The amount of time it takes for the sun to appear in the same relative spot in the Earth’s sky defines the length of our day: 24 hours. Despite the fact that we humans complain non-stop about there not being enough time, from a universal perspective, time is infinite. All of this fuss about there not being enough time is either a semantic shortcut or lack of perspective or both. When it comes to a single day, 24 hours turns out to be a generous amount of time.
It’s all in how we use it.
More times than I can count, I have used the excuse, “I didn’t have the time.” At work, at home, with friends, with family – you name it. This is intellectually lazy and 99% of the time, patently false. It’s not that I didn’t have the time, it’s that I didn’t make the time. The difference goes beyond semantics.
Once we reach adulthood, every day we’re alive is defined by our choices. Some people unquestionably have a wider variety of choices than others, but we all have choices.
We can make a series of choices that compound on each other and after years of making these kinds of choices, find ourselves painted into a very tight corner. One so tight that it’s impossible to move and breathe at the same time. In those instances, it may feel like we don’t have any alternatives left, but it’s important to remember that no one sent us to the corner. We put ourselves in there, baby. It’s also important to remember that to get out of it, we have to start undoing those choices one-by-one. Then make better ones.
The good news is, it works the other way as well. We can make choices that compound on each other and years of making these kinds of choices find ourselves with so many opportunities that we’re forced to choose between the amazing, the incredible, and the truly great.
For most of us, it’s some combination of various points along the two extremes. Maybe lots of above-average choices in our careers, but below-average in our personal lives. Or vice-versa. Or maybe we made a lot of terrific choices in our family life and some average ones in our working lives. Everybody’s specific scenario plays out a little different. Like fingerprints, if compared side-by-side, no two people on earth would have the same matrix of results. Further proof that where we end up is a result of our decisions.
Every day we have the option of starting fresh. To continue making the kinds of choices we always have, or to make some tweaks here and there. To undo the bad choices that can still be undone. To use previous results to make better ones moving forward.
It’s precisely because of these choices we have every day that we should never use the phrase, “I didn’t have time.” It’s simply not true. We made choices in the moment and in the moments leading up to the one that resulted in us not making the time. It’s what we chose. We have more time than we realistically know what to do with. (It’s the only reasonable explanation for reality television.) We decide how to use that time. We decide those things we will make time for and those things we won’t.
You won’t hear me tell you I didn’t have the time. I had the same 24 hours you did. So did Kim Kardashian and Neil deGrasse Tyson. So did Daymond John and Elizabeth Holmes. As did John Stumpf and Sara Blakely. Yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that. I can’t tell you I didn’t have the time. You know better.
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