The American dream, a 65 inch TV with surround sound and high definition programming. Televisions mounted above the fireplace, at the centeir point of the man cave or prominently placed in a living room wall unit. Many of us are fortunate enough to live that dream today. But, far too many are letting that dream become a nightmare. What’s even scarier is the nightmare doesn’t feel like a nightmare. It is not scary at all. It is actually welcomed. That nightmare has masterfully camouflaged itself as comfort. Since we all seek comfort the nightmare infiltrates itself into our daily routines. The routine that is a nightmare is one that includes always having the television on.
The need for the television to always be on can be fueled by the fear of missing out. If you don’t watch the news you may miss something important. If you don’t scroll through the guide you may miss an opportunity to watch something entertaining. Information sharing and entertainment are core benefits from watching TV. Both of which are great things to add to your life. How is this television watching becoming a nightmare again? The original thesis doesn’t make sense. By leaving the TV on you are insuring you don’t miss out on information or some good entertainment. How can that be bad?
Having a television and using it is not the nightmare. Having the television always on is the nightmare for the typical adult. The typical adult has to go to work most days. At work you will spend 8-10 hours of your day working at someone else’s directive. As an exceptional employee your thoughts and actions will be focused on doing well for your employer. That will include some self-development as long as it improves your performance as an employee. Yet, the majority of the time the company will be placed first.
Now what if as soon as you awaken each morning you turn the television on? Then after preparing for the day you turn the television off as you leave the house. On your commute to work you decide to listen to a radio morning show. Then you spend those 8-10 hours at work. You commute back home listening to an afternoon radio show or making hands free Bluetooth calls to friends and family. When you arrive back home you turn the television on again. The television then stays on until you fall asleep later that night. Sound familiar? Sound comfortable? When it is all said and done you’ve spent a lot of time under someone else’s control.
You spent all your day thinking. The question is what were you thinking about? What was inside of your mind? Whatever it was you were not fully in control of it. You couldn't control what the TV program shared in the morning. You couldn't control the topics discussed on the radio. When you were at work your mind could hear all the sounds of the office. You couldn't control what was being said. The cycle continued as you drove home and arrived to turn the TV back on. There was an exorbitant amount of time where you were not fully in control of what was entering in your mind.
And whatever enters your mind will impact what you think about. You know this to be true because when you want to concentrate you gravitate to silence. You do your best brainstorming in silence. You get your best results on a test in silence. You comprehend what you read the best in silence. You also do your best self-reflection in silence.
In this typical day how much time was spent in self-reflection? The answer to this question is important because self-reflection is often the most neglected thinking that is done all day. This is unfortunate because self-reflection is a key to your success. There is one person on this earth that will determine how successful you will become. That person is you. Thus, you must get the best results when spending time with yourself. You need to self-reflect in silence.
That means turning off the television to spend time in self-reflection. When you don’t self-reflect you stay in your nightmare of not reaching your potential. When you don’t self-reflect you take your cues from outside sources and relinquish your own control. When you don’t self-reflect you miss the opportunity to enhance your awareness of what is happening in your life.
Sure you can self-reflect with the television on. You can self-reflect with the radio on. You can self-reflect among the multiple conversations being held in the office. But in each of those scenarios your brain can hear those outside influences. Your self-reflection will be diminished. Even a slight diminishment can impair your ability to improve. The best self-reflection is done in silence. You have a duty to create that silent environment.
This is your reminder to think about your environment the next time you pick up the remote to turn on the television. Is there some information you want to get right now? Are you turning the television on because you desire some specific entertainment right now? Have you spent some time in self-reflection today and is this an opportunity to do so instead?
You are in control of your success. Take action every day to maintain that control. The real American dream is to be successful at living your best life. The nightmare is going through life and knowingly diminishing your ability to do so. Turn off the television and welcome the silence. Your self-reflection will benefit you greatly once you decide to do it. As always, I wish you the best and remind you to enjoy the journey.