“It sounds interesting, but I’m already busy as it is.”
“Maybe next year when I’ve got more free time.”
Have you ever said any of these statements, or heard anyone else say them? I’ve said at least one of these statements before in the past, and I know what I was really saying when the words left my mouth. I was saying that I didn’t want to know, that I wasn’t interested at the time. These statements are signs of the classic limiting belief, “I don’t have the time”.
Alongside “I don’t have the money”, “I don’t have the time” is one of the most common limiting beliefs expressed by people. It implies that we don’t see the new opportunity as important enough to replace one of our current activities with. But behind the excuses, it can mean a whole lot more.
What “I Don’t Have The Time” Really Means
How do we feel when we say “I don’t have the time”? Do we feel good about our decision, or do we immediately feel regret at a missed opportunity? Although there will be times when we experience either of these reactions, our reasons for saying that we don’t have the time are the same – we don’t want to commit ourselves.
Committing ourselves to something requires mental energy. It demands focus and a part of our memory from us. Because our mental energy is rightfully precious to us, we naturally take care to only use it on what we think is worthwhile. But what we think is ‘worthwhile’ may not be good for us.
There are some activities which we think are worthwhile but actually aren’t – activities such as watching too much TV, or eating desserts after every meal. We think they are worthwhile because it’s what we’re used to - because it hasn’t done us any immediate harm, we think it’s OK to keep doing it, even at the expense of any new activity that could improve our life in some way.
For example, if a friend asks us if we’d like to go jogging in the evenings, we may say that we don’t have the time because we’re too busy watching our favourite show. Our enjoyment of our programme overpowers the desire to go jogging, even if we know that it will be more beneficial to us in the long run. But because we’re used to watching TV, we stay in that same pattern.
By saying that we don’t have the time, it saves us the hassle of changing our lives to accommodate this new request.
We Will Always Have The Time At Some Point
But regardless of whether we think we have time or not, the truth is that we always have the time at some point.
We won’t be doing the same activities for the rest of our lives. What we are spending our time on today isn’t the same as what it was yesterday, and it will not be the same as tomorrow. The same applies from a week-to-week basis, month-to-month, and so on. As such, we won’t always be eating desserts or watching TV – eventually, we’ll change our habits.
Change affects all of us, whether we want it to or not. Events happen at work, or at your child’s school, or with your friends and family that will bring change to you. Change is inevitable. Because of the constant change in our lives, we will always have time at some point to do what we really want to do.
We will always be able to find time to go jogging, or start a diet, or visit our grandparents, or any of a number of things, even if we currently don’t want. Just because we don’t want to now doesn’t mean we’ll ‘never’ want to. We can try to resist a new opportunity for as long as we can, but eventually our routines and beliefs will change. Everything must come to an end.
To go back to the jogging example, we may decline our friend’s offer on that particular evening, but that doesn’t mean we’ll continue to decline for the rest of our lives. At some point, after we’ve decided we’ve watched too much TV or eaten too many desserts, we’ll accept the offer to go jogging. We have finally found the time to do so.
Something new must always take place in the end. It may happen over a period of days or years, but everything that we currently do is subject to change.
We Have More Time Than We Think
The excuse of “I don’t have the time” can never hold up forever. Not only will we have the time at some point, but fortunately for us, time is on our side.
We have more time left in our lives than we think. The average lifespan is constantly increasing, and we can still be just as productive in our 70s and 80s as we are today. Take Chris Foster, a fellow personal development blogger. He turned 80 earlier this year, and he is still doing what he loves to do. But he only started blogging three years ago, in his late 70s. For Chris, it was never too late to start helping others and enjoy the process.
To put it simply, it’s never too late to pursue what you want and enjoy your passions. I consider myself blessed that I realise this at the young age of 26. If you don’t have the time right now to do something you enjoy, that’s fine – there will be plenty of time in the future to do it. Here in England, I recently heard about a marathon runner who’s 101 years old, and he didn’t start running marathons until he was 89. Eventually, he had the time to do something which most people alive wouldn’t even attempt.
Don’t assume that you’ll never have the time. Just because ‘today’ is not good doesn’t mean that ‘tomorrow’ will be the same.