Last year I come to realize I developed a nasty habit. I used to read something till the end even if I didn’t find it interesting. Catching myself following this pattern was a little disturbing because I usually avoid or quickly dismiss people who I find boring and uninteresting. Why would I go on reading something I didn’t care about? I didn’t even have to worry about hurting people feelings,
not that I really care about people feelings.
I wanted to change this behavior, but first I wanted to understand how bad it was. I found out I was doing it a lot, especially with newspapers and news based website. I was a news junky. I was wasting several hours a day.
At first I tried to curb my habit by forcing myself to stop reading when something was not interesting. It didn’t work. Every time I stopped I was feeling bad, I felt like I was procrastinating and being lazy. A more drastic approach was needed.
I stopped news.
I decided to abstain from news for 30 days. I was prepared for it to be difficult. I thought I would lose touch with reality, being uncool, uninformed, and not ready for important events.
A month passed and… I was wrong. My life was not affected whatsoever. If something major or locally significant happened I knew about it. Friends, family, coworkers, clients, they unknowingly make sure to let you know what’s happening. It made, usually boring, chitchat interesting for the first time. If I found a topic interesting I just asked people to expand and they all were very happy to fill me in. People are a very efficient spam and bullshit filter.
For a funny related story: I caught several, apparently opinionated, people just faking it and not knowing anything more than they at first disclosed. They are not used to people asking them questions.
Stopping news has been a very successful experiment. I gained hours of additional free time, I socialize more, and people are less boring. I am less stressed out by events out of my control. I will never go back to news.
My initial problem was also cured, I don’t need to read to the end anymore. Among my friends I’m now known for stepping out of movie theaters after a couple of minutes if I’m not enjoying a movie. Movie quality is steadily going down and a couple of people have started to question if I’m suffering from attention deficit disorder.
Starting today, abstain from news for 30 days and improve your life.
If you are still reading let me know in the comments, you might be a good candidate for a news free diet.