Screw Television – It’s Time To Find Your Passion
It happened again last week. It happened again the week before. Truth be told, it has happened numerous times throughout my existence. It’s just when it happens now, it affects me more than it used to.
I’d like to say that I have perfect control over it but I can’t because I don’t. I’d even like to say that I can shut it out of my life but once again, I can’t.
There’s something about it that draws me in and when the urge overcomes me, there’s nothing I can do to resist it. My wife and I make every attempt to contain it to just once during each week and up until recently, this worked.
Sunday night. Every Sunday night. We called it blob night. It was the night that we permitted ourselves to take some time off and indulge. But when the time is right and there is a full moon or any moon for that matter, blob night finds a way to trickle into other evenings.
Yes, blob night becomes Wednesday night, Thursday night, Friday night and as many other nights as it takes.
My most recent relapse occurred last week. I had successfully resisted Iron Fist for two months but I could resist no more. Just one episode I told myself. That’s all I need…just one more hit. I failed and failed hard. 13 episodes hard.
And now that it’s mercifully all over, I am left to pick up the pieces of my shattered willpower in an attempt to rebuild it.
Why does it have to be this way?
I’m not an addict, although thinking about it, that’s probably what an addict would convince themselves of. I don’t crave television. I actually don’t even enjoy it. My wife and I unplugged our cable 4 years ago. To me, it’s nothing but mindless entertainment and after each indulgence, I feel a tremendous amount of guilt.
I don’t even have a “show” that I tune into watch. Or at least I don’t think I do.
No, I watch a genre.
Comic book shows. They “get” me and they “get” me every time. I’d sell my left kidney for any viewable comic book adaptation. Truthfully, I’d probably sell both kidneys.
Maybe, maybe I am an addict.
Maybe we’re all addicts. The television has us on speed dial and can sense when we’re feeling low. With a smile, a wink and a glance, it catches our attention and reminds us of who is in charge. The moment that we turn it on a surge of happiness courses through our bodies that take us away to a world unlike our own.
For mere moments (or days) we are allowed to live our lives as someone who we would and potentially could never be. And we love it. Television knows that it can consume us and it makes every attempt to do so.
Unlike every other relationship that we have in our lives, television requires no commitment to it from us. Our commitment is not to our black boxes but rather to our own mind-numbing desires to leave one world behind for another.
Never would you allow yourself to commit to something so controlling, but with television we freely do it. At its base, it hinders any and all ability to find your passion.
I suppose this commitment isn’t our fault. Or at least that’s what we tell ourselves as the minutes turn into hours and the hours to days. After each occurrence, we slowly peel ourselves from the inevitable ass grooves that we have created to shuffle off to bed. Just before we turn out the lights, we look to our televisions and say “next time will be different”.
But it isn’t. It never is.
I’m proof of it.
Iron Fist, Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones were each just 13 episodes and if I did it correctly, I could’ve finished each in 13 weeks. Actually, had I followed the plan my wife and I laid out, “blob night” would’ve allowed me 3 episodes per week and after 4 short weeks, I would’ve finished each series. I could’ve done that.
But I didn’t.
Foregoing all other commitments I had, I started and finished each show in 3 days.
And now I sit here still wondering the answer to my initial question…why?
Could the chemicals be responsible?
After all, dopamine is responsible for the gross negligence of everything that doesn’t motivate us. Dopamine is the reward chemical that lives for a “way to go” or a friendly pat on the back after we’ve done something good.
It is single-handily (kind of) responsible for the creation of the lists that we give ourselves to complete. It gets great satisfaction as we scratch out, cross off, or check mark each item that we set out for ourselves.
As we watch television, dopamine is unleashed into our bodies with each breathtaking moment, cliffhanging commercial break, and surprise ending. Upon its release, it looks at our lifeless bodies and prepares to ask us the most devastating question in existence…” what happens next?”
This simple question pushes us to continually tune in and watch our favorite shows with reckless abandonment because we become more concerned with what will happen to Gary, Betty, and their dog Spot than the world around us.
We can’t completely blame dopamine, however. It is responsible for some of the greatest things in existence. Without it, we would never find the motivation to continue at life’s greatest challenges when they become too hard. Dopamine will help you find your passion if you let it.
If dopamine mustn’t shoulder all the blame, what else might be responsible for the over-reliance on television?
Stress, we must blame stress.
Find your passion? How can you when stress is involved?
Television provides us a way to turn off the world that we do know and fall deep into a world that we don’t know. For a short period of time, we are able to assume the lives of those who have easier lives than we do or who have it harder than we do. In either instance, it serves as a wonderful reminder of the pleasantry of our own lives.
It really doesn’t matter though. Both ways suit us just fine. Easy…hard…it really doesn’t make a difference.
Of course, the option of less dumbed down versions of stress relief is always available to us but we rarely do those. Television is easy and requires no effort other than hitting a few small buttons on a remote. It’s easy to not find your passion when a concoction of television and stress is brewing.
And that’s most likely why I watched thirteen, one-hour episodes of Iron Fist in a mere three days. It was dumbed down, mindless entertainment that allowed me to escape into a fantasy world. And I enjoyed every moment of it.
However, this isn’t without irony. While watching the show felt heavenly, sitting here and calculating how much time I wasted causes me stress.
Understand that a surge of dopamine and decreasing stress may sound good but remember, nothing is as good as it seems.
Television doesn’t come without a warning.
Television, like few other things, can propel a tornado of negativity into our lives. It constantly reminds us of all that is negative in the world.
The news isn’t made to educate us anymore. In actuality, the news is created to sell the commercials within its broadcast and nothing sells quite like the themes mentioned above. The news has become a nightly reminder of all that is tragic in the world. Instead of offering up solutions to our day-to-day conundrums, the news offers up hatred, tragedy, with the occasional “fluff” story sandwiched in between.
What’s worse is we crave it. We live for it. If we didn’t it wouldn’t still broadcast into our homes.
What’s the alternative? What can we do instead of watching television? Is there a way to escape the constrictor type grip it has over our lives?
Sure. There’s always a way.
The question is, are we prepared to do it. Will we, can we give up everything that we know so we may free ourselves? Will you do whatever it takes to find your passion?
Yes, yes we can. Yes, you can. It’ll take work. Like the cocaine that keeps the rat coming back for another hit, television won’t give up without a fight.
It takes a commitment to ourselves. It takes a strong desire to not only want more out of like than a bright screen provides but to do more as well. More bluntly, it takes something to get us up off our asses and away from the television.
Each of us knows that one thing that brings out our most tucked away emotions. You know, the ones that we hide from the world in fear of embarrassment. The one that is the key that allows you to find your passion. We must no longer hide them but embrace them instead. It is rooted in these where we will find the courage, will, and fortitude required to get up and do something other than watch television.
Remember, television is easy. Meeting our innermost needs is hard. Reversing the order of priority is harder.
The moment that we are left in a state of “I don’t know where to begin”, we must start by analyzing the five W’s that we were taught so long ago. Who, what, where, when, and of course, why.
- Who is important?
- What is important?
- Where was I when I realized the importance?
- When in my life was it important?
- Why was it/why are they important?
Be warned. Once you have the answer to these, don’t for a second think that you now possess the magical answer. This, these questions are only the beginning.
My fear is that the end (which never actually occurs) will be our sole focus when in fact our focus must be on the beginning. Unfortunately, the beginning will seem far too challenging, making the allure of the television all the more strong.
When this occurs, we must remind ourselves that all great things started somewhere but not in front of the television. This, this is how you find your passion.
Cheers to your success,