Is Wolf Blitzer Hurting America?

Dan Miller —  February 2, 2012 — 37 Comments
This is a guest post by Darren Hardy, author of “The Compound Effect—Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success.”  Darren is an accomplished entrepreneurpublisher and editorial director of SUCCESS magazine. He’s a peak performance expert and popular keynote speaker.  I regularly tell attendees at our live events that if you had to choose one resource for your success, I would tell you to get SUCCESS magazine.  I asked Darren if I could run this entire post – I think it’ s a message we need to hear.  If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.


During the media tour launching The Compound Effect, CNN asked me to submit an article for their website. So, what do I have to say to CNN? Below is the article I submitted to my PR team. Even after they begged me to neuter it, to refocus it on 24/7 news (not just CNN and not just the Wolf man), CNN still didn’t have the backbone to publish the critical commentary. So I publish it here.

(CNN-) Disaster. Crisis. Failure. Scandal. Tragic. Devastation. Danger. Emergency. Threat. Crash… just a few words spoken by Wolf Blitzer in “The Situation Room” within only a five-minute span. If you listen to The Wolf, the world is coming to an end… every five minutes. And we wonder why people feel hopeless (giving up the belief that a job even exists), fearful (pessimistic about the future) and lack confidence (market and otherwise) when you have The Wolf & Friends spreading the gospel of fear, worry, danger and anxiety in our family rooms, offices, cars and airports 24/7.

The damage these constant and repeated messages have on our consciousness and creative potential is “devastating.” (see Media Madness video)

What controls your attention controls your life. 

Where your attention goes, energy flows and so goes your life. When I interviewed racecar-driving legend Mario Andretti, I asked him for the No. 1 success tip to racecar driving. His answer, “Don’t look at the wall.” He explained, “Your car goes where your eyes go.” If you are a tightrope walker, what’s the one thing you never do? Right, look down. Why? Your body will follow your eyes. Your body (your life) also follows your eyes (your attention). If you point your eyes at Constant Negative News (there’s an acronym for that), your life will also go in that direction.

Your mind is like an empty glass. It will hold anything you put into it. You put in sensational news, salacious headlines and talk show rants and you are pouring dirty water into your glass. If you’ve got dark, dismal, worrisome water in your glass, everything you create will be filtered through that muddy mess, because that’s what you’ll be thinking about. Garbage in, garbage out.

You can flush your dirty glass with clean, clear, pure water. What is clear water? Positive, inspirational and supportive input and ideas. Stories of aspiration, people who, despite challenges, are overcoming obstacles and achieving great things. Strategies of success, prosperity, health, love and joy. Ideas to create more abundance, to grow, expand and become more. But it’s a constant battle as we are surrounded by those who want to spew dirty water into our glass constantly.

Why does The Wolf do it?

The fight for your attention has never been bloodier. Once upon a time there were only a few TV channels, a few radio stations (that came in), a few major newspapers and a handful of magazines. Now there are thousands of each, plus blogs, RSS feeds, text alerts, iPad apps, satellite radio, Pandora, tweets, Facebook posts and LinkedIn notifications, ad nauseam. So to compete in this bare-knuckled blood sport The Wolf has to shock you into paying attention to him (and his advertisers) and nothing gets your attention like good old-fashioned fear.

Your mind is not designed to make you happy. Did you know that? Happiness is not its job. Its main and sole concern is survival, to keep you alive, thus it is on constant watch looking out for any danger or impending threat. The Wolf knows this. The Wolf knows your mind better than you. He can’t get your attention (or the needed Nielsen audience measurement metrics) with happy feel-good stories and reports. Positive potential, abundance and optimism don’t grab your mind by the shirt collar like danger, disaster and tragedy does.

The media is crippling our creative potential.

You get in life what you create. Expectation drives the creative process. What do you expect? You expect what you are thinking about. Your thought process, the conversation in your head, is the foundation of the results you create in life. What are you thinking about? What is influencing and directing your thoughts? The answer: whatever you’re allowing yourself to hear and see. The input you are feeding your mind is what it is processing and thinking about.

If you listen to The Wolf you will be constantly reminded of, and thinking about, the tragic unemployment rate, the volatile and uncertain stock market, the gloomy state of the economy, scandals on Wall Street, gossip and shenanigans in Washington… after the relentless coverage of the latest tsunami, hurricane, car bombing, heinous murder and other calamities. Feed your mind repeated meals of that junk food and then wonder why you don’t feel very motivated to find a job or start a new business.

You can change the world—your world.

You can rid your world of all wars, murders, crimes, scandals, gossip, corruption and international disasters. You have that much power… in the palm of your hand.

How? Hit the OFF button. Turn off your TV. Turn off your radio. Cancel your newspaper subscription.

I learned an important life philosophy long ago. Control what’s controllable. What you can’t control is the national economy. What you can control is your economy. What you can’t control is what Washington does about healthcare. What you can control is the care of your own health. What you can’t control is how the president is running the country. What you can control is how you are running your business, household and life. What you can’t control is the war in Afghanistan. What you can control is the peace and harmony in your own home. Stop paying attention to what you can’t control, or it will control you and your life.

It’s time to take back control of your mind so you can take back your life. Stop letting other people influence your attitude, your hope for the future and your potential to do something great. Focus your mind and attention on what is right with the world and what’s possible for you. At the same time The Wolf is pointing out the 12 ugly, heinous, murderous and disastrous things that happened in the world today, millions of wonderful, miraculous and beautiful things happened as well. Step out of the perverted view of the world from “The Situation Room” and into the world of abundance, splendor and the unlimited positive potential that surrounds you every day. Focus your attention on ideas, information and knowledge that can help you grow, prosper, create and contribute to making a positive difference in your world… and you might just do something to change the world.

  • Archie

    “What controls your attention, controls your life.” I TOTALLY AGREE with Darren! TOTALLY!!! Thanks for posting this, Dan. I WILL be sharing this. 

    • Anonymous

      Archie – thanks for your note.  Yep so many things can divert us from out path toward success.

  • Deacon Bradley

    Darren, THANK YOU for not holding back! This is such a powerful message and one I learned from you personally years ago. Since then I’ve cut out all news (especially politics) and have never been happier. I keep a close watch on what goes into my mind and it’s transformed my entire life.

    Was it easy? No, not at first. But then I got hooked on the results and how I felt. Nowadays when the local news inadvertently comes on our TV we dive for the remote to crush it!

    • Anonymous

      Deacon – funny how we adjust to either positives or negatives in our lives as being normal after a short time of either one.

  • Anonymous

    This is a message everyone needs to hear several times. We poison ourselves with negative talk, forgetting that optimism is the real key to setting your own mind up for success.

    It’s like playing a prevent defense in football. You are afraid to lose, so you play soft defense and let the other team still beat you. The teams that play to win and keep attacking succeed more often.

  • Andy Traub


    • Anonymous

      Andy – yep, a message we’re sharing from the rooftops.  

  • Adam Rico

    My wife and I decided to cancel our cable subscription almost 3 years ago in order to cut back on expenses. We watch zero news now. Our sense of well being has increased, we have more time, and we have both increased our reading. We’re so glad we turned off the pipeline of toxic culture that was flowing into our living room.

    • Anonymous

      Adam – funny how even frugality can drive us to better options.

  • kimanzi constable

    How much of our life is wasted not only on TV but other distractions. When I talk to people they always tell me they don’t have time to work on their dreams. The first question I ask is how much TV do you watch? We have time, we just don’t use it properly! Great post.

    • Anonymous

      Isn’t that the truth.  We all have 168 hours a week and if we really look at those closely most people will find a whole lot of time wasted – on “TV and other distractions.”

      • kimanzi constable

        This year I’m being “intentional” about how I’m using my time

  • Michael Good

    I’ve been made aware of this to a new degree as I just launched full time into my business. It’s a contant battle and something I face everyday. Thanks for sharing.

  • Patty Gale

    I read this the other day.  Great article by Darren Hardy.  We will be 3 years cable-free in March (with kids in the house!) and don’t miss it at all.

    • Anonymous

      Patty – isn’t it interesting how we can survive without something that some people is an essential?

      • Patty Gale

        Yes, it definitely is, Dan!

  • Sutton Parks

    Absolutely.  One of the advantages I had when I was at my lowest was I didn’t have a television (heck, or a electrical outlet for that matter).  None.  Because of this I started going to social functions, dinners and just hanging out at coffee shops with other people.  As I’ve gained more material possessions I have had to learn to limit it severely.  Now, my 22 inch Vizio usually plays music from Pandora as I read positive books 2 hours a day (most days).  Dan Miller says nothing can change the direction of your life like reading.  I would add turning off the tv will make an incredible difference as well.  

    • Anonymous

      Sutton – funny how a little “success” brings us negative as well as positive options.  It seems the first thing people get when they get electricity is TV.  People who don’t have cars or enough to eat think they have to have TV.

  • Mark S. R. Peterson

    Thanks, Darren, for this great post.  I’ve just discovered you and Success magazine through Dan Miller’s podcasts.
    I have “turned off” the news for the past 9 months – and it is awesome!  I strongly urge everyone to do it.  I feel so much better, and as I get my blogs and ebooks more into shape, I find I have both the time and positive energy to accomplish this.
    Do you have any podcasts on the Success magazine or your website?

  • Chadrick

    Very insightful article and a message that needs to be repeated as often as the “Customers who switch to __________ can lower your auto insurance by ___%” ads! 

    Each time I read an article regarding this topic I’m reminded of a question Les Brown presents.

    “How many hours a day do you let television watch you?”     

    • Anonymous

      Chadrick – that’s a hilarious question from Les Brown – I like my privacy and the choices that come with that.

  • Vickie Smith

    I can hardly wait until football is OVER for the year and we’re TV free again!

  • Cam

    I am 4+ years “TV Free”. I stopped watching TV during the 2007-2008 writers strike because I saw the opportunity to break the habit when only reruns were on.

    During this block of time, I have maybe had the TV on for TV a total of 2 hours or so. Also, during this block of time, I have watched less than 20 hours of TV at others homes.

    It might surprise some of you, but I don’t even know who’s playing the Superbowl this year. The big game doesn’t really have a big effect on my life, so I don’t artificially make it big deal.

    Thanks for the great article, and keep up the excellent work! (Both Darren and Dan!)

    • Anonymous

      Cam – you mean you aren’t going to watch grown men knock each other down?  Isn’t that anti-American?  

      • Cam

        Now that you mention it, I might take a look at the abbreviated 2 minute highlight real. It’s crazy when you realize that 3-4 hours of content can be effectively abbreviated into two short minutes. :)

        Talk about quantity with little quality. ;)

  • Anonymous

    This is an incredible article.  And one I will share with many others.  I am appalled at how the TV caters to the daytime watchers who want to sit at home and learn how to sue his/her neighbor, doctor, retail store, etc.  The commercials from lawyers and drug companies who want to convince you you are chronically in need of more drugs are nauseating and obviously prey on the down and out.  We unplugged the TV many years ago before it was more fashionable and I have never regretted it.  TV used to have some entertainment value. Now it is mostly TRASH, fear producing and time wasting.  Because I didn’t spend hours in front of the TV this past year I read 50 books, both fiction and non-fiction, wrote another children’s book, created new art projects that I displayed in several art shows, led conferences, mentored ex-felons, lead worship services at the prison, loved on my many grandchildren and lost 30 lb helped by taking long walks enjoying the countryside.  Amazing how many hours one has to do worthwhile things in the day if the TV isn’t on.  

    • Anonymous

      Joanne – remember how the neighborhood kids used to be drawn to our house to spend time with our family?  We weren’t sitting looking in the same direction at some mind-numbing TV show but instead were interacting with each other with games and projects. Even then the neighborhood kids thought we were weird — and more fun.  Funny how something so simple as not watching TV could be seen as innovative.  Glad we’re together in this continuing weirdness!  

  • Anonymous

    Amen to this powerful article!!! Such truth

    • Anonymous

      Rob – I know you’re on this counter-culture path as well.  

      • Anonymous

        Most definitely ;)

  • Lisa Wilder

    Love it, Darren. And I’m not the least bit surprised that CNN declined to publish it. Fear-mongering is their bread and butter. 

    I gave up watching the news a long time ago and my life and peace of mind are so much the better for it. 

  • Jason Garey

    Hi Dan. 

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I’ve already reposted on FB, asking my friends to please read it and take it to heart. I was just talking to my longtime friend, who feasts on garbage the media is serving up, allowing it tear him down and even shake his faith. I think it’s become epidemic and those who are not deeply rooted, will be carried away. A word from my sister-in-law the other day for 2012 was “contend”. This, I believe, is a time when we must stand up, unite and fight for the soul of our nation. I’m proud to be part of the 48days and FAA communities, who are growing like crazy because we have been shakened and awakened. I believe God is getting ready to do some of His best work. Blessings to you!

  • Bill

    Ever since reading and listening to “The Compound Effect” I have toyed with the idea of getting rid of my bedroom TV.  My desk is in the bedroom.  I knew TV was burning up productive time.  Well about a month ago I did remove it and now I have more time to focus on what is important to me without getting distracted. 

  • Linda Trousdale

    My son is 9 years old and has only watched a TV show about 3 times in his life. He does watch DVD’s for about an hour per day, but I choose them, thus the message he is receiving has a positive impact. By not watching TV is not influenced by the advertisements, which is especially great because he doesn’t ask for any of the non healthy foods or toys out there. Plus, he spends the majority of his free time outside rather than sitting on a couch.

  • DJ Eshelman

    Yes, Yes, a thousand times YES!

  • Brent Pittman

    Almost 5 years of marriage and 0 days with cable. We just got rid of our TV and only use our computer to stream a few select shows online. Creating good content is much more fun than consuming bad content. 

  • Rod Rogers

    Just got around to reading this. Darren is right on target. Turned off the TV in my home in 1992 – raised two exceptional children without it; built a successful business believing anything is possible. I send money to Christian charities and support political candidates I believe in, BUT, I refuse to ‘fear’ the future!