There’s one stupidly easy way how to be a better person. It’s so stupid and obvious that you’re gonna kick yourself. But hey, it is the best way how to be a positive person, so let’s just get on with it…
It’s important to be a positive person. It’s important for your own well being and for the benefit of those around you. Heck, who wants to be around a pessimist?
The only problem with being a positive person is that. . .well. . . it’s not easy. And the reason it’s not easy is because there are so many sources of negativity. One of the worst sources of negativity happens to be those programs most of us watch at least one a day: the news.
Supposedly there’s good news and there’s bad news. But if that’s true, it’s fairly clear that news shows have a strong bias towards the bad.
Within a couple of minutes of watching the news headlines you will likely be struck with many of the following types of stories:
- People being murdered
- Various forms of scandals
- News that the country is going down the can
- Accusations here and there about everybody doing the wrong thing
- And then may, just to add a pinch of positivity, some old blind man somewhere may have won the lottery (or some other random good news story)
This is my experience with the news here in England. But I’m fairly certain it’s exactly the same the world over. The news paints the world as a negative place.
A couple of years ago I was watching the news when suddenly I thought to myself “Why the hell do I need to spend an hour a day being told by a news show that the world is a bad and negative place?
The answer most people come up with when asked why they watch the news is that they “need to know what’s going on in the world.”
That’s interesting. The idea that one hour of network television can tell anyone what’s going on in the world. The news is nothing more than one very very biased few of perhaps one billionth (trillionth even) of the events occurring around the world. If the world were the Sahara, then a news show would be a single grain of sand. You do not genuinely learn very much about the world from watching and hour of the news.
So what do you get out of watching the news? Well, a positive psychologist might likely say that you get to feel connected to society, to other people and to the world at large. That’s a fair point. Watching the news does make you feel connected to the world. Then again, is that world (the one presented by the news) a world worth being connected to?
This debate of the benefits of the news could go on, fruitlessly, for hours, with many people claiming the news is a good thing and many more claiming it to be a bad thing. Thankfully, there is one very quick way to settle the dispute. To discover whether watching the news is a good thing for you or not, simply ask yourself this question: Do you feel more positive after watching the news than you did before?
For myself, the answer is a loud and clear “No.” The news makes me falsely believe the world is a negative place and that most people are no good. That’s not a message I need to be told twice every day. How about you?
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