So the year is 2018, and it’s January. The blogosphere is filled with articles about how to set your New Year’s resolutions.
Soon, as in about 3 weeks from now, the blogosphere will be filled with motivational articles to keep you going. And then soonish, as in 3 months from now, it will all be forgotten.
Why? Well my dear reader, it’s because you will fail. It’s not because you are not a great person. It’s not because you won’t try. It’s certainly not because you want to fail. It’s simply because you are a person. And one thing that our society does not teach real people is to love time.
Huh? But what does that mean? Well, my dear reader, loving time means that you are actually enjoying the moments in your life whether they are great successes, small failures, or just mundane every day churn. It means that rather than focusing on the “Are we there yet?” you are focusing on the the process.
Now this certainly isn’t a new idea. In fact the personal finance community has pretty well covered this when it comes to, for example, compound interest. How do I know? Well simple, my dear reader: take every article in the Personal Finance community and feed it into one of those new fancy Artificial Intelligence machines (because technology knows all about us now right?!?). Now take every article on CNBC Make-It and again feed it into the same fancy Artificial Intelligence machine. Now ask this machine, what is the main message in these articles? Well the answer would probably be: “Learn to Love Time.”
Money is the easy part
“Well Mr. Handy Millennial, I already read all the articles about how compound interest takes time. I’ve resolved myself to sitting on my investments through thick and thin for at least 15 years. But my New Year’s resolution is not about money. I want to: Lose 10 pounds and get fit! Start a blog and be a rock star! Learn to play the Guitar so I can be the life of the party!”
You are correct, my dear reader. Those articles are about money. But you see, money is the easy part. Why? Well, because money is countable. We can count it, we can track it, and sometimes we can see it. If you save a dollar today, it’s in your bank account tomorrow. Better yet, if you lend it to someone they will pay you interest. So it can build on itself! So looking at your savings and investments can get you motivated!
On the other hand, if you step on the scale tomorrow and you lost 0.05 lbs, how does that feel? Like an eternity! Even worse, those 0.05 lbs are not actually helping you lose any weight.
If you want to start a blog, you get yourself set up and write one post. Whew, that was a lot of work. Now what? 1-3 more per week until… forever? Well how does that help?
If you want to play the guitar, you can hop on the internet and check out some instructional videos. Strum a few chords, and then you realize that your hand has to contort itself in a way that it has never done before! Now that hurts!
We all want it ALL now!
The basic problem is that we all want everything now. It’s true. Our whole society is based on this. That’s not inherently bad. It just is. It’s what motivated us, to paraphrase Warren Buffett, to go from a bunch of creatures that roam the forest to 96 trillion of wealth, which for the most part creates a life of extreme luxury (by historical standards) for most people today.
This desire/need for more has driven us to innovate and work for millennia, and it has been quite the ride. Unfortunately, an unpleasant byproduct of this is the typical approach of an average person to a new endeavor. It goes something like this:
- Make a decision to pursue something new. Get really excited and don’t consider too much what is actually involved.
- Sprint as fast as possible at your new goal. For example, if you want to lose weight, spend 3 hours at the gym every day in January. If you want to start a blog, spend every night writing new blog posts and tweeting. If you want to play guitar, spend all your time playing the instrument until you hands are sore.
- Hit a figurative motivational wall. Lose motivation and take a break.
- 2 weeks later admit defeat and wait another 11 months to start again.
The net result is, of course, that the average person, stuck in spurt after spurt, will simply be average. Anyone who is not average is followed by the average person with awe! Want to lose weight? Well I couldn’t do it, BUT Oprah did! Want to start a successful blog? Well I couldn’t do it, but look at Michelle – she’s a real rock star. Want to play the guitar? Well that’s hard, but let’s look at some Stevie Ray Vaughn videos.
Learn to Love Time
But what if I told you, my dear reader, that there is another way. There is a way for average people to be extraordinary! You simply need to learn to love time! That’s right, love time. Take a walk, put one foot in front of the other, and simply love the fact that you are taking a step. It’s your step. You are here experiencing it, and only you can take pleasure in it!
“But, but! Mr. Handy Millennial, I don’t have time. Life is short!” Yes it is, but first of all, learning to love time will make you grateful and happy to be here, and second, you don’t need to be extraordinary at everything. You only need to be extraordinary at a few things. And if you play your cards right, those few things in which you choose to be extraordinary will be all you need to have a happy life.
Three personal anecdotes on how to learn to love time:
Helping a friend go on a diet
A few years ago the Handy Millennial was fortunate to have the opportunity to help a friend lose some weight. Fortunate because while the Handy Millennial was always at least a two-season athlete in high school, he had not followed such a constructive self-guided long-term fitness project in his post-high school personal life.
We started slowly, at first only going to the gym for 20 minutes at a time. But more importantly, we were tracking calories consumed using My Fitness Pal. The weight loss rate was 1/2 pound per week, painfully slow. But soon the gym became fun: 20 minutes became 20 minutes of reading. Then 40 minutes of reading, and finally 60 minutes of reading.
Recording calories consumed became a game. We would challenge ourselves to keep within My Fitness Pal’s limit. And most days we would exceed the goal.
Losing 1/2 pound per week became 1 pound per week and finally 2 pounds. All told, the Handy Millennial’s friend lost over 50 pounds!
Starting the Handy Millennial
Of course, starting this site has been a tremendous experience in learning to love time. From the beginning, the Handy Millennial promised he would keep this site slow. At first one post appeared (the site was not live yet). Then another, and approximately three months, later six posts had somehow been written.
The site was ready to go live. Live really meant that the Handy Millennial was ready to write at least one post per week.
Next came Twitter, which was up for an entire two weeks before Facebook, then Pinterest. As a side note, Social Media has the ability to suck you in, and force you into not loving time. Spending too much time on social media can make blogging feel like a treadmill.
Then came Christmas, a time to regroup and think about the direction of Handymillennial.com. And now HM is back! Albeit more slowly, and ready to enjoy the process again.
Learning to play the guitar
A few years ago, the Handy Millennial received a guitar for his birthday. A great present that comes with a large time commitment. So the guitar sat unloved in the corner for approximately 3 months. Slowly, its fortunes started to turn around.
At first, HM practiced simple chords: G, C, A, D. About 2 months after starting to practice these chords, the Handy Millennial decided it was time to find a teacher. Slowly, the teacher introduced the Handy Millennial to scales and strumming patterns.
Practicing 20 minutes per day and meeting once every couple weeks, the Handy Millennial began to slowly scale the learning curve. One year later, simple songs began to come out of the instrument. A whole other year later, some more fun songs began to come out.
A guide to love your time
The key in all of these endeavors has been to enjoy the process, or more simply, to learn to love time. Want to try? Here is a simple set of steps to take that will keep you motivated and enjoying YOUR time.
- Start slowly. Do only as much as your patience and focus can handle. Do not use all of your patience to keep yourself at practice.
- Ramp up your commitment and time spent slowly. Increase the amount of time you are spending by a few minutes each week, but only when you find it enjoyable.
- Every few months look back at your achievements. Pause and take stock in all you have done. Do not think about all you need to do. Just enjoy.
Follow these three simple steps and the Handy Millennial is confident that you can be extraordinary. All you need to do is learn to love time!