How many genius ideas are lost when the moment is not seized?
How many genius ideas are stolen while people stand in the shadow of trepidation?
It is thought that some of the greatest writers of each generation never see their name in print and never get published.
It’s not because prospective publishers turn down their work, it is because the authors never send their work off.
Or even worse they never write it in the first place.
Is there a toilet where you work?
My first book was written while sitting on the toilet in a factory that employed me to sweep floors.
You can imagine the fun I have when people comment – on finding out that I am a writer – ‘off course I’d love to write a book but I haven’t got the time’.
Invariably their faces scrunch into question marks when I ask ‘is there a toilet where you work?’
Not that I recommend the loo as a the healthiest environment to write your latest – or indeed first – bestseller. In fact, after six months of sitting on the throne I now suffer loss of feeling in my lower legs and a permanent red ring around my backside.
No, rather I am making the point that if you have the will you’ll always find a way. But if you haven’t or you harbour any doubts or fears, then a lack of time will always be a convenient excuse not to live your dreams.
When I wrote my first book, I was doing two jobs and bringing up a family. I wanted desperately to write a book; I was fully committed to writing it and, hey voila! I found the time.
But, by the same count, whenever I failed to fully commit myself to a goal – when I did not place my heart in the driving seat, ‘time’ was not forthcoming, and the vehicle refused to move.
Do you have a pen and paper?
The next convenient excuse (believe me, I have used them all) that people lean towards is a lack of facility. At some point in your development tools and facilities will be important, and lack of them can hold you back, but that’s no excuse for not starting, and certainly no pretext for not succeeding.
Pele, arguably the greatest football player of all time, honed his ball skill kicking Coconuts barefoot (ouch!) on the beach.
Many a thriving, multi-million (even multi-billion) businesses was started from a rickety garden shed held together by chunks of work ethic and a set of hand-me-down, elbow greased tools.
Richard Branson in his incredible autobiography says his first office was a public phone booth. He had no facilities and no money, but he did have a centripetal want (and bollocks the size of coconuts) that attracted success and convinced bank managers to hand over the readies without a security or reference in sight.
All my early work was hand written and in severe conditions that did not lend themselves to my quest. Until I could afford a word processor (later a computer) my working tools consisted of one blue biro (with perfunctory chewed top) and a lined, ring-bound reporter’s pad kindly donated by the factory stores.
I had no ‘Time’ machine with fail-safe grammar and spell check – unless you count my wife who kept saying things like,”you’ve spelt that wrong” – and no hefty commission-carrot tempting the words from my often uncooperative unconscious.
My only incentive – and my driving force – was the dread of having to work in the factory for the rest of my life. In fact, the only thing I did have that set me ahead of the crowd was the desire.
While I may have lacked the contemporary tools of the scribe I did desperately want to write; and my want was always greater than my lack.
Once you have the desire, and you totally commit yourself to the process, it is almost as though the whole universe conspires to make it happen.
Those that don’t make the commitment, rarely, if ever, make the grade.
I know how hard it can be. I am sympathetic to family and work commitments. I brought up four children, so I know all about responsibility. But as I’ve said – and forgive the reiteration – time is malleable, it can be stretched, it accommodates committed souls: those searching for the grail of achievement.
When it comes to using our time, we would be wise to recognise that we are all allotted the same amount – Branson and Gates only get 24 hours a day. It is what we do with our time that determines where our lives lead.
For me, it means getting up early and going to bed late. It also means sacrificing some of the little things that act as time-eating termites. But, above all, it means refraining from the time honoured excuse “I haven’t got time” because you have.
Do you have any passion?
In my experience “haven’t got the time” is just a pseudonym for “haven’t got the will.” You’ll always fit in more if ‘more’ is preceded by a no-excuses personal commitment to make it happen.
If you want something enough, and I mean really want it with your heart and soul, nothing will stop you, nothing will get in your way – even mountains will tremble into molehills.
You don’t have to look far to see the people that don’t make that commitment. They’re the ones sitting in the factory canteen bemoaning their existence and blaming the world for their lack – I was once one of them.
Now I make a commitment, and for many reasons, not least because I refuse to be a 90-something coffin-dodger without a Laurel to rest upon, spending my days regretting the things that I failed to do.