TSA#3 – Watch what you are watching

Jan 14, 2013 by

I had planned on following up on the getting organized part 1 post from last week, but I had an epiphany last week.  So if you didn’t get started with last weeks post, get on it now.

I spent last week in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show and wow.  Let me tell you about all of the amazing products that no one needs…ever.  The 110 inch 4k TV was impressive to look at but seriously.  110 inches?  4k?  Who needs this?  Who is asking for this?  And apparently the big trend this year is the rise of devices and gadgets from China.  Apparently China can now crank out more TV’s and widgets faster and cheaper than Japan and such, so expect those cheap devices to be flooding into the US market soon. Yippee.

The real epiphany didn’t hit me on the chaos of the show floor, but rather back in the quiet of my hotel room, where there were only two 48 inch flat screen TV’s.  I don’t say this to brag that I had an awesome hotel room, but as a side note the Vdara hotel was the best hotel I’ve ever stayed at in Vegas and they were amazing and definitely earned my repeat business.

Now back to the epiphany.

I try not to watch too much TV.  I try.  It doesn’t always work.  Sometimes I just veg out and waste an evening in front of the TV.  I also try to delicately walk the line here between someone who is trying to do more with their time and not being that douchebag who goes around telling everyone that they do not own a TV.  I own a TV.  I own 2 TV’s.  I did however cancel my cable several years ago and here’s where the epiphany comes in.

Epiphany: Holy crap there is a lot of shit on TV.

I cancelled my cable because I wanted to watch less TV. I didn’t want to get rid of my TV altogether because I like watching movies and there are some TV’s shows I like.  I just wanted to watch less of them.  So now when I want to watch something its a deliberate choice that requires me to seek out that content.  I can’t just sit in front of the TV and flip channels until I find something.

I miss the flipping.

Since we don’t have cable TV at home, the wife and I love to flip channels when we are out at a hotel.  This is tremendously addicting.  It’s fun to see what is on all those 300 channels, but that fun quickly ends when you realize that there is a lot of shit on TV.  I don’t just mean bad program or low quality shows.  I mean shit.  It is horrible.  But that was only one part of the epiphany.

It’s not just the horrible shows on TV, it’s the commercials.  

Again I’m sorry if I’m getting a bit too preachy here, but hear me out on this one.  Even before we cut the cable I had a DVR that would automatically skip all the commercials so It’s been a great many years since I’ve been exposed to them.  OH MY GOD, the commercials.  I can’t imagine anyone buying anything after watching and listening to these things, but they must work otherwise they wouldn’t be there.

If you think I’m nuts, try this next time you watch TV.

Here comes your Truly Simple Action of the week:
Watch what you are watching.

This weeks TSA is probably the easiest yet.  I want you to watch TV.  

Watch TV during primetime when all the big shows are on.  This is when all the big money is spent on commercials.  Pick your favorite show(s) and do 2 things.  First write down what each commercial is selling and what category it belongs to.  Second, close your eyes and listen to the commercial only.  Don’t watch it.  Only listen to the words that are being spoken and really listen.

I don’t want to get into whether a show is “good” or not.  You should know that.  Is the show entertaining with good actors and good writing or does it expose bad people in bad situations to make you feel better about yourself?

The point of this exercise is to not only take a step back and really look at what you are consuming, but to really understand what you are subconsciously consuming hour after hour, day after day.  Look at what you wrote down.  What are you being sold?  What is constantly being pushed in front of you?  Do you need any of it?

It’s the commercials that just confounded me, and specifically the drug and pharmaceutical commercials that seem to proliferate the airwaves.

I literally could not believe what I was hearing.  Commercial after commercial.  I thought I had stumbled upon a SNL parody at some point.  These commercials can’t be real can they?   How could anybody consider using this product after hearing all of those side effects?   They sound worse than the disease they are aiming to help!

Perhaps I am naive here.  Perhaps I am very lucky to not be suffering from any of the ailments these drugs aim to cure.  Perhaps.

Or perhaps the cure to having trouble sleeping is to get up off the couch for 4-5 hours a night and go for a walk and get some exercise.

I’m not saying you need to throw away your TV.  I’m just saying you need to be VERY aware of what you are watching.

If 2013 is your year of simplifying your life and getting things accomplished, you will find all the spare time you need to accomplish those goals when you limit how much TV you watch.

Be aware of what you are watching and make some good choices about how much you watch.

Ben…

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