Modern Positivity Series #4: How Are You Using Your Time?
You have a limited amount of time to achieve your unlimited possibilities.
Your entire life now and into the future is decided within your 1020 minutes a day. Are you using your minutes wisely?
What are the 1020 minutes?
1020 minutes=(24-hour day - 8 hours sleeping) = 17 waking hours 60 minutes = 1020 minutes.
We have only 1020 minutes each day to live our lives, do our jobs, have a family life, have a little fun, do a little nothing. This exercise is a cliché, may be silly, but that does not diminish the importance of how you are using your time to pursue your goals.
Success and accomplishments often start with a single inspiration, creative idea, or some instinctive decision. That origin of success might only be one thought and take a couple of seconds. But to transform the idea into a real outcome will take work, resources, and time. And the most fragile component is our time.
For most people, there is relatively little time available to transform their aspirations and inspirations into reality. The things we want most in life are too often relegated to the time available for a hobby, not the time necessary to pursue a new life, a new career, a new something.
For the past several years, my personal and professional interest has been how to achieve goals and how to be successful; or at least to be among the most successful in accomplishing a specific goal. Time management is a popular business, self-help, and pop psychology topic, but I found almost all the conventional advice useful but incomplete, at least for me.
Of all the things we do with our time, one consistent, persistent, and volatile ingredient is our thoughts, attitudes, and emotions.
These qualitative factors influence every subsequent choice and action. Let's be realistic. No one has control over most of the factors that influence our success; the only element that we do control is our thinking, and more specifically, the quality of our thinking. Even more specifically, we can control the level of Positivity or confidence or belief in achieving our goal.
So my question became — did I devote enough time to the quality of my thinking as I was to daydreaming about success, making phone calls to find help, checking the sales, and often becoming discouraged because of slow progress, complications, and other obstacles? I was making plenty of time for the daily mechanics of building the business, but very little time was spent building a positivity support system for my work. That's how I got into researching the manifestation formula and my approach to modern Positivity.
How much time does success require?
The best use of the time concept needs an underlying context for what you want to achieve with your precious time. Are you using your time in a way that is aligned with and supportive of your goals?
How many minutes a day do you devote to pursuing your goal?
Everybody has the same 1020 minutes. Shakespeare had 1020 minutes a day. Bill Gates has 1020 minutes a day. You have 1020 minutes a day.
Everybody may not be a genius or fortunate to have extraordinary resources. But we all have the same time.
So I became interested in identifying a guiding principle to use my minutes to pursue my goals. If I allocate "time" to trying to achieve that goal, what is the most important factor about the nature of that time? Time is just a mechanical measure of the use of the precious resource.
Make Time for Positivity
In the context of achieving success, I identified Positivity as possibly the single most important element in any plan to achieve goals. Positivity, sometimes used interchangeably with positive thinking, is a set of ideas, beliefs, and aligned choices and actions to pursue a goal.
From my own experience and learning from teachings over the centuries, I consolidated my success principles as the 4P's:
Purpose - A clear, definite goal, a vision of what you want to achieve.
Persistence – Keep working, adapting to new information, deal with obstacles, maintain effort.
Positivity - The foundation of maintaining purpose and persistence to increase the probability of success. Positivity includes confidence, belief, commitment, both intellectually and emotionally.
Probability - It's possible to achieve a goal –it's been done by others. A specific, measurable level of effort and Positivity to achieve the statistical likelihood that you will achieve the goal.
Success is guaranteed to happen for someone. How you use your time can determine your probability of success.
Probability is the variable that depends on how well you execute the other three components. And of those other three components, Positivity is the most important.
Positivity is the concept that binds everything together. Positivity is the force that reinforces belief in your purpose. Positivity is the force that motivates your continued work and drives persistence. Nothing is guaranteed, but nothing is impossible.
My formula is not new; most of the ideas have been observed and written about for hundreds of years. I still felt a practical tool was missing to harness the power of all the other elements; what would unite purpose, persistence, and the quality of my thoughts? We live in a 24/7 information age and have to learn to use, accommodate, or sometimes ignore the endless stream of information that can help pursue a goal or create obstacles.
So I've tried to update a success strategy based on what worked for me personally. I'm just one ordinary person with what I believe are reasonable goals. Some people seem to pursue their goals, whether in business, academically or in a sport, etc., more easily than I've experienced. What did they know or learn that I missed?
As I've written, I believe a Positivity Formula is an accurate representation of what it takes to have a high probability of success. My formula is represented by the normal distribution in statistics — that 68% of all events occur in the middle around an average. I transformed the 68% concept into the minimum level of Positivity needed to overcome the inevitable fears, doubts and uncertainty.
There are always going to result, in this case, successes on a continuum from total failure to extraordinary success. Most outcomes occur for most people successfully, which constitutes the average, the vast middle. What do you have to do to move your probability further to the right? Where is the highest probability of success?
You can't change the statistical curve. But you can change your place on the curve.
How do you fill your 1020 minutes with Positivity?
If you replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts, you will have more positive outcomes. Willie Nelson
Wilie's formula is a lot simpler than almost any other in history, but most of us still need a more practical guide to do the positive-negative replacement.
I developed Positivity Scorecard to track my positive versus negative thoughts. Once I realized what I was thinking and could see it in black-and-white, I could change the nature of my thoughts. I found ways to replace a lot of negative thinking with more positive thinking. Some people may call it daydreaming, fantasizing, or visualization. And there are many others.
I recently came across a phrase in a book by Janice Kaplan, How Luck Happens.
The phrase is "positive delusions." I found those words to be a perfect and inspirational concept. Delusions don't have to be a negative idea; basically, believe in your dream.
The minutes you need for Positivity are readily available
Researchers estimate the people have 50,000 – 80,000 thoughts per day. And 80% or more are the same thoughts as the day before, and 80% + of the thoughts are negative, fearful, and uncertain.
The math is overwhelming: We spend hundreds of minutes a day, every day, dwelling on past mistakes, fears of future problems, and a host of negative thoughts and emotions. We all have fleeting thoughts of success, but a fleeting thought is not a systematic approach to managing the conflicts between positive and negative.
I'm working on my next book as an expanded prescription for how to achieve Positivity. One of the regimens will be allocating a portion of your 1020 daily minutes to positive delusions.
There are many recommendations for physical and mental health; exercise at least 30 minutes a day, meditate for 15 minutes or 30 minutes, walk four times a week for at least 60 minutes. But even within allocated minutes for physical activity, you can still use them to perform something mentally — your positivity training.
Positivity New Math
Let's break down our 1020 minutes into a Positivity plan with some simple arithmetic.
· If you have 50,000 thoughts a day, and 80% are negative, that's 40,000 negative thoughts a day.
· What would your life be if you could reduce your negative thoughts to 30,000 and replace them with 10,000 benign or positive thoughts?
· What would 10,000 thoughts even feel like?
· How long would it take to have 10,000 thoughts?
· Let's have a more modest goal. 300 Positivity thoughts that you can be sure of doing.
· 50,000 thoughts a day is 2941 thoughts per hour, 49 thoughts per minute. 300 Positivity thoughts are just 6 minutes.
One of the current trends in programs to achieve goals or Change behavior is to start with small steps, so you have the experience of achieving a goal. Here is a small step approach to increasing your Positivity.
300 Positivity thoughts might seem like a big number at first glance. Six minutes seems trivial. Six minutes is under 1% of your total daily minutes. Are you and your future with 1% of your time?
Thoughts are all you have to guide your life, and the research says most of us have too many negative and fearful thoughts. Everyone has a level of fear, doubt, and uncertainty. But negativity is inevitable; it's part of our survival instinct that enables us to assess risk and be cautious when necessary.
If you want to have a greater probability of achieving your goal, your first goal should be to understand your level of ongoing levels of negativity versus Positivity and learn to manage them.
You don't have to be positive 100% of the time, and modest negativity is inevitable and necessary. I've learned that I can achieve a higher level of Positivity and not let negativity overwhelm my thoughts, choices, and actions.
Give yourself just six minutes a day, 300 moments of positive delusions to set you on the path to achieving your goals.