The Good News and Bad News About Good News and Bad News

Internet Marketer Frank Kern calls it ‘the Chicken Rubber Neck Effect’. You are driving past a car parked in the middle of nowhere and you may notice the car but you will not turn to look at it carefully as you go by – your attention will be focused on the road ahead for signs of danger.

But put a pair of legs sticking out from behind that car and you will turn your head and twist your neck to see what is going off behind it as you drive by. So will your entire family if they are sitting in the car. You will maybe even stop and go take a look

Mr Kern uses this technique in some of his email campaigns and can show that by putting a ‘bad news’ heading in his email subject headers he can get a much higher email opening rate.

The reason for this is our attention mechanism is automatically set to look for ‘bad news’. It is the reason we do not see ‘good news’ on most of our news channels – not so many people would watch. We tend to take good news for granted. While our attention mechanisms automatically seek out bad news, looking for good news is something,unfortunately, we have to do deliberately.

We call it ‘practising gratitude’. If we were automatically programmed to look for good news we would be automatically grateful most of the time. What different lives we would lead, eh? Just think of how others would treat us.

The attention-grabbing default setting of ‘looking for bad’ is a preventative mechanism designed to pre-warn us of approaching danger but it can go against us to the point it sometimes makes us emotionally ill. It is the central operating cause of phobias, obsessions and other anxiety disorders built around imagined emotionally charged terrible scenarios in our brains.