(If you need to know what this is all about, start with the first post in the series and click through the succeeding links. Also, as posts are added links will be placed in that first post to each one.)
Today, I want to…
Do Something Worth Watching
Before you can do something worth watching, you have to do something. Far too many people are satisfied to watch something worth doing. Too many of us are satisfied to channel surf for hours on end looking for something “worth watching.” Or we hop on YouTube and search for videos all day. Nielsen reports that the average American watches 153 hours of television per month; that’s more than 5 hours per day. That’s almost one week per month or just over two and a half months per year of television. And that average doesn’t include the time spent watching Hulu, renting dvds, or going to the movies.
Of course, I’m sure you don’t watch five hours of television per day. But what if you just watch two? That’s 730 hours per year. I know this is going to sound amazing, but do you realize that is the equivalent of just over 30 days of television per year? At just two hours per day you are losing an entire month out of your year. Think about that for a moment. That means you are only living 11 out of every 12 years if you watch just two hours of television per day.
Consider this, watching one season of the average show means spending an entire day watching television (especially if you’re watching “24”). If you just keep up with a handful of shows, say seven, you’ve spent an entire week of your year watching television. What could you get done if you had an extra week?
If the average American is watching five hours of television per day, they’re going to have a hard time doing anything, let alone doing something worth watching. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying television is a sin. I’m not saying you can’t find out what happens next on your favorite show. There is a place for relaxation and if watching television is your place, that’s okay. Just remember that every hour spent watching others do things is an hour you aren’t doing anything.
We are examples
The goal to do something worth watching is a bit frightening. It says we want to be examples. We want to be people folks can look to. Unlike sports stars and actors who often complain that they don’t want to be seen as role models, we are saying we do. We want to do something and do it so well people will look to us as a pattern.
However, keep in mind that this is doing something worth watching, not doing something for the sake of being watched. There is a difference. We don’t want to be glory hounds, arrogantly pressing our “superb” work on everyone else as if they should recognize how amazing we are. At the same time, we do want to do the absolute best job we can do so that if and when others are watching, they will see an example, a role model.
Here’s the rub. No matter how humble or how arrogant we are, no matter how worthy or unworthy of watching we are, no matter how much we want them to or how much we don’t, someone is watching us. Someone is looking to us. Someone is learning from us. Are we giving them something worth watching?
If you have to keep it secret, don’t do it
While we will certainly note that there is a very special sense of doing something worth watching, there is also a general sense in which everything we do should be worth watching. Obviously, I’m speaking a bit accommodatively here. Clearly there are some private matters that are perfectly normal and healthy that we don’t want others watching. However, apart from that sort of activity, we should strive to let everything we do be worth watching.
If there is something you are doing that you are keeping secret or don’t want others to know, you should likely stop (no I’m not talking about planning that secret, surprise birthday party for me). Certainly you should stop if what you are doing is morally wrong. But I encourage you to stop the secret things even if they aren’t morally wrong. Let me use my own television watching as an example. Not all that long ago I got sucked into watching a television series online. Sadly, I wasted two and a half days of my life finding out what happened to all those characters (and you wonder why I miss getting posts put up on some days). Even though I don’t think watching the show was morally wrong, I remember my wife came home one night and I immediately scrambled to shut the Netflix down and open Entourage to look like I had just sat down to check my e-mail. Ooops. Not good.
Here is what I’ve learned. Sometimes I justify actions by saying, “It’s not morally wrong.” But there is clearly part of me that says, “I shouldn’t be doing this.” When that is happening, I have inner turmoil. As my friends in recovery say, “We are only as sick as our secrets.” If I’m doing something that I’m keeping secret because of inner guilt, it is only going to cause a downward spiral for me that eventually does lead to doing things that are wrong. It may come out as rage at my family, arrogance to cover for my feelings of weakness, lies to keep from being found out, or worse. I’ve learned it almost never stops with just that one secret.
I don’t know where your secret things will lead you. I simply know those secrets aren’t helping you. Do things worth watching. If you need to cover it up or develop elaborate statements to “technically tell the truth” so no one will know what you are really doing, then you should probably stop whatever it is. Don’t do things you are afraid other might see; do things worth watching.
Find one thing you love to do, and do it so well people want to watch
While there is that general sense of doing all things worth watching, there is also a sense in which we should work on our one thing worth watching. This is about our life’s passion, our career, our bread and butter. Too many of us are willing to settle for letting life happen to us. We go to school, graduate, get a job, and then settle in for the long haul. We may do well or just enough to get by, but we don’t ever do anything that stands out. We wonder why we are always chasing our tails and never really getting anything worthwhile done.
Instead of letting life happen to you, take charge. What are you passionate about? What gets your motivation running? What would you do if money weren’t an issue? Work on that. Sure, it may not pay the bills right now, but you’ve got two hours of television per day you can trade for it. Become an expert at it. Become the best and then learn how to get others to watch you do it.
I love what I’ve heard John Maxwell say over and over again about this. Find something you enjoy doing so much you’d gladly do it for free. Then learn to do it so well that others will gladly pay you to do it. Granted, this may not be something people watch in the sense of entertainment, but it will definitely be something people will regard with respect and appreciation.
For you, this might be anything from juggling, to landscaping, to quilting, to coaching. Don’t chase the money. Chase what you love, then get so good at it that you become worth watching. When you are that good, the money will start to come to you.
Today, I don’t want to settle for letting life happen to me. I don’t want to be pushed by every current and eddy of the world. I want to stand tall and be an example. I want to cut out my secrets. I want to do something worth watching.
What do you want to do?
(Come back next week to talk about Risking Something Worth Protecting.)
Here is a great example of someone who has worked hard at something so that now he is worth watching.
Of course, be careful, you will be spending 10 minutes watching someone else instead of doing something yourself. But maybe you’ll be inspired.