How To Control Time and Get More Out Of 24 Hours
“Let us never know what old age is. Let us know the happiness time brings, not count the years.”
We measure our lives by many metrics but none more important than Time. On the same day each year Facebook floods our inbox with notifications that remind us that we have served yet another year. No matter what we do or how hard we try to stop or slow it, Time will always move forward.
Time is infinite, yet guarantees us nothing. We ferociously pursue ways to extend our own Time because as infinite as Time is, ours is always finite. We live each moment remembering that one day, those moments will cease to exist. Yes, try as we may, we are not immortal and never will be.
Surprisingly, this does not change the way that we value Time.
The simple answer is we don’t care. Or at least in the way we say that we do. Time knows this and Time uses this. As technology advances, it teases us with high hopes of extended life and crashes us right back down to reality. Time flies when we’re having fun and comes to a standstill while we watch it. It creates moments that will last forever and ones that won’t go away. It accelerates through our most joyous memories and comes to a halt on our most agonizing.
Yes, Time enjoys reminding us of who is in control.
Or is it? Is Time actually in control?
The answer is no and the truth is we control Time.
Every decision that we make is based on one of two outcomes; the highly desired pleasure and the not so desired pain. If this seems simple, it’s because on the surface it is. Underneath, however, tells a different story.
It may come as no surprise that we will do more to avoid pain that to pursue pleasure. If playing our favorite sport comes with the high probability of injury, chances are we won’t play. Perhaps going skydiving is on the to-do list? It would certainly bring about a thrill impossible to experience anywhere else. However, the very thought of it poses an increased chance of death, so we won’t do it. Even something as simple as reading a book brings more pain than it does pleasure to some. And you know what? They avoid it at all costs.
At its core, Time is unforgiving, relentless, brutal and the only thing that saves it from being as hated as folding socks is that it treats everyone the same way. It is not biased and will always remain impartial.
Time wants two things.
- That we treat it is something that is immeasurable
- That we do not rely on it
And if we give it these things, it will reward us with the only thing it can…more Time.
Before you run out to be rewarded by Time, I caution you to remember that it also looks for balance. Time simply cannot afford to constantly reward us. The rewards would become too high and even worse, expected. We must have a mixture of the moments that quicken and slow Time to maintain the balance.
The moments that slow time are instrumental to our lives. It is in these moments that we are blessed with the opportunity of education. We learn and therefore become stronger. These moments shape who we are and what our futures hold.
How do we achieve balance? How do we control Time?
First, we must prioritize what is and isn’t important. This requires that we assign a definition to Time that we not only memorize but also internalize and live by as well.
The message is to be strong, yet simple, short, yet profound, and bold, yet elegant. It must convey exactly what we want right now and more importantly, in the future. This definition must be selfish. It cannot be for the benefit of those around us for if it is, we will never control Time. It needs to trigger the internal drive that pushes us when we don’t want to be pushed. And it is our duty to commit to ourselves and to Time.
Second, we must abide by our priorities. This will require that we siphon out the things that do not cater to our newly formed definition of Time.
Bruce Lee once said,
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
It is a necessity that we learn to stand up for our definition when challenged. And it will be challenged. Without dancing around, this means that we learn to say “no” to the requests that do not align with our definition. This means that we say “no”, as Bruce Lee would have it, 10,000 times.
In order to remain compliant with our definition, “no” must become automatic. This requires that we train our minds to act on behalf of our best interests. Not our best interests as they stand but our interests as we want them to be. It must become as routine as tying our shoes. This is the type of programming that we need to control Time.
However, we know that this is easier said than done.
It’s foolish to think that years of conditioning can be undone in mere moments. We simply cannot announce that we will change and hope to change. We must work at it, and like the 10,000 kicks Bruce Lee described, we must practice.
Inevitably, as all good things do, changing the way we perceive Time comes at a cost. As our initial “No’s” turn into am army of “No’s” those around us who do not align with our new beliefs will question us. They will not understand, nor will they try to understand. As this happens, we need to remind ourselves that this is ok and that it is better this way. The incessant belittling used to cut us down will only fuel our pain, ultimately reminding us of the pleasure that waits.
It is all but guaranteed that Time will continue to do as it has done since its dawn. Whether or not we choose to control it or allow it to control us is up to us.
If I may make a suggestion? Be the one to control Time.
Cheers to your success,