot of people who lost a good relationship in their lives because of political affiliation. The whole contention was never about the two candidates facing each other or about what they said, rather it was about the role of journalism and public image and what was pushed for on those grounds. I saw a touching documentary of a mother and a daughter who are no longer on speaking terms because they were on opposing sides. Some things made the whole atmosphere toxic. (And by the way, I saw a couple that each one was on the opposing side that got married shortly after the election).

Where did we get the idea that disagreement must be toxic? Now we have people who don’t want to listen, they just want to be right. Where did that come from? Oh yes, those subtle points where what is felt to be right is lauded and other facts are ignored. I’m just saying you should stop being a pawn in the game. If you must listen to the news:

  • Listen to both sides of the story, each on their own turf
  • Pledge allegiance to no side (it’s okay to lean to one side but do not make it an allegiance)
  • Beware of reported speech. Listen to what the person in question said from his own mouth
  • The truth is always complex and complicated. If you can’t bear complex and complicated, save yourself from the headache; ignore

Finally, never let political issues come between you and any relationship you deem important. If you must argue, listen more! You’d be surprised what you don’t know. Stay with the facts. Be honest in your view. Most importantly, ask questions. Don’t be the guy shouting his opinion to suppress others, be the one asking questions. Remember, the truth is never simple. So if you are with someone who is not in the right state of mind to grasp the complexity, just find a way to redirect the conversation.

Choose a happy life. Refuse to let other people’s issues to create a source of unhappiness in your life. Stay away from what does not really concern you. Live, laugh, love! ✌

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Inspiring and educating people about money, entrepreneurship, investing, and mindset. | For writers → amazon.com/dp/B08P2F2BPH | Others → davidolarinoye.com

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