No, I’m not calling anyone an idiot nor am I calling myself an idiot for something stupid I’ve done (even though I’ve done a lot of idiotic things).
And the word lantern is indeed relevant to this post, just not apart from the first word.
Put these two words together and they perfectly describe the most life-sucking (my opinion) thing humans have ever invented.
Idiot Lantern. You’ve also heard it called the boob tube, the telly, and most commonly, the TV.
I’m going to stick with the Idiot Lantern because I firmly believe that’s what it really is.
Before I go any further, let me throw a disclaimer out there before everybody goes irate on me and starts calling me a hypocrite.
Yes, I do watch some TV. Yes, I enjoy a mindless show occasionally…usually Family Guy. Yes, I do tend to waste 3 hours every Saturday in the fall watching the Ohio State Buckeyes. Yes, I do tend to waste 3 more hours the next day on Sundays in the fall watching the Cleveland Browns (truly a waste of time). And, yes, I sometimes watch, and thoroughly enjoy, Project Runway with my wife.
There is nothing wrong with a little down time in such a busy world…
…BUT, make no mistake; it’s still an Idiot Lantern and a time/life waster.
For example, if you replace your nightly hour (the average American watches 4.8 hours per night) on the Idiot Lantern with reading a book on your passion, over the next year you will have accumulated 365 more hours worth of knowledge about something you love. Here’s an excerpt from one of the best books out there on success, Jack Canfield’s The Success Principles:
[guestpost] “Jim Rohn, America’s foremost motivational philosopher, also suggests you use that 1 extra hour a day to read. He taught me that if you were to readone book a week, in 10 years you’d have read 520 books and in 20 years, more than 1,000 books—enough to easily put you in the top 1% of experts in your ﬁeld. Add to those the books from masters in related areas and you’d have an edge that others simply don’t have.” [/guestpost]
Think about where you would be with 1,000 books read on the one topic you’re most passionate about…then think about the time wasted watching TV, watching somebody else live out their dream.
Ok, back on track.
Unfortunately, I was not clever enough to come with such an accurate description for the TV. Jake actually found it in a book he was reading and read it out loud to me. It’s from a book by Susan Griffith and it’s called Work Your Way Around the World. I haven’t even read the book and I already love it.
The quote that it was mentioned in phrases perfectly my view on this life. It comes down to the idea that I only have a “finger-snap of time”, and wasting even a fraction of time on the Idiot Lantern is taking time away from walking my talk and accomplishing the dreams I’ve imagined for my life.
The quote is from one of the book’s contributing authors and can be found on the book’s very first page:
[guestpost] “I think it comes down to the fact that we are only on this planet for a finger-snap of time and if you have any kind of urge for a bit of adventure, then my advice would be to go for it! And even if it goes all horribly wrong, you can look people in the eyes and say ‘Well, at least I gave it a try.’ You can work 9-5 in an office or factory all day, come home, switch on the Idiot Lantern and sit there watching Michael Palin traveling the world – or you can be bold, seize the day, and do something amazing. One thing I can guarantee: when we are lying on our deathbed many years from now, we will not be saying to ourselves ‘Oh, I wish I’d spent more time at that dead-end job and had a little less adventure in my life!” [/guestpost]
Phew! Reading this out loud and typing it at the same time has a lot more power than I realized. I literally stopped for a second and said, ‘phew’ out loud. That wasn’t for writing effect; I’m not creative like that.
Now go re-read that quote.
Maybe you don’t want to travel the world but maybe you want to be a sick-nasty DJ or maybe you want to own a teashop or even own a costume store. I don’t care what it is. We all have something.
For me, I want to travel the world and document it for others to see, and sitting down to watch the Idiot Lantern will hardly, if at all, help me do that.
I actually have a big screen projector with surround sound, but the screen is rarely down for a few reasons. One, I don’t have cable to watch ANY TV and, two, we have massive whiteboards on our wall and we’re constantly using them to help us walk our talk.
Instead of watching TV, I now focus on my whiteboards and how those are going to help me get what I want in this life.
When I used to watch TV after work I’d always find myself dreaming about the things I wanted to do, but instead of actually working towards them, I would continue to flip the channels between Seinfeld and one of Jerry Bruckheimer’s 17 shows that have the same overall theme.
Sometimes I’ll look back at all the time I’ve spent watching the Idiot Lantern and ask myself, ‘How much closer to the life I imagined would I be if I eliminated 80% of my time in front of the TV?’
I’m staying off the couch so I can actually walk my talk.
How much closer to accomplishing your dream would you be if you eliminated an hour of TV and used that hour to learn more about how to accomplish your dream?
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