I was reading another book where the author mentioned they don't watch TV.  It was How to Get Rich by Felix Dennis.  I starting wondering if there is a strong correlation between hours of television watched and wealth.

I did a quick search for information relating income/wealth and television viewing.  I didn't find anything in the first few pages which doesn't mean there are not studies, just that I haven't found them.  Most of the current research is on TV and health problems like obesity or the effects on children and adolescents.

Since I don't have any academic material at my disposal, I'll have to resort to anecdotal evidence.  It's easy to pick out those people that watch a lot of TV.  Usually after a 5 to 10 minute conversation you can tell if a person watches television on a regular basis.

Here are some signs of a TV addict:

  1. Sports fan – since games are broadcast on TV, many men (and some woman) are glued to the TV on Saturday and Sunday watching golf, football, baseball, etc.
  2. Narrow breadth and shallow depth of knowledge – TV watches are less likely to identify famous quotes and references from books.  Some concepts will be completely foreign to them.  They lack understanding of philosophy, finance, economics and so many other things that make life more interesting and understandable.
  3. Hates learning – there are some people for whom learning is a chore.  These people are more likely to turn their brain off and the TV on.
  4. Worry warts – You can tell a person that watches way too much news.  They are anxious and worried.  It seems a new crisis is descending on us at all times.  Since I've started my news diet, I've found that everything I need to know is usually published in a book.  If it's important enough it will make into a book.  If not, it probably wasn't worth knowing about.
  5. Childish world view – because the plots on all TV shows usually resolve them within 30 or 60 minutes, there is a tendency for the TV watcher to over generalize.  They tend to see the world in black and white, the good guys and the bad guys.
  6. Unable to hold 2 opposing thoughts in mind at one time – Often TV viewers have a hard time considering 2 view points and critically analyzing them.  In order to be wealthy, you need to constantly examine what is working and what's not.
  7. Physically out of shape – the typical couch potato.  If the mind is turned off the body is too.

That's just the few things I could list from the top of my mind.  I'm sure there are other negatives.

Someone said that the reason people don't have a television set is so they can tell everyone else they don't have a television set.  People like to feel superior to other people.  You know the type, the guy who listens to NPR in the morning instead of the local morning show.  Am I guilty of this?  I'm sure I am, after all I'm just as human as everybody else.

I'll admit I watch TV shows via Netflix.  However, there's a subtle distinction.  I control when it starts, there are no commercials and I chose what I want to watch.  I want to get the most bang out of my entertainment buck.

While I don't academic studies to back up my suspicions (yet), I'll bet if you surveyed the 500 richest people on the Forbes list, those who are first generation rich don't sit on the couch at the end of each day watching sitcoms.  I've read too many biographies of these people to assume otherwise.

There is a pattern in getting wealthy.  It usually involves working your butt off and managing to get lucky.  And usually you don't get the second without the first.

So next time you're tempted to plop down in front of the TV, take a second and consider the points above.  I encourage you to get a book on a subject you really like, whether it's NASCAR or Shakespeare.  You may be surprised what happens when you turn off the TV.

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