As a kid growing up in India, I played cricket like most kids, and I wanted to be a batsman. There was always a long Que to bat and more batsmen than there was time to play, so the coach would pick a few to put on the gear and take a turn at batting. Every kid sitting in line hoped to be chosen. And if somehow you were picked then the kids wished they got an easy ball so that they smash it, impressing the coach thereby getting more time to play in the batting pitch which made them better at batting. But time and time again kids who were picked failed when they stepped up to bat. It was ironic that the one thing that the kids hoped for was the very thing that shattered their dreams because if you failed when you were chosen to bat then the chances of you getting a second shot at it was highly improbable. It makes you wonder why in the world would you waste time hoping to get picked instead of spending time practicing to get better?
This phenomenon can be seen ubiquitously in all areas of life. People hoping, praying, complaining, whining and pretty much everything other than preparing for the opportunity that will eventually come. Robert Greene who wrote “The 48 laws of power” talks about it as Alive time vs. Dead time. Dead time is when you’re passive and just waiting for something to happen, and then there’s Alive time, wherein one is learning, being proactive and doing everything possible to be ready to prepare for the future you want.
“The worst thing in life that you can have is a job that you hate, that you have no energy in, that you’re not creative with and you’re not thinking of the future. To me, might as well be dead.”
— Robert Greene
Dead time doesn’t just make you unhappy but keeps you miserable because when you aren’t looking for opportunities, you tend to miss them. You can’t step up to bat if you don’t hear them calling your name, can you? Have you wondered why is it that when you buy a new car, you all of a sudden start seeing more of the same type of car on the road? It’s not cos everyone decided to buy the same car around the same time as you. It’s that it was something that wasn’t on your mind before, so you failed to notice it.
This also happens to be the secret to the book “The secret.” When this book came out, like many, I too was outraged at the stupidity it propagated. Visualize your dream house, and you’ll buy it? Oh please go fuck yourself. But now it makes more sense to me. When you constantly think of the future you want, you are more susceptible to recognizing opportunities that you otherwise would have missed. That is precisely what Alive time does. It keeps you working towards your goal while making you open to identifying new opportunities.
In the words of one of the greatest poets of our generation..Eminen
Look, if you had one shot, one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted
Would you capture it or just let it slip?….
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime….
How? By spending:
More time doing. Less time waiting.
More time practicing. Less time hoping.
More time learning. Less time complaining.
More time thinking. Less time praying.
More time creating. Less time consuming.
Spend more Alive time. Spend more time practicing hitting the ball than hoping to be picked. Because opportunity will eventually arise and when that time comes will you step up and bat or falter?