You probably know that I just recently moved to Chicago. While I have a long family history and have conducted a lot of business here, I still don’t know that much about the city and its history. Thus, I’ve done two things to rectify that:
I’ve purchased some Chicago history books to learn more, AND I’ve started to follow some local news to get my fingers on the pulse of what’s going on here.
To me, I think it is wrong when you are totally clueless about where you are spending time. Even when I travel, I glance at the local news of where I am going to be aware of the local scene.
I recently had coffee with a friend, and in the course of general conversation, I asked him about two current events, because frankly, I was really curious about his take on both.
He wasn’t aware of either. And looked at me blankly. Silent.
Suddenly, our conversation was at an awkward place. Two topics that I thought would take 20 minutes to discuss, and now I was struggling for where to go next.
Every week I observe someone on the interwebs suggesting that the best thing we can do is to unplug from the news. They say it is too negative, and that it is a waste of time.
I disagree. I think this becomes a big disadvantage for you (but I do agree with the idea that some people follow the news as an excuse to NOT do their work).
I think there are five simple reasons why you need to keep your eyes on the news, and why you need to be more informed:
1. It makes you more creative.
2. It makes you more interesting.
3. It improves your conversational ability.
4. It keeps you aware of trends which positively impact your business, career, and lifestyle.
5. It keeps you grounded…knowing where you stand in the world, by giving you perspective and context.
Now, I am not suggesting that you have to watch the morning news shows, get home in time to watch the evening news shows, subscribe to all the local and national papers, AND keep one of the 24-hour news channels going all day.
Far from it.
Me? I simply follow a small handful of news apps on my phone, and over the course of the day, scroll through each to keep an eye on pressing stories and commentary (see a screen shot of the “news” page on my iPhone above). And yeah, you are allowed to look at weather, sports, and arts and entertainment!
Look, I understand the occasional benefit to disconnecting from the world to focus on yourself, your work, your art, and your family. But I really think it lowers you and becomes a disadvantage if this becomes a permanent mindset and practice.
He is a former marketing strategist, national political operative, and lobbyist.
Todd has published five books, writes a business + lifestyle column, is a distance runner, and lives in Chicago with his wife Stephanie + family.