As of a couple days ago the television and film writers are on strike, apparently due to some dispute over DVD and "new media" earnings. As with most strikes, both sides are probably being greedy, but the politics of the strike is not my point.
Late night talk shows, sitcoms, soaps, and even CSI will soon fade to re-runs. Television will become a series of deja vu’s, with a lot of "hey, I’ve already seen that!" Hopefully many people will then turn off the TV, look around, and realize there’s a whole other world out there. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll become a bit more productive. That is my point.
Regular readers may recall that back in early July a combination of various stressful events created a situation that could only be rectified by some R&R… quickly. So with literally a day’s notice I flew out to Maui and proceeded to spend almost a week on the beach. Alone. The short notice, lack of preparation, and time alone made it a very liberating and powerful experience. Exactly the decompression I needed.
Short break for a side story: my wife was very supportive. But upon my return it was interesting to hear how all of her girl friends immediately asked "why would he go alone" and "are you two having problems?" Meanwhile I was bombarded with emails and calls from my guy buddies asking "how the heck did you pull that off and can you please tell me how you did it?" Hmmm… for my own well-being I better not comment further.
Back to the point of this post, if I can remember it. Before I took my last minute jaunt, my wife and I would watch quite a bit of TV. Not an excessive amount, but two or three hours a night. Quality shows like Girls Next Door, Dr. 90210, Battlestar Galactica (ok, that was just me), Sunset Tan… you get the picture. And regular readers know that if my mother in-law was in town, we’d probably watch a bunch of Oprah and Dr. Phil… but when that happened I’d usually go into the workshop and play with sharp objects, subconsiously hoping they’d put me out of my misery.
But when I went to Maui I decided to simply leave the TV off. Instead I lounged around with an assortment of Corona’s and margaritas (on the rocks, of course) while reading some decidedly non-business books. I watched the waves and the sunset, listened to the birds in the morning, and felt the sea breeze on my slightly burned back. If I got hungry I’d raise my finger and a mahi taco with mango salsa would miraculously appear.
It took about an hour to forget about TV. And I haven’t watched a single full show since that blissful week in early July. In fact, TV has become rather annoying, and when I go into a room where it’s on I can hardly think straight. A couple no-TV friends of mine report the same phenomena.
Many of you have asked how I can run a 300-person company, be heavily involved with a couple tech startups, keep Superfactory updated with fresh content and editing the monthly newsletter, write a blog post about every day, and be halfway through writing another book… while having time to go out for beers with the guys that are still trying to figure out how to get their wives to let them go to Maui alone. It’s simple: no TV. And no kids, but that’s another story.
So take advantage of this writers strike and the resulting dearth of fresh TV. Turn it off. Smell the roses. Read a book. Build something in the workshop. Cook a nice dinner. Restore that old Spitfire (I did a ’73 many years ago…). Work on your "yes dear" list. Hit the gym. Actually engage in meaningful conversation with your spouse and friends.
Continuously improve… yourself. Instead of lining the pockets of the TV writers and producers while widening the size of your hind end.