From: Brendon Burchard – Live. Love. Matter.
Most people are not apathetic fools—they are engaged and intelligent beyond measure. It’s just that they spend a shocking amount of time studying foolish things, and so they have gained great intelligence in the inconsequential. They know dozens of batting averages, celebrity baby names, and trivial anecdotes from the latest news alert. They know more about television characters than their coworkers; more about the freeway traffic ahead than their financial future; more about the new tech toy than what’s truly missing from their lives.
This of course, does not describe everyone. Yet we have the average American watching four hours of television per day. This amounts to around 13 years of his or her lifetime. Yes, that’s 13 years 24/7 in front of the boob tube. Those years slip by episode-to-episode, and often feel like rest and entertainment. But all research shows they amount to very little joy or meaning in one’s day or life.
The cost is immense: had those 13 years been used for vital and productive endeavor, they would amass to nearly $1,000,000 more in wages and over $2,000,000 in investment opportunity. Let’s not forget how those 13 years could have been used to deepen friendships, travel, create more art, learn languages, develop world-class expertise, contribute, enjoy love, or live life as a human rather than a gape-mouthed consumer of waste.
While television isn’t stealing everyone’s four hours, most of us now suffer from a sort of recurring “browser blackout” or “app amnesia,” losing hours of time each day on our computer or mobile devices without any recollection of what we saw or accomplished. Distraction reigns.
And so the outcome is we have tremendously engaged and intelligent people often tragically consuming and learning meaningless things. We are busy, but at what? We are smart, but at what? We are engaged, but with what?
Not everyone is so lost, but this might help explain the melancholy one feels in our society. For what could be worse than for smart, engaging people to finish their lifetimes without much to show for it but the ability to win a pop culture trivia contest?