Monday, October 9, 2006

Turn off the TV - whaaaa?

Figure that the bulk of your lifetime is spent working to make income and spending your hard-won income for someone else. You spend 40 hours working and some 10 hours or more commuting each week to that job. Many, especially in the Midwest with our lower income job scenarios, will work three jobs between one couple as they raise their kids. Take out the 7/8 hours sleep we get a night - 56 or so hours a week. Now, if all your spare time (62 hours, not including meals) is spent in front of the boob tube, then you are giving up the majority of your "thunking" time to someone else.

You routinely work at solving someone else's problems at work. Commuting is spent listening to popular radio shows - you are trying to "take your mind off" the stresses of the job or the commute or whatever. Lunch is hobnobbing or gossiping and is another escape from work stress. When you then get home, your 5 hours each night watching a movie or syndicated TV show (leaving you one hour to get ready for work in the morning).

Helluva life, huh? You have the weekend only to get any thinking done for yourself. Two days of relative peace and quiet. Do you spend these days recovering after the late-night parties on Friday and Saturday night? Again - who are you working for? What is all your precious spare time being spent on?

If you really want to improve yourself, the question becomes: How do you invest the time you spend on this planet daily and weekly?

If you are spending your time thinking for someone else, then using the money you gain in all sorts of "entertainment" devices and rentals and expenses - you are spending your time for someone else. There is no personal gain in watching TV, reading newspapers, or popular novels - if the reason you are doing this is as a distraction to the real world.

If there is something in your life you would like to improve, then you obviously have to start re-investing the available waking hours you have to better use. Something's gotta give.

At work, your best use is not daydreaming, but getting your job done and getting more efficient at what you do so that you are kept on and keep getting valuable raises each year, let alone promotions.

During commutes, you might use that CD player most cars to play inspirational or self-help MP-3's - or learn another language, or listen to audio versions of books you need for your job or your spare time hobbies.

When you get home, don't turn on the TV. Just say no for a couple of weeks. Don't read the newspaper. Fire up the computer and get some news and sports summaries instead. Only read the articles which you are really interested in and feel will do you some good or improve your life in some fashion. This doesn't mean you drop out of touch - it just means that you can use the computer to selectively keep only those top stories you really need to know about. Means the network and cable news programs can't just distract you anytime and in any sequence they want to. Get your news and then get off the computer. Don't sit there and fire up a video game.

Now, you have all this free time every day - about 3-4 hours - where you can do what you want.

If you are interested in self-improvement, here is where you plug in your own schedule or program to accomplish what you want. Exercise, do yoga, pray/meditate, start studying to train up on what you want.

But the first point is clearing out your life of unnecessary control. Imagine all the commercials you don't have to listen to anymore. (Especially during political season - you already pick who you want based on word-of-mouth and how your parents voted, so let's be real about these guys and their hatchet-job ads on each other.) Ignore the mainstream press and also the cable guys. Ignore popular TV (except those shows which forward your own personal improvement program, like educational channels).

Turn off the TV, only watch the Internet selectively. Start taking charge of your own world and those few hours you have which you can call your own.