The Power Of An Hour

If you want to achieve a certain goal that cannot be accomplished without a considerable time investment, you should learn to harness the cumulative power of persistence.

Believe it or not, this was a lesson that I learned from playing the Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game “Final Fantasy XI.” I played FFXI an average of four hours a day for three years. The game kept track of the total “playtime” I collectively spent logged in. After three years, my total playtime value amounted to over 180 days.

It’s difficult to explain the significance of how I felt when I realized how much time I had invested playing a video game. “Invested” is a sly word to use for this story — because a more accurate word would be “wasted.”

I wasted 180 days of my life playing this video game.

180 days!? The things I could accomplish in that much time!

If I spent that much time exercising, I would be physically fit.
If I spent that much time learning a second language, I would be fluent in it.
If I spent that much time writing, I would have written a book.
If I spent that much time doing anything constructive, I would have improved my life.

Take a moment to imagine something you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time.

If you can afford to spend only one hour a day working towards this goal, over time you will collectively spend enough time that you’ll accomplish it. Spending only one hour a day for a year adds up to over two entire weeks — this is “the power of an hour.”

In my case, something I’ve always wanted to do but never had the time was to learn to play piano.

Thanks to this one-hour-every-day strategy, I taught myself to play piano using tutorial software on an electronic keyboard. I spent the first half hour on a new lesson, and the last half hour playing songs I’d learned previously.

When I received my electronic keyboard on Christmas 2005, I couldn’t even identify middle C. Through the power of an hour, after one year’s time I was able to play:

  1. Ach, Du Lieber Augustin
  2. America (My Country, ‘Tis of Thee)
  3. Angels We Have Heard On High
  4. Bingo
  5. Camptown Races
  6. Chariots of Fire
  7. For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow
  8. Frosty the Snowman
  9. Happy Birthday
  10. Hava Nagila
  11. Here, There, and Everywhere
  12. Mary Had A Little Lamb
  13. Minka
  14. Norwegian Wood
  15. Old MacDonald
  16. Puff The Magic Dragon
  17. Santa Lucia
  18. Silent Night
  19. The “Star Wars” Theme
  20. Tea For Two
  21. The Entertainer
  22. The First Noel
  23. Yesterday
  24. You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away

Forgive me for gloating about this accomplishment, but I am so incredibly proud of myself. For too long, I allowed myself to be intimidated by the time commitment — I never imagined I could succeed in reaching this goal, but then my attitude changed when I understood how much time I spent playing a silly video game.

If there’s something you want to do but feel that you can’t without more time, then I encourage you to try this method. Irrespective of how busy you are, you can surely afford one little hour out of your day. Spend one less hour watching television, playing video games, or browsing the Internet so you can spend it working towards your goal — and if you can’t give up an hour from your entertainment, then spend one less hour sleeping!

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11 Responses to “The Power Of An Hour”

#1 Danielle on 10, May, 2007 at 3:59 am

Great advice Shawn! We have to think of things in ways that aren’t so intimidating! This is a great way of thinking about our time investments.

#2 Shaun Boyd on 10, May, 2007 at 7:43 am

I’m so glad to hear you describe this article as “Great advice.” As always, I really appreciate your supportive comments.

#3 Lauren on 12, May, 2007 at 12:30 am

It is true – most of my life goals seem daunting but when broken down they’re really not so bad.

In one of my masters classes we talked about the potential for “one minute lesson plans” , which really take more like 5 minutes, but are quick and simple ways teachers can collaborate with their co-workers with out feeling like they are wasting their planning time.

#4 Shaun Boyd on 13, May, 2007 at 2:03 pm

I’m glad you agree — and I’m happy knowing your “daunting” life goals aren’t so bad. 😎

#5 Helen on 19, May, 2007 at 9:54 pm

Good advice, Shaun. 🙂

Although, I prefer to not think of FFXI a total waste. We became friends there. 😛

#6 Shaun Boyd on 20, May, 2007 at 1:15 am

I enjoyed every moment of my /playtime, and often miss the adventurous times spent in Vana’diel. I’m glad for ALL of the friends I made thanks to FFXI, but you must admit, the amount of real life you trade away is substantial. 🙁

#7 David on 25, Aug, 2007 at 11:23 pm

After 100+ days of playtime (I don’t remember the exact amount) Reaching level 75 on some jobs, 100 on crafts, I quit. I have to agree with you… Time is too important to “invest” on things like that. Congratulation on a lesson well learned and your great accomplishments!

#8 Peter on 08, Sep, 2007 at 11:47 pm

Nice story. Well done.


#9 Positive Articles Day - Volume 4 » Visualized.Feel.Abundance on 11, Sep, 2007 at 1:18 am

[…] second story if entitled “The Power Of An Hour” by Shaun Boyd over at LifeReboot. In this story, Shaun shares his experience with what […]

#10 Ryan Nagy on 29, Nov, 2007 at 11:04 pm

Well done. Simple advice and worth listening to. Maybe a slacker or someone doing a task that he or she feels intimidated by could start out with 15-30 minutes per day and then work up…

#11 etavitom on 04, Dec, 2007 at 4:09 pm

thanks for the phenomenal posting…. most appreciated

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