Life Outside the Box
By S.J. Robinson
How to Gain Time AND Grow Your Brain in One Easy Step
(*This article was originally published "How to Gain Time AND Grow Your Brain in One Easy Step", but has been more appropriately renamed “Life Outside the Box” here.)
Time – Our greatest ally and our elusive friend. As a people, we cannot seem to get enough of this precious resource. It accomplishes so much; brings day after night, and season after season; and is always moving onto the next thing. It features in weather reports, in songs, in books, in classrooms, in lecture halls and is always a part of our daily conversation. It can be gained, and it can wasted. It can be whittled away, or we can be racing against it. Some people say it’s not on their side and is moving too fast, while others say they need to kill some every now and then. Of course, in the professional world, time cannot just be a colleague you wrestle to get along with… it needs to be your best friend. So regardless of whether you feel short of time or not, we all need this resource not only to exist, but in order to live life to the full. And if we really aim to make the most of our time, it has the ability to accomplish everything we truly desire.
Since committing myself to writing my series of thrillers back in 2012 and, in the meantime, becoming a busy mom of two very active children, I am always on the lookout to find ways to gain more time. Not that it’s really gaining more time, but rather it’s finding ways to use it more effectively. I find that you have two options as far as time is concerned: either you are working for the clock or you are making the clock work for you. In my daily juggling act, I can get stressed easily. I honestly do. Mostly it is because I like to keep my word. This means that when I commit to doing something, I like to follow through, and usually for this, a deadline is involved. Actually one of the most attractive things I saw on a Linkedin CV of late was somebody’s ability to work to immoveable deadlines. For me, this is a skill that really has the ‘WOW’ factor. Why? Because, to me, this is somebody who likes to keep his/her word. This is someone who respects time, especially other people’s time. Think about it: How many times have we been promised things by people who fail to deliver? How many times have we ourselves promised things which we never followed through on? These time-management failures are some of the most irritating and frustrating things. I would even go so far as to say that anyone who even shows up late for an interview is simply not worth hiring. Time management is a tell-all. At the end of the day, we are all only as good as our word. Our word is a reflection of who we are. It is a reflection of our character. Considering this, one of the primary goals should be to master effective time management.
Effective time management is a skill which reveals so much about somebody’s internal make-up. Your time management skills reveal your level of organisation, your ability to deliver, your ability to keep your word and your respect of others. Life is full of potential setbacks and unforeseen surprises, but if you are ahead of the game, you will find the time to overcome the obstacles. It is up to us how we decide to use our time each day, and with practice, it can become your greatest friend. So with all this groundwork on the importance of good time management in mind, it brings me to one very simple step to instantly gain more time (and not only gain time, there are a whole range of other benefits as well!). Here it is: GIVE UP TV. Yes, very simple, almost too simple, I know. However, one of the single greatest things I have ever done to claim back countless precious hours of my life, every single day, was to give up “the box”. In fact, my family and I have had no TV in our house for well over five years now. This means: No TV, no TV bills, no TV licensing fees, and (this is an amazing one!) no switching off of the brain for several hours at a time each day. And what resources have I gained?
Time: plenty of it… and time to do the things I really want to do.
Money: much needed, especially at the moment with two young children.
Creativity: brain is switched on all day long, and follows its own organic learning curve.
Freedom: as you are not in bondage to the constant pumping of bad news.
Family Time: yes, sitting down for a meal at the table and really getting to know one another through the rare and wonderful art of conversation.
The World: the world is now your oyster as you step outside the confines of your living room for your life fulfilment and life enjoyment.
Indeed, life “outside the box” does hold many attractive benefits.
So am I saying all TV is bad? No, not necessarily; but if time is what you’re after, throwing out the box is one sure fire way to recover valuable hours of your life… And there is the added perk of expanding your mental capacity while you’re at it. Most people know the negative effects that TV has on the brain, but if the average person is still watching 4-5 hours of TV a day, than this is not doing the person any real favours. The author of EruptingMind.com highlights that “this results in a high level of mental programming, degeneration of the brain and wasted time that could otherwise have been devoted to more constructive and beneficial activities” – beneficial activities such as reading, learning a foreign language and exercise – all of which have a positive effect on your brain. The author further notes that “reading for at least 30-60 minutes every day” can actually undo the damage which too much TV has done especially on the frontal lobe part of your brain (of course, what you read is important too, but that’s for another article). He highlights that “reading is like exercise for the brain, just like running is exercise for the body”, and that the brain-damaging effects of TV – such as lack of critical analysis, addiction, reduced higher brain function, degenerative brain rot and short attention span – can, in this way, be reduced or eliminated.
Caroline Leaf – author of the bestselling book ‘Who Switched Off my Brain?’ – essentially believes that “we are all neuro-plasticians, who are able to complete our own brain surgery and change our brain.” We are the ones who determine what goes into our brain and we are the ones who shape our thoughts, our words, our actions and our reality. She draws on the incredible research of a Nobel-prize winning Professor, Dr Eric Candel, who states that humans are actually ‘wired for love’ and that all of the circuitry inside of our brain is actually geared in a positive love direction. While Love is a natural or innate emotion; Fear, on the other hand, is a learned emotion. Fear can be wired into our brain from a young age through exposure to toxic thought-pollutants in our environment and it produces all of the abnormal emotions in life including hurt, bitterness, anxiety and depression.
New scientific research into epi-genetics suggests that we do, in fact, create our own realities and that as our brains think and choose, branches called dendrites or neuro-pathways form in our brains, which can strengthen over time through environmental exposure and reinforcement. Epi-genetics shows us that our thinking affects what we become, which in turn suggests that the things we allow ourselves be exposed to in our daily environments also have a direct impact on our thought life and the person we become. We all know that TV is great at pumping out bad news, lewd images and vulgar chat shows, a fake pop/reality culture, false celebrity idolism etc etc….but what if unknowingly these were all having a moulding or rotting effect on your brain, and therefore, your life potential? Would you really waste your precious time watching it? I, personally, have decided to opt-out, and I highly recommend everyone to seriously consider giving up “the box” in order to take back power over your brain and life. There are so many amazing things to experience in this world and we only have a limited amount of time in which to do them. So, in closing, I will just say…
Embrace the real world.
Go after them.
And THANK YOU for reading!
- S.J. Robinson is the author of the PROJECT CODE-X TRILOGY of high-concept thrillers. For a special advance reader copy of her first book, click HERE.
Text Copyright © 2017, S.J. Robinson. All rights reserved.
#Brain Potential #Creativity #CarolineLeaf #Eric Kandel #Freedom #HumanPotential #Time #TV
- Barbara O’Neill, The Laws of the Mind, Lecture at Misty Mountain Health Retreat 2015
- Dr Caroline Leaf, Who Switched Off my Brain?
- Effects of TV on the Brain (OMG!) 2016 http://www.eruptingmind.com/effects-of-tv-on-brain/
- Prof. Eric R. Kandel, The Kavli Institute for Brain Science
Peter Maya 9/6/17 12:56
I'm trying to unplug as well. It's tough but possible.
Linda Perkins 26/11/17 10:27
S.J. There's a great deal I could say about having 'no television for a year' but I'll keep it short by saying...I had been able to accomplish so much without the added noise. Thanks for allowing me along on your journey.
Claude Gagne 26/11/17 10:34
It's been fifteen years since I watched television. My wife and I don't miss it one bit. Commercials is what got me. We do watch a lot of movies on Netflix though.