The media deliver negative news to those who are thirsty for them. Depressing television programmes confirm the views of those who believe that man cannot improve his lot. Bitter discussions on talk-radio reinforce the listeners' conviction that life consists primarily of conflict.
Protect your hope and inspiration
Dispiriting messages attain their targets with the
precision of a laser. No discouraging word is wasted and no gloomy
prediction remains ignored. The machine that destroys hope and
inspiration works with outstanding efficiency.
Those who love
dire forecasts expect to find them in the media. Those who want to hear
about poverty and dereliction want television stations to cover those
subjects. Those who believe that the next crisis is going to destroy the
world expect their favourite talk-radio host to share that view.
despite the massive barrage of depressing messages, other individuals
remain unaffected by anxiety and depression. Instead of seeking out
alarming news, these persons read newspapers sparingly. Instead of
watching calamities on television, they prefer to devote their energies
to improving their own lives.
How did this minority arrive at
their independent thinking? What is the key behind their psychological
stability? How can we protect our serenity against the negative bias of
daily news? The following ideas can help you preserve your peace of
1. Transform risks into numbers
First, transform risks into numbers: Most reported threats
refer to events that, most likely, will never happen. For instance,
every few years, newspapers discuss anew the possibility of an asteroid
hitting the earth and killing millions of people.
would be terrible, but you should not allow vague menaces to disrupt
your tranquillity. Instead of losing sleep over risks, you should
transform them into numbers or percentages. What are the actual chances
of an asteroid hitting the town where you live? If the result of the
calculation is one in a million, how much are you willing to worry?
2. Set a limit to damages
Second, set a limit on potential damages: Companies operating in consumer markets
inevitably incur risks of civil liability. If you deliver products to
millions of people, an accident will occur sooner or later, for example
due to the failure of an electrical component.
No one is exempt
from occasional mistakes and this is why liability insurance exists.
Entrepreneurs who wish to limit their risks can purchase insurance
coverage so that, if the worst happens, their financial losses will be
Similarly, if you live in an area with a high risk of
floods, you should insure yourself against damages caused by water. The
rational approach to dealing with potential catastrophes is to reduce
risks. By setting a limit to damages, you can protect your peace of mind
against gloomy forecasts aired by the media.
predict a stock market crash, you can protect yourself by converting
part of your investments to cash or by purchasing other assets, such as
gold or real estate, whose performance is not correlated to the price of
shares. In general, if you set a cap on potential losses, you will be
able to stop worrying about catastrophes.
3. Face problems by taking action
Third, face your problems by
taking action: Uncertainty, more than any other factor, is what causes
anxiety and fear. The feeling of not knowing what to do can render you
insecure and lead you to make mistakes. Indecision causes physical
tiredness and disrupts sleep at night. The solution is not to ignore
risks, but to face them by taking action.
If your neighbourhood
is becoming increasingly dangerous, you can choose between taking action
or worrying yourself to death. Assess the problem and see what
alternatives you have. Should you install an alarm system at home? Does
the situation justify that you move to another part of town?
soon as you make a decision, your preoccupation levels will diminish.
People who lead serene lives tend to be incredibly proactive and
organized. Those persons are always the first to adopt measures to
4. Rely only on quality information
Fourth, rely only on quality information: This is a key
factor for maintaining your peace of mind. Why would you want to read
gloomy articles in newspapers and magazines? What's the point of
devoting your time to watching depressing reports on television?
information is highly addictive and, without a strong will, the habit
is difficult to break. You have to make a firm decision and stop paying
attention to distorted news. You have to make the effort to filter out
the noise and focus on quality information.
In most cases, you
can keep yourself well informed by spending a few minutes a day on a few
selected websites. If you make yourself deaf to nonsense and
discouragement, you will have more time for pursuing your primary
You can preserve your peace of mind by
transforming risks into numbers, setting limits to damages, facing
problems with action, and using only quality information. Every minute
of anxiety that you eliminate from your life will add positively to your
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For more information about rational living, I refer you to my books