Time & Power

I have reflected on the industrial view of time. It’s a pretty solid way of measuring things and as I spend my days surrounded by self-starters, it seems to be a common metric. People often use it as a way to benchmark their efforts and qualify their pursuit of their goal. We are all too ready to brag about how much we work, and yet, I can’t help but thinking we are a bit off-balance in this regard.

“I worked 60 hours last week!” Great job, I bet you got a lot done, but will that mindset allow you to break something or create something in the long run? What about in 30 years? What will you have really accomplished?

What if you released yourself from measuring your effort for a while?

No one really cites how many lab-hours it took Einstein to develop his theory of relativity, and you may have heard a little about how many years it took Michelangelo to paint the Sistine Chapel, which most would say was way too long. But what if he had rushed it? Would it have lasted as a monument of creativity? Or would it have faded into oblivion like so many other masters and frescos who probably completed their work on-time and on-budget.

Power is something completely different than time, and I believe it’s undervalued in short-term thinking. Your “Power” is something entirely unique to you and may come as a result of time, but not solely. Einstein needed time to work up his scientific skills to build an essential framework from which to think. Think Malcom Gladwell’s 10,000 hours concept. But after that, he just needed time and space to think. His training, combined with his naturally curious mind made up his Power, but to become effective, it needed space in which to think.

That’s what I’m driving at. We need to put in raw hours at the entry level, but there is a whole next level of creative and innovative thinking that has the power to change the world. This kind of stuff is born out of space, where time is absent. When we give ourselves the agility to just let all that we have learned combine with all that we are, something somewhere will be impacted. Power needs space, free from time, to work. No, that is not a popular thing to say in an industrial society.

From an owner’s perspective, it’s easy to value someone using time. It’s easy math. “He executed 3 hours, I pay him $ per hour, I got something out of it.” But if you want to innovate, then what you need is not material enough to measure with time. If you have a highly skilled person, who has a raw skill, then they may spend an entire day walking in the woods, which may yield, in 5 minutes, a crucial concept that is the culmination of their life experiences and work. It’s in un-stinted reflection that this comes into being, and usually, the worth of this type of idea is immeasurable. How could they have known that the Creation of Adam, in the Sistine Chapel would become an iconic piece of art. It’s distributed to the entire world and it’s “worth” is far beyond numerical value.

Quit stifling Power with Time. Let them work in balance with one another. Allow life to have an ebb and flow of the two. Give Time to skill-development and experience, release Power to think outside the norms, then re-introduce Time when the idea needs to become a reality.

Look around. Who needs to just take a break from Time, and give Power time to percolate? Maybe you are near 3 or 4 people who have a high quality idea that just needs to be freed. How will you invite them to rest?

Time’s relative, after all, it’s not so constant as we think, which has a whole other host of implications…

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