-Entertainment can be good for us when consumed in healthy doses
-We can “entertain ourselves to death” if we watch shows/play games instead of doing what we know we should be doing. Balance is key here!
Entertainment is one of the most coveted things in America today - well, in most of the world today! Many of us can be found on our phones, watching our TVs, playing video games, going to theaters, doing entertaining things, etc, etc.
Some have even ventured to say that we’re too entertained and that we should cut down a little on the phones. I’d say that entertainment is gaining more and more of a negative connotation as time goes on, and since this is happening I'll make sure we understand the value of entertainment and why it can be a double-edged sword.
Let’s do it to it!
What Is Entertainment?
Entertainment has taken various forms over the years but it’s always had one common goal - to make people laugh and feel good. Have you ever been watching a YouTube video and you just, feel amazing? Maybe there’s some awesome teamwork going on or someone just did an amazing backflip. If you ever laugh or feel good while in the presence of an entertainer you know they’re doing their job correctly!
There is some biology behind this as well - dopamine and serotonin are two “feel good” chemicals that are produced inside of our body. When we watch a video and start to feel good, it’s likely that we’re experiencing an increase of dopamine and/or serotonin, and it’s even more likely that the entertainer knows the psychology behind releasing these chemicals in their audience.
Making people think they're at ease, that they're loved, that they're desired, that they deserve to laugh is part of the "job description," if you will. Beliefs are thought patterns that are (usually) emotionally charged, so making an effort to make people laugh will get (at least some of) them to think, "wow he's making an effort just for me! He's so funny!" That's when their body secretes those ever-so-pleasant chemicals we know and love making them feel comfortable, relaxed, entertained.
Sometimes things are entertaining without any effort on the other party's part - I personally find other people's road rage to be entertaining, for example. Or if a teacher is teaching a subject and their students feel entertained in the process (usually through enthusiasm). Maybe you've wondered, "why is this guy so entertaining?" Well now you know, it's a combination of trust and a good time!
The Greatness of Entertainment/Entertainers
Entertainment has one solid thing about it - it lifts people out of the drudgery of everyday life and temporarily places them in a kind of paradise. An expert entertainer knows this and consciously performs their act to create these positive feelings, usually by knowing their audience and acting accordingly.
I feel like we take these people for granted sometimes, especially with how many of them are available through social media. I want to stress that proper entertainers are rare and that there are a lot of people who can entertain but aren't true entertainers if that makes any sense. These kinds of people make up 99% of the "entertainment side of the moon."
The people who seem to benefit from this the most are people who are of the mind. The thinkers, the intelligent ones. Thinking can be fun and useful but a thinker doesn't have a very stimulating life in general, so watching videos or going out to see a play is a great idea for those who are in their head all day long, it's a great way to reward themselves.
Entertainment has been around since the beginning of our species and it won't go away until we cease to exist! A true entertainer is a very valuable person and even being able to make people feel good will get you very far in life, which segways into my next headline.
It's Not Fundamentally Bad
The negative connotation surrounding entertainment is mostly because of the addictive quality of dopamine. It's funny how you can become addicted to endorphins that are produced by your own body, but it's true! Dopamine addiction is a huge reason why porn is so addictive, primal parts of your brain are secreting large amounts of it whenever you switch pornstars because, in your mind, you're finding new sexual partners to mate with. I encourage you to watch the video series on The Coolidge Effect, it's really quite fascinating.
Discipline and balance are helpful when it comes to entertainment because, if you over-entertain yourself, you'll find it difficult to do things that aren't entertaining - such as work! If you're used to 5+ hours of entertainment per day it'll be all you're thinking about while you're at work, whereas if you're only used to 1 or 2 hours you'll be much less addicted and be able to go for the things you want with less struggle.
Entertainment isn't fundamentally bad, but over-entertaining yourself is.
The Potential To Over-Entertain Yourself
It happens all the time. I see it everywhere whether it be YouTube, Dish, Netflix, video games… It seems like most of us are addicted to entertainment in one form or another, and it's fairly alarming to someone like me. It's easy to sit on the couch and do nothing all day while your brain is busy producing dopamine, but I'm of the opinion that this should be a treat, not a lifestyle!
Getting out of dopamine addiction is hard but very possible, I recommend exercising (for serotonin) and achieving goals that you set for yourself (self-esteem).
Being An Entertainer
Ironically enough, being an entertainer can be the opposite of being entertained - good entertainment often takes effort, talent, and skill, most of the work is behind the scenes whereas only a small portion of it feels good for the entertainer as well.
I like to think about it like this - if you play video games and post them on YouTube you want them to be entertaining for your audience to watch. So nowadays you should have a funny personality, make funny comments and jokes throughout the session. When the video's done you should probably edit it so that it appears in funny ways. Then you post it on YouTube and figure out where to place advertisements along with the video.
Or, if you're a band and you want to play a concert you have to set the stage up. If you're like Rammstein and you want to do crazy stuff a lot of effort goes into making sure everything will go right and that nothing will go wrong. Not to mention the actual performance itself… And the takedown afterward.
Being an entertainer can be a lot of work and even boring at times, depending on your profession! That's why I want to put this disclaimer here so that you don't make the same mistake I did - I figured "oh, being entertained is so much fun! Being an entertainer will be even more fun!" Maybe it's that way for some people but I doubt it's that way for many!
A lot of thought should be put into how much entertainment we should give ourselves throughout the day because, if we don't, it may very well take over our lives and always be at the forefront of our mind.
My thought is this - if you're being entertained so much that you can't do the things you know you should… It's time for a change. If you're trudging or half-assing your stuff because you'd rather be home watching Valley Girls S2E11 it's time for a change.
However, if you're being entertained and you have discipline, you're getting your stuff done and you're being mentally and emotionally healthy - go for it!
Find your own balance in this area of life, know your goals, and stick to them so that you don't fall into a trap that's pretty difficult to climb out of!
Thank you for reading, I really appreciate it. I'm sure that I've helped sort this issue out and I hope you'll share it around and be cool like that! I'll see you in the next article!