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How to Stop Letting the Media Negatively Influence You and Your Life

By: Brian Kim - January 26, 2009

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Look at what the media is broadcasting today and you won’t find a pretty picture.

71,400 jobs lost (hence the name “Bloody Monday” for today), more job losses to come, banks having trouble staying afloat, small businesses suffering – it’s a pretty bleak picture out there right now.

It’s all there 24/7 on the radio to work, talked about around the water cooler, on the TV when you get home and on the web when you log on. Technology has advanced to the point where it saturates us wherever we are; it’s even on our cell phones.

There’s nothing wrong with the media itself – it can be a great source of timely information – warning us of a hurricane, a snowstorm, traffic delays, etc.

It’s only when it’s starting to negatively influence you and your life that it becomes something that needs to be dealt with proactively.

So how does the media negatively influence you and your life?

It begins to negatively influence you and your life by getting you to focus on fear and by creating the feeling that you’ve lost control of your life. The bad thing about the media is that it’s so easy in terms of repetitiveness. It’s like the waves of the sea, just pounding on the beach nonstop – with the beach being your mind in this case. It’s hard to consciously be aware all the time and mentally block it. The repetitive nature of media and its saturation in general is inevitably going to result in getting all that negative information into your mind and once it takes root there in the form of fear, it becomes easy for your imagination to grow it.

The sense that you’ve lost control of your life is another unfortunate byproduct the media can help create and that just adds to the fear itself.

That feeling of helplessness is especially being felt in these hard economic times. Politicians are fighting over party lines on how to stimulate the economy, the media is portraying the fact that nobody really knows exactly what to do, that we’re just playing it by ear, states and local governments are having a hard time making ends meet, we hear stories of financial hardship all over the country and we begin to feel that there’s nothing we can do, it’s up to the politicians but they’re busy squabbling so nothing gets done quickly which just adds to fear even more.

It’s time to stop all this negative influence.

How?

The first step is simple.

Limit your exposure to the media and its negative news in general and understand that news is a business - it’s in their best interest to broadcast news that will draw people’s attention and negative news has a way of doing just that – people can’t help but slow down and look when there’s a crash.

That’s the most obvious and logical step to take first.

You limit the intake, you limit the amount of negative influence it can have on you.

I find the best thing you can do is to limit your TV and radio time. I don’t even watch TV anymore. I haven’t for 7 years and it’s been one of the best decisions of my life. I don’t listen to the radio either in my car. I get all my news online.

Also, avoid the doomsday conversations with friends and family and try to avoid those pity parties where one person tries to outdo the other in terms of how bad their lives are. Sure it feels good, even therapeutic, but if you keep on playing the role of the victim, that’s exactly what you’ll become.

The second thing to do is to take defensive action based on the situation. This is important because taking action instills that sense of control back into you and helps mitigate fear.

With regard to this economic crisis, you can take a hard look at where you cash is going every month, budget surgically, cut out the extraneous, save, become more valuable at your workplace, update your resume, brush up on your interview skills etc., not really rocket science and it seems to be what most people are doing right now.

Now, this is the point where most people stop and it’s a shame. It really is. We can summarize the two steps above as simply limiting exposure to the media and playing defense according to the circumstances at hand.

Now, it’s time to play offense.

Most people never get to his stage because FEAR is blinding them to the opportunities out there.

And that’s exactly how we play offense – by focusing on what opportunities exist at hand and by taking advantage of them.

I guarantee you there are people out there who are salivating at all the cheap prices in the stock market right now. The shares of sound companies are taking a massive hit right now and these opportunistic investors are saving a huge chunk of their money, doing their research, and getting ready to invest when they feel this economic crisis bottoming out. They have an offensive strategy in play and that in it of itself is enough to significantly reduce fear and instill that coveted sense of control back into their core being.

Limiting the media and playing defense will only do so much in terms of limiting fear and getting back that sense of control. Playing offense is what will seal the deal.

There are so many opportunities out there right now.

There are opportunities to learn, to grow, to find out what you’re really made of when times are tough.

You may find opportunities of part time jobs you can do during the evenings/weekends or on the side to pick up more money and can even translate into a career you find that you love working in.

You may think of a very simple business plan that turns out to be lucrative, so much that you quit your job to run it.

You might figure out great opportunities to become more productive and get things done rather than feel helpless and throw your hands in the air and play the role of the victim.

When you play offense by asking yourself what kind of opportunities are out there when everyone else is just playing defense and huddling under the covers, listening to the negative news on the media and concluding there is no opportunity out there, you’re going to be the one going out there and exploring, having no competition and seizing all the opportunities when you see them and when you do this, when opportunities seem scarce, imagine how many more opportunities you’ll see when things get better.

Imagine how much more better prepared you’ll be, how much more versatile and prosperous you can be when times get better, and they will. They will.

Until then, limit the media. Play defense. Then go on opportunistic offense.

Take back control.

Mitigate your fears.

And see the opportunities that fear has blinded so many to and take full advantage of them.

Nobody else is watching.

It's all yours for the taking.

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