How to change lives and influence people 1: Time

“Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time’ is like saying ‘I don’t want to’” Lao Tzu

Someone once said to me: “I don’t understand why people complain about things. It’s much more fun to just do stuff.” Forget the irony that they were complaining about people complaining; the sentiment is a great one.

Taoism and working late on Tuesday

Lao Tzu is probably going to be Crowd Guru’s most quoted philosopher. His quote (above) captures the opportunities we all have before us, and the barriers we put in front of ourselves. You have the hours in the day to do amazing things, but you choose to spend them doing something else instead. It’s your choice, not an external force constraining your time.

To recognise that time is something you create and control is a liberating experience. You chose to work late on Tuesday: you put yourself in the position at some point earlier in the day / week where things were going to get pushed back and your deadline was going to become painful or where you chose to take on that extra task that would mean working late. You didn’t run out of time, you put yourself in that position through the earlier choices you made. So you arrived late to the restaurant, bar or cinema, because those things seemed less important somehow when you were making the decision that led to you working late on Tuesday.


Filling your time with the things that are unimportant to you is easy. You can surf the internet, surf the unending TV channels, surf your work emails. But don’t you prefer actually surfing? (you know, on the sea with a surfboard, outdoors). Have you tried it?

Or if that isn’t your cup of tea then cook something amazing or learn the guitar or read a great book that you have been telling yourself you should read or… well anything really. It may seem like a little more effort, but what you get out is likely to be far more rewarding.

No time wasters

And if you want something really amazing to do for an hour or two over a couple of weeks, why not give your skills to a charity or social enterprise?

Engage your brain with something more challenging and life-affirming than sudoku. Applying your brain to someone else’s problems is hugely rewarding, and the results are REAL. Its not just that you have helped someone to get better at something, but through helping them, you are helping the cause become more effective on a permanent basis, and thereby you have played a significant part in changing the world for the better.

But go on, watch another episode of Eastenders. You don’t really like it, but you have all the time in the world to make your mark.


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