Editor’s Note: This article was first published by Inc. here.
One of the things I wish I could tell myself when I was younger is to never watch the news. I know, that might sound crazy, but hear me out.
As an entrepreneur, managing my news intake was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made because it frees up my mind from all that worry. Rather than getting so angry all the time and feeling helpless, I choose to redirect my energy somewhere else. I chose instead to focus on things like discovering new music, learning how to play Minecraft with my son, and on the people–the employees and customers–that make up my company.
About five or six years ago, I was completely consumed by watching the news. I was constantly checking the notifications on my phone, watching the news in the morning and night, and scrolling through the latest headlines before anything else. Most of the stories I watched were incredibly dark: death counts, flooding, tsunamis, disease.
I realized that it was harming my outlook to listen to information so depressing all day every day, so I gave it up. I quit cold turkey. A few years ago, I committed to daily meditation, and used that practice to stay committed to staying away from those ticker headlines that kept me up at night.
One of the traps I see a lot of people falling into is thinking they have the capacity to filter in only the good messages while ignoring the bad. I don’t think people can, for the same reason why I think you are the average of the five people closest to you. It all goes back to the old adage, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.”
I think that no matter how hard you try, you will still absorb the negative news and opinions that you are reading or hearing. And you’ll end up using your brainpower trying to focus on the good and ignoring the bad. It’s a lot of work for little return, so I choose to abstain from it.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not prescribing this for everyone. I recognize that for some it’s their job to know what is happening and where. If you’re an investor, you need to keep a pulse on global markets and current trends. If you are in communications, you need to understand what is hitting the headlines. I get it. But it’s not for me.
And this doesn’t mean that I’m not getting my news in other ways. Instead of watching breaking news, I listen to podcasts, read newsletters that summarize the main takeaways, and get ideas from journals and blogs.
The bottom line is that you will find out anything that’s important. We are too hyper-connected today for that not to happen. But I personally think it’s better as an entrepreneur to spend time-consuming things that spark ideas and conversation rather than those that breed negativity.