Habits of Successful People: Watching Less Television

So we have talked about a lot of things on Dream Big, but no other topic has been more important as it relates to designing your life.  For the habits that we will be discussing please read Habits of Successful People.

The first habit on the list: Successful people watch less than an hour of television per day.  I have written about this in the past, but I will not be going back to that post as I want to provide some fresh information and perspective.  And to stay with the times I am grouping ‘gaming’ in with watching television, which is a life-habit I do not consider productive, unless it is your occupation!

tv_timeThe one tidbit I will share with you is that in the United States, a person that lives to the age of 70 will have spent 15 years, or 127,400 hours, of his/her life watching television (Nielsen Ratings).  Yes, you read that correctly, 15, fifteen, one-five, or just under 22% of one’s life.  And that is on average!  Some will be higher than 22%.

I will be honest and say that there are times I enjoy sitting and vegging out; just doing nothing.  But mostly I do this at night and watch Netflix.  There are lots of issues I have with watching television, but the one that immediately comes to mind is watching television is simply a waste of valuable time.  I guard two things with fervor: my time and my money.  Pay television is an assault on both of these valuable resources.

As you can imagine I have become very good at overcoming objections.  People protest and make excuses when I challenge their health, habits and level of success.  One of the most common is…you guessed it, “I don’t have time!”  And when I hear this I ask them how much time they spend watching television.  The go to answer is an hour or two much like “officer I’ve only had 2 beers.”  When I hear an hour or two I double it to 2-4 hours.

Here are a few of the problems I have with television:

  • Television is a waste of time
  • Television is a waste of money
  • Keeps you from being productive
  • Reduces your mental capacity
  • Keeps you fat and lethargic
  • Stifles creativity
  • Encourages poor health habits via snacking
  • Kills valuable family conversation
  • Takes away from family time
  • Teaches children poor habits

Things to do instead of watching television

  • Go to night school
  • Develop a plan for life
  • Go for a walk/exercise
  • Spend time networking
  • Enjoy family time
  • Self-educate
  • Learn a new language
  • Use the cable bill money to pay down debt
  • Take your family to the park
  • Teach your kids how to use their time more effectively
  • Learn to cook healthier meals
  • Take up a fun hobby
  • Enjoy the great outdoors
  • Read a self-help or history book
  • Spend time with friends

Ditch the Gym and Exercise OutsideSo why do successful people not watch much television?  Is it that they are successful because they don’t watch the tube or that their success doesn’t permit the time to dedicate to watching television.  The chicken or the egg?  Instead of assuming I know everything I reached out to a couple guys I know that are very successful and asked them about their T.V. habits.

Both quickly answered that they did not watch much television and both admitted that any television they watch is usually via DVR when they have time, which is not often.  During my conversations I found it of particular interest that both of them admitted that they specifically decided years ago to eliminate television from their lives and assign the time to more productive activities, namely family and education/reading!

Is it coincidence that their attitude towards television fits perfectly into my premise?  I don’t think so.  I submit the theory that successful people are successful, in part, because they do not watch television.  I believe that what separates the “normal” from the wealthy is the dedication to life habits that specifically aim one in the direction of success.  As one reader explained “chance favors the prepared mind.”

If you stopped watching your 5 hours of television per day (average according to Nielsen) you could prepare yourself to be successful by reading, education, paying off debt, exercising and losing weight or developing a life plan!  Decide today to adopt a specific set of habits that will aim you in the direction of more success or goal attainment!  I did it and I am here to testify that this formula works!!

The next time you start to use the “I don’t have time” excuse, remember, you do have time you just waste it watching television.


38 thoughts on “Habits of Successful People: Watching Less Television

  1. We have had cable for about 9 months of the last 6 years. Big waste of time and money the 2 times we went back to it! I seriously felt dumber every time I watched it, even though we mostly watched “educational” shows. The commercials are the worst! You can’t help but watch, even if you know they’re full of crap! And imagine, if the average person spends 22% of their life watching TV, I would guess that close to 5% is just commercials! 5% of your LIFE. Wow. There’s a reason they spend so much money on advertising.

      1. The facts are sobering. I know people that sit and watch TV from the time they get home till the time the fall asleep. 6-7 hours of watching after work. No exercise, no reading, no writing, no creativity.

  2. Fantastic perspective on watching TV. I have always felt that TV and gaming were a waste of time and non-productive ways of just “passing time”. Thanks for finally adding some facts to my opinion 🙂

  3. During the 90’s while at Butte College (the same college Arron Rogers went to school), I had an SBA, Stockbroker, investor instructor telling us the TV was nothing more than a Boob tube. Although I do watch certain shows in the evening but during the day anywhere from 6 to 12 hours that Boob tube is off, has anyone ever wondered why they feel sleepy when watching TV or fall asleep in the chair while the Golf or Football game is on, that is because our brains produce Melatonin which is secreted by the pineal gland in the brain. This natural chemical in our brain aids in the sleep process and is why some Doctors say it’s ok to watch TV while in bed for the night.
    As for gaming, I enjoy FPS games and others though I am not one to spend 80 to 90 bucks on said games, never have and never will I just wait the year or three out and get it for 10 to 12 bucks at the pawn shops or other outlets, but I don’t spend too much time at the console either. I have been known to play one game to the finish in one setting, so I view that as a holiday, time away from stress, releasing frustrations on a fake animated object, time away from stupid people that drain me dry.
    Getting back to the TV, more and more I see parents of today using the TV as a babysitter and this topic has been mentioned in several media outlets in the past, but still occurs today. I feel children should be out, using their minds, making discoveries, smelling that rose and finding out what that thorn does. The mind should soar and be free to create and imaginative without distractions of persuasions of commercials and or subliminal, suggestive messages in certain cartoons and or shows of today.

    1. When I was a kid, my aunt babysat myself and my cousins during the summer. We were required to go outside and play. And using our imagination is one of my fond memories of those summer days. we went all over the place on our bikes, played war, explored…it was better than television.

      1. Very true and is how it should be instead of new parents using as an agent as a live-in​ babysitter. On that aspect, you and I grew up the same.

  4. Good post! I’ve noticed myself watching less over the past year. More time for goals is a definite plus, but for me, the biggest gain has been the ability to hold a positively focused energy pattern with more ease. The socio-cultural programming just doesn’t get in to the same degree. You retain the power to energetically manifest what is true and vital for you … which has to happen if you want sovereignty over your own life. Thanks for the reminder!

  5. Watching TV is just for passing time for me. But, now I don’t find it fruitful to watch the programmes on TV. It’s because that it is not beneficial and I can use that time to do other productive things like reading, writing or getting my assignments done.

  6. I wish I had time to watch TV. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to watch an episode of something and it’s nice, but my attention span doesn’t hold out for long. haha

  7. Reblogged this on sherriemiranda1 and commented:
    Excellent blog about how to be successful. I totally agree about not watching TV though I must admit, I tend to get into the bad habit of watching too much TV ever few years. I am currently cutting down because I don’t have a TV in front of my bed. I guess that’s the truck for me to cutting down.
    Peace, 😉😜😘

  8. 40 days and 40 nights without watching television Ahah… I’ve never had a television in my life. I can’t stand it. Maybe this is why I’m never depressed and I can do so many things. Anyway Noah and the animals stayed 40 days and 40 nights inside the Ark without television and survived vey well in spite that the weather outside was horrible and they had nothing to do except playing scrabble.

  9. Great post, though I’m belated in reading. You missed one thing though 😉 My kitchen is always cleaner on the nights I don’t watch TV. Suddenly I enjoy the beauty of a sparkling clean kitchen tremendously on the nights I choose to not watch.

  10. Hello my name is Tankiso from Johannesburg,South Africa..I usually watch tv maybe 4hours during the night but non during the day…is their any possible ways of utilising that time in a better way during late afternoons and night?..and what is it that those successful guys you know of usually did during,night times before being successful?

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