The Best Time Spent Is Time Spent Slowly — How To Use Time Slowly Every Day
“My question is, how many best parts will there be and how many years will you spend in fast-forward? You may be young in years, but you are closer to death than you think.” — Benjamin P. Hardy, Ph.D
As I spent the morning looking through emails, sites, my mobile device, books, my kindle and the like, I realized there’s an official war for our attention.
The new economy is the attention economy and our attention is being fought for aggressively. Fighters of our attention will do whatever it takes to get us hooked on their site, app, product, tool etc.
Just think about how much time you spend on FB, Google, Apple and Amazon alone. And you don’t think they own us?
The result has made it exceptionally difficult to use time slowly — choosing to do one thing with full presence, without the impulse of simultaneously doing other things because it’s easy without feeling rushed or notified — to do, respond, get it done, etc.
Yet that’s precisely what makes spending time slowly all the more valuable, to do transcendent work for yourself and the people you serve.
Time spent slowly comes from the ability to make your moments deeply meaningful — which creates a state of slower living.
Highly Present ‘Slow’ State is Driven by The Meaning You Assign To Your Moments
“The compression of time is not a matter of compounding activities, but the compounding of meaning.” Benjamin P. Hardy, PH.D
How ‘deep’ do you go into each moment? How seriously do you take consumption of your time? Do you yearn with gratitude and appreciation for every moment you have? Or are you mindless and wasteful as a result?
A great test for this is how much you look forward to waking up each day. I’ve finally reached a state (through lot’s of work) where I go to bed yearning and excited for the next day to begin no matter what day it is or what I’m doing — and it’s a choice I make to condition myself for that each night and morning.
Isn’t it amazing to have the consciousness to control your thoughts, outlook, reality, points of view, reactions, responses, words and to be able to control them as a result?
Now that I’ve mastered this skill (after a ton of hard work) it’s the simple and ‘hard’ stuff I look forward to most.
As an entrepreneur that struggled for three years trying to get a growth start up off the ground, a failure and a couple experiments, to finally make it, I’ve learned how to embrace and appreciate both ‘success’ and ‘failure’.
I now derive so much meaning from the simple stuff. I really don’t need much else. My morning coffee is approached and treated as a prayer ritual — a chance to show gratitude, feel happy and spark my happiness chemicals.
When was the last time you showed extreme gratitude, happiness and was ‘high’ on happy chemicals? Did it take closing a big deal, getting a promotion or buying a car? Or do you make your walk to work beautiful.
I’m not saying I don’t respond with adrenaline to things or have fear because of my survival brain, but what I am saying is I have a choice to put in the work and consciously shape my reality.
How deep is your morning routine? Yes, I still like nice things more than anyone, but I know how to value them now. Was 33 late to learn this?
“As opposed to selling away our futures to have high quality stuff, we’d be better off reducing the quality of our stuff in order to improve the quantity and quality of our time.” — Benjamin P. Hardy PH.D
On the other side, it’s the ‘hard stuff’ that allows me the chance to grow and evolve as a sentient, conscious being. The harder the situation, the more I know I expand my boundaries, grow my consciousness and evolve as a human being.
Therefore the more I yearn to not only go all in to tasks with high enthusiasm (laundry, doing taxes, paying bills etc.) but I create the hardest possible situations through force functions to accelerate that growth.
Survival brain get’s fearful when approaching women? I give my buddy $200 if I don’t talk to a woman each day.
Harder the better and the less I want to go to the meeting, do the mundane task, talk to the girl or show up to the airport, the more I go into it and embrace it.
After reading Viktor Frankle’s book on making meaning, I’ve fully embraced the point of view and attitude that we have a choice to make each moment as shitty or great as we’d like no matter what.
If Frankl could do it at a concentration camp, and create the context necessary to look for the good moments in the horror and to win and triumph by going out with dignity, you have the power to do it.
Frankl actually made daily life at the camps seem (subjectively to himself) not so bad after a while. How about them apples? Is your ‘passionless job’ or ‘money problems’ in a better context now?
I’m not saying it’s easy or trying to trivialize anyones problems either, I’m saying shaping perspective helps emotional responses and therefore alleviates stress — and that it’s a skill.
There are homeless people who live with more peace, prosperity and self-esteem than some billionaires out there. This may be hard to fathom but it’s true.
Making Meaning is Just That — Make it Meaningful
Time spent slowly is time made meaningful. Many people say and believe that “life is hard” — and yes there’s plenty of evidence out there you can point to and reinforce this belief that life is in fact hard.
But what is ‘life is hard’? Isn’t a story you choose to believe? Aren’t you choosing to see the things that confirms the idea that ‘life is hard’? That’s a program, much like an algorithm, just inside your brain. So you take unconscious action based on it. It’s the same as ‘if this, then that’ in programming.
‘If I believe this, then I behave or think this way.’
On the other hand, you can choose to see how far humanity and the world has come. With all the wars going on, we’re as conscious as we’ve ever been and violence is actually way way down. Armies are shrinking and nations are fighting for peace and progress more than ever before. Sure, there are power hungry assholes to contend with but reaching rock bottom is what needs to happen to re-emerge bigger and deeply enlightened. That’s what I think the United States and Britain are going through right now.
The point is that ‘life is hard’ is an idea, that you, a sentient, conscious human being have chosen to identify with and have the control to choose otherwise.
How we respond to common daily issues like not having enough money for example, which I know is a huge topic especially with today’s falling middle class and income inequality problem — which makes this topic even more relevant than ever before, is still a choice we have the control of choosing how we respond.
Yes this is hard and requires discipline but it can be done instantly if you know how to re-program your belief systems around it.
Is the hard fact that you’re behind on bills or is it the emotional response you have to that hard fact? It’s obvious it’s the ladder.
When I had to move back home for a period while I got the business off the ground, I didn’t have a salary, was accumulating debt and had spent all my savings. This was 100% the most stressful period of my existence.
I had given up a job that was on autopilot making $300k a year and thought I could start a high-growth company as easily as my prior bosses made it look. Huge mistake.
This was around three years ago and by-God how I’ve evolved thirty years in the last three which leads me to confidently know that ‘money’ will never be a problem for me again.
Not because I have the skills to make it, but because I know how to think about money and things as an idea, as I think about all things as an idea, and the confidence to believe in myself.
Shaping your own reality is the beginning of thinking for yourself and having true trust in your conviction. The conviction to think for yourself is true self-esteem, self-love and power.
Living slow comes from deep moments and deep moments come from deep meaning and deep meaning is a choice. Accepting this as your responsibility is a must.
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