Thursday, April 01, 2010

No TV Part 1

I'm not giving it up.

But often when I watch, I'm also doing something else too.

But what if you wanted to give it up?

Tonight and tomorrow, I'll have two posts for you on the subject.

This is from the DLM Blog:

My Experiment to Break Free from TV

Posted: 21 Mar 2010 08:09 AM PDT

couch potato
A few years back, I decided to try a "no TV" experiment. I wanted to see if it was possible to give up television for an entire week. It wasn't as extreme as the 30 day experiment mentioned here, but it seemed like a good length of time to me. Actually, before beginning the experiment a single week of no TV seemed like a lifetime. I had grown quite attached to my TV, but I wanted to get back some of my time. I knew that my time could be spent in a more productive manner than watching TV, but I had grown quite accustomed to plopping down in front of the TV after work and vegging there until bedtime.

As I entered the experiment, I realized I had to overcome some of the excuses I had developed for keeping the TV on. I have heard the following excuses from others and also uttered them myself. I realized that these excuses were really just falsehoods keeping me away from exerting any effort to do anything... anything at all.
  1. I Just Turn it on for Background Noise
    We get accustomed to having noise in our lives. So much so that quiet time can feel quite uneasy or even frightening. We often thrive on that constant source of outside stimulation. The television is a poor source of background noise. Most programming leans toward the negative and some (like the evening news) can be downright depressing. Beyond that however, quiet time is very beneficial. In the quiet we are forced to listen to our own thoughts. We get the opportunity to think for ourselves. The quiet allows us to recharge those mental batteries.

  2. The Kids Watch It
    Ah, the ideal babysitter; needs no payment, doesn't complain, keeps the kids entertained for hours, and allows us parents to get some time to ourselves. It's pretty obvious that "the kids watch it" isn't really a good excuse. Sure the kids get sucked into some happy delightful children's programming and sure they may learn a thing or two, but how much more would they learn by using their own imaginations? We all know that we shouldn't let the kids watch too much TV, but we often long for some time to ourselves and permit that babysitter in a box to do our jobs as parents. And really, the TV doesn't make a very good parent. Our children would be a lot better off if we encouraged play time, reading, and imagination. Of course, part of this includes us getting involved with our children and participating in some of this play.

  3. I Like to Watch the Educational Programs
    I can't count the number of times I've heard someone say they watch TV for the educational programming like the Discovery Channel or The Learning Channel. The best way to approach this is to ask yourself if this "learning" is beneficial to you personally. Would buy a book to read about this topic? If the answer to that simple question is no, then you really aren't learning anything useful at all. I'm not sure how knowledge of Lions in Africa or Kangaroos in Australia will really benefit us in everyday life. Sure the topics may be interesting, but in reality they take away from time that could be spent actually learning; learning something beneficial that we could apply to our everyday lives.

  4. I Like to Relax and Unwind After a Hard Day of Work
    Unwinding after work is a great idea, but is watching TV really the best way? How about a warm bath, a good book, some light conversation with the family, a short nap, or lounging in a comfy chair in the back yard. All of these alternatives would be better ways to unwind. Additionally, that time spent unwinding in front of the TV often stretches into most of the evening. That bit of time intended for unwinding ends up being an evening wasted in front of the TV. I'm sure you can find better methods for unwinding that won't consume your evening.

  5. I Might Miss Something Good
    This was my excuse in my younger years. I hated missing something on TV, especially when everyone else was talking about it the next day. It's a lonely feeling to be left out of conversations just because you missed a TV program and had nothing to contribute. As you get older, the scene changes to coworkers around the water cooler, but the excuse remains. The difference is, as an adult, we should feel less pressure to fit in, and have more meaningful things to talk with our coworkers about. I have missed out on hundreds of "television" conversations at work. It's really not important to me anymore, and I can give a small smile on the inside when a "television" conversation begins because I know I've made better use of my time.
I came across an interesting quote recently:

You sit around watching all this stuff happen on TV. . . and the TV sits and watches us do nothing! The TV must think we're all pretty lame. -Shannon Wheeler

I think the quote hits it about right. My week without TV was a big success. I wasn't twitching, crying in the corner, or drenched in a cold sweat. I actually found myself reading more books, talking more with my wife, and generally enjoying the evenings more. We did allow the TV back into our lives, but on a much more limited basis. In fact, we eventually canceled our cable TV because we weren't getting good value out of the programming available. How about you? Are you ready overcome the excuses and try a No TV Experiment?

Written on 3/21/2010 by Eric Watermolen. Eric is a lifestyle blogger and amateur philosopher. He enjoys discussions of our path in life. You can find him at Eden Journal, where he posts a wide spectrum of articles from personal development to spiritual and philosophical awakenings..Photo Credit: rsc-sprice

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