How many times this week have you said or thought “I don’t have time”? And how many times was it actually true? In my experience, it’s true far less often than you think.
Now I’m not saying you’re a liar, at least not a conscious liar(how rude would that be?). I know you genuinely believe that the reason you can’t do the thing you’re avoiding is that you don’t have time. And the world we live in readily accepts this reason making it even easier to say. In fact, at times, I think we’ve come to expect this response and when instead we hear “sure thing!” we are a bit surprised.
I’m not here to judge, I too am guilty of using the “I don’t have time” lie far too many times while believing it was true. But I began to hear this phrase so often that it became a joke. And then I started to see how it was working against me in my own life and in the lives of those around me. The good news is you’re not alone, which also happens to be the bad news. It turns out NOBODY has time these days, and everybody is over the top busy! You might not believe this because my definition of busy might be closer to your definition of lazy. But busy is in the eye of the beholder. If I say I’m busy and I don’t have time, then it must be true!
The reason I’m so focused on this phrase is that I often hear people talk about what they don’t like about their life, or what they wish they could do better, or about a dream they fear might be out of reach. And then immediately following this plea for some kind of change in their life is this one phrase, “I don’t have time.” I can see their shoulders slump and hear the exhaustion in their voice as they say it. I can see that they’ve been fighting this battle with time and losing, and they’re all out of ideas, out of moves, out of energy. But the problem here isn’t time, the problem is they’ve been fighting the wrong battle.
What do we really mean when we say “I don’t have time”?
If we’re not fighting against time, then what are we fighting? Here’s what I’ve learned about the real meaning of the phrase “I don’t have time.”
“That’s just not important to me.”
“I don’t feel like it.”
“That looks hard, and I want to avoid it.”
“I’m pretty sure I’d fail at that so, I’ll take a pass.”
“I’m tired, if I had time, I would take a nap first.”
“I want to be busier than everyone else so I look important and successful.”
“I’m just not organized enough to take that on.”
“Things are okay, could be worse, but it’s comfortable enough so I’ll just stay here.”
Why does this matter? Isn’t it nicer to tell someone I don’t have time than to say “it’s not that important to me”? Sure it is, but the problem is less about what you say to others and more about what you tell yourself and what you believe.
If you believe you don’t have time for anything new, then you aren’t being honest with yourself, and you’re allowing this lie to get in the way of something greater, something more. When “I don’t have time” is standing between you and your dreams and aspirations, it’s doing some real damage. Time is not the real villain of this story, your limiting beliefs are. And if you look closely at the statements above you can hear those limiting beliefs. They sound like this: I will probably fail, I don’t have the energy, I don’t know how, and others will judge me.
How to Harness Your Power
If you are tired of saying this phrase and want to free yourself from the endless battle with time, then I have a challenge for you. I’ve discovered that there is a secret power hidden under these four simple words, “I don’t have time,” and that you can tap into that power. So my challenge to you is to remove those four words from your vocabulary. The next time those words creep up in your mind stop and ask yourself what is going on underneath that thought. What’s the source of your hesitation or resistance? Would you say no to this activity if you had all the time in the world? Why or why not?
This won’t be an easy task because this phrase will pop up when you’re at your busiest with no time to think (there’s that time villain again). But the real challenge won’t be time, it will be a resistance to uncover some truth about yourself that you had hidden away for a reason. You might realize that you don’t like an activity that you consider part of who you are, part of your identity. Or you may find that you fear failure more than you want to admit. Whatever you discover, know that you’re not alone. We share common limiting beliefs more than we know.
And once you get past the hard part, you’ll discover that next to the hidden truth of your limiting belief there’s a bit of courage just waiting for you to take hold. That courage is absolutely real, and now that you’ve found it you can own it! With a new perspective on your limiting beliefs and some new found courage, you have the power to CHANGE.
If you want to feel less overwhelmed and have more control over your day, stop believing that you don’t have time.
If you want to do meaningful work and feel a sense of accomplishment each day, stop believing you don’t have time.
If you have dreams and aspirations that you hope to work on someday but someday seems never to come, stop believing that you don’t have time.
Time is not the villain in your story. Discover the limiting beliefs that hold you back and tackle them head on like the warrior that you are. This first step will set you on the path to changing your world for the better.