What Are You Watching?

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How does negative media affect you? 

I was just flipping through the channels. I stopped for a minute to watch one of the reality shows about pawn shops, not that one the other one. I can’t watch this for very long because of the arguing and conflict. I know some of this is just how the show is edited, but what I noticed is that the show  seemed to make me tense. I was tensing up. So much for relaxing and watching a little television . I was also analyzing how the customer service interaction could have been better. I’ve noticed this before, not with me, but with my two-year-old son.

One morning we were getting ready and on the morning news there were two attorneys ‘discussing’ a case. One of the attorneys started getting snippy with the other. She went from zero to sixty on the other guy. Over talking and arguing. Levi looked at the TV and yelled “Stop it!” He was getting upset. This conflict was truly bothering him.

This got me to thinking, why do we want to watch something that portrays conflict as entertainment? Are we so miserable we have to make sure that other people are as bad off as we are? (or think we are) Think about it. Is your mentor sitting at home watching some reality show about miserable people? Chances are that’s not the case. Don’t have a mentor? Find one! Now! I’m not kidding, go ahead, I’ll be here when you get back.

I used to think I wasn’t affected by these outside influences like music and TV, but I was WRONG! I found this out when I started running. I love listening to music so it was just natural when I started running that I listened to my tunes. I started to notice that certain songs made me speed up and others I would chill out some. Then I got an iPod with a Nike+ attachment. What do they ask you to setup? A power song, a song  that you feel will help you push harder (mine was Ride the Wind by Poison, in case you wanted to know). 

So I’m sure that watching people argue is going to negatively affect my outlook. These things we take in can affect us. Sorry, I took the long way around, back to my point.

I do get the humor in watching people make fools of themselves. A little bit of it is funny,  but an entire 30 minute episode of some of these shows is probably too much. So why to we get engrossed in these shows? Conflict is something that we need to deal with head-on, in life, in work, and in relationships. But this reality conflict isn’t healthy or real for that mater. This got me thinking about being intentional.

Not making a decision, is still a decision

I spend a lot of time trying to be intentional about what I read and listen to . Making sure that it is good for my mind and for advancing my purpose. I guess that sometimes think about what’s good, but not what is bad. You might ask, “what is the difference?”

The answer is not much, but there is enough in my mind that I have to intentionally choose the most healthy activity.  Remember, making no decision is still a decision. Like me, if you know that watching a negative  reality show will make you grumpy and you will act like a jerk later, don’t watch it. If that type of conflict doesn’t bother you, watch away. But next time you watch, listen to, or read something negative. Watch how it affects your attitude and outlook.

How do you deal with negative media? 

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  2 comments for “What Are You Watching?

  1. September 30, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    I realized over ten years ago that the morning news negatively impacted me. Hearing all the tragedy occurring across the world, seeing all the horrific photos, set the tone for the rest of my day – all negative with a side of gloom and doom. So, I stopped watching the morning news. I get my news through print/online media. Reading it allows me to put my own interpretation on it, instead of listening to someone else’s inflections and emphasis. Last year, I completely got rid of cable. Too many “reality” shows that fail to show reality. Too many tragic, overly dramatic shows that illustrate the dark side of humanity. I don’t need to constantly see the dark and horrible side of life in my entertainment (i.e., that which should be enjoyable and make me happy). Now I use Apple TV or Netflix to pick what I *want* to watch, instead of being subjected to what the networks think I *should* watch.

    • October 9, 2013 at 4:42 pm

      I agree, I only have very basic cable and only watch a choice few reality shows. I like to know what’s going on in the world, but I try to get up early and get my mind right and on the right path before I turn on the news. How media, in general, effects our mood and outlook is unbelievable. So being intentional about what we take in is very important.

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