Every day we are deluged with information. When someone tells us they have some good news and some bad news, we're never quite sure whether we want the good news first or the bad news first. The way we focus on and react to good news and bad news can affect our disposition and our ability to concentrate on what we need to be doing
Newspapers are supposed to be full of news, but I wonder some times how true that expectation remains. As the digital age continues to eclipse the print age, newspapers have economized by cutting out special features that we used to like such as cooking and food pages which rarely appear any more. We scan the papers, if we still subscribe to them, looking for items of interest. First, the bad news. Auto accidents, homicides, bomb blasts, deaths, tragedies, weather disasters, stock market drops, disappointing economic data, disease epidemics, cost of living increases, cuts in government programs and services that affect us personally, and so the list of disasters and tragedies continues. Then we have the bizarre, the curiously weird, the "reality show" type of unusual information that attracts our attention and wastes our time. Now for the ads. I throw away a ton of ads every Sunday, saving only the comics and the actual newspaper.
Television news is similarly focused on the same kinds of negative and attention-getting information. News reporters are placed in often-precarious situations day and night to give "live" reports of crashes, shootings, and any and all other calamities.
Our ability to cope with bad news can have a significant effect on our lives. Here are some possible sources of bad news that can send us into tears and a sense of defeat and hopelessness:
- Results of a medical test.
- A failing grade on an an important exam.
- Bankruptcy and foreclosure.
- Layoff from a job.
- Our landlord tells us we have to move.
- An accident and an injury.
- A family or marital dispute.
- A weather calamity such as flooding.
- A failed investment or business venture.
- A new physical handicap.
On the other hand, our lives are also punctuated with good news, which may include some of the following examples:
- We got a raise and a commendation on our job.
- We passed our exam.
- We survived a medical crisis.
- We solved a financial problem.
- We received unexpected good news from family or friends.
- Our business venture succeeded.
- We had a bumper crop on the farm.
- Our weight dropped 10 pounds.
- We actually had a good day.
- We achieved one or more goals we had set for ourselves.
Now make two lists of your own in your "Book of Lists." In the first list, name several examples of bad news that has affected your life and left you feeling sad or hopeless. In the second list, think of instances in which good news has brightened your life and given you the courage and determination to forge onward and keep going.
Good news and bad news. We all hope for good news but we don't always get the news we expected or wanted. The media flood us with bad news, and my solution is to limit the amount of time I read or listen to such news. We have a difficult time going on with our lives and making the changes we need to make if we are always drowning in a sea of negative information and news. And the real test of our courage and determination comes when we are faced with the necessity of coping with bad news and still going on with our lives with a cheerful determination. We all know how much more we can accomplish and how much happier we are with life if we can close out the bad news, focus on the good news, and get on with what we need and want to do.
Task Number 229: Don't let bad news drag you down. Good luck, focus on sunshine and good news, and keep going through both dark and sunny days. The Curmudgeonly Professor.