Why is it taking so long?
If there’s a thing I can’t stand is being stuck somewhere. Patience has never been my forte.
It’s bad enough when I have to stand in line at the checkout queue at the supermarket or wait for the Piccadilly line train to Rayner’s Lane (why do most trains go to Heathrow?!).
That, I can barely put up with. But when I get stuck because I have no idea where to go or life throws me a curveball that puts all my plans on hold?
It’s happened to me recently. I had saved quite a bit of money to make some investments to take my business to the next level and then disaster struck. I had a string of unexpected expenses one after the other that dried up those savings and set my business plans back a few months.
Then there were the times I got stuck in crappy jobs because I needed to keep a roof over my head and save enough money to move to London. At times, it felt like I would never get there.
Or the years that I spent trapped in a mental prison of my own. My depression was so bad, I couldn’t hold down a job or keep in touch with my friends. Even leaving the house was too hard. That time I really thought I’d be stuck there forever.
You may have it worse. Maybe you got stuck paying off your students loan or, worse, someone else’s debts. Maybe you got stuck in a failing business. Maybe you made a bad mistake and now got stuck in jail.
Whatever the case, you’re stuck – you have no choice about that. But there’s one thing you can control: what are you going to do with this time?
Alive Time VS Dead Time
One of my favourite authors, Robert Greene, thinks there are two types of times: dead time and alive time.
Dead time is when you’re doing nothing. You’re just waiting for things to change on their own, knowing they never might. Or maybe they’ll change – for the worse. The outcome is out of your control anyway.
Alive time is when you’re making the most of your time. You’re using it to learn, think and grow. You’re in control of how you’re spending your time.
Let’s say you’re stuck in a traffic jam. If you complain about how slowly the cars are moving, it’s dead time. You’re not doing anything worthwhile with it. But if you use that time to listen to your favourite podcasts? You’re still stuck in traffic for a while but you’re using that time to learn something new. That’s alive time.
What Are You Going To Do With Your Time?
Depression robbed me of a few years of my life. Years when I could have travelled the world, made new friends, advanced my career. Instead, I was stuck at home, too afraid to live my life.
I’m not gonna lie, a lot of it was dead time. But there was alive time too. The best thing I did during those years was start a beauty blog. I didn’t know it then but blogging would become my career, give me new friends and bring me back to life.
This taught me to make the most of my time. Now when I’m queuing at the supermarket or waiting for my train I take out my Kindle and start reading, even if just for a couple of minutes. I’d rather use those 2 minutes to learn something than letting them go to waste doing nothing.
When that string of unexpected expenses hit me, my first reaction was to panic. But once I calmed down, I decided to use that time to learn a bit more about the investments I want to make and better prepare myself for the upcoming changes.
There will always be times in your life when you’ll get stuck. Question is: what will you do with that time? Will you see it as an opportunity to accomplish something worthwhile or will you let it go to waste?That time will pass anyway. You may just as well make the most of it.