Many early evenings, I take my dog to a nearby off-leash park to throw the ball around enough to tucker her out. Across from this field are two beautiful condo towers – high-end, low-maintenance living for those who still want mountain views in the city. Floor to ceiling windows and big units – they’re charming. However, thanks to those massive windows, I can’t help but be a little nosy. Be it winter or summertime, I notice the same setup happening in those two towers during the evenings. Either the lights are out (likely no one home), or the unit is lit up by a TV screen…
These towers provide an excellent snapshot, in my opinion, of society. Year-round, either people are not home, or they’re home and watching TV in the evenings. We all know TV is a giant waste of time (although in moderation it’s fine like anything – I’m not here to lecture on binge-watching your favourite show for a week out of the year), yet so many kill much of their opportunity for personal growth watching the boob tube. Why? Because it’s easy. And easy things have a way of becoming habitual.
Your Free Time Will Define Who You Become
I’m writing to remind all of us that what we do with our time, especially our free time, ends up determining the height of our ceiling in life. All of us go to work for the standard eight hours (many successful folks spend far more time working than that), but what do we do beyond our work time? That’s what makes us interesting.
Imagine how much smarter or opportunistic you would be had you read biographies on great people in history, business, and politics instead of watching TV or surfing social media… Your world view would change, likely for the better. Alternatively, imagine, instead of watching TV two hours a day, you filled that time with a new hobby — say a martial art, road biking, a cooking class, whatever.
The point is, your time, specifically your free time, is the most valuable currency you possess; and, no matter what, you’re spending more of it every day. Until one of the tech titans in Silicon Valley discovers the fountain of youth drug, your time won’t ever replenish. It’s a finite resource. If you look back on your life (and you most certainly will… why do you think there are so many grumpy old men out there?) when you’re old and grey, you think you’re going to say to yourself, “I really loved spending over 100,000 hours of my life watching TV”?
Not a chance.
N.B. What’s scary is I didn’t pull 100,000 hours of television watching in a lifetime out of thin air. The figure is based on real data. The average American watches 10-20% more than that in a lifetime. Click here for the data from a New York Times article.
Life Isn’t About Work, Work, Work – But it is About Personal Progress
I’m not one of those freaks who thinks all we should ever be doing is working, or ‘grinding’ as they like to call it. There is more to life than always trying to accomplish something in the pursuit of money; and of course, there is a time and place to relax and be a couch potato. But, watching TV every day, or even every other day? To routinely sit on your couch for a couple of hours and watch some mediocre show (95% of what’s on TV these days is pure garbage with terrible writing and a ridiculous plot) will KILL your potential and contribute to a what could have been scenario.
I appreciate being reminded of how we waste time as humans when I walk my dog near the two towers. It keeps me attentive to what I’m doing with my free time and encourages me not to waste it, nor my potential. One of my favourite quotes of all time comes from Henry Ford. The famed entrepreneur and automobile pioneer said,
“It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste.”
PS – As entrepreneurs, we all need a pick-me-up from time to time. Let me help with that. Subscribe to my newsletter below. Only my best content will land in your inbox.