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.
The good news about 'bad' is it has an opposite. Everything we experience comes under the heading of 'duality'. There is bad in every experience, there is good in every experience, and then there is the centre of the experience which is neither good nor bad, it just 'is'.
At the position of 'is' you are emotionally neutral and have a choice how you see a particular experience. The bad news is to get to 'is' you have to go through bad first and discharge the negative emotions attached to get to acceptance and good and then to 'is'.
You have the tough, painful experience of bad; then you see the good in a situation; then you take it for granted and become objective - that is, emotionally discharged about the whole thing. You sit in the middle and watch other people reacting to the bad news in the same negative way you once did. But do not expect them to be overjoyed when you suggest they follow the same route you did - not everyone likes to hear the good news about bad news and good news.
At this point you are able to choose your own experience and what are you naturally going to choose once you have the choice? You will naturally choose what makes you feel good but then will return to the neutral 'is' position in the middle by default.
If you have an emotional problem or disorder of any kind you may currently feel quite angry or resistant to the way this works, but this is the way it works.
The bad news about all news is we contain within our experience both the painful bad and the ecstatic good. The good news is by being willing to experience both the bad, the good and the neutral we can eventually get to choose where we sit on the scale between the two extremes.
Mentally we then stop worrying about the whole thing.