These are more difficult times than most of us are used to, and we are not minimising the pain that some people are experiencing right now.
But don’t fall for the trap of believing the negative hype that the media and spin doctors are delivering.
The price our children will pay is too high.
Understanding the psychology of bad news will help you avoid falling for it.
Here it is in a nutshell:
- Humans are wired for survival.
- Bad news potentially threatens your survival.
- You pay attention because you want to survive.
- The media people generate bad news as a threat to get your “survival attention”.
- That’s it.
Clever journalists, the press and big media channels are using this survival instinct to trap us in a constant cycle of presenting a “possible threat” and thereby getting our “survival attention”.
If you even sense the possibility of danger you will pay attention to make sure it is not a threat to your survival.
People are paid to create headlines that trigger these survival instincts. They use negativity, drama and possible threats to do this. Threats to your survival, your health, your family, your happiness, your marriage, your savings, your house, your job, your future. Threats to anything to get your attention.
This is how and why the media world thrives on creating negativity. They know it will get your attention. It triggers the most basic of human instincts. Survival.
Your “survival attention” sells advertising and it keeps the whole cycle going.
As an example, there was a headline in the press last month (Dec 2020), “World’s oceans could be flooded with 1.5bn face masks by the end of 2020”.
When you look into the detail this is the total amount of masks worldwide that would end up in the ocean if a certain percentage were thrown away in a careless manner and they find their way along the waterways to the ocean. Now, we all know we need to reduce the possibility of pollution by taking care of how we dispose of masks, but this is pure fear mongering and the headline is irresponsible and blatantly misleading. As many are.
What these headline writers and so-called journalists overlook is the collateral damage they are causing to our children (and all of us) from constantly peddling negativity. Whilst it may sell advertising and subscriptions there is a HUGE social cost that goes with this behaviour. We are seeing it with the sad increase in so many of societies ills.
But back to the face mask disposal issue, how many have you thrown out the car window or tossed into a drain when you’ve finished with them? No, we didn’t think so. And we don’t know anybody else that would do this either.
Sure, proper disposal of them means they will end up in landfill and we know that’s not brilliant, maybe they will all be biodegradable one day, but it’s quite different to the image these fear mongers conjure up of face masks choking fish, turtles and dolphins en masse in the ocean.
We can and should all do our bit to help by minimising waste, recycling where we can and being more thoughtful of our daily actions.
And perhaps that’s where we should draw the line.
And stop all the unhelpful negativity getting through to our children.
All that does is give them a dim view of their future. Which is actually very bright.
There is so much good. Make the most of it in 2021.