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Phasing out the Idiot Box

Growing up, my Father called the TV the idiot box. It wasn’t that it made you stupid, it was that while you were watching it you were not using your brain and likely becoming a slave to the screen. Thinking about the hours I spent in front of the TV then and now, he had a point. If you count my computers, tablets, and phones then I probably spend more time in front of a screen now than when I was a kid. A lot of my “free time” is spent idle or limited thinking under the guise of entertainment. Some scholars label this as a distraction; a distraction from thinking, growing, being responsible, and being our best selves. Video Games, YouTube, the Bachelor, etc. make us feel good but how do they help us make our lives better and what percentage of our waking hours do we spend on these distractions?

I have a lot of free time and spend far too much of it on media and entertainment; movies, TV, video games, YouTube, etc. I have been successful in making a small portion of that time actually productive as I tie some of it to specific tasks and goals for myself and incorporate those results into my growth and development. As an example, if you are going to listen to podcasts, make at least one of them provide you with something you can and will use.

As I investigate what draws me to all of this media and entertainment, it appears to be partially due to a lack of adventure in my personal life. I find it instead in books, media, and games. My new goal, one of many, is to create adventure in my day-to-day personal life. There is some inherent risk in this as there is in any adventure but the risk is required to elicit excitement. When things are the same all the time I get bored and I need to be the cause of replacing that boredom with excitement, not just that but experiences, growth, and development that generate it. I need to do more, try new things, and put myself out there as a lifestyle, more so than I am already doing. Common sense be damned because I don’t want an ordinary life.

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