Why I Unsubscribed From The Wall Street Journal
I’ve subscribed to The Wall Street Journal’s ‘10-point’ for the past year. It’s a daily email from their Editor-in-Chief Gerard Baker outlining the top 4 news stories of the day.
The daily emails informed me on terrorist attacks in Europe, European Bank policy and the presidential campaign.
I read this news every morning as part of my daily routine in order to stay informed.
I unsubscribed yesterday. It was a waste of focus.
Too Much Information
You’re behind if you stop reading the daily news for 1 day. It takes commitment to keep up with what everyone else already knows.
You can spend a lifetime reading the daily news.
Like a computer with a limited amount of memory, you have a very limited amount of focus. Should you allocate it to the mainstream one-size-fits-all news?
Information is only valuable if it is actionable. It’s beneficial only if it allows you to do something useful or avoid doing something stupid.
I want to download information that helps me grow my business, improve my relationship with my family, have more fun, put challenges in perspective, or grow in some way.
Personally, I enjoy reading biographies about people I’d like to emulate, taking online courses to improve an important skill, or listening to mentors or appropriate podcasts that give me actionable information I can use that very day.
If information isn’t actionable, call it what it is: entertainment. If you haven’t taken action on anything you’ve read in the news for the past year, schedule news-reading time as you would any other purely recreational activity.
A 21st Century Skill
You have access to more information than you could read in 2,000 lifetimes.
Once you learn how to read, discerning what to read is the most relevant skill.
Even with perfect literacy it’s possible to spend a lifetime downloading the wrong information.
For me and the people I work with, only an infinitesimal sliver of the world’s information is at all relevant. My job is to stay focused on this small sliver.
Reading about Syria or terrorist attacks in Germany is as relevant as watching The Matrix: Reloaded.
I wanted to give the WSJ a chance, so I skimmed through the past year of headlines looking for an article that was more than entertainment.
There was 1 quote from a Macy’s executive who didn’t know why sales were down, even though consumer income was higher than average. I had saved this quote because maybe it was relevant to my work in e-commerce.
That didn’t justify a year of diligent study, so I unsubscribed.