I’ll bet that you will be a happier person if you are a participant and producer as well as being a spectator and consumer. I know personally and have observed that people generally are more “alive” when they are producing something than when they are only consuming something. They get more out of their lives because they are actively involved in their lives. Good mental health is better gained and sustained when we are participants than when we are spectators. In the long run you are going to have more fun in your life if you are a creator and a producer rather than only a consumer and watcher. At this point in your life are you more a doer or a watcher?
- Spectators can’t win trophies. Spectators in theaters, at ball games, in museums, and everywhere else they can watch are never given awards or trophies. Those who participate are the only ones eligible for awards. Likewise, you have to be actively involved in your life to win a “trophy” or attain a goal. Have you ever seen a winner of anything who was only a spectator?
- Do it rather than just read or hear about it.
- Being a spectator and a consumer are maybe types of participation in life but they are not of the same quality of participation as producing and creating. You will get a greater thrill out of creating a ceramic pot than if you only admire one and purchase it. It’s a greater thrill to play a sport than it is to only watch. Personally, I am much more “alive” when I write than when I read. Today we have so many ways to just watch others do stuff than we don’t make the time to engage actively in this thing we call life.
- You get more of a feeling of accomplishment from being a participant than you do from being a watcher. Although many millions of people have experienced awe when they viewed the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, only Michelangelo and those who worked for him, experienced the accomplishment and satisfaction that came from its creation. In everyday life, you and I find more accomplishment when we do things ourselves rather than to hire someone else to do them. Even little things, like repairing something around the house, can give far more satisfaction than hiring someone else to do. If you don’t know how to fix something, use all our new technology to research the repair and do it yourself. This way you learn something, save money and have at least a small feeling of personal accomplishment.
- Participants almost always burn more calories than spectators do! What happens at sporting events? The players of the sport are burning calories and the spectators are just sitting most of the time….and probably eating junk food and drinking high calorie beverages.
- Participants tend to be healthier than spectators both physically and mentally. If you are a participant, you have to use your body and your brain more than if you are only a spectator. Both our physical and mental “muscles” need to be exercised to keep them strong. They both tend to atrophy if they aren’t used. If you don’t believe this statement, check out the muscle tone and the mental tone of people who spend a lot of life watching commercial television.
- It is better to participate in sports than it is to watch them. I suggest it is better for you to play sandlot baseball with the neighborhood kids or your family than it is to watch the World Series. I suggest that it is much better for you to play a family game of touch football in your backyard with family and friends than it is to watch the Super Bowl. I suggest you are better off to play a mediocre game of golf than it is for you to watch the U. S. Open. I suggest that it is better for two hackers to play tennis than it is for them to watch Wimbledon. I think it was Karl Marx who said that religion was the opiate of the masses. I suggest that today we might paraphrase him and state that “spectator sports in the United States have become the opiate of the masses.” Perhaps we should all take a pledge that we will spend at least as many hours participating in sport activities as we spend watching them.
- Couch potatoes can’t gain confidence. The only way humans can gain real confidence and feelings of self-esteem is by our accomplishments. We have to internally recognize that we have done something we can be proud of that justifies our pride of accomplishment and feeling of increased self-esteem. Undeserved praise from someone else gives false confidence. For example, if a well meaning parent unjustifiably praises a child for something they didn’t do. Perhaps a clearer example was when I played sports in high school. If I had played poorly in a game, it was false praise when someone said, “Good game.” When I had a good game, then I felt the, “Good game” comment was justified. You can’t play a good game unless you play.
- The best way to learn something and to understand it is to do it.
- It is easier to be a spectator but you are always dependent on the participants to provide something for you to watch.
- What kind of self-image can we have if we don’t participate, produce and create? Our self-image is how we see ourselves. How we see ourselves determines in large part how we behave. If we see ourselves as inept at something, we are more likely to behave ineptly. If we see ourselves as competent or skilled at something, we are more likely to behave in a competent or skilled way. How can a person get a positive self-image at something if they are only spectators? Will they see themselves as only able to watch? Will they see themselves only as observers and consumers? Will they ultimately see themselves as only blanks?
- Anybody can create, build or fix something.
- Anybody can play, coach or referee something.
- Anybody can write, draw or paint something.
- Anybody can volunteer to do something for someone else.
It’s better to be a participant and not be perfect than it is to be a perfect couch potato.
Fear of failure, especially if we know someone is watching and maybe judging us, stops many of us from participating. What we tend to forget is that everybody who ever became good at anything had to fail sometimes. Nobody starts anything as an expert. Olympic Gold Medal winners were awkward and inept the first time they tried their sports. The same is true of doctor, teaches, plumbers and artisans of all types. Every expert at anything has had to overcome the fear of criticism and failures. The worst thing about fear of failure is that it leads to the biggest failure of all…..the failure to try.
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