This may come to as shock to many of you, but The Stoic is part of the one percent. Sure we hear a lot about this group and in recent years they have been outright demonized. I’m sure to many we are indeed a misunderstood group. Being a member of this exclusive club has substantially benefited my life. I live a much richer and stimulating existence and find myself surrounded by some the greatest minds that have ever lived. I’m truly blessed.
The great thing is you could be a part of the one percent as well if you really wanted to. Sure it will take some hard work and even a little sacrifice, but the rewards are worth it. Want to know how? Get rid of your television 🙂
To be fair the most recent Neilsen statistics that measure such things as television ownership in the U.S. show that although households owning televisions have stayed at 99% for the past couple of decades, that number has recently fallen to about 97%. Those figures just didn’t work with the title. I hope you will forgive me.
Before I get into how I ended up kicking my T.V. habit I wanted to share a couple of other statistics:
What else could you do with all that time?
The beginning of breaking my bond with television started while I was in Afghanistan. I began to order books from Amazon at an alarming rate. I just have to say that I’m amazed at how quickly mail can get to an APO address. No matter what little FOB I was on I could get packages in about a week. That is amazing!
Slowly I began to wean myself from needing to watch the T.V. I read more, ran more, exercised more and just found other ways to entertain myself. This time was also the beginning of my meditation walks. These are still part of my routine and with warmer weather around the corner, will become even more frequent.
Going without a T.V. gives a person so much more time to do the things that they didn’t have time to do before. I don’t know what your interests are, but I’m quite sure you would be able to pursue those interest with more vigor even if you are not one of the people watching several hours of T.V. a day. If you happen to watch more, the payoff for you is even greater.
Besides gaining a great deal of your time back I also notice that my focus is much better. I’ve always read, but before I would get distracted by other thoughts and run off to do other things. Now I find that I have to stop myself from sitting around and reading all day. Without the endless commercials bombarding me from the television I’ve found that the quality of my thoughts are deeper and that my desires are more subdued. I don’t want as much as I once did. I don’t listen to near as much radio as I once did for the same reason; endless commercials constantly telling me about stuff I really have no desire for. It is really scary for me to think about whether the hours of television I have consumed since a child are responsible for my wants or if they originated from within me, uninfluenced by advertising. Perhaps it has always been this way, but I find it deeply troubling that most of American life is one big shopping spree. We had Christmas, followed by Valentine’s Day, Easter and even commercials preparing you for what you can spend your tax refund on! Perhaps I’m just getting old and cranky or perhaps having unplugged from an endless stream of “manufactured” wants being pumped into my head I realize how annoying this kind of stimulation is. You have to be able to look at it from the outside in. When you are still a part of it, it seems like the norm.
I think a deeper, richer experience of life can be enjoyed if a person/family decides to get rid of their television sets. I don’t know what impact not watching T.V. will have on your life, but I’m fairly certain it would be a positive experience. Yes, there will be separation anxiety in the beginning. Yes, it will take you a while to develop new habits to fill in those 28 hours of T.V. viewing you once did. Hang in there though. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the benefits you receive by giving yourself back some much-needed time and being a part of the one percent (or three percent) makes you even more unique than you already are!