The True Master Of The Clock & Calendar Has Neither!

Bill Cottringer

“Time is our most important resource which is equally distributed to all, but unequally used by most.”
~The author.

Wasted Time—
Some on past memories,
More on future hopes,
Most on not being here,
Now and in the present,
Using our time wisely,
Doing what matters most.

Today more than ever, success requires the use of good time management skills and lack of them can seal sure failure. Time is money and the more you can get done in less time, the wealthier you become. This is a fairly simple success formula that appears sound.

But there are two serious faults we all get lured into thinking and doing in the perennial chase to keep up with time, believing they are true without ever questioning that they may be false. Here are two very big assumptions we all unwittingly make that have a major impact on everything else we think or do and the successes and failures that result in this particular thinking and doing we engage in.

• We assume that time is (a) mostly consistent, mechanical and precisely sequential as measured by clocks and calendars into seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years (b) or sometimes inconsistent, wiggly and irregular, time being perceived as going much faster when we are having fun and much slower when we are not.

• We also assume that the more we hurry up and do, the more we get done in less time, especially multi-tasking several things simultaneously; of course we almost always end up not doing any of these things very well in our haste (the normal brain really can’t consciously focus on more than one thing at a time) and then having to spend more time going back and doing them right.

These assumptions aren’t working very well from where I am looking, having enough to do in three lifetimes going 1,000 mph with ADHD 24/7 without a break. The one thing these assumptions don’t take into consideration is one that needs to be considered: Time came before us or our ways to name it and measure it. Whether we calculate how much of it there is by a watch or our minds, from nanoseconds to a lifetime, it only turns a fundamental reality we don’t understand into an artificially created one we believe, with no further questioning.

Both of these very natural dichotomies of time are based on another assumption, that time progresses linearly (smoothly or irregularly) from past to present to future. We call people who hope for a better future, optimists; those who are tied to the unhappy past, pessimists; and everyone else in between, realists. Optimists seem to have the edge when it comes to success and happiness, but they still experience failure and unhappiness, maybe just not as much.

To grow into our signature selves and be void of all unhappiness, is not outside of the realm of possibilities; but leaning in that direction does require some serious re-braining a few major changes in the way we think of time and move within it, in doing what we do:


Thinking of time in the traditional way will always result in inevitable unhappiness and failure, no matter how fast you move. Holding onto this false reality is a sure way to lose more time than you have to lose. We all know we need to slow down, but why is that so hard. Unfortunately the brain is brainwashed into believing the certainty of the mantra “more and faster are better,” especially with modern technology making that reality so true for so many people. Do you need to slow down?


Time spend thinking of the past or the future, is very normal, but it is still a waste of time and takes valuable time away from the now moment, which is virtually timeless. Getting rid of past memories and future hopes, seems like you are denying most of life, but oddly it is a way to let much more in. The more you pay attention to the now moment, by focusing on what matters most, the more that now moment has a strange way of expanding into a very real sense of eternity and timelessness. Do you spend enough time in the present?


The thing that wastes half the time there is lies in our unconscious habit of expecting certain outcomes from how we think or what we do in the present or future, and pre-judging things into either good and desirable or bad and undesirable. The main reason to change this type of thinking is to realize it is the quickest way to double your success and happiness and half your failures and unhappiness. That’s a pretty sensible deal! How can you let go of your expectations and be more tentative?

Such a major change in thinking requires some forced behavior: Slowing down, spending more time in the present, and taking a more tentative, wait and see attitude about what may happen and more patience in trying to understand the eventual benefits of what does happen. If you need a reason to make these changes here’s a good one: By doing these three things, the gains in your success and happiness and decreases of your failures and unhappiness, is a sure thing by any standards.

One remaining question: If your whole lifetime was reduced to one’s days traditional time, what would you do to make it last forever?

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is Executive Vice President for Employee Relations for Puget Sound Security, Inc. in Bellevue, WA, along with being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer living in the mountains of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, “You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too” (Executive Excellence), “The Bow-Wow Secrets” (Wisdom Tree), and “Do What Matters Most” and “P” Point Management” (Atlantic Book Publishers), and “Reality Repair” (Global Vision Press). Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 454-5011 or