For the past year or so, I have been playing with the idea of not watching television.
Why? I tend to be very conscious these days of any habits that I was conditioned with. Habits that just happened as I grew up, and that I did not necessarily choose. Things like drinking alcohol, eating popcorn at the movies, consumerism, driving a car and watching excess television.
A bulk of these habits that we inherited from our surrounding influences are never really questioned in our lives. As I have been on my journey to self-actualisation (more on this in the future), I have been questioning all of these habits slowly over time.
Television……….one of the most widely socially acceptable activities out there. Whats my beef with it? Its a mindless time killer. Since I reduced my television time about 90%, I have had sooooo much extra time during each day, that I can literally achieve so much more. I can meditate, go to the gym, cook my meals for a few days, write a blog post, read blogs/books, complete an assignment, write a song and record it, go for a run and do yoga all during the one day. Still allowing me sufficient time to go work a full time job and train my personal clients. I don’t say that to ridicule people that watch tv, just to point out how not watching it has positively effected my life.
A whole lot more time to spend engaged in activities that actually make me happy. Cutting out television has taught me how to entertain myself in other ways, mainly discovering activities that bring me more lasting joy. Most of which I have mentioned above. I have learnt to spend time in solitude without getting bored, and better still, have found ways to express creativity and originality through these activities.
Now don’t get me wrong, I do still watch the occasional television program, and i’m not discrediting that television really can bring satisfaction and fulfilment if used ‘intentionally’. To distinguish the difference between mindless and intentional viewing, these are a couple of internal questions that I ask myself before I sit down and watch something:
– Will my mind benefit positively from watching this program?
– Can I learn something?
– Does this program appeal to my passions and interests?
– Am I simply sitting here to forget about my day and zone out?
9 times out of 10, I choose not to watch. If I answer yes to the last question above, I immediately remove myself from the couch and do something else. Sometimes I simply sit on the balcony, turn on the radio and enjoy some solitude. This usually helps me zone out and recover a lot more efficiently than watching tv in the first place.
So what do I watch?
When I do sit down for some screen time its usually a:
2. Critically acclaimed film (suggested by one of my friends, who’s passion happens to be films)
3. Informational youtube video on a passion, or interest that I have.
So aside from that I have almost completely rid myself of mindless television watching. For me, the clincher is that the more time I spend watching tv, the less time I am constructively using the precious time we have on this planet. The older I become, the more important it is to really utilise each moment to the best of my ability and soak in as much life experience as possible.
Even just sitting outside on the balcony watching a sunset, reveals a deeper and much more soul fulfilling use of our limited time in this world.