Other People's Burdens

Getting involved in the lives of other people might make you feel occupied and engaged with life at first, but it's really only a toxic way to deal with an underlying issue: your inability (or avoidance) of working on yourself.

Take reality shows, for example: I know that they're the biggest thing on TV--in fact, every other person seems to be talking about the antics they see on the latest show. They're seen as "fluff" entertainment--something that shouldn't be taken seriously. Like candy, ingesting too much of the stuff will eventually cause your teeth to rot--but rather than teeth, you'll have to contend with a rotting brain.

I don't see these shows as light entertainment. I see them for what they are--a chance for others to escape their lives and spend an hour caught up in the trials and tribulations of another person's life. This holds true for watching too much sports, television series, or soap operas. I'll be frank with you here: I just don't get it. Why would you willingly immerse yourself in the stress, gossip, and burdens of other people, when that hour could be spent connecting with friends, exercising, or making yourself into a better person?

TV shows and sports let us burden ourselves with other people's dramas without feeling guilty. But here's the thing: if you spend too much time watching television, eventually you'll start to compare your own life with your favorite TV star. Instead of embracing and encouraging your own special quirks, you'll take on the characteristics of the TV star. You'll start to talk like them, dress like them, and you may even approach life's problems in the same way as they do, instead of applying your own unique knowledge and skills to solving your own life's dilemmas.

In short, you won't be living your own life--you'll be living the shell of a life of someone else. It may sound cliche, but life is way to short to spend it living like someone else. So turn off the TV, stop pestering your co-workers for the latest office gossip, and stop Facebook chatting about the latest drama between your friend and her niece's cousin's roommate. It's pointless, draining, and distracting--and it will prevent you from investing your hard-earned time and energy into developing and maintaining your best A-Game yet.

No matter what some so-called self-help gurus, books, and TV programs tell you, feeling good about yourself doesn't automatically happen overnight. It's a slow process that takes time, hard work, and discipline in order to work.

Like with any special skill, you need to practice feeling good about yourself. You need to flex it like a muscle--and only when you keep flexing it will it grow stronger. Even when you do start to feel genuinely good about yourself, don't beat yourself up for having a bad day. After all, you're only human--it's perfectly natural to have an off day or to have a few moments where you feel less-than-stellar about your body, your job, or your relationship. Instead, you have to pick yourself up, laugh a little, and get right back on your A-Game.


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