You are with a group of people, at lunch or at a party, and there is a lull in conversation. Then someone brings up her favorite TV show. Suddenly there is energy and everyone has something to say. They talk animatedly, interrupt each other, and raise their voices in excitement.
A co-worker of mine recently posed this scenario and subsequently asked, “Why is this happening?” It was an interesting question that got me thinking.
Why do we default to this topic of conversation? Surely we have something more to talk about than the TV shows we are watching. Why aren’t we talking more about our own stories and connecting through personal experiences? Have we all become boring and uninteresting?
Don’t get me wrong. I like TV. It’s a form of storytelling that we all connect with and understand. There is nothing wrong with the bond we experience over our “shows.” I have my own indulgences (currently House of Cards, Girls, and The Walking Dead). We all need to escape reality sometimes, but when the credits start to roll, our real lives are still there.
Perhaps we are struggling to lead more interesting and passionate lives. We all fall victim to the doldrums of routine and obligation. It quickly becomes boring and uninteresting. Perhaps we would benefit from spending more time creating and improving our own lives so that we can live out and tell the true stories in which we are happy and proud to be the main characters.
We are meant to experience life, not simply observe it.
Observation means you are sitting on the sidelines while the action is happening without you. There are so many adventures awaiting us outside our front doors. Every passing moment is part of our story, so what are we doing during these moments? How are we spending our time?
The characters we love on TV aren’t sitting around watching TV (an observation by another insightful coworker). There is an incredible flow of things happening all around us that we can experience and share. We can actively pursue lives of passion and interest or we can sit passively by while the clock continues ticking away.
We are all unique and interesting, and we all have something to say. We can tap into that by spending more time exploring life, trying new things, and experiencing the world for ourselves.
Maybe we are scared to share our stories, to share our passions and interests with others. It makes us feel exposed and vulnerable. TV shows are neutral territory. But passion and interest are contagious and can ignite that spark in others and even inspire others as well.
What are you contributing to the conversations around you? Are you sharing personal joys, trials and tribulations, epiphanies, ideas? The next time there is a lull in conversation, are you going to relay an episode you watched on TV, or are you going to relay an episode of your own life?