Bad news

Shaking things up every now and again helps to keep things fresh in your life. If you keep on doing the same things you do every day without any change in pace, input or excitement it gets very mundane indeed. We need new stimuli to keep ourselves going.

So we shake things up. We can do this in numerous ways, the obvious one would be a holiday and experiencing a different culture & country, although a beach vacation would also help somewhat here as it changes your daily pace, personally I rather go with a active holiday and put some beach days into it. But even reading a book can help you escape daily reality. Sure it's probably not as exciting as a holiday but still. There are dozens of way to shake things up that's what I'm saying.

I tend to try new things and post about them here. They turn into what I call little experiments and those mostly change my life somewhat. I tried a month without regular television and now I only watch TV when it suits me by watching it online. Which puts me in control of what I watch and when I watch it without commercials. Another experiment was Facebook. Although I had some hesitations with using Facebook, mostly privacy related, but during my travels through Australia I have seen that Facebook is ideal way to keep in touch with friends back home and the people I met along the way. It does also tends to take up time.

Recently I read an article by Rolf Dobelli called Avoid News which was featured in the Dutch newspaper NRCNext on September 1st. Quite ironic that a newspaper writes on how to avoid the news but it's still a very good article on our heavy news consumption, why it's bad and how to avoid it all together. I recommend you read it if you are at all interested in the topic.

News is to the mind what sugar is to the body

This article got me thinking about something that has preoccupied my thoughts for a couple of years now. Being my daily news in-take and why it's such a waste of brainpower. Sure it's fun to be well informed but are you really well informed? I mean can you remember anything about news you consumed a month ago? News is only relevant for a short period. I don't have this problem with books I read, they stay more relevant as well. At least this holds true for the books I read (currently Freakonomics) about science and other interests of mine (history, biology & IT). I mean they really add to ones self as a opposed to what news does. In this sense news is junk food. Of course junk food is enjoyable every now and again but everyday would be very unhealthy. I don't just read books that add to self well being, besides Freakonomics I'm also reading through the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin every since I saw the first season of this new HBO series.

So my next experiment will entail me banning news for a month for myself and if it is a success I'll extend it indefinitely. My subscription to the NRCNext ended two weeks ago so the newspaper is already done with (although the format of this newspaper is quite good and differs a lot from others), I've also removed lots of RSS feeds in Google Reader and stopped following loads of news related tweets. I'll be avoiding all forms of news the coming month. Which coincides with the start of my new job, another thing I'm really looking forward to. All in all exciting times ahead with loads to learn and a lot of room for self improvement.