Time and work (action) are, in one essential regard, opposites. Here are the laws of time-work physics:
1) Time is finite. We only live so long and, while we’re alive, we’re allotted only 24 hours in every day.
2) Work—or action--is infinite. Work, whether good or bad, always generates more work, expanding to fill the time available.
Given these physical laws, it should be obvious that action is unmanageable; that only time can be managed. Yet people regularly sabotage themselves by trying to manage action. "First I’ll catch up with my day job, then I’ll take time for my Thrillionaire dream," or, "First, I’ll get my family in good shape, then I’ll find time for Thrillionaires."
Don’t get me wrong. Action is what we’re trying to find time for. Writers write. Craftsmen make tables or boats or flower arrangements. Actors and models go for auditions and interviews. Salespeople make sales calls--the more calls they make, the more sales. Thrillionaires take treks to exotic places. Shakespeare's observation, that "action is eloquence," is not only creatively productive; it’s the best way to stay sane. Even one phone call a day in the service of your Thrillionaires dream, means, if you take two days off each week, 200 calls per year. That’s definitely progress toward the mountaintop. Success comes inevitably on the heels of constant action, as the ancient Greek poet Hesiod pointed out in his almanac: "If you put a little upon a little, soon it will become a lot."
My mentor Tom Bergin (Sterling Professor of Romance Languages and Master of Timothy Dwight College at Yale) was the author of fifty-nine books by the time he retired and eighty-three by the time he died. Yet he described himself as a "plodder." He just kept plodding away, in the vein of Hesiod. Tom and I exchanged hundreds of letters from the time I left Yale to the time he died. He taught me the relentless equation between consistent, minor actions and ultimate productivity. One day, by way of complaining about having no time to do any serious work because of all the trivial errands and duties he had to attend to, he sent me a quotation from Emerson: "Things are in the saddle and ride mankind."
Against the accelerating incoming bombardment of the things of contemporary life, Thrillionaires action happens only when we steal time to make it happen. Yet schedules, to-do lists, self-revising agendas are constantly being tested and found insufficient. They work for a while, then become ineffective. Without recognizing this reality, through the Mind’s Eye’s awareness, each time this happens it may send us into a tailspin that moves us further from success. Life delights in creeping in to sabotage our dreams if only to make sure we’re serious about them. One of my clients, after six months of working together to change her habits to become more productive, told me I was the "Ulysses S. Grant of time management." She told me that Grant wired Lincoln: "I plan to hammer it out on this line if it takes all summer"--and that his telegram was read along the way before it was handed to the beleaguered President. The jealous snoops told Lincoln, "You know, we have reports that General Grant drinks a considerable amount of whiskey." "Is that right?" Lincoln replied. "Find out what brand he drinks and send a case of it to each of my Generals."
The human nature of time
Archimedes: Give me a lever and I can move the world.
Atchity: Time is the Thrillionaire’ s lever.
All you need to make your dreams come true is time. Using time as your most faithful collaborator begins with understanding its interactive characteristics and protean shapes. You’ll begin noticing that time behaves differently under different circumstances. When you’re concentrating, your awareness of time seems to disappear because you’ve taken yourself out of the Accountant’s time and are dealing with the Visionary whose experience is timeless. When you're away from your Thrillionaires quest, you become very conscious of time because your Visionary is clamoring in his cage to be released from the constraints of logical time.
"You've got my full attention": compartments of time, time and energy, rotation, kinds of time, and linkage
Time-effectiveness is a direct function of attention span. When you’re concentrating, giving the activity you’re involved with your full attention, you produce excellent results. When your attention span wavers and fades, the results diminish. Until you recognize that attention span dictates effectiveness, you’re likely to waste a great deal of time.
The key to avoiding this situation is assessing how long your attention span is for each activity you engage in--and then doing your best to engage in that activity in appropriate compartments (allotments of time that you’ve found to be most productive). Since my particular career is multivalent, I pursue what I call a "rotation method” of moving among activities that support my producing, managing, writing, brand-launching, speaking, and managing my next Thrillionaires quest. I love all these activities, but not when I do them exclusively--each one having its own high ratio of crazy-making aspects that diminishes automatically when that activity is juxtaposed with the others.
Except during a crisis in one of the four areas, at which point all other activities stand aside until the crisis is resolved, I find it stimulating to spend an hour working on production-related matters, then spending the next hour on calls that manage various client projects in development. I’ve also learned that it’s a waste of time to try to control things that only time can accomplish--such as making a phone call, then waiting next to the phone for a response to it; or staring at the toaster waiting for the toast to pop up. The only time you have anything approaching direct control of anything is when the ball is in your court. During that moment I focus on getting the ball out of my court into someone else’s court so that I’ve done what I need to do to make the game continue. Success is all about what you do while you’re waiting.
Rotating from one activity to another ensures that the outreach begun in Activity A will be "taking its time" while you’re engaged in Activities B, C, and D. When the phone rings from the A call, you interrupt D to deal with it--and it’s generally a pleasant interruption, knowing that one facet of your career is vying with another for your attention.
An hour is probably an average attention span compartment for work. But the length of the particular compartments (remember that "compartments" are allotments of time given to a particular work activity) changes from time to time as your attention span for that activity evolves. During the original drafting of this book, for example, I spent two hours a day writing, whereas before I began the draft my attention span allowed me to spend only an hour or less a day thinking about the book and gathering my notes for it.
There’s no magical formula for determining attention span; it changes as you and your circumstances change. Yet once determined, attention span is the mastering rod between the serpents, the compartment of time where past and future meet in a present that feeds from the first and nourishes the latter.
Obviously attention span is related to your energy level at different times of day, and with regard to different activities. Activities that drain you should not be scheduled one after the other, but should alternate with activities that create energy for you.
Energy and attention span will also be different depending on whether you’re at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of a particular objective. Your attention span is most in danger of sabotaging you in the middle, where it’s easy to confuse your fatigue from the hard work of plodding forward with some sort of psychological upset caused by the process you’re engaged in. Usually that situation can be resolved by shortening the allotments of time you’re devoting to the present objective; or changing the activities around which you’re scheduling this objective’s compartments.
When a particular compartment is nearing its end, use the last few minutes of it (when the Accountant comes back online to remind you that the time is "almost up") to jot down what you’re going to do the next time you revisit this compartment. This automatically puts your Visionary and Accountant into a percolation mode in which they bat things back and forth "in the back of your mind" while you¹re busy working in the next activity’s compartment.
Next: Where does the time go?
What is time?
Unlike oxygen, an element which is objectively, scientifically definable, and more or less beyond our control, time is relative to perception and subject to choice. “Time,” Melville wrote, “began with man.” The Thrillionaire’s Type C Personality learns to redefine time subjectively, in order to become successful by his own standards. Objective time, dictated by Greenwich Mean Time with an occasional correction for NASA, leads only to the conformity of repetition. Subjective time alone allows us to distinguish ourselves and to achieve our dreams of success.
Logos vs. Mythos
According to the classical Greeks, the two primary ways of perceiving the world were known to them as logos (for the Accountant’s logic) and mythos (for your onboard Visionary’s simultaneity). The Visionary’s belief in eternity in every moment is what makes the Thrillionaire’s life change from barely bearable to ever enthusiastic. “To himself,” Samuel Butler wrote, “everyone is immortal. He may know he is going to die, but he can never know that he is dead.” The Visionary’s eternity is the experience of mythic time that occurs when you “lose yourself” in the pursuit of your dream. Its Brer Rabbit’s “briar patch” speech: “Throw me anywhere, but please don’t throw me in the briar patch!” The briar patch, of course, is Rabbit’s favorite place, his home.
Sometimes you’ll meet an old schoolmate after years and have the experience that “it seems just like yesterday” that you were having this exact same argument, or laughing for the same reason known only to the two of you. A moment passes, as the Accountant wrests control from the Visionary: “But, on the other hand, it seems every bit like the twenty years it’s actually been.” Has it been twenty years, or was it just yesterday? Faulkner said: “There is no such thing as was; if was existed there would be no grief or sorrow.” To the Visionary, time exists always in the present.
To the Accountant, who’s kept track of the years--and also the months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, and seconds--precisely, it’s been exactly twenty years, and he can prove it by reciting all the things that have happened to both of you in the interim. The Accountant clocks time with digital precision, obsessive checks with the Internet’s time services. The Accountant’s time is what keeps society sane, if you call today’s society sane.
But when the Accountant’s insistence dominates, you are denied making your dreams come true. The Accountant, nervous about anything intangible or “unseen,” doesn’t believe in dreams; or, at best, assumes the worst about them: “They¹re only dreams.” Human beings can’t fly.
To the Visionary, whose relationship with that same friend is/was intense, it’s just yesterday. The Visionary clocks time only by reference to intensity. Lovers live from embrace to embrace, the time that’s passed between them not counting. Have you ever felt like life would pass you by when you’re stuck in an endless left-turn lane during rush hour? How long does a second last if you’re perched at the parachute door of a plane at 15,000 feet about to make your first jump? How long is forty seconds during a 6.6 earthquake? Or at the edge of a cliff, about to rappel for the first time? A friend of mine described an encounter with a problem customer, “I spent an eternity with her for an hour and a half yesterday.”
The Visionary brings you mythic time when you engage in your Thrillionaire’s dream with all your heart, mind, and soul; when you are occupied in doing something that "takes you out of time," or "takes you out of yourself." You're literally ecstatic--which, from its Greek origins, means "standing outside" yourself. "I don't know where the time went," is what you say when you've just passed fourteen hours creating the whole magical kingdom of Timbuktu on your drawing board--and your spouse, sent by the worried Accountant to tell you you've missed an important dinner party, is banging on the door because you've taken the phone off the hook.
Like Alice's White Rabbit, the Accountant would always have you believe that you’re late for a very important date. And the Accountant doesn’t like it one bit when your Mind’s Eye stops to question how important that date may be; or, whether you made the date in the first place or whether it was made for you. Thrillionaires insist on making their own dates because their Mind’s Eyes (the Mind’s Eye being that part of your mind that’s aware of the conflict between the onboard Accountant and the onboard Visionary) have learned how to insure that mythic time gets preference over logical time.
You’ve had this experience: You’ve told yourself you’re just going to steal "two hours" to work on your dream. You go into the briar patch. One hour and fifty-five minutes have gone by, during which you've been lost--fully engrossed in your quest, without a thought for the outside world that operates on the Greenwich clock. The hours have passed "like a minute" (the Visionary’s way of talking makes the Accountant crazy). Then, you look up at the clock to discover that only five minutes remain of your bargained for two hours. How did you know to look up at the five-minute mark? Because your Accountant never sleeps, even when he’s been taken off duty. If you decide to remain in the mythic time of your dream work beyond the five minutes remaining--that is, beyond the exactly two hours you set aside--the Visionary has won this particular encounter. The Accountant has lost. If you decide to quit "on time," you may think the Accountant has won, and the Visionary lost.
What’s wrong with this win-lose scenario is that it’s exhausting, and impossible to maintain in the long run. Most people, faced with this constant natural strife between the two aspects of their minds, have allowed the Accountant to take over entirely as the only peaceful alternative. They’ve chosen the Accountant’s conservative, safe way of behaving because the daily battle is too costly in energy and emotion. If the Visionary "wins" the five-minute battle, for example, and you continue working on your new invention for another four hours instead of the two you’d set aside, guess how hard it’s going to be for the Accountant to agree to the next two hours you want to steal. The Accountant will use every instrument in the arsenal of procrastination to postpone the trip to your Thrillionaire’s workshop.
How to avoid losing time
Francesco Petrarch: It is appointed for us to lose the present in the expectation of the future.
Petrarch, the first "Renaissance man" and precursor of Eckhart Tolle, was aware that we spend a large majority of our time "somewhere else" than in the present moment. Planning for the future, worrying about the past--so much so that by the time you reach middle age the two horses, Past and Future, are engaged in a life-and-death race along your internal timeline. Competing for your vitality, stealing your present. The time you spend on past responsibilities, past regrets, past relationships, eats into the time available for growth and progress toward your future goals.
If we don't recognize "what’s going on here," as Accountant time and Visionary time battle in our perceptions, we can get very confused. When we get confused, the Accountant can take control of our lives. For most people, the Accountant has been in full control. Consequently, they are frustrated, bored, caught in a rut. With the help of Mercury’s powerful wand--whose two snakes represent the taming of past and future around the strength of present awareness--the entrepreneur’s now-open Mind’s Eye can transform the bloody battlefield into the altar of your hopes and dreams. Awakening his Mind’s Eye, Jack London said:
I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.
This anti-Accountant declaration is made by your Mind’s Eye--which knows that only by marrying the Accountant’s logic with the Visionary’s myth will the present be captured for effective dream work, in lieu of the Visionary wasting the present in daydreaming, or the Accountant in obsessing about the past and the future. When your Mind’s Eye takes charge of these constant time wars, productivity combines with peace of mind. The photographer Ansel Adams said, "I’m amazed at how many people have emotional difficulties. I have none. If you keep busy, you have no time for them."
Next: Work-management doesn’t work
(title shamelessly borrowed from Sue Grafton at Crimebake 2009)
A Protective Checklist, and what to do about it:
1) You’re over-using “and,” especially as a sentence connector. Remove it and your work will sound much more dramatic.
2) It’s “Fred said,” not “said Fred.” “Said Michael,” “said Jane,” will make your writing sound sing-songy and biblical. Stop it!
3) You’re confusing “its” and “it’s,” and, no, it’s not alright just because they’re confusing. They’re NOT: “It’s” is short for “it is”; “its” is a personal pronoun, as in “the bicycle, down to its hupcaps…”
4) You’re using “parent’s” as a possessive plural, when it’s singular. Instead, use “parents’” as in “my parents’ house.”
5) You’re confusing “lies” and “lays” and, no, it’s not alright to say, “She was laying with him on the bed.” See Fowler’s Modern Usage, and fix it!
6) You’re allowed ONE adverb per hundred pages. Search and destroy the others.
7) Remember to SHOW us what’s happening in your story, not TELL us about it.
8) Your dialogue is NOT action, moving the story forward. Root out every piece of dialogue that doesn’t contribute to the forward motion of your story.
9) You overuse certain words—you know what they are. Become aware of them, and don’t allow yourself to use them more than once in 30 pages.
10) Your story doesn’t start until page x. Remove the pages before x.
By SUE MANNING, Associated Press
LOS ANGELES - For several years, Jude Stringfellow and her Lab-chow mix have toured the country with a simple message: Faith walks.
Born without front legs to a junkyard dog around Christmas 2002, Faith the puppy was rejected and abused by her mother. She was rescued by Reuben Stringfellow, now an Army E-4 specialist, who had been asked to bury other puppies in the litter.
"Can we fix her? Stringfellow, then 17, asked his mom. "No, but maybe we can help her," she said.
So Reuben turned Faith over to his mother, English professor Jude Stringfellow. At first the family had to carry Faith to keep her off her chest and chin. But with peanut butter and practice, Faith learned to walk on her two hind legs.
Today Faith is a brisk, upright walker. When she runs, every so often she adds a hop or skip to her step, but she stumbles less often than most humans. She takes vitamins and joint supplements, and vets have declared her very healthy, Stringfellow said.
Since her first step on March 22, 2003, Faith has done the talk show circuit, gone on tour with Ozzy Osbourne and been named an honorary Army sergeant. Jude Stringfellow has become a motivational speaker and written two books. Next year, the two are moving from Ardmore, Okla., to Chicago where they plan to write a third called "Faith Walks."
They get more than 200 letters and e-mails a day, run a Web site and make dozens of appearances every year, including stops at veterans' hospitals across the country to cheer injured soldiers.
Story continues below
That mission is special for Stringfellow, whose son left Iraq in September and is stationed at Fort Wainwright in Alaska. He is scheduled to get out of the Army and head home on Jan. 1.
For many, Faith brings a powerful message about overcoming adversity. "Faith has shown me that different is beautiful, that it is not the body you are in but the soul that you have," Jill Salomon of Montreal, Canada, wrote on Faith's Web site.
Stringfellow will never forget a woman from New York who happened to see Faith on a street corner. She was depressed and had lost both legs to diabetes.
"She was in her wheelchair and saw us. She was crying. She had seen Faith on television. She just held her and said she wished she had that kind of courage." Stringfellow said. "She told us: 'I was on my way to pick up the gun.' She handed the pawn ticket to a police officer and said she didn't need it anymore."
That sense of hope is especially important for Faith's visits to Army bases. Last weekend she headed to Washington state, where she met with as many as 5,000 soldiers at McChord Air Force Base and Fort Lewis. Some of the soldiers were headed to war, some were coming back.
"She just walks around barking and laughing and excited to see them all," Jude Stringfellow said. "There is a lot of crying, pointing and surprise. From those who have lost friends or limbs, there can be silence. Some will shake my hand and thank me, some will pat her on the head. There is a lot of quiet, heartfelt, really deep emotion."
Faith never fails to bring a smile to a soldier's face, said Patrick Mcghee, general manager at Fort Lewis.
"To see the children interact with Faith is simply priceless," he said.
But Faith's most emotional reunion -- with Reuben Stringfellow, who rescued her 7 years ago this Christmas -- will have to wait for January. He's already gotten Faith a birthday present: a peanut butter cookie with her name on it.
YOUR Autographed Copies Are Ready...Please Act Fast>>>!
To All My New Amazing Friends!!!
It was not easy to put together a worthy response to
the massive outpouring of emotion, friendship, joy and
tears that came my way throughout this past week.
Again, I deeply thank you.
I wanted to respond in kind with something so special
that you would instantly feel how much your support
meant to me. After racking my brain and heart, here's
what I came up with:
RIDGELY'S GIFTS TO YOU!
Because of limited supply, please do act quickly. I don't
want you to miss the chance at something very special.
And please, do send me your comments after reading the
whole book...I look forward to connecting again very soon.
With much warmth and great humility,
P.S. An autographed book makes a fantastic gift
for friends and loved ones--who is on your list who
might like one?
RIDGELY'S GIFTS TO YOU!
“At last, here is a practical book for helping women and men address their problems by getting at the root causes—prehistoric events that led to male insecurity and the subordination of women, transmitted to us over the ages by religious views of a male God and inferior, submissive women. What Dr. Singer terms “spiritual abuse” is a major contributor to the problems between the sexes, and she provides a guide to help couples to escape from it.”
Read his comments on the Huffington Post:
Robert S. McElvaine: Feminomics: Hell Hath No Fury Like a Man Devalued
[first in a 5-part series]
Jack Smith: “God created time so that everything wouldn't happen at once.”
Atchity: Then how come everything keeps happening at once?
Thrillionaires know that if you follow your dream, by definition, you can't fail. Success lies in the pursuit. If you have a dream, you have the responsibility to yourself and to the source of dreams to make it come true. That’s why Nik invented Thrillionaires, to help you make it happen.
But that means finding time to do what you have to do--the very opposite of "marking time." Our minds experience life on a timeline of their own invention, a continuum that stretches from our first moment of consciousness to our last. "The end of the world," said Bernard Malamud, “will occur when I die. After that, it's everyone for himself.”
And finding time for dreams in our accelerated world where we hear of "flextime," "time-elasticity," “the sweet spot in time," “virtual time,” “time shifting,” and "time slowing down” is more confusing than ever before. A little over a century ago, if you missed a stagecoach you thought nothing of waiting a day or two for the next one to come along. Today you feel frustrated if you miss one section of a revolving door! So many of today's "time-saving devices" prove to be frauds---requiring more time to select, install, maintain, and update than it used to take without them. It's hard to believe that a few short years ago we had not yet become addicted to email, voicemail, FAX machines, microwaves, VCRs, earphones, IPods, I Phones, blackberries. All these inventions, as helpful as they can be to your onboard Accountant’s output level, suck up our time in ways that, unless they are examined and acknowledged, become quite destructive to the realization of the dream. More and more demands are being made on our time. Faith Popcorn (The Popcorn Report) puts it this way:
We're pleading to the big time clock in the sky: "Give me fewer choices, far fewer choices. Make my life easier. Help me make the most of my most valued commodity--the very minutes of my life.”
Things have gotten so bad that we can¹t really manage time any more. We’re now forced to steal it, invoking the assistance of Mercury, messenger, salesman, trickster, and thief of the gods. Like any professional thief, Mercury insists on knowing as much as possible about the object of his theft and its natural habitat and characteristics before he goes into action. This series combines observations about the nature of time and work with practical suggestions about employing Mercury’s caduceus--that magic wand with the snakes entwined around it--to steal the time you need.
Kurt Vonnegut’s Bokonon: “Busy, busy, busy.”
Ecclesiastes: “Consider the ants. Yes, you are busy. What are you busy about?”
Our Puritanical upbringing has led the Accountant to want us to keep busy. “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” One day I was consulting with an attorney who, by everyone’s standards but his own, is quite successful. We were talking about forming a new marketing company. “Why do you want to do this?” I asked him.
“Because I want to get rich.” He added: “I have to stop selling my time.”
I nodded. “That’s interesting.” I was thinking of the reversible equation I’d written about in A Writer’s Time: “Time is money, money is time.”
“What brought you to this conclusion?” I asked him.
He told me that a self-made, wealthy, genius friend of his kept coming to
Finally, on one visit, the friend had to sit in the attorney’s law office for an hour waiting for him to complete some phone calls. He observed what was happening in the office.
On their way to lunch, his friend said: “You know that question I’ve been asking you all these years?”
“Yeah, of course I remember it--it drives me crazy. If I’m so smart, why aren’t I rich?”
“I know the answer now.”
“You’re too busy to be rich.”
Doing the wrong things, no matter how fast, or how well, you do them, or how many of them you do, will not advance your dream. One of my partners put it this way: “Don’t confuse efforts with results.”
Those who break out of busy work and into the success they’ve dreamed of have learned to redefine time. If you recognize that time is merely a concept, a social or intellectual construct, you can make the clock of life your clock; then determine what you do with it. More than the quantity of activities or completed projects I’ve experienced in my various career transits, what I value most is the quality of time I’ve managed to steal from all those committees and examination-grading sessions. When someone asked me years ago to make a list of “things I do that I don’t enjoy” I was happy to realize that it was difficult to think of anything other than my two or three hours per week of desk work that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy. Then I found a way of enjoying desk work, too! By hook or crook, you need to steal the right kind of time for your dreams.
next: “What is time?”
The Nominees for the 67th annual Golden Globe Awards were announced Tuesday. CRAZY HEART received two nominations:
ACTOR - DRAMA
Jeff Bridges, "Crazy Heart"
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
"The Weary Kind" from "Crazy Heart"
Hollywood’s second biggest film honors after the Academy Awards, the The Golden Globes are a key ceremony that sort out the prospects leading up to the Oscar nominations Feb. 2.
The 67th annual Globes will be handed out Jan. 17, six days before nomination voting closes for the Oscars.
The Globes are presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a group of about 85 critics and reporters for overseas outlets.
SAG Nominating Committee CRAZY HEART Screening & Q&A with Jeff Bridges, Maggie G and director Scott Cooper, moderated by Peter (Crosby Street Hotel, NYC)
"Bridges now stands as one of Hollywood's great old pros, incapable of making a false move."
Read Full VARIETY Review Here
"A performance by Jeff Bridges which could be his best...Bridges is sensational as Bad Blake."
Read Full Review Here
"Make no mistake: Bridges more than delivers the goods for Oscar eligibility. He is the mesmerizing, dangerous, unpredictable heart of "Crazy Heart."" Kirk Honeycutt (Hollywood Reporter)
Read Full HOLLYWOOD REPORTER Review Here
CH has been nominated for two 2009 Satellite Awards, Jeff for best actor and T Bone for best song ("The Weary Kind"). The International Press Academy hands out the Satellite Awards. The key in all of this is "Press Academy," meaning this may look similar to some Oscar nominees, but it's not at all the same groups of voters.
Then the world comes to an end.
It starts with Agent X, a plague that turns women into raving, demonic predators--Xombies--who then hunt down and infect anyone they can catch. Guns are useless; armies are helpless.
With civilization collapsing all around her, Lulu hitches a ride with a crew of wary male refugees, and together they flee for the last place on Earth rumored to be safe. But what they find is as unexpected, and as terrifying, as the hell they've left behind.
Order From Amazon
Check out Ryan Bingham singing the theme to Crazy Heart!
Jeff Bridges singing "I Don't Know." Interviews with Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jeff Bridges, Robert Duvall, T Bone Burnett, Producer Judy Cairo, Director Scott Cooper, and more. Watch behind the scenes and additional film clips from Crazy Heart
'Heart' to Heart with Jeff Bridges About Oscar Buzz at The Insider
Watch Video of Nominations on Spirit Awards Website