James Altucher writes interesting stuff when he’s not shilling cryptocurrency and penny stocks. His newsletter yesterday informed the readership that he’s going on an ‘attention diet’:
The news scares me.
It doesn’t matter that disease is down year after year, violent deaths are down year after year, literacy is up, infant mortality is down, people out of poverty is up, all I read is: shark deaths are up, nuclear war is around the corner, and my favorite celebrity couple is getting divorced.
His personal ‘Attention Diet’:
A) I never watch the news.
B) I never read a newspaper or a magazine.
C) I never hit “Home” on Facebook.
D) I never go to the Twitter home page.
E) I get my news from books.
F) I don’t talk about North Korea or Trump or sports or what someone said when and to who and why.
G) If someone says, “Can you believe what is happening?” I always say, “Yes” and then don’t listen after that.
H) If someone wants to pitch me an idea, I ignore it.
I) If someone wants to meet me for coffee because “I’m sure you’d enjoy it”, I ignore.
J) If someone gives me advice about finance, comedy, writing, economics, I ignore it.
K) If someone disagrees with me I’ll ignore UNLESS, I know them AND it’s face to face. Only 10% of communication is verbal.
He was introduced to the ‘Attention Diet’ by Mark Manson who wrote The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck. Oddly enough, I’ve never read this book–I bought it and it’s on my Kindle but I guess I forgot about it. It sounds like its right up my alley. Here’s a quote from the book about the perpetually offended, which is comorbid with paying too much attention to the news.
People get addicted to feeling offended all the time because it gives them a high; being self-righteous and morally superior feels good. As political cartoonist Tim Kreider put it in a New York Times op-ed: “Outrage is like a lot of other things that feel good but over time devour us from the inside out. And it’s even more insidious than most vices because we don’t even consciously acknowledge that it’s a pleasure.
This is downright profound:
“And like the road not taken, it was the fucks not given that made all the difference.”
Tim Ferriss introduced me to the concept of what he calls a ‘low information diet’ and I’ve been doing this for almost a decade. It really works.
I wrote an article about ‘Why You Need To Ignore The News’ a few years back: