What if time was not a constraint?

Some of you may be familiar with this speech by Alan Watts where he discusses ‘What if money was no object?’

The idea is to get people thinking about what they are really passionate about, and would love to do, and questions such as these are many times used, by coaches like me, to make our clients explore such options and dream big.

However, as a coach, we also come across clients who are not able to make out time for healthy habits like exercise, meditation etc and often times the excuse for not making any positive changes is the lack of time.

Now, consider the adage that time is money. Putting the above two thoughts together, one can pose a question as to what would happen if time was not a constraint. Suppose you got double the amount of time in a day (48 hrs), what would change; which happy habits will you eke out time for? Will you spend more time with your family? And if you plan to spend, say 4 hrs with family, in a 48 hr day; can you at least keep aside for the family 2 hrs in a 24 hr day?  Thought experiments like these can be powerful levers for change.

I developed this line of thinking, when I came across a post yesterday, on Facebook by Scott Barry Kaufman (whose website just got a fabulous new design), where he was grappling with a thought experiment at 1 am in the night: what if we lived 1000 yrs; at the deathbed would we say life flew too fast, or instead that it felt like forever.

While I have my own take on what we might say on the deathbed in that condition, this also prompted me to ask a different, but related more powerful question. What if instead of asking our clients of ‘how they would re-prioritize their life if they had cancer and had only 6 months to live‘ we in addition also asked ‘ What would you really do, if time was no constraint and you were to live for a 1000 years’. Would you invest more in relationships, would you slow down your hyper career focus, or would you invest more into things that only bear fruit with a lot of investment like caring for a child?

Each person will have a different take and that would provide them with additional insight into what they want to do in life and what their real priorities are.  By playing around with their time horizons (cancer/ 1000 years) as well as making them sensitive to their daily experience of time (48 hrs vs 24 hrs) one can trigger powerful insights, in the client.

So what are you waiting for? Think about how your day will change if there were 48 hrs in it and also how your life priorities will change if you were to live 1000 years; and, if you feel like, leave, a line or two, in the comments regarding the same. Maybe this little exercise can lead to a real transformative insight.

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