This post may contain affiliate links- to see my full disclosure statement, please click here.
You Have an Entertainment Addiction
America is actually an affordable place to live, we’ve just been doing it all wrong. If you’re like most people today, you are terrified of boredom and silence.
You’re always carrying your phone, using it while standing in line, during face-to-face conversations, while you eat, while you go to the restroom, while you lay in bed, and sometimes while you’re driving.
You pay for expensive cable, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and even premium radio stations.
You regularly pay someone else to make you the foods that you can probably do better at home, by yourself or with a friend, family member, or significant other.
You pay someone else a premium to serve you drinks that you can easily serve yourself or make at home. A quick stop at the liquor or coffee isle is all you really need.
You frequent the cinema, the mall, and various shops.
You fork over hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to attend the concerts of people who sound so much better with their autotune on- while surrounded by drunk and high, sweaty and smelly people.
Entertainment Addictions are Real
“But I’m just having fun!” you say.
Hey, I’m not against fun, but, you have a major issue.
Entertainment addictions are tricky, and in a way, similar to food addictions. With an addiction such as drugs or alcohol, you simply (I know that it’s not that simple) avoid the addictive thing outright.
But food and entertainment? You need a bit of each in your life, in well managed, controlled, portions. It’s difficult to kick an addiction that you have to have a little bit of regularly to continue surviving.
Still don’t believe that entertainment addiction is a thing? Here are the 4 telltale signs of an addiction:
- Obsessive thoughts and actions.
- Um, touching your phone over 2,600 times a day may be a sign.
- So is going to a concert for the 5th time this year, even though you’re having trouble making rent.
- Disregard of harm caused.How much money is this entertainment addiction costing you?
- How much time is it costing you?
- How much is it effecting your potential?
- How much is this addiction effecting those around you? Have you ever watched a pair of people engaging in a conversation, only for one of them to pull out his or her phone while the other person is talking? Have you ever looked at the speaker’s face when that happens? It’s upsetting once you start noticing how often people’s faces drop just a bit, knowing that they’re second to whatever is on the phone.
- How often is this endangering others around you? Texting and driving is literally a driver deciding that he or she would rather risk the well-being of those around them, so that he or she is not alone, bored, or inconvenienced.
- Loss of control.“Oh, I’d love to _____ [insert: read more, get rid of my phone, cut the cable, save more money, etc] but ______ [insert some bullshit excuse that basically boils down to that person simply not wanting to be inconvenienced for a greater return of investment]”.
- Even when you try to quit your entertainment addiction (like quitting facebook) you always come crawling back within a week.
- Denial of the addiction.“I work hard, I deserve this”
- “I’m not as bad as ____, so it’s fine”.
- “I need this to stay _____.”
We shun drugs and drug addicts, but act as though being addicted to entertainment is okay. When people do drugs, it’s oftentimes to get away from reality. And unfortunately, drugs are the perfect escape (it’s true, I wish it weren’t!).
Drugs completely take your mind off what’s going on in your life, and allow you to feel good, even euphoric, while they last.
Isn’t that what binge watching a series on Netflix is? Or attending a concert? Or scrolling through Facebook? It’s a break from reality, that is meant to distract you from your problems, and therefore, temporarily limit the ability to find a solution for your problems.
No, entertainment may not melt your face off or fry your brain (okay, maybe it is frying your brain), but oftentimes, it isn’t helping you become smarter, healthier, wealthier, or more fit.
Yes, this analogy may be a bit dramatic, but you have to admit, I’m not really wrong here.
How Much Has Your Entertainment Addiction Cost You?
I can tell you right now, it’s a lot of money, and a lot of time, but even more potential that you’ve robbed yourself of. You can’t calculate potential though, so I challenge you to simply track and calculate just how much time and money is spent every week on entertainment. The results will seriously shock you.
Quit Trading Extraordinary for Comfortable
I had a girl who loves to hate-read my blog and then stalk my instagram. She read posts such as this one and this one and would leave comments saying that she would never in a million years do what I do, because it’s degrading- she’d rather increase her income than make embarassing budget cuts or downgrade. I deleted most of her comments, not because they challenged my view point (I encourage fun discussions like that!), but because she was downright nasty with her language and demeanor towards me.
After leaving comments such as that on my blog however, she liked to hop over to my instagram and look at my travel photos. Those comments were often along the lines of “must be nice” and “wish I could just drop everything and go traipsing around the country“.
Um yeah Katie, sometimes I do make uncomfortable decisions. I occasionally have to talk to a random chatty old man who likes to stand too close and smells bad while I’m standing in line, because I don’t have a smart phone to hide behind. But because of that ugly and sometimes inconvenient flip phone, I’m almost always paying attention to my friends and family when they talk to me. I don’t miss those little gems in the conversation, and I make them feel appreciated and wanted- which is something they really deserve. I also save a pretty good chunk of change too, which certainly helps me afford those trips that “must be nice“.
Extraordinary is Hard, but Worth It
“If you want to live an exceptional and extraordinary life, you have to give up many of the things that are part of a normal one.” -Srinivas Rao
You cannot have an extraordinary life, while keeping the comforts of a normal one. I know I keep linking to Jillian (I can’t help it, her blog is fantastic and you need to read it), but her post about The Highlight Reel is so relevant. Here’s an excerpt:
“Are you willing to trade your highlight reel for an upgraded life? For more stuff? Or nicer stuff?
Each of those things cost me something.
Time, energy, income, focus, money.
I could have skipped all that and just had slightly nicer stuff.”
If you want to live a life that is unregrettable, fulfilling, purposeful, and even worthy of an biography- you can’t act like everyone else.
- You have to deal with your problems and emotions instead of stuffing them into a closet like everyone else. Not taking control of the awful sh*t that happened to you in the past, means that you’re still continuing to let it run your life today. You have to get uncomfortable, sort through that junk, and even talk to someone about those problems if you need it.
- You have to take care of your body. It’s okay to have your cake and eat it too, just make sure you’re not entire the whole thing in one sitting. Make those indulgences as far and few as possible, so that when you do enjoy them, they’re even better than you remembered. Doing your squats, running, joining a gym, passing up the M&M’s and limiting your junk food is hard, but it’s worth it.
- You have to improve your mind, always. Read non-fiction books, listen to informative podcasts, and watch educational videos. Learn as much as you possibly can about what’s important- such as your career, self improvement, finance, fitness, communication, and more. Figure out what’s important, and pursue and absorb as much knowledge around that topic as possible.
- You have to be in control of your finances. You need to know how much money you’re bringing in, how much you’re sending out, why you have the habits that you do, and then you need to learn to make better choices.Sometimes you drive a beater with a heater, or get a flip phone, or a few roommates, or you cut you entertainment costs. It’s not as much fun as what your friends are doing, but it will pay off.
“Live like no one else now, so later you can live like no one else.” -Dave Ramsey
While your peers are out there doing what feels good, you need to be doing what’s good for you. You have to understand that what’s better for you now (but uncomfortable), will eventually make you happier and will feel good later on.
You Can’t Attract What You’re Not
If you want a smart, wealthy man who is fit, charasmatic, and driven- you need to be a catch yourself. Men like that are almost never attracted to women who are uneducated, lazy, negative, judgemental, and stagnant in her ways.
If you want to be an employee of a brilliant, rising-to-the-top company, you cannot be less than exceptional yourself, and just doing the bare minimum, and still expect to be hired on and/or keep a job there.
If you want to become wealthy, you have to mimic the actions and mindsets of the wealthy.
And finally if you want to have friends who text you back, are always there for you, supportive, encouraging, and fun- you can’t not do the same for them. Yes, I realize as I type this that I really need to reach out to some of my friends who I’ve gone radio silent on!!
Be a Damn Person
Don’t be afraid of silence, hard work, emotions, and unpleasantness.
Instead of focusing filling every waking moment with something that is purely pleasurable, focus on simply being a person. Be more mindful. Your entertainment addiction is robbing you of the abilty to act like a human being.
I think C.K. Louis said it best:
9 Ways to Improve, Rather Than Entertain
- Instead of watching Netflix, watch a how-to video that will help you improve your craft, health, wealth, or self.
- Instead of going to the mall, take some time to clean up your home.
- Instead of going to dinner and the movies with a friend, offer to go do something adventurous such as hiking, biking, or kayaking. Or heck, offer to help them downsize their closet, fix their leaky faucet, or detail their car. our friend certainly won’t mind, and you can’t have a friend who offers to help you do stuff like that for you, if you don’t do it for them.
- Instead of paying for a concert and plane ticket, pay for some home gym equipment and a fitness mentor/coach to keep you accountable.
- Instead of playing video games, make your own products (I made a massive list of good stuff to DIY here, best of all, they’re money savers). I can almost 100% guaruntee that kneading the dough for making your own bread is more theraputic than screaming at your idiot team on XBox.
- Instead of listening to music during your commute every single day, listen to an informative podcast that will help you grow and improve as a person.
- Instead of stopping at a coffee shop every morning, brew your own- not only will you save money, but you’ll probably be drinking something much healthier.
- Instead of going to the movies, make some time to evaluate your budget, your health, and your happiness levels (are you stuck at 7?).
- Instead of scrolling through facebook, read up on ways to become healthier, wealthier, and more helpful. You don’t even have to spend money for books- either drop by your local library, or even read short (credible!) articles online.
Entertainment is Okay in Moderation
As I said earlier, an entertainment addiction is similar to a food addiction, because it’s difficult to kick something that you have to consume at least a little bit of daily.
The key is moderation.
I understand that I’ve been driving home the point of improvement rather than entertainment throughout this whole post, however it’s important for you to know that you do need breaks in your life. Even as much as I talk about entertainment being “bad” I still indulge in it myself.
- I use social media
- I watch Hulu on the couch with my husband
- I like to play video games
- I listen to the FM radio in my truck rather than podcasts
- I go out to eat about once or twice a month
- I even visit a cinema once or twice a year
But, here are the improvements that I also like to dive into:
- I read non-fiction books (I’ve made it a goal to read one book every 2 weeks in 2018)
- I walk / jog on the treadmill, lift weights, and do squats- sometimes while watching a how-to video that pertains to one of my freelancing projects.
- I choose to spend much of my free time making my own products, such as the ones listed in this post of mine
- I listen to educational podcasts in the shower
- I cook for others to show my appreciation for them, rather than taking them out to eat or walking around the mall
- I write for my blog or my clients whenever I feel bored, instead of finding something entertaining to do
- I analyze my budget monthly, my calories/weight/strength/health weekly, and goals/mental health daily- via journals, trackers, and progress logs.
- Are you a victim of entertainment addiction?
- What are changes you’ve made to improve rather than entertain?
- Do you have any tips, trick, or suggestions for the entertainment addict?
Like this post?
If this is something that inspires, helps, or just plain entertains you, please don’t hesitate to share it! The goal of Diamonds N’ Denim is to reach as many people as possible, so be sure to talk about it to your friends, family, coworkers, or neighbors, share it on Facebook, tweet it on Twitter, or pin it on Pinterest- I even made a pretty pin for you below! Just click the image once, in the upper left corner there will be a red P, click that, and get to pinning! 🙂