Are you gonna go my way…
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The 30-Day TV Fast…
Darkwing Duck was in a real jam. Multiple super-villains had joined forces to finish off the do-gooder once and for all. I was on the edge of my seat waiting with baited breath to see what would happen next.
How was he going to escape?…
Did he have any tricks left up his sleeve?…
And does he realize that he’s already 29 minutes in on a 30-minute time slot?
That’s when the camera zoomed in on Darkwing… and three words appeared at the bottom of the screen…
“To be continued…”
WTF?… ‘To be continued…’? Can they do that??
I wanted answers NOW!
Waiting 24 hours for the exciting conclusion seemed like an ill-conceived torture to a second grade boy who just wanted to make sure his favorite super hero would live to fight another day.
I believe Full House’s Stephanie Tanner captured my sentiment best:
It wasn’t until many years later, that I discovered the antidote for the typical end-of-episode cliffhanger that leaves the captivated viewer desperate for more.
My friend, Fiju, gave me a box set of DVD’s containing every episode from Season 1 of Fox’s legendary thriller, 24.
When Fiju gave me these DVD’s, I had no idea who Jack Bauer was, but figured I’d watch an episode to appease him (as I was certain he was overhyping how amazing this show actually was).
In the following 24 hours I only left my bedroom for food and bathroom breaks.
I. Was. Hooked.
It was my first “binge” watching experience… completing the entire 1st season of 24 in a fittingly equivalent 24 hours.
No longer was I held hostage for a week to discover what cunning heroics Jack would employ to save the country from certain annihilation. Every episode was at my beckon call.
Sleep could wait. After all, Jack Bauer was making much bigger sacrifices that me.
While 24 gets the nod for popping my ‘binging cherry’… it would not be my last binge.
In the most recent 12 months, I’ve become familiar with such online TV apps as Netflix and Hulu.
Such apps have taken my binging capability to a whole notha level.
In fact it’s become a common inquiry on Facebook…
“What should I binge watch next?”
Even dating profiles echo this emerging addiction…
“Just looking for a nice guy who can make me laugh and will binge watch Netflix with me. Also swipe left if you’re a Trump supporter.”
Live TV is quickly becoming a dinosaur as more and more people are cutting the cord on cable and streaming entertainment when it suits their personal preference.
While binging capabilities certainly offer more convenience and more of an immersive experience to its watchers… it doesn’t come without it’s side effects.
Research shows that television consumption slips the brain into an alpha wave state… meaning you are no longer consciously participating in the experience and you are literally more receptive to programming.
In other words, you become more passive while staring at the tube.
And perhaps there is a time and a place for being passive…
The trouble comes when we get so enraptured in fictional stories that we forget to write our own.
It’s a tall order after all…
I’m not sure if my life will ever be as compelling to an outside observer as Jack Bauer’s. But it would behoove me to remember that Jack Bauer isn’t real. (Unless you’re talking about my chicken, Jack Bauer, who is by far the toughest damn bird I’ve ever known. Go figure.)
Recently, I found myself locked in to a Daredevil binge. It started out innocently enough.
One episode per day.
And then three and four…
And in the course of about 2 weeks I had watched 2 entire seasons of my new favorite Marvel super hero.
I neglected my own life and personal goals.
And worse, I found myself complaining that there didn’t seem to be enough time in a week to churn out all the content that I want to create for my business and for my clients.
Let’s face it… if you want to write a blog post, prepare and record a podcast episode, design a week’s worth of workout routines, shoot videos for your social media outlets, consume and study new information, and read a book per week… then you have to get better at optimizing your 24.
(Bear in mind that when it comes to time resources, whether you’re Oprah, LL Cool J, The Rock, or Joe Schmo… we’re all on even playing ground in the sense that we get the same 24 hours in a day.)
As I was pondering my time crunch dilemma, my favorite podcaster/hero/spirit animal, Ben Greenfield, described on a podcast how he was able to accomplish so much in a day while still allotting quality time for his wife and twin boys.
I listened intently as he promised some bullet points for increasing efficiency.
“Rule #1: I don’t watch TV.”
I should’ve known he was going to say something I didn’t want to hear. But rather than ignore the advice, I had to examine why I’d had such a visceral reaction.
Conclusion… I’m a TV addict.
I use TV as a relaxation technique.
Usually 1 hour when I get home from Vetta and eat my first meal of the day.
And 1 hour with dinner as well.
2 hours a day. Not bad… right?
But I find this doesn’t totally encapsulate the issue.
There’s the hour of TV… But that comes with an additional 30 minutes to an hour for me to re-engage and get back into a “Deep Work” mode.
In essence, 2 hours a day could actually be 4 hours per day of wasted productivity time. That’s TWENTY HOURS of wasted time just on weekdays.
While TV is providing me with a chance to unwind… it’s also turning off the higher functioning power of my brain, which, coincidentally, takes longer to power up than power down.
Per Astrid Alauda (no idea who that is, but liked this quote):
“Television is an anesthetic for the pain of the modern world.”
So upon concluding my Daredevil binge, at Greenfield’s recommendation, I also committed to a 30-Day TV fast.
Frankly, I didn’t think it would be that difficult.
But on Day #1, I found myself itching like a drug addict giving up the ‘yam-yam’.
Peterman: That’s right, Elaine. White lotus. Yam-yam. Shanghai Sally.]
In the absence of TV, which usually fills the gaps… I found myself a little lost without my friendly zone-out crutch.
Also like a drug addict though, the first few days of detox were the hardest.
Eventually, I found better uses for my newly recovered hours in the day.
Time for reading and catching up on podcasts that educate my brain rather than shut it down. Time for walks and mini workouts. Time to brainstorm or just reflect or be grateful or just BE.
What was uncomfortable at first ultimately helped me get more done and raised my level of self-confidence.
Is TV secretly eating away at your life and your goals?
Perhaps you might benefit from a trial fast, as I did.
Don’t get me wrong… I haven’t quit TV for good.
I’ll certainly still enjoy some agenda-free time on the weekends. And rest assured that I won’t miss an episode of The Walking Dead when it returns this fall.
But at least for my own personal quest, I’m glad I heeded Ben’s advice to go without for a while as I feel more in control at this point.
In closing, I’m not trying to tell you that all TV is all bad. Or that you’re a “bad person” for indulging.
But let this serve as a warning…
Don’t let TV be a silent thief in the night if you have ambitions that you’re trying to execute on.
AND… if you don’t have ambitions you want to execute on… you might want to look into that too. 😉
CJ’s Book of the Week:
“Beyond Training” by Ben Greenfield
“Skedge” for 8/6/18-8/11/18
Manchester (Class Times: Mon-Fri @ 5:30/7:00/8:30am & Satuday @ 7am)
Monday: Lower (CJ)
Tuesday: Upper (CJ)
Wednesday: Core (CJ)
Thursday: Lower (CJ)
Friday: Upper (CJ)
Saturday: Core (CJ)
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St. Louis Fitness Bootcamp