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!
The 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
- 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
So 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.