Our 6 year old son is starting to learn time. And for a person who really values being on time, organizing the day, making meals for the family, I thrive on being in the flow of the day which inevitably hinges on a common unit of measurement which is time (which I know isn’t real by the way - for another post one day).
Recently he’s been focused on the time, specifically when he leaves for basketball camp, what time school starts and when we should leave home to combat traffic. Sounds great you think but once we’re in the car, he asks, ‘How long does it take to get to____ <anywhere>?” This also applies to things he’s looking forward to later in the week… “How many days until parkour class?”
It’s about a 10 minute drive away, I respond one morning.
“10 minutes? That’s sooooo long from now.”
I used to reply that no it’s not, 10 minutes is quite short and we’ll be there soon. And that response never got the reaction I was hoping for.
Until recently I started to reframe the discussions and position the thought of…
“Compared to what?”
10 minutes is much shorter than a 30 minute drive to camp. 4 days is a lot shorter to soccer practice than 7. Playing with your brother before bed for 30 minutes is better than only 5 minutes.
In the daily moments of leading our lives, we often find ourselves with the sense of scarcity and the idea of not having or being enough. We also side with the negative things in our lives, leaning towards complaining or venting with things not going well in the present moment. But with anything, a thought, an object, or item, we need something to compare itself to before we can recognize its value and more importantly where we want to move forward.
If you find yourself thinking throughout the day:
Reframe your thinking and ask yourself, compared to what?
Your work might be stressful and meaningless but compared to what? What other roles out there are more stressful and mundane? What does a stress free and impactful career look like to you?
Things are definitely more expensive than before but compared to what else? What do you have that others don’t have in the world right now? What can you be thankful for?
Time might feel like a limited resource but compared to what? What if you only had one day left to live? What if you had double the responsibilities compared to someone else? Triple?
Asking yourself ‘compared to what’ does 2 major things:
Identifies quickly what you’re grateful and appreciative for
Creates space for you to create what you want going forward
Use this in your daily practice and this muscle will build over time.
My son has started to stop complaining about the time. Instead, he sits there in the back of the car, smiling in appreciation.