I Quit the News – Try it for 30 Days

I’ve stopped watching or reading all news sources for the last four months.  As I struggle with being a producer more than a consumer, this was one of the things I chose to give up.  I’ve also stopped watching TV, except for the occasional show while I’m on a plane, cut down on Facebook usage, and cut back a little bit of sleep.

What I’ve noticed about not watching the news is that the real important stuff finds its way to me anyway.  I do have to deal with FOMO (the Fear of Missing Out) and being the last person to know something, which makes us appear stupid to our acquaintances, but I simply deal with that by explaining that, “I didn’t catch it.”

I might be insecure, but I don’t think I’m stupid.  Uneducated, naive, and unrealistic, oh yes, I am those things, but I’m not stupid.  At least I hope not.

Beyond not knowing what the latest Trump twitter announcement is, I realize that I’m happier in a world without all the negative news.  I’m less affected by the ups and downs of the markets, which I assume are still happening.

I wrote a post a while back about negative news, and one comment mentioned that you can Google “good news” and see positive stories.  I still haven’t done that.  I have a feeling Googling “Good News” will simply lead to Bible results.  And in amongst the good stories will be bad stories.  Just like when I would ‘like’ a Facebook post about a struggling recovering animal being selflessly rehabilitated by some Good Samaritan, I would then see more animal stories about animals being harmed.  I choose not to expose myself to these things anymore.

Creatives need to guard their minds.

I highly recommend creatives to take a break from news sources.  It affects everything we do, and how can you be sure of your true voice when you have so much negativity ringing in your ears?  I choose to free myself from it, which makes me sleep better, wake up easier, and slide right into my writing routing without issue.

The rest of my day is spent working, and not worrying about this bad thing or that.  People I work with have come to realize that discussing current events with me is probably a lost cause.  I’d rather discuss mental models, creativity, or how we move the marker forward in our daily work.

Is it possible my weight loss purged myself of more than just 50 lbs of fat?  I don’t think so.  I think I’m just ignoring reality by choosing not to take part in the big farce that is news these days.  I don’t trust anything I hear, especially when I can turn from CNN to FoxNews and get a nearly opposite viewpoint all day long.  Think about that.  We’ve become binary in all things. Our politics are left or right, our discussions are black or white, right or wrong, us or them.  The nature of binary is for computers, not humans. If that weren’t the case, the computer would have passed the Turing test decades ago.  We are not designed to be one of only two choices. We are designed to be dynamic and changeable.  We are designed to be complicated.

Even though, we really aren’t all that complicated, are we?  Our needs are basic, our motives suspect and clear, our natures primarily self-serving.  I’m not judging, I’m just stating what’s out there today.  I think as we move from dabbling with big data to using it to predict human behavior, we will find that we are nowhere near as unique as we think we are.

We are all the same.

I guess that’s the one thing that drives me nuts about our current wave of racism (both traditional and reverse).  We are all the same, we may have some cultural habits that are different, but as humans, we want the same things – as Americans we used to hold it true because we were the only people to state it in a government document.  “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  From that perception, we are all the same.  From this viewpoint, I ask you to take a break for 30 days from all news and see if it doesn’t clear your head.  I’m not a particularly anxious person, I can sit here with barely enough money to make my bills this month and not feel anxious at all.  But watching/reading the news makes me increasingly uneasy.

Therefore, I’m done with it.  If there’s a war, I’ll hear about it.  If there’s a candidate I need to know about so I’ll be an educated voter, I can go learn about her or him from their web page.  I can limit my distractions and inputs so I can clear my head and make my own decisions.  They might be wrong, they will certainly be biased, because we all carry biases, but they will be mine.  I will not be manipulated by fear, I will choose my own path and know that I was not part of the problem.  I chose another way, a way that leads to freedom, and possibly knowledge if taken correctly.

I challenge you to quit the news for 30 days.  If you’re upset over our current “situation,” whatever that means to you, you owe it to yourself to take a break and see how that affects your mood.  We’re being manipulated because bad news sells.  The social media aspect is just a wave of bandwagon jumping that helps stories go beyond their initial broadcast without costing anything to the producer.

Do yourself a favor, take a break.  How could it hurt?

You can join my growing email list by subscribing here or drop me a note in the comments.  I’d love to hear from you.

Photo by Elijah O’Donell on Unsplash

4 thoughts on “I Quit the News – Try it for 30 Days

  1. I gave up on the nightly news years ago. I listen in from the kitchen, or watch only the headlines directly. If I’m interested in something I stop preparing dinner and come over to see the story. If there is a cute/cuddly animal good news story at the end, like baby pandas, I’m all for that. But, I’m tired of Trump and politics and stupid tweeting and negative news in general. Sometimes I move to another TV and watch the cartoon show ‘Shaun the Sheep’. It’s on at the same time and always makes me smile, which I believe is much better for one’s constitution, (my own and not my nations) just before I sit down to dinner. Headlines are enough, vet those to see if there’s an interesting story, or half listening from a different room is more than enough news for me. I’ve even stopped listening to the shows which feature news commentary because even those were making me cross and cranky. I agree with you Iain, NO news or LOW news is far better for the creative soul. Don’t know about yours, but my CS needs nurturing with positivity. Since I’ve stopped I’ve really lightened up; FOMO be damned.


    1. FOMO be damned! I caught myself on Facebook yesterday drawn into a bit that was nothing more than inflammatory clickbait and noticed my mood change immediately. It’s not just my mood, though, it’s my thoughts. I’ll walk through the house mulling over some bullshit story that doesn’t even matter to me. It drives me crazy. You’re doing better than I am, even the headlines drive me batty. I love cartoons for the same reason as you, but I gave up watching TV as part of all this.


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