I have been finding myself increasingly frustrated with the amount of American news that I see as a Canadian. On many topics it seems like I know more about what is happening in another country than in my own. A sad state of affairs. Most of these things are actually meaningless to me personally. Decisions made by American politicians are unlikely to cause me to change anything in my day-to-day, affect my decisions or something that I would have influence on. As a result, everything I know about American politics represents wasted neurons and wasted time.
American News is a drama. The characters and their emotional conflicts play a staring role keep us hooked like a soap opera. It draws us back in day after day to find out what happens. It stays on our mind through the day, speculating about what will happen next.
It made me think about all the media I consume.
Increasingly I have been withdrawing from all consumption channels. With Facebook, I have disabled all notifications, and log in less than once a month. I stopped using my feed reader and unsubscribed from everything that explicitly was world news related at the beginning of the year. Yesterday, I purged my phone of Reddit, CBC News, and Pinterest. The last of my consumption-only news feeds. Twitter is my only remaining source of outside information – but I’m careful about who I follow.
Either you control your brain, or your brain controls you. I want to make sure I am consciously in control of my own brain by ensuring that what goes into it aligns with my goals, that I reduce my risk of being influenced by media hype or fear tactics.
My goals are that I want to be building as much as possible. To focus on creation, I’m limiting the hours spent consuming.
The consumption that I am trying to do more of is books. The ideas in books have been baked for years before they make it to the printed page. They undergo multiple levels of review and editing before publishing, and they have the length to more fully explore and explain things. Choosing a book to read also aligns with the desire to control what goes into my brain which is very different from the lack of control we get from skimming through clickbait headlines.
As I have been cutting down on media consumption my phone has become less and less useful. I’m thankful of that, since it gives me more time in the day to be the author of my own future.