It’s always fascinated me how people spend their lives. How some people are successful and others stay poor, coming from the same background and opportunities. How people will complain about their health and misery, yet it’s obvious to many how simply lifestyle changes could transform their lives. That’s why when I saw the above infographic on video and TV usage by average Americans, I was blown away.
Taking what’s presented, I decided to do a few calculations and put into perspective how much of people’s lives are being wasted infront of the boob tube. While there’s some inspirational and educational shows on TV that even I personally dig, we all know the chances of mainstream America are more fascinated by the mating rituals of guidos in Jersey than geckos in the jungle. I’m not against entertainment itself — just 33 hours a week in brain-numbing amounts of it. The last thing I want to have on my deathbed resume is 1⁄4 of my life spent accomplishing nothing and numbing myself infront of a screen.
So check it out:
Based on these findings by Nielsen, the average American spends 33 hours per week watching TV. So we take that (33) then multiply that by the amount of weeks in a year (52), and we get 1,716 hours/year watching television. Divide that by the average waking time in a day 17 (24 hours in a day, minus the average hours of sleep 7) and you get 100.9 actual waking usable days. That’s a bit more practical than simply using 24, because how can you compare hours of active television-watching to sleep? Assuming the average amount of sleep per person who watches TV and who doesn’t is fairly similar, their choice of what to do with the remaining 17 or so waking hours is what’s more useful and relevant to discuss. Even if not — even if we used the full 24 hours — 71.5 days is still an incredible amount of additional life regained.
Whoa. What would happen if we stopped watching TV completely?
If the typical American got rid of their TVs, they’d free up and gain 100 usable days of life back. That’s like having a 465-day year. For the average American, that adds up to a mind-blowing extra 21 years of waking, consciously available, life (according the average life expectancy of roughy 76 [average is 78–2 for adjustment of Nielsen stats based on ages 2+).
Let’s take this a bit further. There’s roughly 114,500,000 homes in America with TVs (source). Each household has approximately 2.6 people (damn those pesky half people messing everything up!) (source). So let’s be generous and low-ball all figures: 100 million homes X 2 people X 30 hours/w = 6,000,000,000 or 6 billion hours of TV consumed per week in America. That’s 312 billion hours of TV a year. Being even more generous and rounding down again, that’s 300 billion hours.
In about a year’s time, Americans as a whole, waste a combined (approximated and low-rounded) sum of 821,917,808 years watching television. That’s insane, even if the math was off. So, greatly rounded down yet again — over 800,000 milleniums worth of attention is given to a little box in the living room by the aggregated total of Americans in one year.
Mind blown yet?
Let’s come back to a more practical view, that’s actually comprehendible. Just imagine what you could accomplish in an extra 100 days a year compared to the average American. That’s over 27% of your entire waking life. The average American wastes over a quarter of their conscious waking life watching television. Imagine being able to literally flick a switch and extend your life 21 years. How much travel and exploring the world could you do? How much extra income could you generate on a side business? What kind of health improvements could be made now that you “have the time”?
I wouldn’t have believed this if I didn’t just get pencil-protector, goggle-eyed nerdy and do the math for myself.
Even if you didn’t completely get rid of television altogether, and simply cut back to watching one full hour of TV/day during the work week for your favorite series or two — compared to the average American, you’d be getting a whopping 85 more usable days in your year and almost 18 additional years of free time.
My Personal Reasons And Experience
Personally, I have stopped watching TV years ago — and in fact, just realizing it as I write this — I have never actually purchased or owned my own television. When I was a kid I watched tons of cartoons and played excessive amounts of video games — but that was my parent’s TV. When I moved out on my own since turning 18, I was simply watching TV that my roommates had. Most of my entertainment was via my computer through video games, movies, and internet nonsense during that time.
Since about 2008 I reckon, I gave up news and TV completely — consciously by choice. Now I only watch it if it’s already on from other’s watching it around me, and it sucks me in for a few minutes. Or, on occasion, relaxing with a movie with friends and family (and by occasion I mean less than once a month, not once a day).
When I started getting into personal development, human potential, and truth awareness studies — it became quite clear that TV was just a life suck. I had done a lot of research and common sense thinking about what was going on, and with having a business to run, I had no time for video games or getting hooked on a TV series.
While I’m not perfect, and tend to spend vast amounts of time on my laptop — I’m often learning about something that improves the quality of my life, working, professionally socializing, or writing things like this to help others. Generally accomplishing something. Sure I enjoy the occasional LOLCAT like everyone else, so I’m not here to take away people’s happiness — just to serve as a wakeup call that true happiness doesn’t stream from a box in one’s living room.
My reasons for giving up TV were quite simple:
- I spent enough time infront of my computer as it was
- News was just propaganda and negativity I wanted out of my life
- The loss of community and of touch with reality, and it’s desensitization
- Most programs were simply a waste of time, and I had more fulfilling things to accomplish
- TV, by design, was made for advertising, brainwashing, and compliance
- As a trained hypnotherapist, I fully understood it’s designed to hypnotize
- People are literally addicted to it, and often freak out going through withdrawals when deprived — just like a drug
- I could see first hand the effects those 7 reasons had on myself and all those around me
When you check out those 2 links for yourself and do some independent research not produced by mass media, gov’t, or corporations, you’ll have a much better picture of TVs true intentions. Hell, even if you still don’t buy into the brainwashing (because you’re brainwashed), you can’t deny that TV is based on advertising. Literally, shows are created in order for you to pay attention long enough to get streamed conscious and subliminal advertising. This is undeniable fact.
It will start to become obvious why everyone should start reducing time infront of the TV, and redirect towards activities with more sustenance. While you’re free to do what you wish, just realize the entire true purpose of television and sucking you back in is by devious design. Becoming aware of this is the first step. You might begin to see how true it is when I say “you get part of your life back”.
Not only will you take back 100 days worth of new found time, freeing up 21 years of your life for things that actually matter, but you will also take your mind — and life — back.
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