Summer of 2011 is over. The temperatures have dropped. Outdoor activities are fizzling out as folks are staying indoors. This is the time when the TV networks start their Fall Previews of TV shows. The media is now abuzz with headlines like, “Must-See New Shows”, “Top Shows for 2011” etc.,
Each of these 100s of TV channels will start to grab their share of the TV viewer’s attention. While these TV channels are strategizing for your attention, what is your strategy going to be? Are you also getting ready to dumb down your brain and let these TV networks take over your attention?
If you are excitedly waiting for these TV shows and NFL/NBA to start then you can stop reading from now on. If you are not then please read on.
The Big Picture
Watching TV is an addiction. We all know that. We rationalize that we can control this addiction. We also rationalize that it is not such a bad addiction, after all and that it does not have much impact. So, lets find out the impact?
An average American watches TV 4 hrs/day. That is 25% of an average American’s waking hours. If this average American lives to be 70 then by this age, 17.5 years would have been spent watching TV. 17.5 years!
Since there is no average American, everyone is either above the average or below the average, what is your personal score? How many years of your awake life will be spent watching TV? 5, 10, 15 or 20? Do you now get the big picture?
The ground reality is that TV is an easy form of entertainment. Just turn the TV on and you can be entertained for hours. Resisting such an easy form is difficult. At the same time, what do you do with the additional hours that you got, now that you are not watching TV? Play video games? Browse internet? In other words, go from one addiction to another.
I don’t know the answer that fits all scenarios. But I have a few suggestions. Read books. Blog. Join a gym. Write a book. Learn a new language. Learn to paint. Or whatever works for you. But before picking up any new hobby, follow a simple rule. The rule is that after you spend time on your hobby, you should feel energized. Physically or mentally or both.
Since TV takes away a good chunk of your wakeful life, decide to start watching less TV. Depending on your situation, if you were currently planning on watching four TV shows/games per week, cut down to two. If two then to one.
Before switching on the TV, decide how much time you will spend watching TV and then set the “sleep” setting to that time so that the TV shuts off automatically. An object at rest stays at rest and so unless you decide beforehand as to how much time you plan to sit in front of TV, you will sit there till you call it a night. The same tactic works for internet browsing too.
I hope I was able to convince you to stop wasting away your life watching TV. This advice is more so to me than for others since I have been trying pretty hard to watch only one TV show per week. It is so easy to plop down in front of TV and shut your mind off.
Good luck to all of us in our strategy to get back some of our life-years from the “idiot box”.