(In the past four days, I’ve unexpectedly lost a dear friend of more than thirty years, a nephew of 27 years, and received some very challenging and potential life-threatening news regarding a very dear younger friend. Unfortunately my experience is not unique compared to some, but for me it brought home how precious life is and why we should not passively watch life go by, but go out and live it! This article is dedicated to Aaron Yocum and Robin Souder who did, in fact, relish and live their life.)
Do you watch others chase their dreams or are you engaged in chasing your own?
Are you thinking for yourself or are you being fed information by others so as to form your opinion about life around you?
I like to watch sports, news, and more than enough television than I should probably admit, but we Americans have overdosed on television, and similar mindless, stationary pursuits. We have gone from a nation of doers to a nation of mindless watchers bordering on zombie-ism. What’s worse is that we have become not only mindless, but obese and unhappy too. Traveling abroad has really brought this home, as others are more active, vital, and engaged in life. Do you think I am exaggerating?
Statistics tell us that 85% of North American households last year did not buy one non-fiction book. Not one! If that amazes you, here is something even more amazing. 90% of those who bought a non-fiction book did not read it! Yet during that period of time these same people spent 85 BILLION DOLLARS on movies and watched television over 6 hours a day or 42 hours a week! And did you know that Americans read on average only one book in the rest of their entire life following their formal education? What do they rely on their ongoing continuing education – entertainers, athletes, pundits, and highly focused propaganda and advertising?
Are you addicted to the “plug-in drug” be it the TV, computer, or some similar device? Both American men and women are highly addicted to this powerful drug. Men will often criticize women for watching TV soap operas or other mindless TV programs, but they are not immune to this drug either. Watching TV sports is the most mindless, time wasting non-activity ever conceived by man. Watching a group of men high on testosterone running around and throwing a ball, and screaming at the TV for hours on end is absurd. There is nothing wrong with wanting to watch a special game or playoff, but to continually spend your nights and weekends watching these games is nothing short of being brain dead. I used to watch every golf tournament, and too many reality shows and sitcoms. When I reduced them and substituted reading, writing, communicating with others, exercising, volunteering, etc., I introduced a new and rewarding vitality into my life.
And then there are those pundits and advertisers that bombard you many times an hours with how to think, what to do, how to fit in, how to vote, and what to buy. Do you really want to give up your precious time on this planet listening and watching someone else? Or abdicate your power? How about thinking, reading, and exercising? Or how about talking or engaging with others within your home or outside of it if you are single?
For those who critique the powerful elite, you might as well criticize yourself for most have handed over all their power to them. With their advertising, they control you – no ifs, ands, or buts. By the way, how many televisions, computers, or Smartphone screens are there in your household? If you were without them, would you experience serious withdrawal, maybe even panic?
Now perhaps you say, “That’s not true in my household.” Perhaps. But look around and add up how many hours the TV is running in the background, or you are flipping the remote “just to see what’s on.” How about the time you are logging into your computer? Compare that to how much reading you do, engaging with family members, exercising, playing sports, or time spent in creative hobbies, or perhaps volunteering in your community, or learning or perfecting a skill.
No I am not perfect, nor do I pretend to be, but I am improving every day. Consider that we have become a nation of “watchers” instead of a nation of “doers.” Do your television viewing habits really enhance your life? Really? What if you were to only switch from entertainment shows (for zombies) to simply educational forum shows? We watch people entertain, play sports and do other activities but we rarely participate in these activities ourselves. It wouldn’t be so bad if you wanted to actually PLAY sports and get some exercise, but to watch others do it for hours on end is wasting thousands of hours of your life that could be used to bring you everything you truly desire. Most everyone you see on your television is busy chasing his or her dream, how about taking charge of your life and chasing yours?
Here is my point. If you don’t have the riches, the health, talents, relationships, or just the “stuff” you desire in your life, it is a clear indicator of how you are spending your time. I know, you need to relax, your friends are doing it, and you need to know the “score” or who has been eliminated from a game or reality show. In the meantime, we (you) are methodically being brainwashed into a fat disempowering stupor, and the qualities that gave us freedom and a nicer standard of living quietly are lost. So get out there and live life before it passes you by!