Habits. These are what turns us from ordinary into extraordinary. Through an ongoing focus and a goal for this year, I am striving to build not only financial wealth, but a more professional, positive and productive mindset. One way to change what we receive from the universe is to do something different. This habit is about how we spend our downtime.
I don’t want to title this “Don’t watch TV” because I do not feel it’s that simple. Let’s think of it as maximizing our time.
Maximizing Our Time
www.Businessinsider.com wrote an article entitled 9 things rich people do and don’t do every day. Here are some stats they share on the use of time:
They don’t watch TV.
“I watch TV one hour or less per day.”
Rich people who agree: 67%
Poor people who agree: 23%
They read … but not for fun.
“I love reading.”
Rich people who agree: 86%
Poor people who agree: 26%
Plus, they’re big into audio books.
“I listen to audio books during the commute to work.”
Rich people who agree: 63%
Poor people who agree: 5%
Variable statistics range in that the average person reads between 1 and 5 books a year. Wealthy people read an average of 30 minutes a day or more on self-improvement, and choose to listen to books during commutes and other times.
From Dave Ramsey’s website: President Harry Truman once said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” In The Millionaire Next Door, Stanley says that the average millionaire reads one nonfiction book per month.
The Ways To Implement Change Into Your Life
I love to read. (Nerd moment: all reading is played out in my head like a movie. Just like a movie, I cannot stop it part way. This is part of why reading is hard for me to do in pieces – I want to read it all at once!)
While I was growing up, we had one television in the house. It was a 13” analog television, no remote, two dials and thirteen stations. One station was just fuzz, two were French, and the rest were of a basic variety. There were four of us in the house. While the demand on the television was not as bad as some houses, sitting on the floor and watching tv from a few feet away was not as comfortable as being in my room, on my bed, with a book or three, and not having to watch She-Ra because my sister’s turn to pick had come up. In fact, this tv was probably the reason we both were raised as readers. Neither of us prefer television as a means to pass time.
Today, I do not pay for cable television. We do not have a sports package, or the HBO channels. I watch what I want on Netflix, and avoid the commercials of the newest and greatest inventions that I must buy. Netflix binges do occur, but we try to limit them by turning it off after a few episodes. I read, listen to books, play puzzle games and have conversations. Follow it up with reflecting on and schedule my week. I load up my audio books for the drive to and from work, and I read other people’s blogs about the topics that interest me.
While it’s not an easy task to schedule in time to read, it’s easy to do when the television is turned off. How many hours can fly by when you are watching “something”, then just one more episode, and just one more minute. Same thing can be said about the internet: There are so many cute kitten pictures and funny videos of people falling down that you could entertain yourself all day. Instead, turn off the television and turn off the social media. Pay attention to where and how you are sitting, and get comfortable. Pick up a book (or e-reader), newspaper, or any other resource, and read. Stretch your mind, learn some new words, and best of all, think.
There is a link above called Resources. You will find a list of books that I have read during my journey of learning about investments, and a few others that have motivated me. I recommend checking them out. Even a 30 minute break from the screen can help you sleep better, and feel better. Plus, you will have more to talk about at the water cooler tomorrow.
Another option is audiobooks. I no longer listen to the radio in my car, as I was tired of hearing the commercials and the same songs on repeat. I wanted something that would make me think and improve my life. There are apps available to download free podcasts, audiobooks and news summaries. I use Podcasts for Apple, and subscribe to a variety of podcasts that interest me. The podcasts automatically download while I am on wi-fi, and automatically delete after I’ve listened to them.
If you enjoy listening to the radio or having the television on while getting ready in the morning, you aren’t alone. Streaming a podcast or an audiobook is a great substitute and is a wonderful way to get in some extra reading. Wake up with your coffee and a great book while you get ready in the morning or walk the dog.
So the next time you find yourself sitting in front of the television after dinner, mindlessly watching another sitcom about some dire situation made into reality tv, turn it off. Reach for a book and enjoy some learning instead. After all, these are the habits of the wealthy!