Leo Babauta at Zen Habits recently had a post titled “The Lies Your Mind Tells You to Prevent Life Changes.”
The mind is a wonderful thing. It’s also a complete liar that constantly tries to convince us not to take actions we know are good for us, and stops many great changes in our lives.
Leo has a way with words.
He then went on to list 14 ways we talk ourselves out of doing good things. Which got me to thinking of the lies we tell ourselves in the newsroom. Particularly those small town newsrooms where so many of us work.
Here are the three main lies I came up with:
1. I don’t have to change
This is a big one I see at the community newspapers in my region. The thinking goes like this: “The newspaper has always been here and always will be here. I’ve been writing stories the same way for 20 years and if I change now the readers will be unhappy.”
What a complete load of caca. You can’t look at the plummeting ad revenue, the job cuts or the newspapers that have shut down and really believe that the print industry is healthy.
You do have to change, but the good news is that you can use the change to make your life better. You can simplify your process and reduce your word count, still get done what needs to be done and have less stress in the end.
2. I Can’t Change
This one I really do not understand coming from a journalist. Our job is to learn things and learn them well enough that we can explain them to somebody else. And you are telling me you can’t learn something new?
Come on. We turned off the wax machine and turned on the paginator, didn’t we? We made the darkroom into a storage closet and figured out how to make Photoshop work, didn’t we? We stopped keeping physical string books and built online portfolios, didn’t we.
So why stop now? There is a world of new tools being refined every day that can help you reach more readers. If you use them correctly, you might even make your job a little easier. Here are some tips for that.
If you are old and you are still working, then you are a survivor. Don’t stop.
If you are young, don’t ever give up on improving your craft.
3. I Am Not In That Bad of Shape
Yes you are.
Well, maybe you aren’t, but I am playing the percentages. Nine out of every 10 reporters I have seen eats badly, rarely exercises and has horrible sleep habits.
And that goes for you, too, J-school students. This one cuts across the age gap.
Whether you are sitting at a desk all day drinking coffee or energy drinks or diet sodas, it’s all the same. The lifestyle is killing you and you need to do something about it.
So here is my ultra-secret recipe for getting healthier: Eat better, exercise more, sleep longer.
That’s it … it isn’t rocket science.
But it starts by telling the truth to yourself.