In Pathways to Possibilities, Rosamund Zander makes a very bold suggestion that it is not a good idea to wish to be on time. Not because time doesn’t deserve our respect but because being on time is an impossible notion. Something that sets us up for failure.
The idea of being on time is a finite proposition.
If you want to be somewhere at 10:00am sharp, in all likelihood, you will find yourself arriving a few minutes early or perhaps a few minutes too late. It doesn’t really matter time you want to arrive somewhere, you are very likely going to miss it, by a few seconds here, or a few minutes there. One way or another.
Wanting to be somewhere at 10:00 o’clock or whatever o’clock is simply too narrow.
It’s much better to be early because when you intend to be early, you can’t help but be there on time. Every single time.
Being somewhere at 10:00am sharp is too rigid. You are setting yourself up for unnecessary failure by giving yourself only the slimmest margin for error. Even if you are very frugal with your time and well intentioned, you are very likely to miss it. There are just so many things that can happen along the way, that being on time seems like a silly proposition.
But if you desire to be early, you open yourself up to a world of limitless possibilities. Being early has infinite potential. It has the most wiggle room because it doesn’t matter what your aim is. No matter how early you are, you can’t help but be there on time.
Now let’s apply this idea to our dreams.
If we aim for something specifically and directly, we are very likely to miss it. We will find ourselves coming too early or making our way too late. When you aim for something with a narrow focus, you will miss the target and frustrate yourself with unnecessary guilt.
If you find yourself in a state of loneliness, for example, you might want to forget yourself, for at least a little while. Try to put your loneliness aside for a bit. Try to ease someone else’s loneliness instead. Find a person or an abandoned pet, or a nut crunching squirrel for that matter. Find someone else in need and get out of your loneliness by thinking of others. Seek them out, even though all you want to do is to run and hide.
By forgetting yourself you will arrive early. By focusing on the loneliness of others, you will certainly be there on time and have the greatest chance of relieving your own.
If you have the desire to be a writer or to do anything creative, it is definitely most horrifying to sit down and write a national best seller. There is a lot of pressure in doing that. The chances of success are very slim. The margin for error is the same as being somewhere at whatever o’clock.
There is a great danger here.
You could end up writing a very good book, or a book that’s ahead of its time, only to see it as a failure because it had not become a national best seller. Worse, this very good book, the book that’s ahead of its time, will make you feel like a failed writer. You may sadly never write again.
It is absolutely true that we need a defined vision to get anywhere, but that is not what’s at stake here. No matter what the aim, the process and being on time is the only thing that brings us from the scarce finite world, into an infinite realm of possibilities.
Before you can write a national best seller, you have to write a book. It doesn’t matter if you write a good book or sacrificed a tree for no good reason. You have to begin somewhere. You have to start wherever you are. Despite everything that might and will stand in your way, you have to persevere and finish.
You have to aim to be early.
You have to avoid being on time.
Cover photo generously provided by photographer AJ Garcia via unsplash.com