Don’t do this ONE thing if you want to be successful and happy

A leading statement? Maybe?

I’ve been a big student of happy and successful people in the last decade and I’ve noticed a few things. There are patterns. And it’s also a practice. If you want to be happy – study happiness. If you want to be successful, study success.

Something that I’ve noticed that is common amongst happy and successful people (not all mind you, but many), is that they don’t get caught watching the NEWS!

I was first introduced into doing a “media” fast back in 2011 when I read Tim Ferriss’s book – The Four Hour Work Week. At first the thought of going 30 days without watching the news, reading a paper felt crazy.

I would not know what’s going on in the world. I would be sticking my head in the sand, so to speak. I would miss out.

Well, 6 years on and I still don’t watch the news or buy a paper. Or even pick up one of the free papers (well, perhaps once every month or two!).

Why? Well, most of what is there is negative and very narrowly focussed. And mostly (especially with the free papers) highly irrelevant to me (or you I suspect).

And the thing is, that anything really big and important has a way of finding it’s way to you. Although during the London riots a few years back, it took about 3 days for them to enter my consciousness (as they started over the weekend and I only really found out about the scale of them on the Tuesday as they shut our offices down early to avoid being caught up in them). And what would knowing about them on Saturday have done for me? Not much. Added to stress I imagine.

I know what I’m saying is controversial to some. The thing is that if you watch something like the Crisis News Network (CNN) you’re really only getting a view on their world. Not the world.  There is a lot happening in the world. And it’s only recently that we have had to event know about events happening thousands of miles away. Who is deciding what we should be paying attention to and what we shouldn’t. Someone at the media company? Why should they?

Look, if you need to be aware of news for your job, then cool. Stick with that part. If you are interested in something specific – I like tech for example, then have filtered news for that.

But watching the BBC News, or CNN 3 times a day? That’s going to do you no favours. Especially first thing in the morning or last thing at night.

Your unconscious mind is most susceptible to information coming in at those times. If you must get any news – what I like to call NEVER ENDING WASTED STRESS, then my advice is not to watch it. But find a source that doesn’t need to emotionally charge you and to get that information bang in the middle of the day. Allow 5 – 10 minutes to read about it and then done.

The beginning and end of the day should be time spent putting good thoughts into your brain.

Imagine if before your child (if you have one) went to bed and we allowed a stranger into the house to tell them all the bad and hurtful things going on in the world, and then put them to bed. Would you put up with that? Well, your mind is a bit like a child. It takes this information and it will be affected by it. At least in the middle of the day, you can buffer it.

And you really don’t need to seek any of it out anyway. You will see headlines over someone’s shoulder on the train. You will catch a few minutes in the lobby of a company or hotel. Your neighbour will make some comment about something relevant. It will find you. Facebook even!

Don’t believe me? That’s fine. That’s where I was 6 years ago. Just give it a go for 30 days. See how it plays out for you. Perhaps you go longer with no news at all? Maybe you decide (as I did) to only have snippets here and there via a news app, and only in the middle of the day.

What do you think about this? Let me know. 

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