The Trash Talking Epidemic

“Great minds talk about ideas, average minds talk about events, and small minds talk about people.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

I love the Eleanor Roosevelt quote above. It really captures the feeling I had the other day in the checkout line at the supermarket when I was surrounded by numerous celebrity magazines. I’m sick of such rags. I don’t care who is in rehab. I don’t care who is out of rehab. I don’t care who is skinny. And I really don’t care who is fat.

I see the garbage served up by these celebrity rags and shows as part of greater trend in the media towards catering to the lowest common denominator. It seems the vast majority of people don’t want to think. Sure there are times when we want to switch off and just be entertained, but there are a lot of empty vessels walking around out there whose greatest concern in the world is whether or not Paris Hilton is in jail.

Whilst I would love to say I spend all day talking about ideas, the truth is that my conversations mainly fall into the “events” category. However, I spend quite a bit of time thinking about ideas which write about here or the Steve Pavlina forums.

To be honest, I’m not sure why I don’t spend more time talking about ideas. Maybe it is because of habit? Maybe it is the people I am around? Anyway it is something I will try to work on. I’m believe I’m on the right track though. Why? Well the first step toward having conversations about interesting ideas must surely be to think about interesting ideas.

Just as overdosing on junk food leads to poor health, overdosing on trash rags and shows leads to poor ideas. People who spend their time obsessed with the lives of celebrities just have garbage floating around their heads all day. Is it surprising then that they want to talk about Britney’s latest breakdown? And if it is not the lives of celebrities these people want to discuss, it is likely to be their neighbors, work colleagues or ex-high school classmates.

The point of this article is simple: don’t be one of these people who are obsessed with the lives of celebrities, neighbors, work colleagues and ex-high school classmates. If you are going to think about someone’s life, what better life to think about then your own? None of us are perfect, so why obsess over other’s imperfections? And if you truly want to have a great mind, spend time thinking and talking about interesting ideas.

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9 thoughts on “The Trash Talking Epidemic”

  1. I very much agree with what you say. I often want to get a huge rubber stamp with “I don’t care” and stamp the cover of all the magazines which have nothing to do with real life!

  2. Stamping them with an “I don’t care” is more attention (and effort) than they’re worth. Even acknowledging them is probably more attention than they’re worth… but if you care enough to stamp something on them, then “I don’t care” isn’t even accurate. You just care in a negative way. And positive or negative, you’re still investing energy into them, and thus giving them more importance in your life. Just learn to become magazine-blind like you can be ad-blind online.

  3. Thanks for this. My daughter (she’s 8) was introduced to the idea of trash talking on the basketball court. An opponent employed it as a strategy to undermine my daughter’s team. It’s purpose was so obvious in a sports setting that seeing how others apply it to win for themselves some sort of temporary good family in interpersonal settings became clear to my daughter. It’s an awful waste of time. When she recognizes it, she steers clear of it.

    She is my most excellent teacher. Thanks for this reminder!

  4. Thanks for bringing up such a great topic! While I’m sure we’re all guilty of trash talking from time to time, some people live their entire lives that way. It can be hard to redirect such conversations.

    Also another side effect of trash talking – jumping to conclusions. Just as the media has done several times, I see people judge others based on rumor – even if it comes from unreliable sources. We all need to think, and if we want to improve things, it’s easiest to start with ourselves. :0)

  5. i agree with this lines: If you are going to think about someone’s life, what better life to think about then your own? None of us are perfect, so why obsess over other’s imperfections?

    very true… :)

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