Business Economics Finance Investing

News Fast

Detox

I recently completed a two week news fast in which I did everything I could to avoid the news, especially financial news. It was obviously very challenging but in the end was quite rewarding and liberating. Prior to the fast, I found myself feeling incredibly bogged down by politics and financial punditry. While I always make earnest attempts to ignore the noise, it can be difficult, if not impossible at times, when it’s coming at you from all directions. By avoiding the news, I didn’t get caught up in popular, yet misleading, narratives that were attempting to explain the cause of certain occurrences that probably really couldn’t be explained. I also avoided all of the drama related to the Supreme Court justice nominee who happens to be on the hot seat right now. Unfortunately, that process continues to drag on so it looks like there’s no way to avoid it now. Oh well. It was nice to have two weeks off.

The fast was effectively at least a partial reset for me and helped me to regain the perspective I need to make good decisions and to better serve my clients. I’m thinking now that news fasts may end up being good for my mental health as well as my professional health. I feel the fast has modestly enhanced my ability to think more objectively and rationally and to make more optimal decisions. This experience feels similar to many of the medical studies suggesting periodic fast mimicking diets (food) throughout the year may be very good for one’s physical health. The key with those studies is the fasts are recurring at set intervals.

We Are What We Eat

Similar to the correlation between our bodies, our physical health and the foods we consume, our opinions, biases and views of the world at any given time are largely shaped by the information we consume via media in all its formats, study, conversations, etc… In reality, there is no way to avoid bias in our lives. We are shaped by our experiences and learning. The key is to be aware that we have biases and more importantly to seek to identify and account for our blind spots. This is obviously easier said than done but we would all benefit by making it a long-term goal to strive to be aware of and to control for our blind spots in our individual thinking and decision making. Setting such a goal and diligently pursuing it is among the best paths we can take to improve our overall decision making. In the end, getting it right is more important than being right.