Should You Pay Attention?

By: Dan Kennedy on: May 23rd, 2011 8 Comments

Very Good News: You can finally, completely stop worrying about Al Gore’s global warming. We are all destined to die of something else instead.

A front page headline on USA TODAY read:

90% of the ocean’s edible species may be gone by 2048, study finds

Having North Korea, Iraq, Iran, etc. isn’t enough. They have to devote half their front page to scaring us about the potential scarcity of Mrs. Paul’s fish sticks forty-two years from now.

Since I will either be dead or eating mush, this matters little to me. For many of you, though, it’s permission to cease all worry about global warming. The lack of crab cakes will kill you first. Hooray!

It might interest the boneheads behind this survey and those reporting on it as fatalistic gospel at USA TODAY that I have, in my files, news reports of academic studies projecting the end of seafood by the year 1967…..the melting of the polar ice caps and drowning of us all by 1959…..and, well, you get the idea.

Scientists, psychics, cult leaders, politicians and ignorant, irresponsible journalists have frequently predicted the end of life as we know it – via over-population (a scare popular in the 60’s), under-population, starvation and famine, flood, asteroid attack, the earth veering from its axis, killer bees, or – the latest – mad cow disease, etc. – and they have all been wrong.

Eventually ONE will get to say “See, I Told You So.” But this is a charlatan’s game, and nothing more.

For some, it gets taxpayer monies to support all manner of silly research. For others, it sells books or newspapers.

It’s hard to tell Stanford’s much hyped ‘doom research’ from the plot of an old Star Trek episode. One is no more credible than the other.

Why should you pay attention to any of this? That’s the point – you shouldn’t. In fact, you should be pretty rigorous about NOT paying attention to anything that doesn’t advance you toward your goals, enhance your important skills, or inspire and motivate you to be your best self and achieve your greatest ambitions.

Unless it is your hobby, be that golf, football, gardening, or ulcer assured, politics.

All else ought be filtered out. Blocked. Ignored. Just because USA TODAY feels compelled to fill its front page with silly, decidedly unscientific drivel, with scary stuff about the future-without-fish, does NOT mean you must swallow it.

I even choose most of my pure entertainment with some purpose, to extract from it some useful ideas or content or examples, in addition to being amused or entertained. I don’t need distractions provided by silly soothsayers looking 40 to 400 years into the future.

I’m perfectly capable of manufacturing sufficient distractions of my own! Success requires FOCUS. You have to guard the gates of your mind. You have to ask: what will I gain by paying attention to this?

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    8 Responses

    1. Jorge says:

      Horaay i’m the first poster! Great i’m paying attention to the RIGHT stuff, great post Dan =)

    2. Jonny H. says:

      Excellent post. I knew you were a sharp entrepreneur and writer, but it’s slowly beginning to dawn on me that you are a great teacher too. Duh.

    3. Christoph says:

      Very true. I try to do this all the time but often mainstream media is just too dominant to ignore it.

    4. Melissa says:

      This is so interesting, and really true. I have to follow a large number of glossy women’s magazines every month (checking the advertisers … and the competition). It is so easy for me to get sucked into the content which is too often either misleading at best or just completely factually incorrect.

      (Note to self: there must be a lesson there about good headlines or something …)

      Meanwhile, this weekend my husband and I attended a middleweight world championship fight. Not only was it a fun night out, but I learned some incredible lessons about preparation, training, strategy and – most important for me – ruthlessly targeting weakness.

      My new business hero is the winner of the evening, Tom “Kong” Watson. I am totally inspired …

    5. j says:

      Thank you Dan.

      I haven’t watched “news” in four years. I haven’t touched the “hellivsion” in four years. Thanks for the confirmation. I refuse to let negativity enter my vicinity. Great post!!!!

    6. Scott Martin says:

      A couple of things here.

      One. Fear is a big motivator in direct response copy. A powerful motivator that must be used carefully–but a big motivator.

      Two. Having worked for a newspaper company in the past, when the asteroid was on the horizon and getting bigger, it was always clear that the editors really didn’t understand content: I never really found out what was going on in the city where I live. Instead, the editors were banging on about global warming, dirty water, race relations in 1890, and other boulderdash.

      The demise of the big newspapers is all about poor content. And a great lesson for those of us in the content production business. Tell people what’s really going on.

    7. Luke says:

      No doubt, Dan, what good does it do by absorbing this into my fertile mind? Also consider the uncertainty of weather reports for the following week, who would trust global warming founded on less certain science?

      Good reminder to keep the blinders on given all the ‘reports’ that the world is going to end.

    8. I just saw this thing on TV about comedic actor Tom Truong up coming movie Jesus Christ Second Coming. It’s a movie about the son of God reborn to earth to save us from armageddon of December 21 2012.

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