Give Me The Fish (GMTF): Life is too short to spend it sitting in front of a TV or tapping away on your phone. Get up off your ass and do something with your life.
“Alright, my turn”, the excitement in the air was building as I stepped in front of the crowd of 60 or so people. They are not excited because of what I’m about to say, they are excited because of what’s after. Freedom. Freedom from the workweek. It’s 2 PM and they are about to start the weekend. “So, ditto on everything he said” I point over to my Platoon Sergeant.
He had just spent the last 5 minutes drilling into them the importance of safety over the weekend. Having just spread the typical “don’t add to any families, don’t subtract from any families, and don’t get a DUI” speech. I continued on, “For everyone here, actually go out and do something with your life. Don’t go home and spend it drinking a 6-pack and watching some trashy Netflix TV series. Go to the beach, go kayaking, go rock climbing, go pick up girls, or learn to juggle. I don’t care. But, go home and do something with your life.”
Just Get Off The Couch
I wasn’t looking for them to find a life purpose, or find their calling in life. It was to get them away from their computers, away from their phones, and break the humdrum routine that gets them nowhere. I want them to get out there and just do something with their lives. Even, if that was learning some dumb card trick. That might even get them something, maybe even free drinks, which is more than watching “insert your favorite TV show”.
The thing is, almost anything is considered forward momentum when you are comparing it to zero. It’s the same thing that applies to everything else in life. Growing up, my dad was a Special Education Teacher, and to him, the one goal he always had was to get his students to turn something in. He didn’t care if it was their name on the paper, a drawing about kittens, or a letter about how much the student hated school. The goal was to get something on paper. Because at the end of a day, it’s a start, and a hell of a lot better than nothing. In this case, your start is just getting off your couch.
Know Your Time Suck
Time sucks are addictions disguised as normal actions that don’t gain you anything. And, when I say anything, I mean that pretty broadly. A lot of what steals our time, do so under the guise of happiness, but they don’t even make us happy. They might be entertaining, but there is a strong difference between entertainment and happiness. Yes, TV is entertaining and interesting, but it doesn’t make you happy. It kills your time, a resource that is way more limited than you think.
It’s so easy to be sucked into doing nothing with our lives. You recognize it when you start watching a TV show and then 8 hours later you look up and wonder where the day went. It’s getting dark and you just spend the entire “free” day you had letting your mind turn to mush in front of a hunk of plastic and metal called a TV.
We Are All In The Same Boat, But That’s Not An Excuse
We have all been there. In fact, this is why I’ve personally sworn off watching TV. I know the limits of my willpower and I don’t have it when it comes to TV. It’s not that I even like what I’m watching. I just have this natural need to finish what I’ve started and a strong desire to know how it ends.
My other weakness was reading the News. When I first left the Marine Corps, I realized that I had developed a habit of reading the news every day. It started off as just wanting to make sure that I was up-to-date on current affairs, so I could talk to my Marines about it and tie in training. But eventually it was so ingrained, I did it every day without even thinking.
When I left Active Duty, I realized that I was losing an hour of my day, every day, reading the news. The news didn’t help me get anywhere. It wasn’t helping me accomplish anything in my life. All it was doing, was sucking an hour out of my time-restricted day. And, it turns out, everyone around me is more than happy to fill me in on all of the events going on in the world, whether I want them to or not.
Everyone has their own weakness, find out what kills your time and put a stop to it. You can’t get out there and do something with your life if you’re stuck on a couch because you can’t break away from your own addiction.
Find A Solution By Finding Your Trigger
While everyone has their own personal time suck. All time sucks have triggers. Maybe that’s watching the first clip of a show, or even the first episode. Or, it’s seeing a notification on your phone, or maybe it’s opening up your laptop. But you need to find out what that trigger is that is making you waste large amounts of time that you can’t afford to lose.
It will take some trial and error, but when you eventually find out what it is, stop the trigger. For me, I gave up watching TV years ago, unless my wife asks me to. I don’t pay for cable; I don’t have Netflix, and I refuse to ever learn my wife’s passwords for her account. When it comes to news. I have blocked all of googles updates and deleted every news app off my phone. This was my solution that proved pretty effective.
Find out what kills your time. For most people it’s pretty straight forward, it’s Netflix or their phone. If it’s Netflix, get rid of your account or get an app that restricts your usage like “Offtime”. If it’s notifications, block them or turn them off. One thing I do is place a do-not-disturb for certain apps on my phone for certain parts of the day. Regardless of what your trigger is, find a way to shut it down.
Schedule The Unordinary And Tell Somebody
Make yourself a schedule and stick to it. It’s a lot easier to convince yourself to do something if it’s already planned. So, find out what your “get out there and do something” item is and schedule a time in your day for it. Once it’s scheduled, tell someone that you see on a regular basis what you are going to do. Your fighting a battle with yourself, attack the threat from every angle you have.
Do Literally Anything Besides Your Time Suck
Life is way too short to spend it stuck behind a manmade object, that is probably irradiating years off your life anyway. Find something to do with your life that actually gains you something, even if that something is intangible. The first step is just getting off your couch, putting away the electronics and doing something outside the ordinary. It’s getting that dial off the number zero. So, as we go into the weekend, or into the rest of your life. Get up off your ass and do something with your life, literally anything.