Is TV making you dumb?

Back in December, my wife and I made a decision to turn our TV off and stop watching it. We went cold-turkey.

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When making this decision, we also agreed upon a few guidelines.

  1. A movie on Friday or Saturday night was perfectly acceptable.
  2. The Olympics, of course, were exempt from all rules. Canada crushed it.
  3. If one of us wanted to watch TV, that was fine. We wouldn’t judge each other.

    We weren’t creating the ten commandments of the Fleming Household, instead we just decided that there were other things we’d rather be doing with our limited free-time.

It’s now almost May, and I’m pleased to say that we haven’t watched TV since before Christmas of 2009.

So here’s a little about my experience living without television.

I’ve read close to 40 books since mid December. I used to say I didn’t have time to read. That was an excuse. I have gained more amazing and applicable business knowledge in the past four months than many people gain over the course of a year or two, or maybe more.

I believe an investment in myself and my own knowledge will rival that of a paid MBA degree over the course of a year.

I’ve blogged nearly 5-days a week since February.

I’ve blogged about  New York Times’ (NYT)  best-selling books like ReWork, and my review has even been included on their official reviews page.

I’ve been sent free, advanced copies of killer unreleased books, that will no doubt be on the NYT best seller list, for  my review on this blog.

I used to say I didn’t have time to blog.

My wife and I go for nice long walks each night. We used to forgo the walk to catch the latest episode of obese people trying to lose weight.

How ironic. We were watching severely overweight people in a desperate life-or-death struggle to lose weight caused by a static and sedentary lifestyle in the first place, the exact same activity we were engaging in while viewing.

Anyways, I’m not going to be preach to you about watching TV versus not watching TV, even though new research shows that TV not only causes ADD, but also increases the risk of mental health problems.

However, I do want to say this about the subject:

If you’re spending long drawn out days doing something you don’t absolutely friggin love, then why are you spending the little time you do have investing your energy into an activity that requires literally zero brain function?

TV requires the single simple skill of processing images and not much more. Most TV shows are created so we don’t need to think. It’s a sedentary activity that basically lulls your brain into a coma-like state.

Very basic memory and concentration skills are required to watch and understand TV shows, regardless of how smart and challenging we want to believe some new shows are.

I’m just saying… You’ve got a great brain that wants to be challenged and engaged and you’re doing it a disservice by plopping down on the sofa for four hours each night.

It’s begging you for the opportunity to grow!

It wants to try new things!

It wants to learn new hobbies!

It wants to read and be challenged to think!

It wants to expand the potential and possibilities of your life!

And deep down, it hates just sitting around and being sedated.

My suggestion is to choose wisely both where and how you invest the small amounts of free time you have. Your brain will thank you in so many ways.