With disgust over the current political environment in the U.S., I decided to experiment with the idea of quitting politics. My thesis states that by not being a consumer of politics and the main stream media (MSM), that my life would be more fulfilled, and I would be happier. Not only did my thesis prove indisputably true, but the free time I had to engage in other activities like volunteering my time for charities, further elevated my social awareness and intrinsic happiness. So here I am, begging America to give up politics and the MSM for a month; the reward and freedom gained is exceptionally satisfying.
When I first gave up politics and the MSM I realized that news was addicting and reaching for the nearest electronic device was second nature. I caught myself with my iPhone in hand subconsciously engaging in the bad habit of searching for news updates. No wonder American politics are filled with despicable truths and lower our standards for expectations of politicians; trash sells and the old computer expression garbage in garbage out was a wake-up call for my sanity and appreciation for life. News, like junk food, drinking, and any other negative addiction needs to be consumed in moderation and yet the real time news reels that run our lives are in our faces like giant billboards on the freeway. Not only does my iPhone ping when apple thinks a news story is important for me to read, but my LinkedIn is filled with negative, fictional news blasts, so too was my Instagram and my driving around town via bumper stickers and protesters with signs standing on corners. We talk about how important it is as a person to unplug from the world and I am here to tell you that unplugging from politics was one of the best things I have ever done.
I no longer cared about all the negativity in the world or in the U.S. which means that I was no longer addicted to the bias of news or the attempt of the major networks to sow social discord for the sake of ratings and appealing to their constituents. The transformation I experienced when giving up politics was real and the free time I had to engage in positive activities was shocking to me. Imagine that the average person reads news for at least one hour a day; in a week that is 7 hours or 28 hours in a month. Now imagine that you take 1/7 of that time to volunteer to help someone, some charity, or some organization in need. Imagine that you spent that time with your family, playing catch with your kid, or taking the family out to dinner. It is easy to see how dumping the news cycle for positive action can have a drastic affect not just on your sense of happiness, but your families, your friends, your community, and most importantly, people in need.
I implore everyone reading this to pass on my message and partake in this social experiment to judge for yourself what is most important. Seeking positive experiences as opposed to hateful and negative consumption of news is a powerful journey and one that will leave you a better person. When friends would bring up politics I would simply say with confidence that I am not interested in politics and would like to talk about something positive instead. Sometimes the reaction was shock but most of the time the reaction was curious about my decision and respectful that I choose to be in a place of giving, acceptance, and positivity instead of fueling the flames of social discord. As a scholar in international relations and one month away from submitting my final master’s thesis, this experiment had bad timing, but it proved vital to my happiness as a person and my emotional intelligence. By utilizing empathy in my life, I became happier, more forgiving, and accepting of others. We all have a choice, we can fuel anger and be a part of the problem or we can rise above it and seek peace within ourselves so that we may give to others. There is nothing more rewarding than realizing that you have made a life transformation that is powerful; people not only see this but they want to be a part of it.