Your Ancestors Worked Hard to Put You Here. Now Do Something Good.

If you want something to read before bed, don’t choose this.

But if you want to understand how to find meaning in your life, this is the book for you.

I picked it up on the recommendation of Simon Sinek, the motivational speaker and author of Start with Why. Viktor Frankl wrote his book a decade after being freed from a WWII Nazi concentration camp. As a psychiatrist and prisoner, he gained unusual insight into what makes our lives meaningful.

It’s not a book about happiness, which is perhaps what makes it so interesting. Happiness isn’t really found in a concentration camp, but meaning and hope are still there if you look for them.

In fact, they make survival more likely.

Making Meaning

Survival isn’t really guaranteed to anyone, regardless of where they are. Did your family struggle? Mine did, some I assume in those very concentration camps that Frankl speaks of. Others escaped to America from the murderous pogroms in Russia around the turn of the 20th century.

I thought about them as I read Frankl’s book. They left everything they knew and struggled to build a new life here in America. They suffered in a way I can’t ever claim to have suffered.

Does that make you think about responsibility? Yeah. Me too.

Who among my family was granted the peace, the technology and the political freedom to attempt sweeping changes? Who has the psychological space to work toward a vision?

Well. That would be me.

Read this if Your Ancestors Survived

Maybe your family was a victim of slavery and Jim Crow. Maybe they came from a place where food was scarce or political conflict made day to day life dangerous. Maybe tragedy struck in an otherwise peaceful time.

What do you think those people would say about our lives today? Were they in a position to do half the things we can do? And yet they somehow survived and brought meaning into their lives.

Can’t we do the same?

With all the resources we have at our disposal, I say we can. And we can honor those ancestors in the process.

 

 

Do You Deserve to Be Happy?

I’m always surprised at how many people ask themselves if they deserve to be happy.

We let the things we’ve done wrong drag us down. I’m not saying we don’t have to correct those things. We do need to address mistakes we’ve made, try to make restitution, apologize, forgive, and learn not to do them again. But it ends there.

There is nothing noble about keeping yourself unhappy because of something you’ve already repented for.

So do you deserve to be happy? It’s the wrong question. It seems to me that you are actually obligated to build your self-worth and happiness.

Why? Let me explain.

The Necessity of the Pursuit of Happiness

You may or may not know that I was widowed at age 39. That’s a story for another time, but suffice it to say that after a loss like that it can take a while to find hope again. I spent a lot of time hoping my late husband would get better and, strangely enough, I continued to hope even after he died. I’d gotten so used to it!

Once that hope wore off, it was hard to get it back and I just went around focused on myself and the unfairness of what had happened to us. Honestly, I didn’t even realize that’s what I was doing. I just knew something was missing.

After about five years of this emptiness, I had a simple conversation with a stranger on Facebook.

Me: “I find that I have trouble with hope. It doesn’t seem to exist at all.”

Stranger: “Hope is in other people. You find it by focusing on others.”

Much to my surprise, he was right! Focusing on others made me more hopeful, which made me happier. In turn, that made me more helpful.

Happiness Makes Us More Helpful

Happiness makes us more likely to give to others. It gives us more energy and incentive to be available for others.

Simon Sinek, optimist and motivational speaker, makes the point that people will not (perhaps cannot) help each other until they feel confident in their own ability … in other words, until they feel sufficient self-worth.

It’s only when we develop some self-confidence that we can put ourselves out there for someone else.

In other words, the happier we are, the more useful we are to others.

Happiness Makes Us More Generous

This old Eastern European Jewish story tells us why it’s important for us to take good care of ourselves.

Rabbi Dov Baer of Mezeritch (1704-1772) … went with several disciples to solicit a charitable donation from a wealthy man. At the man’s house, Dov Baer learned that the rich man lived in penurious circumstances. He ate old dry bread, and seldom had meat and fruit at his meals. Instead of focusing on the donation he had intended to solicit, Dov Baer argued with the man on the need for him to live better, to have fresh bread at his table, and to augment his vegetable dinners with meat, fruit and desserts.

Upon leaving, Dov Baer’s disciples expressed amazement at his behavior. “What do you care what that man chooses to eat? What business is it of ours?”

“You don’t understand,” Dov Baer answered. “If that man eats fresh bread, then at the very least he’ll give poor people stale bread. But if he himself lives on stale bread, he’ll assume that the poor can get by on stones.”

(Here is the book I found the story in…)


The Obligation to Happiness

Remember what John F. Kennedy said?

“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

The same applies to your community. Stop asking if you deserve to be happy or for someone else to somehow give you permission to be happy.

Pursue happiness because we need you, because it’s your responsibility.

You have something unique to contribute and letting unhappiness waste your energy deprives us all.

 

 

 

Something No One is Telling You About Becoming Successful

I know we are not supposed to compare ourselves to others, but do you ever wonder why you can’t reach your goals as quickly as you want? As quickly as others seem to?

We all talk about “going big” and believing with certainty that you can do this thing, whatever this thing is that you envision.

But can you?

I know your head is probably saying, “Oh, yes! I can totally do this!”, but what about those quiet voices inside you? Are they hopelessly tangled up in a morass of conflicting beliefs, tied down by a self-image you’re so accustomed to that you don’t even realize it’s there?

That’s what happened to me.

The Piece No One Tells You

I have been hammering away at this business thing for years. I’ve had some success in making a new job for myself, but that’s not really what I’m after. I have a big vision where I don’t just sell writing services and shampoo, I change people’s lives.

The life-changing part has been slow in coming.

“What’s the problem?”, I say to myself. “I’m smart, I’ve read all the books and even practiced. Why can’t I do this?”

Limiting Beliefs Can be Deeply Embedded

I finally concluded that the problem isn’t in my skill set. It’s in my worldview.

What we believe about the world can play a major role in tying up our energy and confusing our efforts.

Changing Those Beliefs

We don’t need to get into what I believe deep down that is stopping me from realizing my full potential, but I will tell you what I’m doing about it (and what I’d advise you to do about it too).

Maximize Your Mind

For one, I found a good counselor who understands how the mind works. You may not realize this, but mental health therapists don’t just help people with mental illness. They can also help people clear away limiting beliefs and habits to become high achievers.

Release Energy From Past Trouble

Second, I am reading this book and completing the accompanying program.

Why? Because grief isn’t just about losing people in your life. We can carry grief around for the loss of pets, opportunities, injuries and so many other things. How does this get in the way of professional success, you ask?

Because all that grief takes up energy. Lots of energy. And you need every ounce of your energy to realize your big dreams.

Let Your Feelings Speak for Themselves

Wanna see a picture?


This is Peanut the Metaphorical Dove. I drew her on my bedroom wall. I know that’s a little unconventional, but it’s my house and I do as I like here.

I drew her because she represents something to me and it was important to get her out of my imagination and onto the wall.

All those feelings tumbling around in your head, heart and stomach take up precious energy, but if you acknowledge them and give them room in your life, you can reclaim the energy. Draw, paint, write, talk, make vision boards or do anything else that gives you an outlet for self expression and all that energy comes back to you.

There’s Nothing Inherently Wrong With You

In the end, I don’t think we really know why one person is wildly successful and another struggles. We do know that it is within the power of the individual to change her circumstances.

It may take work you weren’t expecting, but the things that limit you aren’t immutable parts of you. If you look around and think about it, you’ll see that you have grown and can grow some more.

And if it means drawing on your walls, so be it!

 

On Working from Home

I came across a great meme on Facebook.

I can strongly relate to this.

I replied, “Yes! Me too! My goal is to go big so that I CAN go home.”

I love being home. I love my house. I love my cats. I love my doves. I love arguing with my chickens.

Sometimes I think about renting an office space, but then I realize that will never work. I wouldn’t use it.

I want to be home.

Is it Really Possible to Work From Home?

Back in the days when I had a full time job in a cubicle, I wondered if it was really possible to have a job where I could work from home. I had a neighbor who who was rumored to work from home. I never spoke to her, but I was jealous.

Since then, I’ve done a lot of research and experimenting on this topic and I have an answer. Here it is:

Yes.

It is a realistic goal to work from home and you can choose several ways to do it.

Three Ways to Work From Home

I was surprised to find that many people have jobs that they can do from home. I thought they would all be risk-tolerant online entrepreneurs, but I was wrong.

Find a Work-From-Home Job

Did you know that there are customer service jobs that you can do from home? I knew someone who did this. She spent her days at home with a headset and the company would send calls to her. She would handle the calls the same way that someone in a call center did, with a computer… in her bedroom.

Sometimes you have to work at the physical call center for a while before you earn enough seniority and trust to do the job remotely, but it is becoming more common. Maintaining a call center is no small expense for a company and having remote call center workers saves them a lot of money.

When you look for work-from-home jobs, it’s helpful to use a service that verifies legitimacy of the postings. You can find several of those at the free Human Services Outcomes Career Resource Center site.

Contract With Businesses to Complete Projects

Have you ever worked on a contract basis? Usually, the contract specifies what you will do, what the business will pay you and how long the agreement will last.

At one point in my career, I had a few contracts with organizations to do marketing tasks for them. I didn’t work for them and I wasn’t on their time clock, they didn’t care where I did the work. The agreement was simply that I would produce the specified deliverables in the agreed-upon time period and they would pay me.

I got these jobs through networking activities. If you’re willing to network and market your skills, contracts can be a great way to make a living while working from home.

Start a Business From Home

Of all the things I’ve done, running businesses has been my favorite. Let’s talk about a couple different kinds.

Service Business

Do you have a skill you can do from home, like writing or building websites? You can build this into a full-time business relatively easily, through business networking.

I did this by writing blogs and web content for local businesses. If you know what your skills and interests are, think creatively and you can start your own service business fairly easily.

You can find worksheets and exercises to help you determine your best skills in this book.

Product Business

Personally, I think it’s easier to sell a product than fulfill a service. You don’t have to make the product. You can become an affiliate marketer or a network marketer and make money, sometimes without leaving home.

Building a business of any kind takes time, but if you start now then you are building a path to the life you want to live.

And that’s a whole lot better than doing nothing!

 

 

 

How to Stop People From Being Mean on Your Social Media Pages

What do you think about social media? How has it influenced us?

I believe social media has played a major role in our culture and in our development as human beings. I’m not talking about children, I mean that adults have changed as a result of social media. We’ve changed in some good ways and some bad ways.

Bullying in an Online World

Should we start with the bad? You’ve probably already worked that list out for yourself. Our cultural banter has become much less civil, probably because of the way online commenting allows us to feel like we’re not really talking to other human beings.

Would people speak to others in person as callously as they often do so online?

Some might. Most don’t, but people generally agree that social media has amplified bullying, meanness and the level of anger people are carrying around.

If you don’t believe me, ask Monica Lewinsky, one of the first ordinary citizens to experience it firsthand.

Business in an Online World

On the other hand, the Internet and social media have made it possible for anyone with access to a computer (this includes public computers) to start a business.

Not only can you sell your wares online, but you can build an audience of people who are interested in what you are interested in.

There’s just one problem…

Using Your Social Media for Good Instead of Evil

I notice that a lot of people are afraid to do live video and I think they have the same question I had when I started my first blog. Maybe you have it too.

Are people going to be mean?

Maybe, but you’re not defenseless. Here are a few tips to minimize the potential for drama and distress.

Trolls Not Invited

Whenever you post something, think about your audience. Who is watching? What are they going to feel when they see this?

I note that people often forget that the only people who see your posts on most social media feeds are your friends. Do you have friends who don’t think like you?

You might not know it, but you probably do.

You don’t have to be bland and refrain from ever expressing an opinion. Just don’t invite trolls to your party. In other words, if you feel the need to insult someone, do it privately.

Don’t say or imply online that people who disagree are somehow deficient.

If you respect your followers, they will respect you.

Don’t Be Afraid to Employ a Bouncer

Sometimes, people will say to me, “Bonnie, I can’t delete comments on my [blog, social media page] because then people will think I’m not open to other opinions.”

Unless you are conducting research surveys, do not worry about this.

Your pages are essentially private property AND you are shaping your brand with whatever is on them. You are allowed to have boundaries and you must enforce them to keep the page attractive to your target market.

Personally, I delete all comments that are rude, use profanity or insult someone. You can set up your own rules and you can block people who don’t follow them too.

Laughter is the Best Medicine (and Bland Politeness Ain’t Bad Either)

The more popular your pages become, the more likely you are to attract trolls. It’s an unfortunate fact of life these days.

Don’t let that stop you though. In fact, I highly recommend that you laugh privately and use bland politeness publicly.

Bland politeness

Bland politeness is a method of politely and coldly stating the facts that tends to derail trolls and make them look a little foolish. You don’t have to insult them, usually you just have to point out the obvious.

Want an example? I once posted something like this in a homesteading group.

“I want to collect my coffee grounds for composting, but I don’t want to go outside. What does everyone use to collect them?”

One guy replied (and I’m paraphrasing), “This is a homesteading group, for crying out loud! You don’t belong here if you don’t want to go outside!”

I admit to being mildly annoyed, but I didn’t let it stop me. I replied to his comment.

“Settle down there, fella! It’s just dark and I don’t want to be eaten by a bear. The compost can wait until morning.”

Then I edited the main post to add… “Note: For those who are confused, I mean that I don’t want to go outside in the dark.”

This may not seem uproariously funny to you, but it was to me, and that’s all that really mattered.

I didn’t outright insult the troll, but I did divert him. His next comment was much more civil. In fact, I believe he gave me some good advice.

This works both online and in person.

Get Out There and Be Yourself

Whatever you do, don’t let the potential for bullying stop you from chasing your dreams. We want our social norm to be respectful and civil. Think of every action as a vote in an election. If you behave the way you want the world to be then you vote for that world.

Social media has affected our society and our interactions in ways we didn’t expect. I imagine that someday everyone will know how to behave online as well as in live society, but until then we can deliberately set an example for others.

It all comes back to that ancient Golden Rule. Treat others as you want to be treated.

 

 

 

When Frustration is Really Preparation

Truly, we learn as we go. Sometimes what looks like frustration is actually preparation. Just ask Persistence the Chicken.

No Overnight Successes

Four or maybe five years ago, my friend and I read Napoleon Hill’s famous book, Think and Grow Rich.

It was first published in 1937 and is still in print.

We carefully followed its instructions, including these from Chapter 2:

The method by which DESIRE for riches can be transmuted into its financial equivalent, consists of six definite, practical steps, viz: First. Fix in your mind the exact amount of money you desire. It is not sufficient merely to say “I want plenty of money.”

First. Be definite as to the amount. (There is a psychological reason for definite- ness which will be described in a subsequent chapter).

Second. Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the money you desire. (There is no such reality as “something for nothing.)

Third. Establish a definite date when you intend to possess the money you de- sire.

Fourth. Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire, and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.

Fifth. Write out a clear, concise statement of the amount of money you intend to acquire, name the time limit for its acquisition, state what you intend to give in return for the money, and describe clearly the plan through which you intend to accumulate it.

Sixth. Read your written statement aloud, twice daily, once just before retiring at night, and once after arising in the morning. AS YOU READ-SEE AND FEEL AND BELIEVE YOURSELF ALREADY IN POSSESSION OF THE MONEY.

My Statement and Why It Was Worth the Trouble

My written statement looked something like this:

“I will acquire one million dollars by January 1, 2020. I will produce content writing in return for this money…”

And then I kind of trailed off there. I didn’t really have a plan. Or if I did, I don’t remember it.

Sometimes the Plan is to Find a Plan

Hill tells lots of stories in his book and one of them is about a Reverend Gonzales who wanted to find a million dollars to open a new kind of school. For two years, he dreamed about his school and thought about how to get the money.

Two years.

The way Hill tells it, one night the Reverend made a firm decision that he was going to get that money within a week. And you know what? He did!

It sounds like you could get the money just by making a solid decision, right? Except it doesn’t seem to work exactly like that in real life. If it did, we could all just decide we were going to acquire a fixed amount of money and voila! We would have it.

No, in real life it takes time to learn enough to know what practical steps are needed to reach your goal. Sometimes it takes A LOT of time.

Change Your Name, Change Your Life

We have all kinds of ways in which we imagine we can change our fortunes, but I think they all boil down to one thing.

In order to change your life, you have to change yourself. You have to change the way you think and act. We, as human beings, are entirely capable of deliberate growth and there are many ways to do it. You can learn new things, hire a coach, read good books or do lots of other things.

It took Reverend Gonzalez two years to become a man who could raise a million dollars. It’s taken me at least eight to become the kind of writer who can earn a million dollars. When I started this project, I didn’t even know about the kinds of writing I know about now.

And if I had known about them, I wouldn’t have known if I could do them.

Persistence the Chicken

I have a chicken named Persistence. I call her that because long after the other chickens outgrew trying to eat human beings, Persistence continues to peck us. I imagine at night, when she’s nestled in the coop, she visualizes the day she finally brings her vision to life and eats one of us.

Persistence may not live long enough to realize her dream, but you and I probably will. To paraphrase something my mother says, maybe it will take you ten years to bring your vision to life, but you’re going to be ten years older anyway.

Remember, when you’re working toward a goal, all of your so-called “failures” are really just preparation for success. The only surefire way to fail is to quit.

Just ask Persistence the Chicken.

Are You Starting Your Day for You … or for Them?

It’s 10:00 AM. Look around you. What have you done so far today?

Seriously. You’ve probably been awake for three to five hours. What have you done for YOU?

How You Start Your Day Dictates What You Accomplish

Brendon Burchard drives home the point in his videos and books that if you check your email within 90 minutes of waking up, your whole day changes course. Instead of working on your own goals, you’ll find yourself quickly diverted to the goals of other people.

You’ll find that statement in this information-packed book.

He says that most people start their day by looking at the phone before they even get out of bed! Is this true for you?

If you want your day to be more intentional, do not touch the phone.

“But Bonnie!”, you say, “I need to look at the phone or I won’t know what time it is.”

Fair enough. That was true for me too, but I solved the problem. I bought a gigantic clock.

Something like this. It’s changed my life.

Three Ways to Make Your Day Your Own

You don’t have to let other people start your day. Here are some suggestions from the likes of Darren Hardy and Hal Elrod.

Get up early enough to have time for yourself

Let’s start with the hardest one. How often do you sleep until the very last minute before you have to get up?

Or, if your life is like mine, you get up and are immediately beset with demands from small, needy creatures. Your creatures may be children. My creatures are cats and birds.

It’s not always easy, but if you can find even ten minutes for yourself, you’ll find the day goes a bit smoother.

I’ll note here that a lot of the experts suggest getting up at 5AM. I say those experts have never experienced chronic hormone-induced insomnia and that’s not the point, anyway.

It’s not what time you get up that matters. It’s that you have some time to intentionally start your day.

Start your day with gratitude

What should you do during that ten minutes? Be still. Maybe sip your first cup of coffee and make a list of things you are grateful for.

Many religious traditions encourage this very thing. You can meditate in the morning or read from a Christian devotional. Jewish practice includes a short prayer to be said before even getting out of bed, thanking God for another day.

You set the tone of your day with whatever you think about first thing in the morning. A morning of gratitude fortifies you against the troubles of the day and helps you be more patient and happier.

Make some progress on your goal and track it

If you have another ten minutes, work on a goal. Write a little of your book, do a little research on your project or anything else that will move you in the direction you want to go.

Those ten minute segments add up and change your life. If you write it down, you’ll see that progress.

It’s Your Day Until It’s Your Time

Whatever you do, make sure it’s positive and make sure it helps you reach your goals. Don’t let anyone else’s agenda intrude. You may have to feed everybody first (or let them out of the coop), but they’ll get the idea.

We don’t live forever and if we let the tide of busy-ness dictate our lives, we’ll never accomplish anything intentionally. Starting the day with purpose helps you ride that tide in the direction of your choice.

For a few minutes, early in the day, make your morning about you and your course.

Three Things I’ve Learned From Making Videos

Does the idea of doing Facebook Live videos terrify you?

It terrifies a lot of people, but not me. I’m not personally disturbed by the idea that I might look ridiculous on video. In fact, I assume from the outset that I will look ridiculous on video, on stage and anywhere else I go. That takes the pressure off.

I think we could all benefit from a deliberate effort to take ourselves less seriously.

I started doing regular Live videos a few months ago and now I’ve graduated to You Tube. Here is my first serious video.

Not bad, is it? I get my point across pretty well and not once did a dove fly into the room and land on my head… though I would have left that in if it happened.

Would you like to know what I’ve learned from my videos?

Learn By Watching Your Favorites

I don’t know about you, but I learn a lot from other people’s examples. I learned to write by reading the classics and I’m learning to make good videos by watching experts talk on video.

I listen and watch motivational and training videos whenever I have a few minutes … I listen in the car, I watch while cooking, and I watch one after another whenever a cat has parked himself in my lap and forbids me to move.

Listening to people who make money from their videos has shown me lots of techniques. I see why they are effective and how I can be effective too.

In other words, you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment and editing experience. You just need to know how to get your point across.

Watch Your Own Videos

Did you read the heading and cringe? I know you might not like your voice or your hair or something, but watch your videos anyway. Pretend it’s someone else. Try to see yourself as others see you.

Why? Because it will help you understand what is engaging about your presentation. Do you have great facial expressions? Are you adept at making a point? You’ll see that and be able to build on it next time.

Not only that, you’ll see what distracts from your message, like playing with your necklace or birds landing on your head.

Experiment and Have Fun

Let me try to make this clear… it is not a crime to make an ineffective video. You will not be put in prison or ostracized by your community. The worst case scenario is that your friends will tease you and you’ll learn to make better videos.

Don’t be afraid to try new techniques. Think of a new way to say what you mean or to show your audience an idea. Find out what feels authentic.

Authentic Video is Good Marketing

Remember the reason you want to make videos in the first place. People want to know who they are buying from. They want to see you as they might see you in person.

Don’t be afraid. Just plan out a few things to say, turn on the camera and go!

And don’t take it too seriously.

 

Can you “Attract” Money? Three Things I Learned.

Why don’t you make more money?

There may be a thousand answers to that, but I just want to talk about one possibility right now.

Mindset.

In other words, what do you think about money? Are you fending it off somehow by having prejudiced feelings about it?

Could Your Feelings Affect Your Income?

If you’re a stodgy Midwesterner like me, that will sound silly. What could mindset have to do with income?

I like to keep an open mind and try to understand different points of view, so I read this book…

It made me wonder if my mindset about money was somehow lacking.

My Experiment

I decided an experiment was in order. The book hinted that perhaps I was thinking too small about money. I tend to fret about making sure there is always enough and I watch it carefully.

“Maybe,” I thought to myself, “I’m being too careful.”

With that thought in mind, I embarked upon an experiment in which I spent more money and deliberately didn’t worry about it.

I didn’t go crazy, but I did buy some things I’d been putting off, like a new sensible sub-compact car to replace my 16 year old car and an expensive skin care product I’d wanted to try.

What I Learned

I did not attract money in any mysterious way, but I did learn a few things.

One: Money is A Convenient Abstraction

Money is nothing more than an abstraction of the value of work in the marketplace. You might think that it’s the “root of all evil” or that it should “grow on trees” or that it’s attracted to certain special people, but it’s not any of those things.

It’s just an abstraction and nothing to get emotional about. If you’ve ever tried to trade labor for an object then you’ll understand what I mean. I can market your ranch in exchange for a cow, but when I bring my truck out to get the cow, we’re going to argue over whether I’m getting the young cow who is in milk or the old skinny cow.

Money makes it easier to understand what we’re agreeing to. I market your ranch for six months and you give me exactly $14,437.86. There is no confusion.

Two: Money Spent on Education is Well Spent

I notice that I spend a lot of money on education and I don’t count this the same way I count a new car. Learning something new is almost always worth the price and it’s an investment in my business.

This includes online training, classes and coaching. Anything that helps you learn more is going to help you grow your business.

Three: Scarcity is Relative

You know what? I have a lot more than a lot of other people. Sure, there are millions of people who have more than I do, but the most important thing I learned from this little experiment is that I can use what I have to help others.

If I’m not fretting about every cent then I can consider who might be in need. When the Jewish sage, Maimonides, ranked levels of charity, he said the best way  is to help someone find employment or make a loan to help that person build a business.

Now I Understand

To summarize, I didn’t attract anything new, but I did learn something important.

It doesn’t matter so much if I can “attract” money. What matters is that I now understand what to do with the money I have.

 

 

Why Television is Slowing Your Progress in Business

“I’m not sitting in front of the TV or anything,” commented my friend who is recovering from a longtime drug addiction while discussing his progress, “I’m keeping busy.”

Why did he say that?

I’ll tell you why he said it! Because television is its own expression of addiction!

Why I Hate that Cursed Television

I’ve hated television for a long time. I don’t have one in my house and if someone wants to bring one in, they’ve got to hide it from me and use headphones when they’re using it.

When I got rid of my late husband’s television, I used it as a literal scapegoat. I wrote all of our sins on that thing and then took it to the recycler. He used to watch that electronic thief for hours, wasting time we could have spent together and fomenting depression.

The lure of television is so insidious that even I wasted hours in my youth, letting it draw me into its lair and terrify me with its endless negativity and salaciousness.

How the Television is Stealing Your Energy

The worst part of my use of television is that I knew better! I still remember learning in high school about the study that showed repeated exposure to television news makes people more fearful. I could feel in my own brain how it dulls us to reality and alters our ability to focus.

Why is this important? Let me tell you. Do you want to build a business? Yes? Well then, you need to be able to focus and use your time well.

I didn’t make this up. Darren Hardy wrote a whole book about it.

Television Steals Your Focus, Nature Restores It

Psychologists have studied this phenomenon of stolen attention and I’ll try to explain.

Say we have two kinds of attention…

You can focus on something deliberately or you can relax and just let things filter into your consciousness

When you focus, it takes a lot of energy and you need to take breaks. Scientists have found that spending time in nature (or perhaps with chickens in your backyard) helps your brain recharge. I imagine this is also why Brendon Burchard found that high performers take breaks in between tasks.

Television gives you the illusion that you are “resting”, but in fact you are not! The whole job of a television program is to keep you focused on the program so that you don’t change the channel and miss the advertising. It’s using your focused attention, the kind that requires a lot of energy, to achieve its own ends.

In other words, the television is tricking you into thinking you’re using it as a way to build up more energy to devote to your goals while in fact it’s quietly stealing your energy to meet its goals.

That explains why I have always felt like it alters my ability to focus. And it explains why I have been a hundred times more productive since I got rid of it.

Our Relationship with the Television is Bad for Us

I know, I know… whenever I talk about my hatred for television, my conversational partner always demurs.

“But, Bonnie,” they say, “I only watch a little of it and I enjoy it so much.”

I can’t soften my hardline views about television with integrity. I hate that thing and wish it had never been invented. But I’m not here to tell you how to live your life either. I’m just presenting the case and pointing out the pitfalls.

Watch television and movies if you want to, but be careful. Remember, our brains are very powerful and we are profoundly affected by the media we consume. Negative input breeds a negative outlook.

Choose Carefully

And worst of all, that stolen attention significantly slows your progress building your business. A business builder needs to be at her best and cultivate her ability to perform at her peak. Television is stealing the energy needed for peak performance.

So, what can I say? The choice is yours. Choose carefully.