Control your information intake

I recently read “Avoid News” by Rolf Dobelli and felt that it was worth writing about.

Honestly, I found parts of the article to be on the abrasive side. As a recovering tirade-giver myself, I can empathize with the passion and urgency with which he writes. Maybe he could use a cool-down period and some editing of the more colorful judgements, sure. But I’d ask to not let his style deter you from reading his work. Look at the over-arching message. He brings up some excellent points.

The point of his article is, simply, that you should not watch the news. Period. He does make exceptions for quality material that comes out slowly, like a magazine that comes out once a month. Those mediums require time and money to develop, fact checking, and overall selectivity.

Just as we wouldn’t gorge ourselves at an “All You Can Eat” buffet daily, I believe we each have a duty to be good stewards to ourselves in the department of information intake.

TV news channels, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, all inundate us with stories. Take a look around and you’ll see how many news sources there are. Even some gas station pumps now have little TVs in them (and they in particular feature the most vapid content). Tracking, analytics, profiling, and ratings are at the heart of many of these purportedly helpful sources of information.

Think about how much content you’re consuming, and how much value that content is actually providing to your life.

Rolf goes on to discuss the psychological impact that a constant stream of news has on us in general. Without depth, shallow news updates are rarely if ever applicable to us, and at worst, they’re harmful to our overall mental health. A constant stream of information about things that we cannot influence, or incomplete information about otherwise important topics, has negative side effects on our mental state.

Critical thinking is still critical. Focus, attention, investigation, and understanding are skills to be honed.

Be careful if you’ve caught yourself in the cycle of checking for updates. Checking for the latest news stories, checking your social media feeds, checking, checking, checking. FOMO is real, and you’ll need to be brave to conquer it once it takes hold. But… you can do it.

Be good to yourself. Give yourself a break.