Shut Out the Negative

“How satisfying it is to dismiss and block out any upsetting or foreign impression, and immediately to have peace in all things.”


The wisdom in today’s quote is simple: remove upsetting or negative inputs from your life, and watch as you magically and instantly feel better about everything — including yourself, other people, and the world.

It’s not hard to understand, is it? And it’s hard to argue with the results. I especially like the concept of “cultivated ignorance” that the author of The Daily Stoic brings up. I’ve also heard it called “selective ignorance” by Tim Ferriss. The concept is the same — choosing not to put negative or unhelpful inputs into your mind.

I remember when I was a kid, my mother would just simply refuse to watch news stories that upset her, or she would leave the room if there was a movie that was too violent on the TV. I remember thinking “Yeah but this is real life Mom! You can’t just ignore real life!” That was a pretty common line of thought back then, and I still encounter it today — that by rejecting certain inputs, you are putting your head in the sand and hiding from reality.

Nothing is further from the truth, of course. You can be aware of many sad facts and still choose not to dwell on them, or obsess about them. If you know something upsets you, why expose yourself to it? Why fill your heart and mind with frustration over things you can’t control? Why put a down payment on misery?

The wiser choice is so obvious that it’s easily missed — shut out the negative. Fill your thoughts with something else instead. Focus on things that make you happy, and tasks that are productive and good. Let the rest go, and feel the peace roll in.

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