By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator
So many of us tuned in to the constant coverage of the recent hurricanes – the preparations before the storm hit, the storm in process and the storm’s aftermath. We were consumed by watching newsperson after newsperson stand in drenching rain and brace themselves in intimidating wind to give us play-by-play observations about the storm. We were held captive by fear, uncertainty and worry.
Being informed to make wise decisions is one thing; obsessing over a situation is another. The former is productive, the latter is unproductive. And in today’s 24/7 news coverage, there’s a very fine line between being informed and being obsessed.
I admit I fell victim to the uncertainty around Hurricane Irma since the storm displaced me from my home in South Florida. But then I realized: fear, uncertainty and worry does nothing to help the situation. It can cloud our thoughts, limit our choices and impede our decisions. We react instead of respond.
As a coach, I see this behavior on a regular basis. When you don’t use the information available to you wisely (you don’t notice and limit your access to sensationalizing and editorializing), you get caught in the emotions of the moment, which can result in decisions made out of fear. These types of decisions are less effective and sustainable compared to those made out of rational thought.
Coverage of the recent hurricanes is just the latest example of our news cycle that fills each moment of every day with situations that keep us in worry, fear and uncertainty. We continually watch tragedy, danger and conflict to a point that we forget there is kindness, opportunity and collaboration.
So how can you manage the 24/7 news cycle to stay informed, but not become obsessed?
Be more intentional about the information you gather from your world. Watching a storm moment by moment doesn’t make you wiser or more intentional in your responses. It just makes you crazy.
Instead, stop and notice what is going on and gather information. Use that information to consider your options. With a calm mind, choose the best option and act on it. This is how you move through life wisely and calmly, accommodating both successes and challenges, and using them both to make good decisions.
Important Questions from a Coach:
- What can you do to more intentionally manage what you listen to and watch?
- How will you guide your family/friends/colleagues to think more wisely and rationally when a breaking news topic takes over the 24/7 news cycle?
- What areas of your work and life need you to be calmer, saner and wiser to be more successful?
You are part of a loud, noisy and constantly-connected world. Be intentional about what you let in so you can thoughtfully respond instead of nervously react.