How To Stop Watching TV

By Leo Gura - October 7, 2014 | 49 Comments

Building a case for why you must eliminate TV right now!

Video Transcript

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Hey, this is Leo for Actualized.org. In this video I’m going to talk about how to stop watching TV.

Television. Ten years ago if you would have asked me to shoot the video that I’m about to shoot, what you’re about to watch about television, it would have blown my mind because where I was then, compared to where I am now is so radically different and my views on television have really changed a lot. This video, even though it might sound like it something that’s very simple and very obvious you might have heard it many times before, don’t dismiss what this video’s going to show you.

Television Is Destroying Your Life

If you watch television the way that most Americans watch television nowadays which is multiple hours per day, multiple days per week accumulating up to five to ten to fifteen hours of TV time per week then actually this video right here might be the single biggest personal development gain that you can make in your life, just by changing this one thing and stopping to watch TV. I want to go into some of the details here about the challenges with TV. I also want to make some finer distinctions between what kind of TV is okay and what kind is not okay. Let’s crack into all that.

Television is destroying your life. Pretty simple statement. This is not a statement that I would have agreed with ten years ago because I was so immersed in television. I loved my movies, I loved my video games, I loved my TV shows, I loved my Discovery Channel, my History Channel, I loved my TV news and watching all the politics and all the election cycle news… all of that stuff. I was very much immersed in it.

Not only that, but in my own mind I was telling myself this is actually a positive thing because I knew back then that people were spouting theories about why TV is bad for you but I actually had counter theories to that in my mind. I was saying, actually TV is making me more worldly. I’m seeing things on TV, I’m learning stuff from the stuff I see on TV that I otherwise wouldn’t have learned by myself and this is helping me to become a more rounded human being. Of course at the same time that TV was numbing my mind and creating a lot of problems that I’m going to get into in a second.

The first thing that you have to start to realize about this TV that you’re watching if you’re watching a lot of it is that your mind is going to trick you and it’s going to come up with all these rationalizations about why this TV that you’re watching is going to be good for you. You’re going to have all sorts of rationalizations and counter points to make against even a suggestion you should cut out TV entirely from your life. That’s what I’m suggesting here in this video is to cut it out entirely. I want to make a couple of minor adjustments to that blanket statement, but generally what we’re talking about here is cutting it out entirely.

How is television bad? We have to really build a case for it because if you don’t buy into this case that I’m about to make then you’re not going to quit. The challenge with television is that it’s everywhere.

Everywhere you go there’s TVs. Even when you go nowadays to a restaurant there’s a flat screen TV on the wall. Even when you go to a hotel lobby, there’s a flat screen TV. I even go to my apartment to get my mail at the mail center there and there’s a TV there playing movies and news and that kind of stuff.

At the gym you see television screens. TV is everywhere. In your house you probably have many of them and they’re probably always playing.

Because of this there’s this sort of social and cultural momentum to be watching television. You have to set some boundaries if you want to stop. If you don’t set these boundaries deliberately, consciously, then you’re just going to go along with the flow, you’re going to go with the crowd, you’re going to do what your friends are doing, you’re going to do what your family is doing, you’re going to do what people are doing at the gym and other places that you go to in public and you’re going to watch that television. That’s just what’s going to happen to you so we have to start to build this case in your mind.

Your Negativity Comes From TV

The first biggest thing that I see that’s a big problem with TV is how negative it makes you. It makes you extremely negative. It’s funny because I watch the comments that are left on a lot of my videos on YouTube and one of the things that I see there is that people will respond with all sorts of limited beliefs about life or they’ll espouse these very deeply negative theories about how miserable and horrible and brutal life is.

I didn’t realize this myself until I started getting into a lot of personal development; going to seminars, watching a lot of products, listening to audio programs. Smart people made smart points to me that I’d actually caught on to which is that a lot of the negativity that your world view has is simply the result of the cultural conditioning that you are inundated with through television as one of the primary sources.

I can guarantee that a lot of the people who espouse these very negative views about life, who think that life is very depressing or horrible, that there’s a lot of murder, rape, drugs and violence happening in life, that the only reason they say this if you think this way is simply because you watch a lot of TV. If you didn’t watch TV, if you didn’t watch cable news, if you didn’t listen to all the stuff that people are telling you like that in the media then there is no way that you would form a negative world view like that in your own life just from personal experience.

Not if you live in a first world country. If you live in a reasonably good area in a first world country there is no way you would come to that conclusion, but a lot of people are extremely negative.In exactly those kind of nice environments. First world country nice neighborhood but you’ve got this negative view of the world. Why? Because you’re watching so much goddamn television.

The stuff that television is reporting to you is all biased. What is it biased towards? It’s biased towards drama, excitement and shock value. That’s really what TV is about. That’s what movies are about, that’s what TV news is about, that’s what a lot of shows and even documentaries which you would think would be objective and more even minded, more scientific, a lot of them are also about shock value.

Simply the things that they’re choosing to focus on, even if they are reporting a case accurately, simply the fact that they chose to focus on a rape, a theft, a robbery, a war, some sort of scam, a Ponzi scheme, some sort of government corruption… just because the news is choosing to focus on these things, that right there is already biasing you towards having this filter of the world as a negative place which it’s not at all but you might think that because you watch so much TV.

Living Vicariously Through Other People

A couple of other problems with TV, it numbs your mind. Even though you could say that through television you get to explore some of the world, you get to see what people are like through television, you get to learn about society through television… there are some redeeming qualities there, but the biggest problem there is that you numb your mind as you’re watching that TV. What that does is it just drains your motivation to live your own kind of life.

What I see happening and this is something that I experienced for a long time, is you start to get into this vicarious mode where you’re living life through other people. Your living life through your reality TV stars who you watch or an HBO show, or through even news or documentaries. That’s how you’re living life.

You’re not actually coming face to face with three dimensional life the way you would if you put down the remote and shut down your cable. Instead you’re just looking at this screen and you feel like you’re living a real life but your life is actually very two dimensional. Until you start to go out there and travel, build an amazing career, get into amazing relationships, make friends with cool people, start earning money and creating success in the real world for yourself, then really you don’t recognize how two-dimensional your life is. The mind numbing effects are really pernicious.

The next thing is that television promotes laziness. This really goes along with the mind numbing effects but the laziness comes about because it’s so easy to just sit down and plug into an easy source of stimulation, the TV. You get home from work, you’re a little bit tired you just want to unwind and so you plug in and you stay plugged in.

When you do that day after day after day, week and month after month and it goes into years, what happens is that your willpower muscles just kind of drain and it becomes very difficult to motivate yourself to go out there and do something big with your life that’s going to require work and discipline and challenge to it. For example it’s going to be very difficult for you to go out there and start your own business.

When you do go out and start that business the first few obstacles that you’re going to run into which inevitably you will when you start a new business, they’re immediately going to make you start to think, “Why am I doing all this work when I can just go sit in front of the TV and watch a nice comfortable show that I like? Isn’t that the easier, more comfortable life? Why don’t I go do that? Why am I bothering building this whole business thing? It’s too much work, it takes too much discipline, there’s all these challenges, all this frustration, all this stress.”

Then you say to yourself, “You know what? That can wait”. And you put it on the back burner and you waste year after year after year watching more TV. That’s how it promotes laziness.

A Waste Of Limited Time

The other thing it does is it really kills your schedule. A lot of us these days we are a very busy, we live lives that are just inundated with all sorts of activity. Television what it’s doing is it’s taking all the discretionary time in your life which is actually pretty limited because after work and after showering and going to the bathroom a couple of times in the day, getting a couple of lunches and dinners, pretty much your whole day is used up.

You only have about four or five hours in discretionary time per day at most that you can use towards growing yourself, developing a business, improving in your career or doing something positive for your life, creating something positive with your life. You only have so much of that per day and every day that you waste an hour or two or even more watching television, that’s precious time that you’re wasting and that’s destroying your schedule. It’s really putting in a lot of filler in there and that’s just making you more frantic, more stressed and more overwhelmed because you have these grand goals for your life but you can’t accomplish them when all your time is taken up by television.

The other way that it’s bad is that advertising is rampant through all of television, all of media. Basically the media is built to accommodate advertising. Shows are literally designed so that they fit in with advertising. This is a really, really dangerous thing. You don’t presently realize this if you’ve been watching TV your whole life.

What I found is that once I weaned myself off of TV then the other thing that I got really sensitive to is how pernicious the advertising is. I haven’t watched cable television in years now, probably three or four years. One of the things that I see when I’m at the gym because we have TV monitors there, I try not to look them but sometimes I do, is whenever I see an advertisement I’m very, very sensitive to it. It’s almost freaky how sensitive I am because I’m simply not seeing them all the time.

You see them so much if you are a regular TV watcher that to you you think, “Oh, advertising, that’s just nothing. I’ll just sit through it or maybe I’ll flip channels”. The fact is you’re still catching those ads.

Those ads are dangerous because they are driving this shallow consumerist desire in you. They’re also filling you up with just this very stupid, mind numbing group think. TV makes you really soaked in group think which means you’re going to think like the general masses think. When you think like the general masses think then you expect easy results, you expect money and fame and you think that some magic pill solution’s going to come along and fix anything in your life and other sorts of group think like that.

When you’re buying into that it’s really difficult to then go and do something extraordinary with your life because there’s such a huge disconnect there. Just the philosophy of mainstream society is completely anti-mastery. It’s anti anything creating great with your life. It’s anti that. It’s just living a really humdrum nine-to-five kind of existence then spending the rest of your day entertaining yourself, being in comfort mode, being stuck there and then your life just stalls. That’s what that’s about. That’s very, very dangerous.

The last thing is that TV is really distracting you from your life purpose. What is it that you want to accomplish in your life? What’s the impact that you want your short existence on this earth to actually create?

You can’t have a really serious life purpose and then be spending even one or two hours a day watching television. There’s such a huge disconnect between that. You really have to choose whether you want to have your life purpose and you want to be making a big difference and contribution in the world, or you’re watching TV doing all the stupid stuff that your friends do, all the stupid stuff that society tells you is easy to do.

Having a purpose, working on that, having the kind of impact that you want, growing yourself in order to live in to that purpose, to share your greatest gifts with the world, that’s very challenging. That’s difficult to do. That’s why I do so much personal development is because I found that it’s necessary in order for me to live out my greatest dreams and my greatest goals but I can’t do that.

Right now in my life I’m always scrambling. I have so much stuff to do if I was watching television there is no way I could even accomplish a fraction of it all. It’s just totally taking me off my course, breaking down my momentum, taking down that willpower and motivation that I’m putting into my life purpose. If I’m watching TV, it just sucks all that out from under me.

What’s Good And Bad Television?

Let’s make a couple of distinctions here between television. I don’t like using the blanket term TV. There are too many different mediums out there nowadays that some of them are actually good, some of them are really, really bad, so let’s make some distinctions.

I think the worst thing that you definitely need to cut out with no questions asked is cable television. Just cut out cable. If you have cable, if you have satellite, that needs to be cut.

Why? Because the problem with cable is that it’s always there. It’s just this constant source of comfort you can just keep coming back to. When it’s there at work, when it’s there at home if you work from home and you have your own business, that’s extremely damaging to you to always go to that source.

You want to cut that off so that even if you are watching movies here and there, or if you are catching glimpses of the TV at your friend’s house or at the gym, you can’t sit down and watch four hours of it which you inevitably will do if you have cable TV in your house. You’ve got to snip that cord and cancel it.

The next thing is DVDs. I think DVDs are actually okay. If you want to watch films, you want to watch movies especially some of the classier films that are out there, go ahead and do that. I think that’s fine. Just keep it moderate, keep it reasonable.

If you want to watch a couple of movies a week, I think that’s perfectly fine if you want to entertain yourself with one of your movies, a really high quality movie, I think that’s great. You can actually gain good inspiration. You can also gain creative ideas if you’re a creative type of person and your career revolves around that. You can get a lot of creative ideas from movies.

They can also move you emotionally, they can stir you, which are some of my favorite movies are the ones that kind of do that. They can also give you an escape especially if you’re working really, really hard and you want to use a movie to get you some nice relaxation, to get your batteries recharged so you can go hit it hard at work again the next day, I think that’s fine just as long as you don’t go overboard with that stuff.

What’s nice with DVD is that – remember this is DVDs or Blu-rays. This is different than something like Netflix because Netflix is more like cable. I’m going to get to Netflix in a second – DVDs are okay because usually you don’t have access to an infinite number of DVDs. You can’t just sit there and watch four hours of DVD most of the time. You have to get in there, put it in your DVD player so that’s a different dynamic. Don’t confuse this with Netflix.

Let’s talk about Netflix and other streaming services too so Hulu, Amazon Video…other kinds of streaming services. I look at these as the same as cable TV. They are in the same negative category and this needs to be cut. If you have subscriptions for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Prime, whatever that kind of stuff is, cancel and cut all that stuff.

The problem is that it’s too easy. It’s there. It’s just there and it’s waiting to draw your attention in life. It will trip you up and your willpower is not going to be strong enough to withhold from it all the time. Even though you’re going to be able to withstand that for a while, you can’t use it all the time. What you really want to avoid are those four or five hour marathons where you just sit and veg out, your mind goes totally numb so get rid of those.

Movie theatres. I think movies theatres are fine. If you go to the movies with your friends on Fridays, Saturdays, that kind of stuff, that’s fine. Usually because it’s already an expensive activity so you’re not going to be doing it too often. You’re not going to be doing it more than once a week, and you’re actually going to be there, you’re going out with your friends, you’re socializing so that’s a bit of a different thing so movie theatres are not a problem.

YouTube For Educational Purposes

What is, though, a problem is YouTube. You’re watching me on YouTube a lot of times and I think that there’s a distinction that needs to be made. You can watch YouTube but only watch it for educational material not entertainment material.

It’s so easy to waste hours of your life watching funny YouTube videos. Quite frankly almost all the most popular channels on YouTube are just the most stupid, mind numbing, low brow entertainment that you could possibly find.

Why are they the most popular channels? Simply because people are drawn to; the easiest. That’s the easiest thing to get drawn to because it’s the most low consciousness thing, it’s the lowest common denominator.

If you’re watching any of those kinds of channels, unsubscribe from those channels and commit with yourself not to watch anything funny or stupid on YouTube. If you’re going to use YouTube use it for educational type of information, use it to watch documentaries, lectures, TED videos and that kind of stuff. That’s more or less okay. You don’t want to go overboard with those either but those are miles ahead of the mind numbing shit that is ninety percent of what YouTube is so watch out for that.

Porn. I’m not really going to talk about porn in this video. I’ll shoot a dedicated video about porn. The bottom line is don’t be too obsessed with porn. I don’t think that’s a problem for most people because you really can’t watch too much of it. Ultimately there’s only so much videos that you can watch. It’s not going to waste hours and hours of your day.

My suggestion here is cut cable TV, cut TV news, cut TV shows, cut stuff like Amazon and Netflix. All the streaming services, cut all of that stuff. Educational material is a different story. I actually use television nowadays mostly for education.

I’ll use it to watch seminars, self-help products, lectures, really high quality documentaries…that kind of stuff, I think is really, really good. So it’s not about the TV screen itself. That’s not what’s evil about televeision. The TV screen itself can be used for a lot of good stuff.

I literally have terabytes of hard drives full of amazing lectures from college professors and DVDs from various amazing self-help seminars. That kind of stuff, that’s life changing stuff for me. If anything what I need to do is watch more of that.

That’s a very different thing than the way most people use television. I see very few people use television in this educational way where I actually sit down, I watch, I pause and I take detailed notes. It’s really like studying. It’s almost like being enrolled in an online college kind of course.

If you create that for yourself using your television, or your internet, or your computer, that’s perfectly fine. I think that’s actually a really powerful way to grow yourself very quickly. YouTube could actually be part of that strategy.

That’s what I hope to do with my videos here is I hope I can use these videos not to make you numb and to make you live vicariously through me and not to be feeding you with empty information, but I hope I’m giving you this information and you’re actually going out there and implementing it on a daily basis. Eventually I hope that you can wean yourself off of my videos. Eventually you’re going to wean yourself off and your life is going to be extraordinary.

It’s going to be so three-dimensional that you’re going to say, “Screw that guy Leo, I don’t need his channel, I don’t need his videos any more. I’ve got this stuff figured out. I can go to higher sources of information like books and seminars, mentors, my friends… stuff like that and learn really richly from that and live this extraordinary life in the 3D not in the 2D”. That’s where I hope you’ll ultimately get to. It may take some time to do that.

How To Cut TV From Your Life

How do you actually go about cutting television, cutting it out of your life? It’s difficult.

I remember the first time that I wanted to do this because I saw that it was important and I kept trying to do it but I kept cutting TV then falling back off. Cutting TV then falling back off. My biggest sticking point was that I was saying in my mind that wait, television is serving an important function in my life.

Here’s how my mind was thinking. It was saying, “Look, I work really hard, I run a business, I’m earning some good money, I’m working more than eight hours a day sometimes so I need a channel to relax. I need a way for my mind to mellow out, be chill and recharge my batteries. I’m really low on energy all the time so TV helps me do that, helps me relax.”

Otherwise I’d say to myself, I’d be working all the time and I would just burn myself out. This was the excuse I would use to stay plugged into television all the time. I knew in the back of my mind there might be other sources of relaxation out there for me, other ways to relax and recharge my batteries other than television but I kept justifying in my mind and saying, “I tried some this stuff like reading books and I tried some this stuff like going out for a walk or doing these other kinds of activities and they just don’t recharge me the way that TV does.”

That’s true because right now because you’re hooked to TV like a drug and you probably don’t even realize it, so you have these withdrawal symptoms. They are very real I can remember right now my withdrawal symptoms about four years ago when I was getting off of cable. They were difficult.

I would tell myself, “No, I’m not going to do it” and then I would still turn the TV back on. I would go maybe for a whole week without TV and I would be so tired from my work and so beat up after working so hard that I’d just be like I’m just watch for an hour or two and then I’d sit down and I’d watch it for five hours, then I would feel guilty about it.

It’s like this cycle that goes on and on. It’s very similar to eating junk food. If you have ever done emotional type of eating, where you have a bad day and you eat a lot, you splurge and then you feel disgusted with yourself, that’s what TV starts to feel like after a while.

Here’s how I did it. I think the most important thing is you’ve got to be honest with yourself and say yes, there’s going to be withdrawal symptoms and it’s not going to be a clean and easy break at first. I think the biggest thing is to cut your streaming services, cut your cable. If you do that then it’s going to be difficult for you to engage in too much television already right there.

Of course you’re still going to have these withdrawal symptoms and you’re going to feel like, “Now I have nothing to do with this time, I have no way to relax”. You’re going to feel stressed about it and might feel like it’s actually going to feel like it’s going to affect your work in a negative way. It might for a short while but I think the thing that really helps with that is to start to find activities to replace television. It’s one thing to cut out TV and have a plan for what you’re going to do with that time, it’s another thing when you replace it with something else.

You have to be smart about what you replace it with. This is going to be a personal decision for everybody, so for everybody that’s watching this it’s going to be a different decision depending on what your tastes and hobbies are. I think that one of the dangers here is to kid yourself and tell yourself, “I’m just going to replace it with doing more work” or “I’m going to replace it with doing educational type of stuff or doing personal development.”

You have to understand why TV is in your life in the first place. TV is in your life because it helps you to unwind, to recharge your batteries. At least that’s what it was for me. If you’re also in that position then you have to find a suitable activity that’s also going to recharge your batteries and help you relax.

One of the problems I made is I was telling myself, “I’ll just work a little bit more.” That doesn’t tend to work because if all you’re doing is working for twelve hours a day then the TV was actually doing you good because too much work gets you too narrow minded and eventually you do burn out.

Activities That Can Fill The Void

The activities that I’m going to give you here – I’m going to give you a list of activities – try to find the ones that you think are actually going to relax you and fill in that void that’s going to be missing once you cut out cable. Here’s some of the stuff. For some of you this will seem like work, these activities, for others of you it will seem like a joy. Also remember that what seems like work today, if you do it for a while, you do it for a few months, you do it for a year, it can actually become a joy, and become a relaxation activity that used to be a work activity. So that’s a further wrinkle that gets thrown in here.

Here’s the list. One is non-fiction books. Reading non-fiction books is amazing for you, amazing for your performance and it’s a lot better than reading fiction books. Fiction books can also have that kind of effect that TV has so you could do it, but be careful. Don’t get too drawn into that.

Next is audio programs. I love listening to personal development audio programs. I have so many programs that I want to listen to, and re-listen to again and again that really helped me in my life. It’s a really great way to take up your time and it’s also pretty relaxing to do that kind of stuff. You can just sit and passively listen and it doesn’t always take that much effort.

The next thing is educational videos like I talked about. Educational YouTube videos, you can watch lectures, seminars and TED videos. There’s a lot of stuff that’s kind of on the border of education and entertainment, something that’s a little bit half way so it’s not very rigorous educational material because that tends to require a lot of brain processing power and that doesn’t recharge your batteries it drains your batteries, but you can find stuff that’s kind of in between and use that to recharge your batteries and also at the same time build up your brain and personal development. You can kind of be killing two birds with one stone there.

Next is meditation. Meditation is huge. I meditate now for an hour every day. I actually feel like it saves me some time. Of course it takes an hour out of my schedule every day, but I also get some other benefits.

For example I feel more calm and relaxed and I also feel like I need less sleep when I meditate. So don’t dismiss that meditation although it might sound boring and it might be stressful, but actually once you get into the habit of meditating it can be a really pleasurable activity that you can just literally substitute one hour of TV time with one hour of meditation time and feel very refreshed and relaxed doing that.

Another really simple activity that you could replace TV with is napping. This is actually really practical for me. I always felt guilty about napping. My mind was always telling me if I’m napping then I’m sleeping too much, I’m being lazy and not working hard enough.

Actually what I discovered in about the last year or two is that napping is awesome and there’s no need to feel guilty about it. In fact, if you’re working really hard then you’re probably going to want to take a nap sometime later in the day because you’re just exhausting you mental resources so much if you’re working a lot. For me I usually do take about thirty to sixty minute nap in the evening because then it just recharges me for another run at the work that I’m doing.

One big thing with naps that I discovered is I kind of have this almost socially conditioned negativity about naps. One of the things that I always felt in my life is that running around and doing things actively. TV I thought was kind of an active activity. I actually put naps under TV on the hierarchy of important activities in my life, naps would be underneath TV.

What I discovered now is when you take naps, you just allow yourself to relax and be a little bit more chill with your schedule, not always needing to be filling your schedule to the brim with activity then it’s actually a really powerful way to promote your personal development, recharge your batteries and just get that happiness and calmness that you ultimately want.

You don’t want to be frantic all the time. You want to start creating activities in your life that will get you more of that peace. I find that naps are really good for that. The biggest thing in my mind was I had to condition myself to say, “Wait a minute, naps are actually a very healthy form of relaxation.” In fact maybe they are one of the healthiest. I would put naps and meditation at the top two healthiest ways to relax yourself and unwind.

Simply Do Nothing

Along with that is just simply doing nothing. Literally just sitting around and enjoying the space that you’re sitting in and doing nothing, even if it’s only for ten or twenty minutes. That can be a really good way to slow yourself down and also just relax yourself. During your work day you’re always trying to get stuff done and everything is very goal oriented. If you kind of just sit there and have no goals whatsoever, that can be good way to recharge your batteries in and of itself.

Other activities: taking walks, spending more time with your pet; if you have a cat or a dog playing with your cat or dog more. Kids; if you have kids spending more time with your kids, of course, is a great thing to do. It will help you, it helps them.

Going out. A lot of people nowadays are so hooked into media, TV, internet that they don’t leave their houses. I know I was like that, I’m still kind of like that. I have to force myself to go out. Go out to bars, go out to clubs, meet with friends, go to the movies that kind of stuff, do social events…

That can be a really, really great way to replace your TV. That’s a really good thing because when you’re going out to a bar or to a club, your mind is taken totally off television and so I find that that’s a really good substitute because you’re never going to be tempted to go back to TV if you’re in a stimulating environment like a nightclub or bar.

Gym. If you don’t work out, then spending more time at the gym. Actually what’s also cool is that when you reduce your TV intake is that you can also up the amount of time you spend at the gym. I often times find that actually spending more time at the gym than I normally would want to spend can actually be better because you kind of slow yourself down, you give yourself more time to enjoy the actual exercises that you’re doing, you can do them a little bit slower, and you can kind of relax and know that you have a couple of hours to get through your whole routine, you don’t need to be anywhere.

I find that actually makes the gym more enjoyable. When you have a little bit more time you’re not always working towards the clock at the gym. That can be stressful.

Learn Something New From A Friend

Next is spending more time with your friends in a coffee shop, wherever you want to meet them, on the phone talking, chatting, talking about whatever kind of life stuff you want to talk about. If they are your close friend you probably enjoy having deep conversation with them and that can be a really, really great way to relax, unwind from work and also learn stuff in the process. If you have smart friends that are very positive, they’re doing a lot of stuff in their life, they are very ambitious you can learn a lot from them just by sitting and talking to them for an hour or two.

Next, listening to music. This is another great activity. I think that listening to music is not that damaging to your psyche or doesn’t make you that lazy. Maybe you can overdo it but I find that generally listening to music isn’t too bad so that’s a good way to relax. It’s also kind of similar to TV so that might be a smoother transition for you than doing something like replacing TV with meditation.

Another thing that I like is – I’ve been really getting into it a lot lately – self-hypnosis audios. There are a lot of audio programs on self-hypnosis that you can buy. Literally what these are is they’re these guided hypnosis sessions. It’s just a voice talking; it’s usually soothing and calming.

You can find different hypnosis audios on different stuff like improving your confidence, or improving your success with the opposite sex, career, money, really anything or just generally relaxing and stress reducing type of hypnotic audios. Just sit back, put your head phones on and listen to it for half an hour or an hour.

They’re going to help you visualize cool stuff and that really promotes your personal growth if you’ve been doing a lot of active personal development that way, but it’s also extremely relaxing and it feels extremely good. I’ve really been getting into that lately.

The last one that I’m going to throw in there is cooking. Cooking is a really great activity. I find that you can use it to at the same time build a valuable life skill. If you’re a guy cooking with girls, that’s a really hot commodity. Girls will love you for that. If you’re a girl learning how to cook, guys love that too. Really both sexes love for the opposite sex to know how to cook.

You can also couple that with the nutrition that you should be improving in your life like eating more nutritiously, eating more whole foods or eating more raw foods, eating more vegetable-based foods so cooking is good for you on that level too so you’re killing multiple birds with one stone. Also I find that it can be relaxing. Once you learn some of the recipes and stuff, then you can kind of just go and do your thing. Even the process of going to the grocery store and buying groceries, that can also just be a relaxing process and I find that it’s a very healthy process.

That’s the list. There’s a lot of stuff here and I’m sure you can come up with a much larger list given your specific tastes and hobbies and preferences, where you live and all the options that are or are not available to you. Sit down, take one or two or three things that sound like a really good substitute for TV that will help to fulfill that role that TV is playing in your life.

I think that’s the critical piece here. Make sure that the role that TV plays is also filled by one of these activities that you choose. Don’t choose something that’s totally out there, something that would not be a candidate as to replace TV.

The Thirty Day Challenge

Really the action I have for you from this video is really simple. I want you to cancel your cable, cancel it right now, don’t wait till the end of the month because you’re going to forget. Don’t wait until the end of the billing cycle, just call them right now and just cancel it. Cancel your Netflix, cancel your Hulu, cancel your Amazon TV, cancel any kind of streaming services that you have.

They give you really easy access to television. Cancel all that stuff. Don’t throw out your television out because you’ll be able to use it for other good stuff like educational videos and the occasional DVD. You don’t need to get rid of your television, just snip that cable.

I want you to commit to a thirty day challenge. This is how I started to wean myself off television when I got really serious. I committed to a thirty day challenge. No TV for thirty days straight.

When you do this challenge I would recommend really going cold turkey so I would recommend cutting off cable TV, all your Netflix all that stuff obviously, but I would also recommend that you don’t go to movie theatres, you don’t do any DVDs or movies of any kind, you don’t even look at the TV monitors at the gym when you’re exercising. You just look away.

Do that for thirty days straight. What you’re going to find is if you do that for thirty days straight you’re going to through some of those withdrawal symptoms and after thirty days you’re not going to be thirsting for TV as much.

If you replace TV with some of these other activities like meditation, naps, cooking or listening to music, then that substitution is going to take place and you’re not going to have that same drive to go back any more. Once you’re done with those thirty days, see how you feel and if you’re feeling good, keep it going. Keep it going as long as you can. Cutting that cable is going to help you a lot.

What’s going to happen is that even after those thirty days you still might feel like you want to go back to TV, you might backslide a bit. What I find is it really takes about six to twelve months of no TV to really convince your mind of the fact that you don’t need it at all.

If you told me three years ago or four years ago when I was in the process of breaking this TV watching cycle myself, if you had told me that I would be really happy standing right here right now and not watching TV for months on end, I would be like, “No way! I couldn’t do that and maintain my performance at work.” But now I found so many other enriching activities in my life that I would rather be doing than television that I don’t even think about it.

It’s a pretty amazing shift. It just shows you how hooked your brain can get on stuff. You can get so hooked that you don’t even realize how hooked you were the whole time. This is going to improve your mood, this is going to improve your negative thinking, this is going to remove some of your negative beliefs or at least keep you from being conditioned with even more negative beliefs.

It’s going to take you out of that consumer culture that the TV ads are always trying to feed you, it’s going to free up your schedule and it’s going to free up your motivation and your mental resources so that you can be a little higher consciousness so you can go out there and start creating that amazing life that you want to create if you’re watching my videos and you’re subscribed to this channel. All right, so go ahead and do that. I think this is one of the most important things you can do in your life. It’s like a really low hanging fruit. If you watch a lot of TV, cut that stuff off.

Wrap Up

All right, I’m signing off, this is Leo for Actualized.org. Go ahead and post your comments down below. Let me know what you guys think about this and what your success stories are like.

Also please like this video, click the like button for me. Share with a friend, post it on Facebook so that this video can spread. We want more people creating extraordinary lives, less people watching television.

Finally, come and check out my newsletter at Actualized.org. This is the newsletter. It’s a free newsletter. I release videos on a weekly basis and all my videos are really here to cut through all the bullshit that the media is feeding you, stuff that your parents and your friends are telling you that’s keeping you stuck in life.

I want to cut all that and give you the mindset that you practically need to create the feelings that you want in your life, the success that you want in your life. It’s possible for you to have a life that’s very passionate in your career, in your relationships and where you’re thriving on literally every category of your life and you feel like you’re a movie star. You feel like you’re living that amazing dream that you would imagine only somebody in a magazine or on TV living.

You can have that but you have to work towards it. One of the first things you’ve got to do is cut off that TV. Keep building yourself up week after week and slowly you can get yourself there. I’m really excited about sharing the best, most practical mindsets that I’ve discovered that are going to help you do that. Sign up and you’ll be getting that stuff for free.

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Comments
(49)
Kid says:

Leo, I’m 110% with you on everything you say here. I’ve been practicing those ways for well over 12 years and just the sound on TV makes me rush for the doors. At a push, I will watch a film at the weekend in the winter time only, the rest of the time I can’t think of anything worst. TV is mind destroying!

Jason Phaneuf says:

I haven’t watched TV. much in the past year, but at least this video convinced me that I don’t need to donate $70 a month to Dish. They must be pretty hard up because the representative did everything possible to try to keep me with them.

Leo are you against following sports on TV, or following sports closely? I used to, but the more I think about it, I feel it’s a waste of time and energy.

Leo Gura says:

I’ve never followed sports. It seems like a huge waste of time to me.

Lena says:

I couldn’t agree more Leo yes! I had a full week with no TV and I can’t even tell you how much I accomplished. My husband asked what I did differently. I had more energy, a clearer mind and life In Order. Prior to having my daughter I never watched TV as I had no time, truly. However when your a breastfeeding mom it keeps you down many hours of the day….either way you are correct!

Pam says:

You are DEAD on, Leo! I knew I was watching too much TV for a long time, but was so addicted to all the true crime shows and a few reasonably good dramas. I thought I was doing well, not watching the news or reading the papers for years, but I didn’t realize how depressed I was, watching all that negativity. Last month my TV died after a lightening strike, and I went cold turkey. Surprisingly enough, I have barely missed it. MIND NUMBING is right…TV is a huge time suck…I would sit there for hours, mesmerized and completely lose track of time. My creativity over the last 20 years has dwindled to non-existent, and I was overstimulated and exhausted most of the time. Boy, has my life changed for the better! Thank you for putting this out there…I’ve gotten a lot from your videos over the last few months. SO insightful!

Asaiah Powers says:

have you ever read Ray Bradburys The pedestrian or F-451?Both science fiction has much to do with this topic.That ray bradbury belaeved tv would destroy the structure of american families ruining all the values we strived so hard for we ourselves violated.

Leo Gura says:

Nope, haven’t read it. I’ve always dismissed the idea that TV is dangerous, but now I do see it as a huge waste of my time, and so in this sense it is dangerous to my life purpose.

Sean says:

Leo – very good video as always. I thoroughly enjoy all the videos I have seen from you.

I have a question; how do you feel about talk radio, do you put it in the same category as television?

Leo Gura says:

Talk radio can be very bad. A lot of times it’s dogmatic people bickering about nonsense. They infect you with their dogmatism, making you shallow and closed-minded. Conservative talk-radio is especially like this.

Bob says:

Another thought provoking video-thanks Leo. Just discussing the topic of recognizing and dealing with any mind numbing activity is worth consideration. I think the other huge numbing diversion at present on par with television is the cell phone and the constant obsession most people have to this which I believe is as great a problem if not more. I bring this up because of the recent advancements allowing more streaming of television onto cellular devices. I’d love to hear you take this one on in the future.

Leo Gura says:

Yes, smart phones are definitely a problem.

Sandra says:

Leo, My mon didn’t let me to see TV at my teen age. I was OK with that. I was truly a book worm and I used to love my study . After the age 19 I got a male friend I really loved him and wanted to be with him forever. He left me because I was ugly. I can’t do makeups. I really hated my mom after that I wish I would ve watched tv I would ve known how to be a beautiful girl.
But I liked the video a lot . Can’t you make any video on how to get rid of FB?

but I want to make documentaries so that people can get to know the world and broadcast it in TV. And yeah I use Facebook to promote by business. Isit Bad?

Leo Gura says:

Those are the kind of problems you can rarely foresee. You can’t catch every potential omission of information like that. And perhaps you got some hidden benefits in your life from not having watched TV as a teen.

Asaiah Powers says:

Funny most of the books you say i should have i found around the house just never took the time to read them

Yvan says:

Leo, I am so pleased with this video of yours on stopping to watch TV. You are right when you say how hard it is. It is hard to plug out from it as much as it is to quit a so long and bad habit. I think of masturbating oneself for example. Your advice can be very useful in giving up long and bad habits. I am much obliged for it.

Yvan says:

Leo, you can even mention such activities as artistic ones (painting, drawing, dancing lessons, etc.). There are many good schools for all these activities which people are fond of when young, and cherish, but growing disinterested in for lacking time or for being too absorbed in daily concerns when growing up….right ? Leo, I wish also to say that I very much like both your verbal and facial expressions, and the length of your videos. Your videos are long enough, and so rich, so profitable ! And yet my preference usually goes for videos which last less than 10 or 15 min.

Yvan says:

Leo, I wish also to say that I very much like both your verbal and facial expressions, and the length of your videos. Your videos are long enough, and so rich, so profitable ! And yet my preference usually goes for videos which last less than 10 or 15 min. For your videos, I never grow weary while watching them thanks to all these things I have just mentioned ! Finally Leo, I must say that I have been not watching TV at home for nearly two years….Yes, that’s possible. But, as you say, it takes more than 6 years to begin persuading yourself that TV is unnecessary in your life…

Yvan says:

… I still feel the urge to see it. Truly, I compensate it with Youtube. Only, thanks to my desire of constant personal growth (it has become a passion just as for yourself. Lol !), I tend not to waste time on youtube. A question to conclude : what do you think of such passions as watching Japanese anime or old classic movies or yet Bollywood movies or sport championships ? How do you recommend a fan of these entertainments to consume them ? Thank you in advance, and please more of your extraordinary, formidable videos ! You are a great motivator !

From Ottawa, and with my admiration,

Yvan

Leo Gura says:

You can watch them selectively, without subscribing to cable and without subscribing to any online streaming services like Netflix.

Yvan says:

I see ! I thought so ! I shall have to sort out and make choices. No way to avoid choices in life if you want to do profitable things, I suppose ! Lol ! Thank you many times for your precious advice ! I thank you for your swift reply !

Nathan says:

I’ve stopped watching cable TV since I’ve been in college and use Ad-blockers online. I understand the comment you made about advertising. I find it particularly shocking when I visit family who watch television during Christmastime. How could a holiday based on family, charity, and good cheer become so saturated with consumerism? I also get annoyed when I hang out with friends and family who just want to sit in front of a television with me instead of talk or leaving the house to do something more stimulating.

However I do think that I am addicted to video games, streaming sites, and internet surfing. One of my favorite things to do is to go to a coffee shop and just sit on my laptop, sometimes for the whole day on my days off, doing nothing productive. I used to have problems procrastinating on studying and writing papers with these activities. Now that I’ve graduating I’m using it to procrastinate on things that will “move” my life forward. After watching this I realize that I really do need to stop. I see myself replacing it with reading, vinyl records, socializing with friends, being active, and just getting the things done that I know I need to do.

Leo Gura says:

Great! Follow through on that. Your future self will thank you.

Aphiwe says:

Wow! your videos are changing my life instently I’m seeing results in my life and I
watch your videos everyday coz they remind me of being myself, going out there, work hard and just being myself and it feels easy and fun..”how to stop caring what people think of you” the video has helped me alot, within a week wow! it’s crazy keep up Leo I love personal development.

Leo Gura says:

Cool, thanks!

Meena Birdi says:

hi leo

I just started to watch some of your videos after initially watching the film the secret. I do have a couple of questions though.
my 8 month baby watched baby tv daily. it doesn’t have any adverts its just constant cartoons that he likes to watch. it also makes it easy for me to get things done round the house so I can leave him there. I do try not to leave him watching it too long. so is that bad of me?
Also there are a couple of shows I watch on the sky box sets. its literally just the shows without the adverts. so is that still okay?

Monique says:

Hey Leo,

It’s so refreshing to find a personal development teacher that prioritizes the numbing nature of TV today. If’s funny that my first experience with this is when our TV broke and we were amazed at how much we were getting done.

I studied Ayurvedic natural medicine for two years, and with some clients, one of the first things we do is cut way back on TV watching. TV is designed to be very enervating, the shock value you mentioned. This can be especially unbalancing for people with nervous system issues. Of course there are endless studies about how today’s TV is making our poor attention spans even worse.

Just like the food we eat, what we watch has a very specific energy. Taking in too much of any one energy, especially negative energy, is always unbalancing. Thank you for this very balanced video on the subject.

Your videos have been very validating on my personal development journey. I too have been working to distill Truth from untruth. I’ve stopped sharing your videos because my tribe doesn’t like the cursing either, but I am watching them for now.

Hi Leo.
Very well considered article, and therefore helpful. Have been thinking about giving up TV for a while and now that I have read this article, I am very determined to take action to give it up. I am glad I can still come back to it for the more educational stuff. But I agree with giving it up completely for a while to break the addiction.
Thanks again

Rosemary

Leo Gura says:

Great! Do it! You have no idea how much happier you’ll be!

Cosmin says:

I agree with you, TV isn’t “bad” per se, it’s the stuff that’s streamed on it that makes people so cynical, negative and addicted to it.

I don’t deny, I Watch TV, but out of like 140 channels, I Watch like 3-4, mostly educational channels, like cooking shows(I like to cook, to learn new techniques), documentaries, natgeo or history or whatever, and sports, usually football matches(aka soccer), and that’s about it.

I hate politics, I can’t stand watching a politics show for more then 5 minutes, it’s really exhausting and stressful, only a bunch of biased fanatics that yell at each other, and each is trying to manipulate you with their own “truth”, which breeds lots and lots of hate and anger, people fighting and hating each other on sites for which ideological party is the “right one”.

I’m not affected by comercials, I don’t buy into their marketing campaigns, never was. I didn’t feel the “urge” to purchase something because I’ve seen it 100 times a day or whatever.

The biggest problem, and time waster for me is the internet. Many blame TV, but forget about the internet.

There’s so much negativity on the internet, I’ve wasted much time arguing with complete strangers on all sorts gaming sites or sports sites, been called names, and I’ve been insulted because I’ve dared to say that I like something some don’t, or have a different opinion then the majority of that particular site.

Just have a glimpse on youtube comments, you’ll see people at their throats just because they like different movies, video games or different music genres.

Also the negative news on TV, it’s on the internet, on all sorts of sites.

Why ? I’ve read that the human brain is attracted by negative emotions since the we were in caves, because we had to be prepared for the worst, back then, but now we don’t, but we are still drawn to every negative thing that’s out there, that’s generates negative emotions in us.

That’s why most of the TV is centered around, bad events, like war, crimes, “celebrity scandal”, “reality shows” and other stuff. Which I not only avoid, I’m basically not interested in, because it exhausts me and stresses me out, and I gain nothing by watching a bunch of angry people yelling at each other for all sorts of meaningless things.

I also fiind most of “funny youtube videos” stupid, and a waste. I usually Watch educationl videos on youtube, or music videos, from my favorite bands, try to fiind new music I might enjoy.

I’m not going to cut my cable since I get my internet from that and is really cheap in my country, but definitely don’t bother watching all the negative stuff on tv, and trying to stay away from it on the internet also, especially comments, which baffle me how much hate and anger and frustration there is on every site.

Yvan says:

Concerning ads, you are right too to keep buying after your own needs and not foolishly, I mean, without need or merely for fancing it after have discovered it on television. In this way, you act also more like a responsible adult, and will always have better finances and make better shop decisions than if made under the mere influence of such publicity.

Yvan says:

Secundly, Money and televisions are only tools. It is up to us to profit from them and not harm ourselves. After all, you, I and most people who watch it are adults. We must take our responsibilities.

Austin says:

Hey Leo,

I like this video a lot, but I feel that there are some aspects about TV that can be important. For example, watching the news, reading news in the paper, reading it on the internet seems like something that is important. Sure there is the over-abundance of negative stories , but wouldn’t it be necessary to be exposed to some of these negative stories as a motivation to help improve negative conditions in the world?

Yvan says:

I do think you are right ! We must voluntarily expose ourselves to the negative content of television for the sake of knowledge. I mean, I find it intelligent to follow it with a view of keeping ourself instructed as to where the imbellicities and absurdities we get to see on television are at. I mean the level they have reached. For example, I will cite Anaconda, the last song released by Nicki Minaj. In my video, one can see to what extent mainstream music videos they are now pornographic. For that matter, even the lyrics and the title of the songs themselves are increasingly more sexually explicit. Take this example. Anaconda can certainly refer to nothing but the size of a penis especially as the music video is so flagrantly pornographic. I am sorry for this lengthy answer, but I needed to adequately clarify my point.

Yvan says:

Good-bye to you too Austin ! Keep also instructed of to the true realities of this world, and God be with you too until the end !

Heather says:

I like this advise. I have stopped cable for the past two years, but I still am able to get a few digital channels via the antenna. I hated paying for cable. I think it is a big rip off anyway. I would only watch a few channels anyway. I like your ideas for other ways to unwind besides TV. This is very inspirational for me. I am going cold turkey starting today!! Thanks Leo.

Yvan says:

I have also been doing without cable for over three years, and still only miss it at intervals. Just as yourself, I now think that it is wasted money to take cable; I deem it more useful to have only a few channels, as a few people are able to see all the channels from the set they subscribe to. Besides, with the streaming sites, we can now see the series alone we particularly like, and AT OUR OWN RYTHM, which channels does not enable to.

Yvan says:

Concerning this, I hate the enslavement their schedules cause to us, even if I do understand that, in this world, things can only happen at certain times, seasonably, as they said

Yvan says:

Good-bye Heather, and good life for you, and keep awake to the true realities of this world, and God be with you too until the end !

Yvan says:

Hello to everyone !

Even when your comments are unintended for me, I wish to reply to them, at least partially. I find your interventions so profitable. Therefore, I should like to exchange a little with you before you become disinterested in the feedback for the present video.

Yvan says:

Money and televisions are only tools. It is up to us to profit from them and not harm ourselves. After all, you, I and most people who watch it are adults. We must take our responsibilities.

Yvan says:

As for the insults on the Internet debates, care not ! Most people in this world are ignorant of the true realities, and will probably not wake up. For that matter, this state of things is so to speak inevitable, for we are already drawing near the end of times.

Stephane says:

Hey Leo. I am truly grateful to have discovered this site. My first ever video, by you, was ‘how to stop caring about what other people think.’ It changed my life. You see; threw personal growth, I have been increasingly happy with life over the last four years. But for some reason, when I came into contact with others, no matter who; I stopped existing. With the help of your video I first admitted to this and then did the thirty day trial of repeating to myself for five minutes each morn, THE SENTENCE that I still repeat each morning.

Then came the second video. ‘Dealing with toxic people.’ In that gem, I learnt that it’s okay to CUT people out. So, I made a’ YOUR CUT’ list. I was surprised Leo, to see that there wasn’t much left to my entourage after those cuts. So, I am now looking to increase the number of positive people in my life and that’s where you come in. You were the first new addition to my circle of awesome friends.

Then came this video, and I must say that I have not watched any cable TV in over a year. I am extremely sensitive to TV’s messages. I am now ready to move forward with DVD’s. TV is in my way. I love creating, going to the gym, running, photography, playing instruments, nature, personal development; and I always found myself RUSHING threw those things just to squeeeeeeeze in some TV time. And you said it loud and clear in this video, thank you for that.

Emily says:

Hi! I watched this video and I really appreciated hearing your thoughts on TV. Its funny, I have for the most part come to a lot of the same conclusions. I only disagreed with the idea that movie theaters are ok. I really think that the messages from Hollywood big budget movies can be just as destructive as commercials, and I would say that Hollywood Movies should be avoided at all costs. I do watch DVDs and shows that I check out for free from the public library, but I only watch (at most) an episode per day. Will have to try listening to audio and reading non-fiction books. I know how helpful they are, but I am just not in the habit.

Thanks!
Emily

steve says:

I have to watch Walking Dead though. You need to edit your video and say: “except for Walking Dead”. And Parenthood. Another edit for you.
But that’s it.

Diane says:

I am on day 5 of not using the tv or computer to watch mindless tv. I did watch a football game with my hubby. I like the bonding experience (especially since my team is going to the Superbowl). I knew I was addicted to tv and have been since I was a teenager.

I am very proud of myself, but I know I can’t just watch one thing on the computer (except for you) because right now I am not strong enough to stop myself once I got started.

Thank you… you gave me the courage to believe that I don’t need this at all.

Diane

Jordan says:

This video is really great and it helped me a lot.

I noticed Leo said that self-hypnosis audios are great, and they are, but pleasse please PLEASEE be careful. There are a lot of mean people out there who can use those recordings to not help but harm you instead through hidden messages that you will not see. So just please be careful!

Michael says:

I had a TV in my room, after hearing your advice about TVs I had it removed. I really like documentaries, sometimes I would watch them on TV and sometimes on my laptop. Documentaries I watch are mainly about Physics, Biology and sometimes politics and philosophy. Are these ok?

Mark G says:

Hello Leo, thanks for your great videos! i have been watching you for about 2 years and you have helped me enormously with my health, will power, and quality of life. I absolutely love video games but they are addictive and very distracting from other important parts of my life. I have tried cutting back and “playing in moderation”, but i would like to know what your opinion on the subject is. It seems that video games are very similar to tv in how they can be destructive to your overall life. I would like to know if you think it is ok to play video games at all or should they be completely eliminated from ones life? You made various exceptions from your elimination of television material from ones life, such as the use of tv for education and other exceptions. Would you make any such exceptions for video games? I highly respect your opinion and would be very thankful that a (former?) gamer such as yourself would share your view. Much respect to you

Wolfgang says:

Television, the drug for the masses in the 21. Century.

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