I grew up in a tv household. My dad watched TV downstairs (and read during commercials; he was a voracious reader), and my mom watched TV upstairs (and read, but I don't know when). They'd come home from work, eat, and then watch TV.
Mind you, they worked. They were parents, and they ran me around and stuff like that. But my childhood impression of them was intractably linked to the television. In my young mind, I was given the impression that their life's purpose was to watch TV. After all, that's what I saw them doing the majority of the time that I actually saw them. (I couldn't see them at work.)
Think about that. What impression do you give your children?
Why do I bring this up? Because children these days ... boy. It sometimes breaks my heart, the time they put into their iPods and their Gameboys and their Wii's and their Television-watching. It's no wonder children think being a celebrity is the most important thing in the world. The time children rack up doing these sorts of things ... people just don't notice it. How often do you hear that children are scheduled to within an inch of their life? (Well, they are, it's true ... but more time could be found for some ...)
Think about it. When you die, are you going to look back and think, "Darn! I missed that TV series, Friends!" Really? I mean, I watched it religiously, but I can remember very little. It seemed so important at the time, to be in front of a TV on Thursday nights. But what do I remember from those years? What did I take away from those 52 hours I spent each year?
Procrastination has reached an all-time high, because of the prolificness of distractions today. And it costs, boy does it cost.
Aside from the financial drain that comes from productivity loss, "it makes people poorer, fatter and unhappier." The more gadgets, the more procrastinators. Of college students, 75% consider themselves procrastinators!
Of course. Our society has become obsessed with instant gratification. Come on, America! We're Americans! We're supposed to be strivers and achievers, people with work ethics that bring to life the American dream!
And I'm not really talking about work time; we work harder than most other nations. At least, we work more hours (in our hourly, clock-punching obsessed workforce).
It's the time we're away from work. Are we really doing what's important to ourselves, or are we putting it off? How important is TV? (Oh yes, important! I love to watch a good show ... but not 2.6 hours a day.)
I love writing, I love words, I love reading. It's been my experience that talent is overrated, and hard work is underrated. Despite that, if you look to all the great talents--even Mozart--they worked their heinies off. For some reason, people like to throw their hands up in the air and say, "he's got talent, what can you do?"
So many people seem to be under the impression that talent is skill without practice.
I don't believe that. An art requires much work, much dedication, constant study, constant discipline, and always striving for excellence. Even Mozart said that there was no great work that he hadn't studied multiple times.
The best writers? They all say, read, read, read. Study what you read; learn from what you read. Not one of them say "read this book on writing or that book on writing."
Sure, writing books are INCREDIBLY helpful. But ... at some point, I have to learn how to study the REAL books. The writing books can do it for me, but I need to learn. So I keep trying and trying.
And I'm often complaining that I don't have enough time in the day. Well, after reading this article on the cost of procrastination, I'm tempted to practice what I preach. I tell the kids, "Ask yourself: is this who I want to be? Is this activity important to who I want to be when I grow up? Is this activity going to make me a better person?"
I ask myself every night, when there's only a couple hours left in the day, if I've done everything important to myself. Have I progressed? Have I worked on the most important things in my life? Have I become better?
Somedays, it makes for a busy two hours in the day, but ... I want to go to bed every night, knowing that I made that day important.