The purpose of the weekend isn’t so we can forget about how much we hate our jobs on Monday through Friday. Free time is for having fun, yes, but what is more fun than taking advantage of opportunities to create a lifestyle that doesn’t require us to wait until Friday night to have fun? Instead of making “Thank God it’s Friday” our mantra, we should be saying “I can’t believe I’m experiencing this much meaning and fulfillment on a Monday.” While it’s easy to assume that boredom and burnout are the results of a vacation problem, they’re often the result of a vocation problem.
Albert Einstein observed,
“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life. All that we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about.”
In Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl wrote:
What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.
If we devoted more of our free time to discovering and nurturing the things that make us feel truly alive, bliss would become a phenomenon we experience on a Monday morning or Tuesday afternoon just as easily as we experience it on a Friday night or Saturday morning. We don’t have to live in misery for five days a week while we look at our free time as nothing more than a chance to drown away our sorrows and rest up for the next week-long train ride through hell.
I once heard someone say that all time is free time because no matter what time it is, we’re free to focus our energy and attention in the direction of creating more freedom. How do you see the concept of free time? Do you see free time as a rare commodity whose primary source of value is its ability to help you forget about all the times when you don’t feel free?
In The Millionaire Fastlane, M.J. DeMarco wrote,
Your soul is worth more than a weekend. Life does not begin on Friday night and end Monday morning. Friday evening is glorified because people celebrate the dividends of their trade: five days of work-bondage exchanged for two days of unadulterated freedom. Saturday and Sunday is the payment for Monday through Friday, and Friday evening symbolizes the emergence of that payment, freedom for two days. Friday is the reason “Thank God it’s Friday” exists. On Friday, people are paid FREEDOM in the currency of Saturday and Sunday. The ultimate insanity is to sell your soul Monday through Friday for the paycheck of Saturday and Sunday. Yes, give me $5 today and in return I’ll give you $2 back tomorrow. 5-for-2. No? How about five loaves of bread today and in return, I’ll give you two back tomorrow. No again? Why? This is a smoking deal! Hopefully you recognize that five of anything in exchange for two is a bad return. Five days of servitude for two days of freedom is not a good trade unless you trade your time into a system that can give you a better return on your time.
Time is our greatest asset. Time is where our power to create a new reality lies.
On his 85th birthday, the Pulitzer Prize winner writer Carl Sandburg was recounted as having said,
Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful, lest you let other people spend it for you.
If time is so precious, why do we give it away so freely to the things that don’t improve our ability to live more freely? Is it because we believe this is all we have the right to hope for? Is it because we believe that two days of fun and enthusiasm are all we deserve? The Psalmist wrote “teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.” What if we treated our dreams and creative potential with the same respect we offer to our jobs? What if we treated the possibility of leading a purpose-driven, passion-filled life with the same level of commitment we offer to our places of employment? What if we saw ourselves as having a duty to the process of finding fulfilling work that’s no less important than the duty we feel towards paying our bills?
I met an executive producer who told me that twenty years ago he stopped watching so much TV because he decided that he wanted to become the guy who decided what other people would watch on TV. What are we willing to give up in order to give ourselves a chance to see just how powerful, influential, and inspired we can be? This isn’t about not watching TV or not going to the bar on Fridays or not sleeping in on Saturdays. It’s about remembering to make space for something that’s far more exciting than any TV show or party: your ability to be the predominant creative force in your own life.
Please don’t let another weekend (or weekday) get away from you without giving some time to that idea.
In the meantime, create a wonderful week.