In our Top 5 Posts of 2008 series, this post is #4! The message is as important and valid today as it was when we first published it, so we’re pulling it out, dusting it off, and giving it another moment in the sun. Enjoy!
Seth Godin posted today about what watching less TV means for the world. This post is about what it means for you.
Your life can be interesting, too.
People sometimes say to me, “Wow, your life is so interesting!” Sometimes they say it in kind of a fearful sort of way, but sometimes they say it in kind of an envious way, as if they find their life boring and would love to have a more interesting life. So here it is, folks, How To Live An Interesting Life, in one not-as-hard-as-you-might-think step.
That’s not so bad, right? You don’t even have to do anything, you just have to stop doing a few things. Like watching TV. Maybe playing video games. Maybe spending so much time at parties or social events. Whatever you feel is “sucking up your time” and making your life uninteresting — it may be totally different for you than for someone else. Just stop doing it.
Here’s what you’ll notice.
You will get bored. You will feel antsy. You will get jittery and want to go back to doing the things you just stopped doing. (Notice how this is like withdrawal from an addiction?) But if you stay the course, you will come out the other side.
You will get so bored that you will find something interesting to do.
This is our default state, but we have so many distractions that it’s hard for us to get back to our natural baseline. Eliminating all the distractions will help you regain your default state of having an interesting life.
Here’s how you can stay the course.
I’ve found that it helps to make a small number of large decisions rather than a large number of small decisions. It’s like choosing not to buy junk food once a week during grocery shopping time instead of choosing not to eat junk food every hour during potential snacky time.
I’m talking about medium-to-large decisions like not owning a TV, or not signing up for cable. Not buying a game I know I’d get addicted to. Setting up a calendar with certain times reserved for certain things, and sticking to the schedule.
Consolidate your willpower.
“Uninteresting” is not the same as “boring”
Notice I said to stop doing “uninteresting” things, not “boring” things. TV isn’t boring; it’s specifically designed to not be. But on a higher level, on a life level, it is incredibly uninteresting. Take stock of all those things in your life that you feel are uninteresting, and just stop doing them.
That’s all it takes. The rest will take care of itself — or rather, you will take care of it, because it will help you find and express the true inner amazingness that is inside you.
It’s the best decision you’ll ever make.