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:
- Ach, Du Lieber Augustin
- America (My Country, ‘Tis of Thee)
- Angels We Have Heard On High
- Camptown Races
- Chariots of Fire
- For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow
- Frosty the Snowman
- Happy Birthday
- Hava Nagila
- Here, There, and Everywhere
- Mary Had A Little Lamb
- Norwegian Wood
- Old MacDonald
- Puff The Magic Dragon
- Santa Lucia
- Silent Night
- The “Star Wars” Theme
- Tea For Two
- The Entertainer
- The First Noel
- 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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