I thought it was a mistake but as the days went on and I didn’t see a paper, I realized that I had never renewed the subscription. So, it’s been a month and you know what? I don’t miss it.
When I first starting commuting to the city about 6 years ago when we moved to the suburbs, I was subscribing to two newspapers – The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times. And for a little while I found it really enjoyable to read them because it helped pass the time on my commute into the city plus somehow I also thought I was enhancing my intellect.
I was wrong.
As most of the news got increasingly negative, reporting chaos, uncertainty and gloom, I found myself enjoying it less and less each day. I wasn’t getting smarter – I was getting more anxious and stressed! I felt overwhelmed by all the pessimism – from the uncertainty around a possible recession in our economy to the rising cost of education. Reading the newspaper each morning was contributing to the chaos I felt in my life.
So, I stopped my Financial Times subscription about a year ago and as of last month, I let my WSJ subscription expire. I no longer read the paper in the morning.
The result? I think I have become a tiny bit more pleasant and less hurried as I walk into the office in the morning. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not whistling Dixie strolling into my building with my bagel and coffee. No, I’m not jumping over the turnstile itching to get to work. It’s not about that. What I did find is that instead of wasting an hour each day feeding my mind with uncertainty and chaos by reading about all the turmoil and distress, I have made a deliberate choice to focus on more important things. Now, I listen to the morning talk radio on this great app on my IPhone. I go to YouTube and watch a video of Craig Ferguson or I watch a movie or a podcast that I downloaded the night before.
But here’s the most important realization from this small experiment: I have also learned to accept and expect uncertainty in a small but meaningful way. Avoiding the newspaper, especially in the morning has helped me to embrace the chaos by Accepting that chaos is happening all around me anyway–regardless if I read the paper or not. So why bother reading about chaos all the time? Why weigh myself down with the heaviness of negative news?
I’ve learned to accept the uncertain times we live in. Companies will come out with new products, companies will merge, numbers will be reported and some will be happy others will not. CEOs will be hired and they’ll be fired. Our debt problem in America and Europe will probably get worse before it gets better. Stocks will go up and then they’ll go down. Healthcare will probably be more complex while housing remains weak. Somethings will come completely out of left field and we’ll be talking about that on Facebook for about a minute. Things will change and pretty fast. Oh…and of course candidates will be selected and do some campaigning and try to come up with a plan for creating jobs. What am I really missing reading the paper?
I also learned that there are so many new and terrific radio stations out there. There are categories of radio shows I never thought existed. From small business to politics to entertainment…I can even listen to music from half way around the world. Yes, through my nifty IPhone app, I can stream music from different countries and guess what? They like Lady Gaga too!
Not getting the paper is not solely a tactic to avoid negativity. For me, it is about coming to realize a universal truth – that we live in a society where there will always be uncertainty and some form of chaos. It is about fully accepting that fact. It is about helping me to avoid anxiety and stress by fully expecting and accepting the unpredictability and uncertainty of life, which will be reported by a journalist for a newspaper. And while I’m still aware of the major news stories by picking it up here and there, I no longer NEED to know what’s happening all around the world, all the time. The world seems to be filled with enough turmoil and uncertainty and it doesn’t need any more coming from me. I’m too busy laughing to the YouTube video of Craig Ferguson’s daily monologue.