There’s Gold in Them Thar Hills

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I was on a mission the other night to find a new pair of black shoes and found myself roaming the mall. As I was walking around, I passed a kid who couldn’t have been more than about 17 or 18 and was working at one of those “We Buy Gold” kiosks. They didn’t actually buy gold there, so the extent of his job was pretty much to point anyone that did ask him for more information in the right direction.

He had his face buried in his hands and as I got closer I got a better look at what he was doing…he was playing Super Mario Bros. on his Nintendo DS. Clearly this wasn’t his business, so I would guess he was probably earning minimum wage to just sit there and play games. I’m sure a big win in his eyes, yet ironically, costing him a fortune!

Think about it. He has 8 hours of almost completely uninterrupted time and look what he chooses to do with it. Play games. Imagine if that same kid spent those 8 hours a day reading books on personal or business development. Imagine if he spent that time learning how to create iPhone apps or a different skill that he is passionate about. Imagine if that same kid set a goal to start his own business and now had 8 hours a day of uninterrupted time for a year to focus on it.

Instead he chose to throw that time away and play Super Mario Bros.

It’s a shame, but are you really that much different? Nintendo may not be your drug of choice, but I bet there is a ton of stuff that you do over the course of the day that is completely useless…watching tv, spending way too much time on Facebook, staring into your phone, sleeping more than 8 hours a day and a whole bunch of other time wasters. Is any of that stuff getting you closer to your goals?

What if you were to free up 2 hours a day and use it for something productive? Instead of listening to the morning DJ tell fart jokes on your way to work, listen to an audio book. Instead of watching TV, read. Instead of spending your day on Facebook, go over to a Starbucks and brainstorm with real live people in a mastermind group. Instead of sleeping in every morning wake up early and get some exercise.

Imagine if you did that for a year how much better off you would be…forget a year, just try it for 60 days and you will be hooked!

I know it’s tough but it’s worth it. I haven’t watched the news or read a newspaper in over 2 years (which reminds me, if something really bad happens and we need to make a run for it or something, can one of you remember to call me?). I don’t listen to the radio in the car, instead I listen to audio books that I take out from the library. I don’t watch more than about 30-60 minutes of TV a day and it’s usually to unwind right before going to bed. I sleep about 6-7 hours a day and unless it’s freezing, I get up with the sun and ride 20 miles on my bike before getting to work.

The results? Within the past year or two that I’ve been doing this, I can tell you without hesitation that I am smarter, I feel better, I am more accomplished, I am more successful, I make more money and some might even say I am better looking. Ok, so I just threw that last one in there.

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  • Josh Hanagarne

    Very nice, Marc. I find that the fewer electronic screens in my life, the better.

    If it’s working for you, don’t let anyone tell you you’re doing it wrong.

    You can’t make more time! Might as well use it for something good.

    • Marc Ensign

      Thanks for the comment Josh!  I’m a gadget hound, so I’m good with the screens, I think it’s more a matter of what you do with them.  I have my iPad with me wherever I go and use it for reading, writing, communicating, an occasional game and of course to set a reminder to shut it off.  Everything in moderation!

  • Lburak

    Great story, Marc.  I have grandchildren who text each other fromn across the room!  Lately, I have begun to notice that the hour a day I spend on facebook, could be much better spent on almost anything.

    • Marc Ensign

      It’s a whole different world! My daughter is 8 and she has an iPod with a texting app  and texts me all the time. Can’t sleep? Time to text Dad and let him know!

  • Calin

    Well, what if his dream is to do something video game related? Then time well spent. I don’t like the dis on video games. Why is listening to a book better than playing a video game in your mind? They both stimulate the mind, but in different ways.

    • Marc Ensign

      It’s not a dis on video games. I do think they are valuable and have their place, especially if you want to go into designing video games. If not, it’s a great release. Like anything else is life, moderation is key. As for the difference in video games versus books, there is a huge difference. Not to say that you can’t learn something from playing a video game but there is a ton more value in reading the right books. It’s like comparing going to school with playing baseball. Sure, there are skills to be learned by playing baseball, but they are in no way a replacement for a good education.