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Posts Tagged ‘Netflix’

Your Netflix queue is composed of two kinds of movies and TV shows:

1. Shows you will have delivered to you, watch, and return.

2. Shows you will have delivered to you but never watch, or shows you will never have delivered to you.

Why do we queue up movies we won’t watch, or won’t even have delivered? Are we trying to impress someone? Are we trying to fool ourselves? Are we trying to change our own habits? Are we trying to improve our movie-watching? By what standard? And is it working?

The Netflix queue is a case study in perfectionism. It shows how we let our inner critic create guilt for us, which stops us from doing what we actually want to do in our lives. Here’s the thing: your actual movie-watching habits are already perfect. Netflix, like the entire universe, is there to let you do what you want to do. It’s a service that robotically delivers exactly what you ask for. So don’t try to impress the machine by delivering Hotel Rwanda to your house, if you know you’ll never be in the mood to actually watch it. Bubble up a show that interests you. Have something delivered that makes you eager to rip open that red envelope and make a batch of popcorn.

I’ve been working on notes and ideas for a new story for a few weeks, and I’ve noticed a kind of “Netflix guilt” guiding my story. I’m writing about what I feel like it should be about, rather than what excites me. I fall into a pattern of making it about the Big Serious Drama of Life, and find that my mind wanders and instead of writing I go fiddle on the internet or play games on my phone. It’s because I’m letting my inner critic dictate the writing instead of joy. I’m not eager to return to my writing journal because it’s like a queue full of Hotel Rwandas. I need to clear those Important Dramas out of there and fill it up with action-adventures and crime thrillers — the stuff I actually like to watch. I am not impressing anybody by filling up my private writing with heavy and sober topics. Even more important, if I am not eager to return to that sober, pain-filled stuff, I am not writing.

Seriousness points are not the goal. Enjoying movie night is the goal. Getting your book written is the goal. Your tastes are already perfect.

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