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When Watching Television can Enhance Personal Growth

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When Watching Television can Enhance Personal Growth
    Television. It isn't ALL bad.

    Many education and personal development experts claim that people watch way too much television these days.

    As a result of having our eyes glued to the television for hours each day, we waste our valuable time watching all the latest reality shows and sitcoms when we could be using that time to do something more constructive with our lives.

    I would tend to agree that the average person should cut down on the number of hours, but I think some TV is actually okay if utilized well.

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    Since we all need breaks in the form of entertainment, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to watch a few regular shows each week. But of course, many people are watching much more than just a few shows on a weekly basis.

    Where Television Can Actually Be Beneficial

    Where I think television can actually be beneficial for us is in programming that is educational and thought-provoking. Programs like the ones on the outdoors, on history — as well as the Discovery Channel, of course — educate us on nature, technology and culture. These can help broaden our horizons.

    Cultural shows in particular can help us learn more about each other so that we, as people, can become more tolerant of each others’ differences. This will help to reduce the level of racism and conflicts we still have in the world.

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    Other programs (especially those highlighting nature and travel) help us build appreciation of our precious planet.  I know that in my case that as a result of watching travel shows, I have been influenced to book trips to certain different destinations around the world…all because of the initial exposure on television.

    It was programs about our planet’s marine life underwater showing colorful coral reefs with tropical fish that got me interested to go snorkeling and then eventually become a certified scuba diver. I saw on TV just how beautiful the underwater world was and I wanted to be in that environment so I could experience it for myself.

    Rather than just watching the coral reef marine life on a television screen in my living room, I wanted to be there in the real actual environment. Even a giant IMAX theatre could not duplicate the real thing when you have gorgeous tropical fish swimming all around you in a 360-degree zone.

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    Television Can Help Us Appreciate Our History

    Television in the form of historical documentaries or even re-enactments of past events in time can also have quite an impact. I always knew about the Great Pyramids in Egypt but when I finally saw more in-depth footage of various ancient Egyptian ruins on TV, I knew that I just had to travel there to see them in real life.

    I actually did go on a trip to Egypt one year — and there is really nothing quite like standing in front of colorful murals that are still vivid on the walls of ancient tombs in the Valley of the Kings after thousands of years. These breathtaking experiences I had were a result of initially being exposed to these ancient antiquities on television.

    The combination of the initial television exposure and real life visits have made me appreciate mankind’s history much more. I get a better sense of where we have been and perhaps what we still have to do to make our society better.

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    Learning From Great People

    Although we can all still learn from great people through their writings, attending a live talk where they are speakers would definitely be even better.  However, since many of these great people are no longer with us, watching their stories on TV with either actual footage of them or through movie portrayals are the next best thing.

    I learned about people like Gandhi and Malcolm X through movie portrayals on television, which prompted me to do a bit more research on them. Their wisdom has made me a better person, again thanks to the initial exposure on TV.

    So if you are already involved in activities that contribute to your personal growth, don’t write off television completely. Use it as one of the tools that you can use to get some exposure to events, people and places that can broaden your horizons further.

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    Last Updated on November 22, 2021

    Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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    Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

    Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

    During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

    But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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    Simplify

    I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

    Absolutely.

    And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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    If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

    • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
    • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
    • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

    Be Mindful

    You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

    Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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    Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

    Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

    Reflect

    As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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    Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

    But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

    So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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    Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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