The lies we tell ourselves about what we don’t have time for
A lack of time for something is rarely a legitimate excuse
One of the questions I get asked a lot is: How do you find the time to read so much? I recognise the reality that I do read more than average. But I question the implication that I have have more time than others.
On average, I read three to four books each month. I know from many conversations with friends and colleagues, that that’s way above average. Three to four books a year seems closer to the norm.
The reason for not reading more is almost always, ‘I don’t have the time.’
But to this I say, ‘bullshit’.
Now I’m not saying everyone should read more. I’m simply saying time is almost never a true or legitimate excuse.
How do I know? Because if I was to watch your life for a week, I would soon identify reading time. I’d look at the time spent watching Netflix. The hours on social media. The endless checking of news. And if not these things, I’d find something else.
And that is not to make a judgment on any of these things. It is to say this. In nearly every instance, a lack of time for reading is a matter of priorities. And, related, values. (I should add that this applies to more than reading. We should always question what we think we don’t have time to do.)
Our values are revealed by what we do – not what we say our values are. We might say we value reading more than Netflix. But our Netflix viewing history reveals otherwise.
Again, there’s no judgement here. It’s perfectly acceptable to value Netflix more reading. My point is this: don’t blame a lack of time.
Blaming time is typically cover for the real reason. And the real reason is worth exploring! It forces us to investigate our actual values and priorities. And, when we do that, we may legitimately decide we don’t want to make more time for reading. But that’s a choice. It’s a valuing of other things more. It’s not to do with a time limitation.
Here’s to being honest with ourselves about our values, priorities, and use of time!