Garbage In, Garbage Out

I think I’ve discovered a downside to being a news junkie.

This will sound old-fashioned, but I’ve always felt it my civic duty to stay informed about the world, uber informed, in fact. If you’ve read this blog, you know I read more than 100 books annually, consume multiple print newspapers daily (three since 10th grade), and subscribe to more than 40 magazines a month. The influx to our home drives my wife nuts!

This has no doubt benefited my knowledge base, career, and general cocktail-party conversation. But what’s been the downside?

Significant, I think. Massive, I fear.

Even though I’m often called the Energizer Bunny due to my prodigious energy, I struggle with staying positive. So much negativity comes our way: politics, war, human suffering, violations of trust, corrupt leaders in business, government, education, religion, etc. It’s overwhelming.

I don’t believe I’ve truly calculated the collective negative impact of following the Syrian Refugee Crisis. Destruction of Iraq. Devastating hurricanes. The Pelosi/Trump vitriol. Oxycontin. Vaping. Catholic clergy abuses. The list is endless.

My brother Mike, who is immensely smart and wise (there’s a difference, you know), said something to me long ago that really stuck with me. He was referencing the types of movies his family watches and said, “Garbage in, garbage out.”

I’m going to consciously let less garbage in. I suspect that means less “news” and generally less information coming my way. Maybe I need to scale down my civic-mindedness and instead deliberately seek out more positivity and consciously be more grateful.

Sounds like a plan. Wish me success—the mail carrier just delivered today’s stack of magazines.

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About the Author

Scott Miller

Scott Miller is a 23-year associate of FranklinCovey and serves as the executive vice president of thought leadership. Scott hosts multiple podcasts including FranklinCovey’s On Leadership and Great Life, Great Career. Additionally, Scott is the author of the multi-week Amazon #1 New Release: Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow. Scott authors a weekly leadership column for and is a frequent contributor for Thrive Global. Previously Scott worked for the Disney Development Company, having grown up in Central Florida, and currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and three sons.

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