What could you achieve if you gave up TV?
Do you have hundreds of hours a month to squander in front of a screen? If you do then fine, no judgment. But if you want to change, then Dr John Demartini, a leading educator and human behaviour specialist, is coming to New Zealand to help.
Demartini believes he has the answer for those who find themselves lost for hours in a cyberworld of social media, email and mindlessly reading blog after blog. By his numbers, in the 200 or so hours a month most of us spend distractedly watching television or clicking around online, we could have written an e-book, completed four private pilot's licences or done a complex tapestry project.
It's as simple as stopping before turning on the TV, surfing the internet or answering the phone - and asking if that is the best use of time at that moment.
Through metaphor and florid soundbites the Texan author earnestly gets his message across - one that will ring true with many.
"If we don't plant flowers in the gardens of our minds then we will be pulling weeds up all our lives. If you don't empower yourself then you'll find yourself bouncing around life as though in a pinball machine . . . To balance your life you need a balance of narcissism and altruism," he says.
Neilsen research from the United States shows television as the biggest time-sucker with people spending an average of 185 hours in front of it in December. Mobile and internet use added up to another 60 hours in that month.
In New Zealand, research from the Medical Research Institute shows Kiwi kids watch about five hours of television a day on top of other screentime.
Demartini says he would never pass judgment on whether someone was wasting time or not because everyone has a different value structure. But he believes we all have a calling that should get us out of bed in the morning feeling "on fire" - and many are distracted from that calling by the digital world.
Demartini asks his audiences if by getting bogged down online, they're achieving the legacy they want to leave. "You only have so many hours in your life, get real. People don't realise they have a finite life on this planet."
Demartini's advice is to identify what is truly valuable in life and work towards that and only that. "So you're not living in a fantasy."
Speaking from a hotel room in Texas, with just 30 minutes between speaking engagements, Demartini's time is in high demand. But he says he delegates so he never does more than four things a day - he never drives, cooks or does domestic duties.
When asked if this was realistic for everyone, DeMartini is adamant he has never met someone who couldn't shed low-priority tasks off their day to focus on what was most important.
Delegate, make lists, turn the phone and internet off every now and then, don't take on expectations and other people's projections.
His talk in Auckland on August 6 will focus on empowerment and financial freedom. He says most people want to be financially independent but don't know how they can do it.
"The distinctions between people who become wealthy and the people who don't have a lot, is to do with what they value in life.
"A lot of people who have a fantasy about being wealthy actually have a value on being a consumer and buying depreciables that go down in value and having immediate gratification . . . instead of actually saving and investing money."
- Sunday Star Times