Photo Credit: Annalog85, www.sxc.hu

Whenever I look at most Filipino household nowadays, I get sad. After doing their work (and sometimes even the work is not yet done), they would slouch on a couch and lazily flick the remote to turn their TV. Yawns. Empty eyes. Complaints. Tears. Occasional burst of laughter.

The box presents shining images all day. And when its audience get sloppy about the show, they would switch it to other channel to find something that will ease their itchy boredom.

No doubt about it, TV is one of the best product of human ingenuity. But like how we have twisted the glory of money and sex to something sickening, TV became something that slashes large part of our life. It pollutes our thinking with not-so-good-but-funny philosophies. What they show on it must be all true right? It’s not. And the damage of too much consumption of its offerings are alarming. But we even learned to ignore the damage by being too engrossed with it. Pathetic.

Here are the reasons why TV doesn’t deserve your free time:

Deteriorated thinking prowess

You might think that it has the opposite effect, but no. Every scenes on TV were already imagined and crafted by the director, so all what we are doing are passive munching. Psychologist confirmed that TV addicts are less concentrated about almost anything. Their brains slowly loses its muscles after each show. They are the champions of complaining tournaments. “This is hard! I can never do this. Give me the remote instead.” 


Distraction

Many students, instead of doing their homework and exert extra effort on difficult subjects, will just sat there and watch the rerun of that anime for the seventh time. Even some parents are forgetting to fix the roof or clean the stinking toilet because they are so sapped out by the TV! What a habit.

Family time is (dramatically) reduced and neglected.

If we let that talking box devour much of our time, then real drama will come to our family: sulky wife, stupid husband, rebellious son, pregnant daughter (“But we’ve seen it on TV and it looks real fun, so we gave it a try”), or even an indifferent dog. Why? We cheated ourselves! We forgot to cultivate our relationships with time and attention. Don’t let your own family drama end with a bad one.

Wasted time

A quarter and half minute commercials multiplied by hundreds. Lots of scenes that amounts to nothing. Do we really want to live a life? Really? How can we waste our precious time with those colorful commercials? And you’re wondering where your time goes?

Unpleasant Influences

The most appalling thing is that TV is not just an entertainment box, it is also a silent influence box. Just watch for a week, and something will change in your words and actions. Yes, it can influence us for good, but c’mon, 90% of what it’s spewing are garbage. Talk to majority of people and you’ll hear their ‘common’ wisdom that came from TV. Many came to their adulthood without even going once to a seminar or read a book where 90% of the lessons are gold.

“You are losing a lot of good stuff if you’re not watching TV,” you might say. Yes, but mentors, seminars, and books also have them. And in higher doses and without those silly commercials.

Even some who claim to be religious are more influenced by their TV than their religious text. It’s sad to see an individual who knows more about the latest pick-up lines of Vice Ganda and project a blank face if you ask him/her about John Maxwell. Whereas the one will just give you a trivial (sometimes disrespectful) laugh for a moment but the latter will give you deep encouragement to hope at your most difficult time.

Elated infidelities and love scenes flashing every night. Are we not thinking about their subtle influences to the rampant cases of premarital sex, abortion, and early wedding ceremonies in our society?

Frankly, I can’t stand the complaints of Filipinos saying that life is too hard. Majority of these complainers are just classic ‘tambays’ (jobless person or a slacker too lazy to create his own resume) watching SpongeBob every day. Have you forgotten what Jose Rizal said! We’re next in line so don’t doze off at the line!

We don’t need to ditch the TV altogether (It’s a pain if you just bought an expensive flat-screen). But let’s be responsible in watching it. What can we do about it? 

  • Position the TV elsewhere. Oh man, I’m begging you, don’t put that TV in the living room, not in the most prominent place inside the house where real family interaction must happen. Instead, put it in a separate room where it won’t get majority of attention.
  • Limit the time Limit your time with it because real life doesn't happen when you’re watching it. Create a schedule. Watch one to two shows every night or 1 hour every day or 10 hours every week. Watch reasonably but don’t spend your life on it! 
  • Find a more fulfilling hobby. Okay, let me clear things out, watching TV is not a hobby! Find an activity that has more life essence in it. Nurture your mind, exercise your body, and use your talents. Play tennis. Try gardening. Blog. Who knows, you may even earn substantial income doing what you love. 
  • Ditch the TV. Okay, I’ve changed my mind. Some of us can swallow the pain of shutting the box off forever. I even want to purchase a bow to do some Katniss Everdeen assault to our TV. Marriage counselors said that not having a TV on the first year of marriage leads to more fulfilling and connected relationship. Wow! I believe it is also applicable for other relationships.
Jim Rohn, a business philosopher, told a fascinating story about TV. One day, Jim was invited by a man to come to his house. Inside, he saw a new TV prominently placed on the living room.
“How much that TV costs you?” Jim asked.

The man seemed proud to be asked about it. “$400.” Whew!

“How much that TV costs you?” Jim asked again.

The man was clearly surprised for the repeated question. “$400. Pretty expensive.”

But Jim repeated the question again.

The man got some irritation in his face. “Didn’t you hear it? I said $400.”

But the man was even more surprised when Jim sounded loudly. “No, you didn’t get it! How much that TV costs you?”

“What do you mean?” the man asked.

Then Jim Rohn dropped the bomb. “How much it is costing you to watch that TV? Do you know how many dollars you can produce if you just stop watching that talking box?” How many relationships can be cultivated? How many fulfilling achievements can be reached? How much time will you have? The benefits dwarfs the pain.

“It isn’t what the TV costs; it’s what it will cost if you watch on it.”
-Jim Rohn

Then the lesson finally dawned in the man. “I see.” After few days, he ditched the TV and engaged in a business where he eventually thrived. Not a bad trade-off at all.


P.S.
Jim Rohn said that all the houses of first-generation millionaires doesn’t have a TV on the living room, instead it is placed in a separate room. What else did he found? Private library are placed prominently inside instead. Does it ring any bell?

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