Sunday, July 31, 2011

Look for inspiration, not mere information

Alexandra Stoddard , one of my most-trusted wisdom brokers, wrote this in her book You Are Your Choices (Chapter 5, “Information Is Not Inspiration”):

“One hundred years ago no one could imagine the flood of information that would be available today. You could drown in it if you’re not careful. The Information Age first dawned in the 1970s. An abundant amount of publications were available, along with manipulation of information. Through the use of computers and the Internet, we can learn about anything we choose to know. We can collect facts and data in an endless stream. The Internet is limitless; it is overwhelming. . . .

Bob O’Brien, a prize-winning journalist and writer, advised me when I first began to write not to read the newspaper before I began my work. The human mind has limits to how much it can absorb. We can know everything, but not know anything about how to live. We have to be careful not to clog our minds with bad news that cannot inspire.”

The Huffington Post is at the top of my news bookmarks. I pay a visit nearly every day. But recently, I do not stay as long as I used to, mainly because (with few exceptions) it is filled with “bad news that cannot inspire”, celebrity “news” that cannot inform, and trivia that does nothing but take time away from the inspiration that I really need. I still admire Arianna Huffington for her political courage and good works, but I must be honest about the site. I do not leave the Huffington Post feeling better about myself and my world.

Sometimes mere information is helpful – such as knowing if the library is open on Sunday, or mapping out the location of a coffee shop that you’ve wanted to try. Other times it is not helpful, or even worse – when you turn on your local news to learn about the weather, you hear about a murder case that darkens the rest of your day.

The answer may be to ask yourself, before you open a web link:

Is this something I really need to know?

Will I be more inspired, more energized, more hopeful after reading this?

Is this the best use of my precious time?

Don’t get tangled in the briar patch of information – reach for the sweet, healthy fruit of inspiration.

1 comment:

  1. THat is very true. We need to be very discriminating when it comes to info these days. THere is the bad news, the sad news, the inspirational news, the gossip, etc. But regardless of whether it is good or bad, the question should always be, do I really want to know and will I be a better person for it. I went on a sebaticle from all things tech last month, except for working on my pc from 8 to 5. It was a wonderful experience on which I still need to do a post.