Courage, TV and the 9 Year Curse

What would you do if I gave you nine whole years to add to your life? Would you think, what a big opportunity?

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

What would you do if I gave you nine whole years to add to your life? Would you think, what a big opportunity?

In a former life as a cameraman travelling around the world, I had what I call a ringside view of life. I got so close to a lot of people and saw, in many cases, intimately, what makes them tick.

I met many successful people and many unsuccessful people. Over time I began to notice patterns in both successful and unsuccessful people.

  • It wasn’t money that made people successful. I met many rich people who were unhappy and confused.
  • It wasn’t intelligence. I met PhD graduates who were stocking supermarket shelves at night.
  • It wasn’t the ability to be a team player. I interviewed more than one top-level sports player with a substance addiction.

One of these patterns … and this is going to sound very odd … is that successful people collectively watched relatively little TV. Successful people couldn’t tell you who won Idol or America’s Got Talent. A very general statement for sure, but there is a truth to it I experienced.

I recently read a quote by Jim Rohn that said,

“Successful people have libraries, the rest have big screen TVs.”

Consider this:

  • There are 168 hrs in a week.
  • We work approx 40.
  • If you follow doctors orders and get 8 hrs a night, you sleep 56.
  • That leaves 72.
  • Mealtimes, showering, etc … allow 3hrs for those, so 21 hrs there.
  • Which leaves us with 51.
  • Got to catch the bus, buy some food. Allow 10 for that.
  • That leaves 41 hours.
  • What do you do with those 41 hours?

Well, the average TV viewer watches 3-4 hours a day. A beautifully benign statistic because it doesn’t sound bad, does it?

Let me repackage those figures for you.

That’s 52 full days of non-stop TV viewing a year.

By the time you are 65, you will have spent 9 whole years of your life sitting watching something that at best can be described as average.

This is the nine-year curse as I like to call it.

Now here’s my question for you:

If you were designing the perfect life for your child or grandchild, would you include 9 years sitting on the couch?

I’ve never heard one person answer yes …

Then why do we collectively as a society barely raise a whimper?

Time to summon the courage to change our habits. I did.

Here are two alternatives to being a passive TV watcher.

Trade an hour of sitting and watching TV at night for an hour of walking and listening to podcasts in the morning. This simple switch makes you smarter and better looking. I call it Footpath University and I’m there almost every morning.

Trade places. Get on the other side of the screen and deliver the content yourself. It’s achievable. I know. I did it. I created a successful Youtube channel as a middle-aged man. As a cameraman, I spent decades hiding behind the camera, and now, I’m in front of it. I show people how I developed the confidence to be on video – a skill we are all going to need as hey, this is the video age – in my Camera Confidence Workshop. We will all be using video to communicate, especially in business.

So do something about the 9 Year Curse. Discuss it at work. Ask your friends if they know about it. Imagine if you were able to even make it the 8 Year Curse. What could you be doing with a whole 365 days x 24 hours of your time? What opportunity could you create for you and your family? All it takes is the courage to be a little bit uncomfortable.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


“Be of service to other people without expecting anything in return”, with Richie Stephens

by Drew Gurley

“Don’t skip meals!”, Michael Padraig Acton and Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated

by Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated

Jake Hart: “Treat yourself like someone you love”

by Pirie Jones Grossman

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.