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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Time of Your Life

A friend of mine, emailed me this inspiring article, which I would like to share with you all:

by Mike George -
In some parts of the world there is famine. But it's not a shortage of food. It's a shortage of time. You can tell people are starving when they keep saying, "I don't have enough time or I have too much to do or I'm just too busy".

Time pressure comes when we try to do more in less time than it would take if we did not create the need to hurry! Time pressure comes when we perceive there is too much to do in a given time. But it's just a perception. The feeling of time pressure is always entirely the result of our own perception.
'Time famine' usually occurs in the so called 'developed' countries where speed is now God. And that's why by far the most popular workshop/course/seminar in those countries is... yes, you guessed, Time Management! But few realise that time management is an oxymoron. Time cannot be managed. Time shows up only to pass by. Time passes and never stops passing. The one thing in this world that never stops, and can never be stopped, is the flow of time.
Once upon a time, sometime in the past, there was a young and brilliant carpenter. One day he built the most exquisite box. On the box he painted the most beautiful face and two perfect arms. That night, at around midnight, he went into the forests, high the mountains, and he whispered to TIME saying, "If you enter this box I promise you will control almost all human beings on this earth". After a moments hesitation TIME replied, "Are you sure?" To which the carpenter replied, "Absolutely certain. They will think they are controlling you, but it will be you that controls them. It's perfect". And so TIME accepted his offer and entered the box. The young carpenter returned down the mountain to his home and placed the box in the middle of high shelf so that all could see its face. And he called that box a clock.

It would not be long before the clock was mistaken for TIME itself and everyone would look at the clock for guidance. Every time we think about time we tend to look at a clock somewhere. We organise our life around periods and moments in clock time. We don't realise we look only at a machine, that we are surrendering to a false concept of time. The clock is not time, it is simply our way of attempting to measure our experience of the space between two events.
So off we go on our Event Management workshop disguised as a Time Management workshop, and because 'management' implies control the first question is how do we control events? It\'s not long before the realisation dawns that you don't! In fact you cannot control anything more than three and half feet away from you! And besides, most events are other people! And that is the one thing you can never control ever. Unfortunately many, if not most, people beg to differ and live most of their lives believing, albeit subconsciously, that they can control what they cannot control i.e. other people. Little do they realise that is where most of their stress comes from.
When you do realise that your stress is coming from your attempts to control what you cannot control, you realise that Event Management is really Stress Management. Actually stress management is another of those oxymorons. Whenever you are stressed you are not managing anything, the stress is managing you. If, by good fortune, you encounter a good stress management teacher in a world now saturated with stress management teachers, you will learn a) there is no such thing as positive stress and b) all your stress is entirely self-created, always! Which means Stress Management is really Self Management. It\'s not the other person or the event that causes your stress, it's your response that contains the stress. This can be a life changing insight for most people, as it appears that around 99% of us have been taught the opposite i.e. that we are victims of other people and the circumstances we find ourselves in.
Slowly, if not suddenly, it dawns that prevention and freedom from stress requires deep changes to the way you respond to life as it happens around you. That means Self Management is really Change Management. Not changing anyone else, or anything else, except your self. And that means challenging your beliefs so that you can choose different perceptions in order to change your thinking, as all stress at a mental level is just negative thinking. Which means the workshop is not something that you attend 'out there' but something that you create and attend almost entirely within your own consciousness.
And yet, even when you realise the need to change your responses, and the inner work you need to do, there will be one final, and sometimes fatal, barrier to you attending your own inner workshop. And it's that voice, sometimes faint, sometimes loud, that says, "But I just don't have the time!" This is the voice of 'urgent avoidance'. Behind the voice is the fear of facing what is most important.
And so we come full circle. Time Management IS Event Management IS Stress Management IS Self Management IS Change Management. And it will always take some time! Unless of course you learn to live outside of time, and then you don't need to change anything at all.
Why do you think so many people find it so difficult to understand and manage their time?
Reflection: Time is life and life is time and you have a lifetime. But are you having the time of your life or is someone else having the time of YOUR life?
Action: Write down the ten most important things in your life. Prioritise them. Then decide what you will do to affirm their importance.

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