alive time vs dead time

Bestselling author Ryan Holiday once received a great piece of advice from his mentor and friend Robert Greene. He told Holiday that there are two types of time: alive time and dead time. One is when you are doing nothing and simply sitting around, when you wait until things and events happen to you. In other words, you’re “killing time.” And the other is when you take charge, when you make every single second count, when you focus on learning, growing and becoming better. 

We have no control over what’s going on in the outside world but we can choose how to spend our days. We make this quarantine period, however long it lasts, a kind of personal development program. We can choose to read more, meditate more often, study topics that intrigue us, or work on a passion project that excites us. We can fill every nonworking moment with productive activity that makes us a better person and/or professional.

As frustrated as we all are with this lockdown and staying indoors situation, this is the perfect opportunity for all of us to work on ourselves and do worthwhile activities.

Some of the greatest figures throughout history have transformed seemingly terrible circumstances through their attitude and approach into events that got them closer to greatness and incredible success. Isaac Newton use the time when Cambridge was closed due to the plague to perform some of his groundbreaking research. Viktor Frankl used his concentration camp time to work on his manuscript. Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, while he was restricted to his bed in the hospital. Nelson Mandela educated and refined himself in prison and transformed himself into the activist that his country and the world needed.

As Holiday puts it, life is constantly asking ourselves (more so in this current global health crisis): Is this going to be alive time or dead time?

We are all stranded in our homes. Are we going to veg out in front of our TVs or start educating ourselves by reading or listening to a book? Are we going to do a home workout or put some junk food in our piehole? Are we going to see this lockdown as an anchor that ties us down or as an engine that propels us to freedom? It’s ultimately our call.

Our future is not something that happens to us; it’s something that we create. Many people at the moment are so busy thinking about the future that they are missing the opportunities right in front of them. Don’t be one of them. 

Our time on this planet is running out. We have to choose to make every waking second of this lockdown as a second of alive time. 

There are plenty of things you can do to make this isolation period productive and purposeful, even if the situation is not in our control. Resist the temptations and distractions, and limit your intake of social media, news and mindless entertainment. These things won’t help you. Instead, focus on improving your life and developing yourself.

As you go through your days confined within the walls of your home, keep asking yourself: Alive time or dead time? 

Don’t squander away your precious time and attention, use them well.

This global crisis that we are all going through is an ideal time to elevate our interior empires and focus on becoming better every day. To not only go through this adversity, but also grow through this adversity. 

I’ve set up the Karma Yogi “Sharpen Your Axe” Challenge to help you just do that. To bring a positive transformation in yourself and your life. To help you have more “alive time.” The challenge will be released on April 2nd (this coming Thursday).

What’s more important is that 20% of all proceeds will be given to first-responder charities such as Feeding America who are doing important work right now. By performing this challenge, we’ll create a win-win situation, both for ourselves and the people on the front lines helping the needy and fighting to keep us safe.

Join me on this journey, sign up today.