Yesterday afternoon, I sat alone in a Le Peep restaurant in Peoria, Illinois, having a quick lunch. As usual, I was catching up on e-mail and other work on my iPhone while I sat comfortably and enjoyed a pleasant lunch.
Because I was being quiet, conversations from around the room floated in and out of my consciousness. At one point, the ladies sitting next to me escalated their conversation a bit, so an interesting phrase was clear over the din of an active dining room: There's just nothing good on TV.
As their conversation faded back into the din, I got to thinking about how many people live ... and die ... by entertainment. You probably know someone who cruises through 500 channels looking for something to watch. Or digs through iTunes to find the latest music or video. Entertainment becomes their focus for their lives.
Think about life 150 years ago for a moment. People worked hard during the day, then would read or talk around a dim candle or lantern before turning in for the night. Entertainment was a rare, although welcome, diversion from the work of life. Yet today, it seems the focus for a very large component of western society.
What does this mean for YOU?
First of all, it means that it really is easier to win. Entertainment is, after all, time that is unproductive. If you spend more time being productive, you will produce more value and will therefore align yourself to be more successful -- regardless of what "success" means to you. It really is easier. And weaning yourself from entertainment is much easier than you think.
Second, entertainment and recreation are very different things. Recreation (have you ever thought about the parts of that word? Re-creation) has a healthy impact on you and those around you. It helps you regenerate and renew so you can dig back into creating value with energy and focus.
Third, this isn't to say that entertainment is "bad." If you want to succeed, though, you do have to keep in mind the balance of your time between entertainment and productivity.Most people never even think about it.
What are you going to do?
Stephen Sven Hultquist
PS Learning is part of recreation, and reading is an important way to learn. Grab a copy of the book and start there: http://stephenhultquist.com/skiing.html.