“T.I.N.O.” is an acronym which stands for Time consuming, Irrelevant to my goals, Negative and energy draining, and Outside of my control and influence. Yes, it’s a mouthful. The basic idea is to apply the T.I.N.O. filter to everything that seeks to take our limited time and energy. Today, T.I.N.O. tackles the News.
When using the T.I.N.O. Filter, the question is this: Does [fill in the blank] meet at least 3 of the 4 T.I.N.O. criteria? If yes, then it’s best to disregard and disengage as it’s almost a guarantee that your involvement with [fill in the blank] will move you away from your life goals. The fewer the T.I.N.O. criteria the better. The T.I.N.O. filter is one of the important Foundations for embracing Alpha.
The News Meets the T.I.N.O. Filter
Let’s try applying the T.I.N.O. filter to something that most of us come across daily: the News. We tell ourselves we need to be informed so we watch the News. We’re worried we won’t have conversation material so we watch the News. We don’t have enough drama in our own lives so we seek to experience other people’s drama too. Hey, we’re bored so why not watch the News. The third star closest to the sun has more syllables than my first name so we watch the News. Any reason can be rationalization to watch the News.
Give Them Respect
You have to give them credit. Love them or hate them, the news companies are exceptional at what they do. Their business model is phenomenal. Step 1: Publicize or create drama. Step 2: Attract millions of viewers to the drama. Step 3: Collect advertising revenue along the way. Wash, rinse, and repeat. It’s entertaining, creates a strong emotional response, and grabs at our heart strings. But, do we have to get sucked in and watch such large quantities of it? Do we have to spend our limited time and energy absorbing whatever is presented to us? Can we find a more effective way to interact with the News and use it more as a tool? The News is like candy or alcoholic beverages: a certain amount won’t hurt but too much is no good.
T.I.N.O. Takes On The News
Is the News…Time consuming?
Yes, I could be spending my limited time and energy in much more effective ways improving and creating value for myself and others. An exception is a specific, directed search for useful information which helps us make more effective decisions. For example, I’m looking to invest in XYZ company. What news stories are related to this company that may or may not affect its future value or my willingness to invest? A specific, directed search. Not wandering without direction.
Is the News…Irrelevant to my goals?
Almost always. I feel mentally and emotionally drained after watching the News for extended periods of time. I also get a feeling of wasted energy as it sinks in that what I just viewed most likely does not affect me or my personal life. The vast majority of the News does not fit within my goals to improve, create value, or raise my life to the next level.
Is the News…Negative?
What fraction of the News is actually positive? The News does not exist to make us happy and enjoy our lives. More often than not, the News ends up scaring us, stressing us out, and pushing us to spend money on something. We have to fight the urge to get sucked into pointless drama that does nothing but provide us with hollow conversation material.
Is the News…Outside of my influence?
Most definitely. Hardly anything I see in the News is actionable from my standpoint. I can sit and feel bad and sad for everything and everyone in the world or I can start kicking butt in my own life and create lots of value for myself and those I care about. I ch0ose to be proactively and selectively ignorant of the News by minimizing my exposure or removing it completely. If there is something incredibly earth shattering that I need to know about then people will be talking about it.
Time to Reflect
So T.I.N.O. tackled the News. What message is T.I.N.O. sending me about the News? Answer: avoid it unless there is a specific, directed search for information which helps me improve, achieve, or create value. I’ve come to the conclusion that most News (and mainstream media) will likely waste my time, be unrelated to my personal goals, be destructive and damaging, and be completely outside of my sphere of influence.
Practice Makes Improvement
Practice makes improvement and actively applying the T.I.N.O. filter is crucial if I want to make progress towards my goals. I’m amazed at how much time I used to spend wandering through the News and mainstream media thinking it was important to keep myself in the know about what was going on. T.I.N.O. sure makes it clear that I could be doing much more with my energy and resources. What little news I do read is only through the internet. With the internet, I control where I spend my time and attention. There’s even use a free online program called Accelareader to quickly absorb the material and improve my reading speed at the same time.
I didn’t write this article to depress everyone. Quite the opposite actually. I see it as a great opportunity to replace time watching the News and mainstream media with something more exciting, uplifting, and effective. There is so much to learn and experience in this life and the T.I.N.O. filter is a great tool to keep us focused on what really matters. Try it sometime. The results may surprise you.
In Motion to Improve, Achieve, and Create Value
P.S. If you want to see the ongoing results of avoiding the News then read Reflecting On The No News Diet.