People spend an inordinate amount of time bitching about the distribution of things. The poor bitch because the rich have more money. The clerks bitch because the boss has more power. The clumsy bitch because the athletes have more grace. And I am sure that all those bitches are justified, to a degree.

But, each and every day, we all get exactly the same amount of the most important commodity of all: Time. 24 hours. 1440 minutes. 86,400 seconds. To those of us who tend to stay very busy, that is not really a wealth of time, but at least it is distributed equally to all. No one has yet figured out how to legislate a shorter day to members of the opposing party.

And even though this fact is inarguably true, people bitch about time. And they do so in the least logical possible manner. Asked why they did not read a particular book, do a particular thing, or go to a particular event, people will often respond, “Because I didn’t have the time.”


They had the time. They had the usual allotment of 86,400 seconds per day. What happened was that they didn’t take the time. They used their time for something else. And by saying that they didn’t have the time, they are saying that they are ashamed of how they used it. And that tells me a lot about a person.

It tells me that they either don’t know what they want to do with their time or that they are doing a lot of things that they don’t want to in the time that they are allotted. Or both. No matter how you look at it, they are wasting their time, knowing full well that their supply is very limited.

Some things are unavoidable. We have to spend a certain amount of time in eating, in sleeping, in the bathroom and in eking out an existence. And even those can be limited. The less we eat, the less time we spend in the bathroom. The less we have to support, the less time we need to work. People who bitch constantly because they have to work so hard to support their wife and eight kids probably shouldn’t have had all those kids.

So take a look at how you spend your 86,400 seconds per day. Think about how you would like to use it. Then think about the way that you use it now. If you can’t find some disparity, you are a rare person indeed. In fact, you could set a goal for yourself. Use your time well enough that every time you don’t get something done, and somebody asks you why, you can say without shame and embarrassment, “Because I didn’t take the time to do it. I had more satisfying things to do.” 


Kermit []