“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.
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.