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You Don’t Have To Stay On Top Of Everything

If you wish to improve, be content to appear clueless or stupid in extraneous matters—don’t wish to seem knowledgeable. And if some regard you as important, distrust yourself.
—Epictetus, Enchiridion, 13a

One of the most powerful things you can do as a human being in our hyperconnected, 24/7 media world is say: “I don’t know.” Or more provocatively: “I don’t care.” Most of society seems to have taken it as a commandment that one must know about every single current event, watch every episode of every critically acclaimed television series, follow the news religiously, and present themselves to others as an informed and worldly individual.

But where is the evidence that this is actually necessary? Is the obligation enforced by the police? Or is it that you’re just afraid of seeming silly at a dinner party? Yes, you owe it to your country and your family to know generally about events that may directly affect them, but that’s about all.

How much more time, energy, and pure brainpower would you have available if you drastically cut your media consumption? How much more rested and present would you feel if you were no longer excited and outraged by every scandal, breaking story, and potential crisis (many of which never come to pass anyway)?

* Source: The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman

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