The incredible power of not seeing what you don’t like anymore

Sometimes as I tidy the house or while looking for something else, I find something the kids have made.  These days it is mainly my ever creative daughter. It is often touching. So I might stand there with a little “i love u dad” note in my hand crying.  It isn’t the joy of parenthood I think, it is the surprise reminder of how strong emotions run within us, a pent up bottle of fizzy information we keep forgetting.

Like many other NBA fans, this year I stopped watching.  Somewhere between the Warriors’ dominance and LeBron not making the play offs I lost motivation to spend any more of my precious time following the NBA.  Bear in mind that this is the business I have help up as a shining example to follow. The best storytellers in the world, what marketers should emulate, God’s gift to all of us.  I have written articles, analysis and done podcasts telling everyone to follow the NBA and analyse its every move. I honestly believe it is not only the best sport to follow but also the best organization and media savvy institution to analyze and learn from.

But I have had enough.  I need to move on. So I want to cut out the NBA in order to learn something else.  If I am watching live matches when I wake up at 4am (Greek time), I am not reading a new book.  And this is when I realised how much power these new tools give me.

I just tuned the NBA out of my life.

First of all I went to google settings and removed it from my interests.  That pretty much solved a lot of the ways scores popped up on my phone. Same with news, I just removed the topic from the (excellent) Google News app.  “Not interested”. It didn’t even feel like a major ceremony, two taps and it was gone. YouTube needed a little more help and guidance. I had to tell it I wasn’t interested in 7-8 videos and then click to remove the channels.  Sorted.

For someone deeply immersed in everything NBA for the past 2 years it was surprisingly easy.  I feel like one of those people who quit smoking and then say “oh, it was just a decision”. Only it is even easier.  The NBA simply doesn’t exist around me anymore. Unless I walk into a sports bar and it is playing on the TVs, or some friend posts about it, I simply don’t see it anywhere.  The equivalent for my savana dwelling ancestors would be to tap twice on a baobab tree and make all baobab trees instantly disappear from their line of sight.

We read enough complaints about our digital world, how we are inundated with information, much of it useless or confusing.  Here is my – very real – objection. Never in the history of homo sapiens have we been able to control our informational environment as much as now.  What many consider a disadvantage , the fact that I check my phone a million times a day, the fact that Google owns me, all this is simply fantastic when you are ever so slightly disciplined enough to tell it what you want to see around you.

It is also very exciting.  Can’t wait to learn something new.  And as my kids grow up and stop surprising me with notes around the house, I am pretty sure the rest of this vibrant digital planet will do something similar for me.

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