Why I kicked TV shows and movies out of my life

There has always been this voice in my head that says watching TV shows or movies doesn’t really help: it neither solves any of my problems, nor helps me recover from all the stress and pressure. It dawned on me when I watched an interview by Steve Jobs in the early 90s on the topic of TV shows. He said(not the exact words though):

“People shut their minds when they got home. They don’t want to think anymore. The TV networks are feeding people exactly what they ask for; there is no conspiracy, they just offer what customers want, meet their demand.”

So true! When you stare at a screen, with a mixture of carefully manipulated voices, music and sounds of special effects on the background, you are drawn into the drama right in front of you. That screen becomes your whole world, in which you don’t think or ask questions. It’s an exciting world; you are too focused on the screen that you don’t have one second to stop and ask yourself, what is going on here?

Some might say, well, they could learn something from the movies. e.g. ” watching the poor girl striving for a better life, I feel so lucky and bit ashamed. I’ll do better tomorrow.”  In my opinion, this by no means falls into the definition of “learning”. To see why not, just look at if it answers yes to any of the following questions:

Are you making real any changes to your life? Can you recall the changes after 3 days?Are you gaining more energy afterwards? Better sleep, stronger muscles, better endurance?

If you can’t say yes to the above questions, then you didn’t learn, in my opinion.

TV shows and movies are entertainment, which by nature offers nothing but visual stimulation. They are not designed to help you stop and solve problems. You don’t get the sense of accomplishment out of watching Britain’s Got Talent; but more often than not, when you get back to your own life from all the glamor on screen, your life may seem more dusty and boring than before. Now you might feel both unaccomplished and discouraged. On the contrary, if you spend the time taking a real rest, or keep grinding on your work, you will have done something and gotten better in one way or another.

Of course, when it’s socially required, I will enjoy it, but also keep in mind that I’m neither learning nor resting; I’m spending energy and I’ll have to spend extra time to recover.


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