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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 Edit(5/30/2017): original linked video no longer available
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.
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