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 min read
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Braden Mosley

Sick of our outrage-driven media machine? Here's my antidote (opinion)

The average American sees hundreds of dopamine-spiking, divisive news stories every day.

To increase engagement (and profit), media companies carefully craft stories to strike a chord deep inside that makes you want to talk about it, share it, and even stay awake at night thinking about it.

Unfortunately, outrage drives the most engagement.

A Yale study of 12.7 million tweets showed that “Amplification of moral outrage is a clear consequence of social media’s business model, which optimizes for user engagement”

Here are 4 of the top news articles today:

  • Steve Harvey Apologizes for ‘Unfunny Comedian’ Tweet, Says He’s ‘So Pissed Off’ After Staffer Sent It Out
  • Trump and his allies learned the art of the mug shot, one scowl, and flag pin at a time
  • Casey Desantis’ eyebrows have sparked an important national debate

Protect your attention

We only have so much mental bandwidth. The more outrageous nonsense stories you cram into your brain, the less room you have for the things that matter.

If you were to list out your priorities, I bet things like Faith, family, fitness, friends… even fishing… would be at the top, and infuriating news stories you have no control over would be at the bottom.

The antidote: The ladder of concern

"He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church?"
Timothy 3:4-5

Lately, I’ve tried to limit my scope of concern based on what’s under my control.

To help visualize this concept, I created the ladder of concern

As I grow as a person, I will gain influence among wider circles of people. As that happens, I graduate up the ladder, and the next rung earns my attention.

God encourages to start by making sure our household is in order.

You can use your list of priorities to manage your household.

  • How is your family’s faith?
  • How is your family’s fitness?
  • Do you talk with each other?
  • Are there problems you need to address?
  • Are there grudges you need to break?

Then, we can work towards serving in the church, and building friendships.

After that, we can impact our community, state, or even country.

The point is, aside from voting once every 2 years, concerning yourself with Elon Musk not paying enough taxes won’t help your family, church, or community.

Don’t get me wrong, I am an extremely curious person. I love learning about innovative things like self-driving vehicles and the discovery of new solar systems.

And I’ve realized random knowledge can help you have more engaging conversations.

I’m not a monk, and don’t intend to make you one either. Always maintain your curiosity.

However, we live in an attention economy. The companies that steal your attention will sell it for profit.

My only hope is that you spend your attention wisely. It’s the most valuable resource you have.

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