Much of how we experience the world comes from the lens through which we view it. If that lens is weighted towards a sense of hope and possibility, that's the frame of reference we'll use as we go through our lives. If it's weighted towards fear and negativity, we'll experience more of that.
That lens can have a profound impact on the life we create. Hope and possibility open doors to potential. Fear and negativity limit us.
One way we create our world view lens is through what we choose to reinforce on a regular basis.That's why the news can have such a toxic effect. Every day we're bombarded with so much violence, despair, helplessness and anger. It contributes little to our quality of life, and its cumulative effect is corrosive.
Instead of jumping up on my soapbox and trying to convince you not to watch the news, I want to encourage you to try an experiment.Think of it as a news toxicity test.
News toxicity testLet's start with the premise that repeated exposure to a message - whether negative or positive - is likely to reinforce that perspective. If that repeated message is negative, especially if it is significantly negative, it can be highly toxic to your world view.
The purpose of this experiment is to explore the degree to which the news you watch reinforces that negative story.
Keep watching the news every day, and start really paying attention to what you're seeing. Keep a pad of paper handy. Rate each story you watch on a continuum. At one end of the continuum are the stories that feed a sense of fear and negativity, and on the other are the stories that feed a sense of hope and possibility. Something like this:
Once you have evaluated the news for a week, it's time to score it. See the numbers under the continuum? At the end of the week, go through and tally up the scores of all the news stories you have watched. (So, for example, if you have three news stories, one of which scored 1, one of which scored 0, and one of which scored -2, your final score would be -1.)
If the total score is negative, that means you are choosing to open up your head and pour a negative perspective into it. And when you do that day after day after day, it's a little like waves eroding the shore, bit-by-bit.
What is the energy impact?
Another way of looking at it is asking the question, "Does this energize me, or does it drain me? Does it move me towards a high energy state, or a low energy state?" Again, you can use a continuum to help you evaluate it.
Use the same process as above and add up the numbers at the end of the week. If your goal is to maximize the energy you have in any given day, and the the final score of the news you watch is negative, once again, you're choosing to invite something into your brain that is counter to your goal.
One final note on this. To make it as simple as possible, I gave each score an equal weight. But the reality is that the negative scores - the fear and anxiety inducing ones, like terrorism or a murderer on the loose - often have a far greater emotional impact than stories in the positive end of the spectrum. So when you tally them up, they may actually be larger negative numbers (like - 3 and - 4), because their impact is greater.
Time for a career change? Launch it with...
The Occupational Adventure Guide:
A Travel Guide to the Career of Your Dreams
by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst