When you’re young, you look at television and think, there’s a conspiracy. The networks have conspired to dumb us down. But when you get a little older, you realize that’s not true. The networks are in business to give people exactly what they want. – Steve Jobs
Our conversation was going quite well, there was a lot of energy and understanding, there was an exchange of ideas and relationship building. As Becky began to move towards ending our phone meeting she apologized, “I’m booked back to back until this afternoon, I must go.”
“Sounds like you may need to create space”, I teased.
“You’re right”, she replied.
We are discussing my work as “the people developer” (executive coaching), my message, and my desire to help more people with their personal leadership development. I had just explained the foundational need to create space and how there is a “conspiracy of time” that pushes back against personal development.
What is the conspiracy of time?
To paraphrase Mark Twain, a conspiracy is a secret agreement within a world system, which seeks to impose what it wants but will not freely reveal it. Let’s call it the “Opposition Force”.
The conspiracy of time is enticement to live over-committed lives. What do you see, are people around you living time-poor lives? Most of the people I know live such busy lives; this is the conspiracy.
The plot against personal development in life is have little time to listen.
The Opposition Force exerts influence when we fill our lives with so much activity we fail to commit sufficient time toward our well being, whether physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.
Bottom line: it is an attack on relationships.
A conspiracy is usually a plan involving activity considered “illegal”.
Technically, there is nothing illegal about generally ignoring human relationships. (Obviously, I’m not talking about child neglect.)
Clearly, we are not prohibited from working 60+ hours a week and in doing so neglect the people in our lives: spouse, children, family or friends. In fact, such behavior is rewarded and encouraged with subtle suggestions… “Not now, later.”
It is not criminal to neglect your health. It is not unlawful to even back burner spiritual formation, cultivating a relationship with God.
The Opposition Force promotes over-extending legitimate commitments to the point of over-commitment … and all we say is: “I’m sooo busy!” Life harmony is lost and so often the vital connections with others and the care of oneself.
It is impossible to enjoy life harmony when too much time and energy is given to the temporal stuff in life; only people are eternal.
The business of life is people.
The Opposition Force supports us as we pin the badge on declaring: “I’m sooo busy!” When was the last time you heard someone bragging that she left the office “on time”?
What is the best predictor of future success?
One of my favorite subjects is this idea of what predicts personal success. My coaching process and belief is this:
The Best Predictor of Future Success is the
ability and willingness to learn and change
achieved through consistent reflection on
truth found in the Story.
Once you understand the principles in that statement you will recognize the “conspiracy of time” and fight back. You will create space to listen; “too busy” doesn’t allow for such discipline.
Creating space for consistent reflection is the key to accelerated personal growth and development. When you hit the ground running and fall into bed the conspiracy is at work. Without time for consistent reflection you will limit your leadership and contribution to the world.
The ability and willingness to learn and change can be activated as we see the truth in the Story. When life is a blur the helpful messages from feedback, experience, success, and failure will be lost and so is the leadership development opportunity.
Then unproductive, self-limiting behaviors create a box and your behaviors keep you from freedom and the high performance you are designed to enjoy.
When life is harmonized, not only will you experience personal growth, but all your relationships will have a chance to grow, too.
When it comes your time what exactly do you want?
What does the Opposition Force behind the conspiracy want?
To keep us in bondage, living lives with ancient behaviors, driven by fear so we show up in unproductive ways.
As Steve Jobs points out, the TV networks are in business to give people exactly what they want. While this is a hard message to hear, it is often true about life; we have what we want. Staying “too busy” allows us to avoid the hard work and responsibility for our personal development.
When it comes to your future, what do you want?
As you think of your personal relationships, what do you want?
When it comes to your leadership, what do you want?
If you want something more, then when will you must create space for reflection on your Story? The Opposition Force will say you’re too busy.
Join the conversation, leave your comment below.
Have read my new book?
THE PEOPLE PROJECT:
Your Guide to Changing Behavior and Growing Your Influence as a Leader