Are you binge-watching Netflix or addicted to doom and gloom news programs with their cadres of talking heads? Has your couch developed an indentation that perfectly cups your derrière?
You are not alone. The average person watches just over 5 hours of TV every day. That’s a staggering 1,825 hours or 76 days a year.
Ever wonder what might change if you threw your TV out the window? Several years ago I weaned myself off cable TV, then television. Here’s what happened.
#1 – Productivity Productivity Productivity
As you might expect, when I chucked my TV I gained an avalanche of freed up hours that basically gave me back my life and now allows me to pursue my interests, hobbies and dreams. My productivity levels have shot through the roof, as has my satisfaction in my life. I also used my freedom from the boob tube to teach myself needed skills that tripled my income in 20 months.
More importantly, that time spent on myself has a cumulative, exponential impact. While everyone else vegetates and stagnates plugged into programs, I learn, live and grow. I have experiences that level me to new heights where I learn even more, leveling up again and again. I did so much in the past 10 years after unplugging that I can’t help but wonder what I will do over the next ten.
That’s an enormous advantage over others. It’s what you call edge.
More importantly, I also just enjoy life on my terms rather than spending it watching other people live theirs on TV.
#2 – Less Anxiety and Stress
When I stopped watching television, it instantly cut my time with negative and fear-mongering news. I was free to see the good in the world, not dwell only on the bad and messed up that ratings-conscious companies want to report on.
Do you know how liberating it is to not imbibe daily video of wars, violence, hatred and suffering? To not watch the news and have my head explode over inane political shenanigans that make others apoplectic on a regular basis? I can still get news but without the sound bites and gratuitous feeds that get seared across my retinas and mind.
Not watching TV also eliminates hours of ads trying to sell me something through worry and anxiety – whether that’s insurance, medications, burglary systems or the latest car, phone or gadget that I’ll feel inferior for not owning. Similarly, not watching TV shows prevents me from absorbing the latest ridiculous trends, social pressures and norms that usually are more destructive than helpful. After all, do the shows you watch teach you to be a happier, more fulfilled human being or are they just peddling sex, glamor and violence?
#3 – Thinking for Myself
Have you ever stopped to consider that TV shows are called programs because they are programming you? By tossing out the TV, I cut the umbilical cord to society’s favorite form of indoctrination. I don’t know about you, but generally I try to avoid being brainwashed and prefer to form my own ideas about the way the world is and how I should find happiness.
Being free of norm-reinforcing TV programs, I am able to think critically about most issues. I ask better questions and have more of them because I’m not taking my cues from what’s being said on a big black box. Forgive me for not allowing others to think for me so I can just parrot them later.
By flipping off the TV, this means I’m not imbibing political or societal propaganda, not consuming non-stop advertisements for things I don’t need. Those ads, desires and information-overloading newsfeeds can’t get into my head because they have no opportunity to. Instead I decide what’s important and meaningful and that has freed me to pursue my best life.
#4 – More Energy & Health
Most of us sit for 12 hours a day. That sedentary lifestyle is killing us. We go from sitting at desks at work to sitting on couches in front of TVs. Did you know that physical inactivity is the 4th leading risk factor for global mortality? Yet we sit for over 5 hours watching other people’s stories rather than creating our own.
Unplugging from the TV, I have more energy and health thanks to time for other activities. That and not having my attention sucked out of me by the TV allows my mind to think or relax. The constant stimulation of TV and allowing it to think for us can’t be healthy for our mental and emotional health. Even though you’re sitting for hours in front of that screen, have you ever actually felt recharged afterword, ready to get up and conquer the world or seize life?
Think about that.
The takeaway? TV is draining you of your energy and motivation.
#5 – Programming Myself
When you’re plugged in, the television is thinking for you. Every time you sit down and switch on the screen, you’re essentially downloading a software update. Personally, I’d rather think for myself.
Since I’m not letting the boob tube program me with its questionable ideas of the best life, I have time to actively craft my own vision for myself. That’s liberating and exciting and ultimately far more fulfilling.
Instead of consuming the violence and fear that’s most TV and news, I get to consume life-encouraging media or pursuits. Not all television is horrible. Its content is only as good as the people who make and consume it. My use of television went from entertainment and distraction to using it as a tool for programming myself and learning. When I studied Japanese, TV was a source of fun Japanese shows to learn the language and the culture.
Nowadays my entire TV allotment consists of 2 Japanese shows whose characters inspire me and that I watch maybe once every two weeks or so. I stream them from my laptop to my otherwise defunct TV. Mostly they’re to keep up my Japanese listening skills. In this way I’m carefully programming myself rather than letting others decide my operating software.
As a society we’re addicted to sitting and our love of watching television is a great deal of the cause. That sort of destructive escapism is literally killing us. When you turn off the television, you turn off fear and cut the cord on constantly being sold products and ideas that don’t serve you. Free of that, you can get down to the business of consuming life-rewarding activities while enjoying your vision of how your existence should be spent.
Chuck your TV and live.
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