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U.S. Concept of Time & Why It’s Preventing You From Finding Your Passions

In: Life,

Here in the U.S., we’re all about go-go-go.

It’s a fast-paced lifestyle, and if you don’t keep ahead you’ll soon be left behind. It’s a race to the finish. It’s the survival of the fittest. It is time-is-money, and the early bird gets the worm.

Time, in essence, is a something we regard as a finite resource that we feel we can capture, control and manipulate. Just look at all of the ways we express time in the English language:

We save time.

We find time.

We lose time.

We spend time.

We make time.

We’re out of time.

We kill time.

We crave time.

We try to get there on time.

We may arrive in the nick of time.

We wish to turn back the hands of time.

We think many things are a waste of time.

And it’s rare that we have too much time on our hands.

We can label things ahead of one’s time.

While others are frowned upon as being behind the times.

We bide our time, keep time, & are pressed for time.

Our attitude toward time as a tangible resource is unarguably apparent. And because of this attitude, we’re constantly engaged in a never ending battle to mold, shape and bend time to our will. We view it as a limited entity, and therefore have to speed up our lives in order to fit it within time’s confines.

Because of this mind-set, we’ve evolved into a society of do-ers, where action is applauded, and anything less regarded as lazy, unmotivated and weak.

And while there’s undeniably a certain value in that approach–specifically in terms of productivity–it’s worth noting that oftentimes, being constantly “productive” produces a numbing effect, in which we end up on autopilot, mindlessly moving from one obligation to the next to the next and to the next.

The upside to that is, of course, that we obtain many of the things we set out to get. On the other hand, however, because we’re always on the move, we don’t often get the chance to reflect on whether or not the things we’re setting out to get are actually the things we want. As a result, we end up in a fruitless civil war with ourselves, constantly productive, yet never producing.

Time & Passions

On a related note, I receive a fair amount of emails that ask “How do I find my passion? I can’t follow my passion until I know what it is.”  That’s very true, and it’s my contention that it’s impossible to figure it all out until we allow ourselves the time to do so.  Between rushing to get this done, clamoring to get that done & feeling stressed in between, it’s difficult to be able to sit back, do a little reflecting and get involved in activities that might help to carve some of those passions out.

What’s needed is time to do so.  This may be obvious, but I notice a tendency to think that one’s passions are just going to develop overnight, or somehow just be born and arrive at your doorstep, à la stork.

But passions don’t just appear; you’ve got to allow yourself the time to get out there and find them.  They don’t passively occur or spontaneously combust–you’ve got to open your arms wide, step out into the sunlight, and take the world by storm.

You’ve got to hunt them down.

Life is a safari, and even though you might have to stop hunting along the way to take care of necessary items such as sleeping, going to the bathroom, or eating bugs for protein, those things can’t derail you from your true quest.  After all, you want a wildebeest!  And wildebeests aren’t just going to come wandering up to your tent saying, “Oh hey. Here I am. What’s for dinner?”

Although that’d be really, really awesome.

But no.  You’ve got to take the time to saddle up and work your lasso.
And it’s the same with your passions.

Don’t let the whirlwind of daily routine distract from the real goal at hand.  If you want to find your passion, you’ve got to make it a priority.  Literally, you’ve got to build time into your schedule to explore yourself and explore the world that surrounds you.  Do some reading.  Find resources that can help you figure it out.

If you haven’t had the time to try something you’ve been wanting to try, how will you ever know that you actually love it?  If I hadn’t taken the 6 months to travel for the first time when I was 19, how would I ever have known how much I would love it?  I wouldn’t have.  I might have had a vague idea of how cool it could be, but it wouldn’t have developed into an aching (aching!) passion.

If you want to find your passion, time is of the essence.  In this case, time is not a luxury; time is mandatory. And if we’re going to attempt to bend time to our will, as we do in this culture, then we might as well be bending it favorably.

You are in control of your time–no one else.  Start using it to your advantage.  Hell, my friend Everett insists on working only 2 hours a day.  You can check out what he does here, but he absolutely controls what he does with his time–no one else.

So when you do make time to get out there on your safari?  Two words: Hakuna Matata, baby!

Okay, so that was three.

But oh well.  Because my time here? Is now up.

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62 thoughts on "U.S. Concept of Time & Why It’s Preventing You From Finding Your Passions"

  1. Maren Kate says:

    Time's in the eye of the beekeeper (beholder?) but seriously… Time is completely relative and completely set in the same breath… we can get a ton done with 2 hours and have a whole day to play or we can get nothing done in 12 and be miserable… all depends on how you perceive the time around you – whether you see time as your tool or as a race against the clock. Great post tiger!

    1. TMFproject says:

      You are the second person to refer to me as “tiger!” Is there something noticeably stripey about my appearance that I'm not aware of? :p Ha. What you said here about time being both relative and fixed at the same time is a great point. You're right; we do have only so much time in a day–which is actually nothing more than the mere cycle from dark to light, actually–but how we view & conceptualize that margin of time we're given is entirely relative. Breaking it up into 60 minute chunks is entirely arbitrary, if you think about it. And if it's arbitrary, then that means we can play with it a little, right? 🙂

      Thanks for the comment, my dear! P.S. Can I just mention here that everytime I see your avatar, I'm all like, “Awww. She's so pretty.” Love it.

  2. Great post Ashley! I'm glad I stumbled upon your site. I definitely need to re-evaluate my concept of time. You've reminded me and reaffirmed to me that yes I am under the U.S. concept of time. This is life changing information and I thank you for sharing!!

    1. TMFproject says:

      Hey there! Welcome to the site!

      As a few super rad people have said before, reality. is. negotiable. So much truth in that statement that we don't even recognize.

      Happy to connect with you here! Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  3. sethmbaker says:

    Hello Ashley,
    Great post. I'd like to add a little something. It's great to set aside time to find and develop your passion, but I believe you also need a lot of patience; it's great to set aside time, but in my experience people have to be prepared for a lot of struggle in the early stages.

    With any new activity, there's a considerable learning curve. The first stages are often the soul-crushingly hardest. But if you are patient with yourself, if you can work through those early stages and increase your skill levels, then identifying your passion becomes that much easier.

    Keep up the wonderful work!

    1. TMFproject says:

      Fantastic point–so glad you came by and mentioned that. Learning curves ALWAYS exist! Though, I think the difference between someone who's successful in their endeavors versus someone who isn't, is their ability to appreciate and enjoy the learning curve for what it is, versus just trying to get past it and onto bigger and better. But you're absolutely right–learning curves can't be ignored.

      Appreciate you taking the time to comment, Seth! Rock on, friend!

  4. I decided to train for a marathon a year ago. Due to the time it took to run, lift weights, cross train, do laundry (cause all those workout outfits gotta be washed sometime), I had to stop doing other things. I chose to stop doing things I didn’t enjoy or do less of things.

    It was wonderful to concentrate on one goal! If I didn’t want to go to happy hour or shopping or whatever, I had a great excuse. But after the marathon, I’ve been writing huge “To do” lists for the weekend. By the time Monday rolls around, I’m exhausted. I can’t go back to concentrating on one goal but at the same time, I can’t sacrifice my precious time trying to do everything. It’s finding that balance that is really hard.