Forget the News

crumpled_newspaperI’ve never been a big fan of the news (when I say news, I’m talking about the national and local reporting from the major broadcast networks and big time newspapers). It’s something I was obviously exposed to while growing up, as it’s been a staple of the American household since the advent of television. At home, my mom always liked to have it on in the background while preparing dinner. I much preferred to watch sports, Seinfeld, Jeopardy, or The Simpsons as soon as I rushed into the kitchen after hours of  playing sports with the neighbors. Fortunately, she often let me win this small battle, and the news became an afterthought to me. This habit continued throughout my adolescence, all the way up until my time at Georgetown.

On the Hilltop, I tried to become a little bit more conscious of news headlines since my peers were more interested in national and global issues. I guess I should have seen that coming , given the high number of Hoyas who intern on Capitol Hill at some point during their college careers (proud to say I wasn’t one of them!). Whether it was scanning WallStreetJournal.com or CNN.com, I could never completely get into the news. I’d glance at the headlines and brief synopses and either wouldn’t quite understand what they were talking about or frankly didn’t care. Instead,  I much preferred pleasure reading about topics I was genuinely interested in (sports business, marketing, personal branding, self-development, etc.). This habit continues today, and I’m perfectly content with it.

Don’t get me wrong. I respect the news. As American citizens, we should know what the issues are in our country and abroad as well as have some understanding of the arguments of opposing points of view. Awareness of what’s going on in the world helps make you a more a well-rounded individual who can participate in intellectually stimulating conversation. When the news directly impacts your life in some way, it can lead you to take action that collectively might make a difference, i.e. local voting. Finally, the news can be interesting and entertaining. As humans, our innate curiosity allows us to develop affinities to certain topics that we want to learn more about. Other times, the sheer absurdity of stories gives us good laughs or gossiping opportunities.

On the flip side, the typical news story is negative. If it’s not about violence, it’s about crime. If it’s not about disease, it’s about poverty. This vicious cycle seems to never end. Additionally, the news is not always accurate. In a day and age where all media outlets seem to care about is page views, the quality of sources and story content is suffering. Everyone fights to be the first to break headlines, only to change them hours later based on more complete information. More often that not, the news has zero effect on your immediate situation. Life would go on in exactly the same way had you not paid attention. In a world where we increasingly are wondering where our time goes, is it really worth it to keep up with national and local news?

The answer, my friends, is a resounding “No.”

Instead, I would recommend staying abreast of industry news depending on what your job is. When I say staying abreast, I mean scanning the headlines and only reading stories that you’re most interested in and can learn something from. Remember, you’re not getting paid to know what’s going on in the world outside your industry. You’re getting paid to produce results for your business (I hate to break it to ya). If you want to make more money, keep your head down and focus on improving yourself and those around you to perform more efficiently and effectively. Don’t worry so much about being out of the loop on a national news story. If it’s honestly that important, you’ll hear about it from someone else, whether that’s in-person or on social networks.

Besides reading industry-specifc news, I would recommend creating a Twitter list so you can follow the handles of successful and interesting businessmen and -women who you admire (here’s mine). Read their blog posts and the articles they are sharing. It will give you insight into how they think and what matters to them. You’ll learn a lot more from them than you will from the news. If you like what he or she has to say, sign up for their email newsletter. Investing your time in what these people have to say and share will pay off many times more. In the past few weeks alone, I’ve learned so much from people I admire and truly feel are ahead of the game.

Forget the news. Scan your industry headlines and go all in on learning from interesting people whose ways of life you strive to emulate.

What’s your ROI on the news? Who are some people you’re following that are much more newsworthy?

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