I was hooked. I was addicted. I just couldn’t stop watching.
A TV show that I had only decided to watch on a whim after a friend’s recommendation quickly grew on me, and before I realized, took over my life. I started thinking about it often — at work, at gatherings, at dinner. I even dreamed about several times.
So I promised myself that I’d stop, that all I was going to do was just watch one more episode and end it there. As if. As if getting rid of an addiction could be as easy as that. Episode after episode, long after my promise, I kept watching. Episodes became seasons and I kept watching even when I grew tired of the predictable plots and repetitive acting.
When that TV show ended, I quickly found another one to ease the emptiness and continued fueling my addiction.
It wasn’t until months later that I finally found a way to break out of that addiction. Frustrated with my lack of control, tired of making excuses I knew were lies, I did one one thing I knew would ruin the entire experience of watching tv shows for me. I read the episode summaries of every episode I had not yet watched.
By reading the summaries, I lost any and all satisfaction I had of watching the tv show. The best part of the watching experience was ruined. I spoiled the entire series and lost all reason, motivation to continue watching. In a matter of minutes, I killed the addiction I had for months.
Since then, whenever someone tells me they seek change and come to me for advice, I share that story with them. That’s the method I teach. Out of the many who say they’ll try it, a few do, but most don’t. They say the method is too brutal, that it’s too extreme and ruin the joy of watching entirely for them.
But that’s exactly the point.
If you want change, you have to be prepared to sacrifice. You have to be prepared to give up on the things holding you back from the change you want. Saying you want to change is easy, but achieving it is hard. Most of us fail because we don’t make the sacrifices necessary. We don’t want to put in the time, the effort or the attention required to achieve our goals.
It’s not enough to talk about our resolutions, how we’re going to change, the goals we’ve set for ourselves and the accomplishments we’ll make but not put in the effort. It’s not enough to voice empty promises and give ourselves false hope without taking action. We need to do more to realize that change.
Some people ask me if I regret reading the episode summary of that tv show. They ask me if I regret the fact that I ruined the experience. I do. Once in a while, I look back and wish I could’ve had the satisfaction of finishing the tv show like everyone else.
But more often than not, I’m more thankful and grateful to myself for having made the choice I did because it’s given me far greater perspective and opportunity than had I not. It’s opened my eyes, given me realization that the habits in my life can be controlled and that I can do more than give myself false hope. It’s given me motivation to do more, to achieve more, to finally pursue my dreams and desires. And greatest of all, it’s given me conviction in my judgement to make necessary sacrifices.
People complain every day about not having the time to make a change. It’s not true at all. It’s not that they don’t have time, it’s that they’re unwilling to use that time to further their progress towards their goals. They’re just unwilling to sacrifice the time they have to build towards the change they want. What they don’t realize is that it’s never been about the time; it’s the lack of value they place towards the goals they want to achieve.
If there is something we truly want, something we truly desire, nobody can stop us. We’ll work hard for it. We’ll do whatever it takes, make whatever sacrifices we need.Think about the last time we’ve stayed up for the sake of having a few more drinks with friends, to play a game or watch a movie? Did we complain, voice our regrets for having done so? No, because we’re willing to sacrifice our sleeping time for it. Its worth it to us because we place higher value towards the spending of time with friends and entertainment than we do our time for sleep.
I deliberately ruined my tv show watching experience because I knew I was addicted to it despite not wanting to admit it. I knew it was ruining my life and keeping me away from doing the things I enjoyed. The change I sought after was just to be in control of my life so I could learn to do more, to achieve more and build upon my dreams. It was a sacrifice I was willing to make because it was worth it to me, because the value I placed towards having a life I was proud of was more so than the enjoyment of watching tv shows.
All desires for change, all wishes to come true, all aspirations towards goals will require sacrifice. Sometimes it might be more than just time, as in my case. Sometimes it’ll be sleep, or having to limit the kind of foods you eat, or how much money you make. Sometimes it’ll even be at the cost of your pride, your reputation. It’s up to you how far you want to go, the kind of sacrifices you’re willing to make — just know that sacrifices are necessary. They’re necessary to set you on the right track, to break bad habits and build new ones. Without first breaking bad habits, you can’t build great ones because you’ll lack the energy, attention or the mental capacity to do so.
Life can be full of sacrifices, but how you get what you truly want and the reason why we feel such a sense of accomplishment when we achieve our goals. Because only the ones who have done so will find pride realizing the amount of effort and sacrifices made to achieve those goals.
“My belief is firm in a law of compensation. The true rewards are ever in proportion to the labour and sacrifices made.” — Nikola Tesla