Selective Ignorance

21/11/2013 |
selective ignorance
image by Lachlan Hardy

‘Selective Ignorance’ is a term Tim Ferriss uses in his book, The 4-Hour Work Week.

He describes the idea of avoiding ever buying newspapers or consuming unnecessary media. He talks about how he ‘shortcuts’ this by asking his trusted friends their opinions on political issues so that he can make a good decision about who to vote for without the need for a lot of time wasted engaging in the issues. He also deliberately avoids gadgets or internet sites that he knows can be distractions.

I personally love political news coverage and find the ‘games’ that politicians engage in pretty fascinating. I would therefore hate to be taking my voting preferences from friends and miss all that entertainment along the way (as good a judge as most of my friends are!)

Likewise, many of us love nothing more than relaxing with the Sunday papers and a cup of tea. Perhaps for you, the idea of ditching the TV is quite an extreme form of selective ignorance but maybe there are some others – as extreme or perhaps less extreme – that you can more easily do. This is all about compromise – giving up small luxuries or small wins, knowing that from less comes more.

An easy one for me was that I used to spend an hour or so every week trying to keep abreast of trade press, industry news and the like. After a while I realised that the important stories were generally forwarded to me anyway, so I cancelled my subscriptions and gave myself one less distraction each week. There will be many more examples that you can begin to explore here, too.

Are you an information junkie? How long do you spend each day reading social media, watching TV or absorbing articles? Could you cut back?

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