I had a terrible day. Switching our driver’s licenses wasn’t as easy as we thought it would be. Three times we went to the ministry of transportation office and three times we were told that there was more we had to do. However, the fourth trip was the charm. We came away sanctioned to navigate Ontario roads. My stomach tightens when I think of all the discussions and kilometers required just to satisfy one smiling government agent.
Finally, we where back home. I switched the TV on to a news station while scanning the headlines in the daily paper. There was a lot going on: shootings, car accidents, fluctuations in the stock market, political scandals; someone had even identified a new flue virus. On the world stage the UN and others were trying to work out problems in the Ukraine, North Korea and Syria. I went to bed full of news.
Sleep didn’t come easy. When I wasn’t dreaming about the news I was lying awake thinking about it. My little boy woke me up at six. He was hungry. Instead of pondering the condition of the world while my baby emptied his bottle, I pulled out my mentor’s magazine and read an article about a Frenchman trying his luck during the great depression in America.
He was an immigrant who opened and operated his wine shop during the worst, when businesses around him were suffering or going into receivership. His shop flourished and after a few years he opened up a second and then a third one.
Local VIP’s and press were invited when he celebrated his 25th anniversary. A reporter asked him: “You opened up a shop during the great depression and even expanded it when other businesses were failing. What is your secret?” He was quiet for a moment and then answered: “When I came to America I couldn’t read English, so I didn’t know there was a depression.”
This wasn’t the answer I expected. I grew up with news being the main topic at our dinner table, family gatherings, and any other time conversation needed a boost. And it was usually bad news.
Newspapers and TV stations know that people are drawn to spectacular events, the more horrendous, the more we watch. However, this little story shows what affect bad news has on people. If they hear things are bad, then they are. If they don’t hear how bad things are, often they don’t have to be.
Would I open a new business in the middle of the depression? Probably not. But do I need to know all the bad going on in the world in order to plan my future? Definitely not. Fear breeds fear. FDR said it best: “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.” Is it necessary to feed ourselves with this kind of information every day? Is it helpful to be afraid of the future based on the fear mongering of broadcasters and newspapers?
Do you want to see how less news can improve your outlook? Stay away from it for a week. Write down how you feel at the beginning and then again at the end. I would love to hear your results. As for me, there’ll be a lot less news on my dinner plate. I’m going to spend more time looking forward to the future instead of fearing it.
Always remember #BEGOOD