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How to Live on 24 Hours A Day by Arnold Bennett: When this little guide from 1910 popped up in a pile of papers in my office, it naturally caught my eye. While the language is quaint, the message is plain: We all have 24 hours a day and we can all make better use of them. These words really caught my attention:
“Philosophers have explained space. They have not explained time. It is the inexplicable raw material of everything. With it, all is possible. Without it, nothing. The supply of time is truly a daily miracle, an affair genuinely astonishing when one examines it. You wake up in the morning, and lo! your purse is magically filled with twenty-four hours of the unmanufactured tissue of the universe of your life! It is yours. It is the most precious of possessions. A highly singular commodity, showered upon you in a manner as singular as the commodity itself!
“For remark! No one can take it from you. It is unstealable. And no one receives either more or less than you receive.
“Talk about an ideal democracy! In the realm of time there is no aristocracy of wealth, and no aristocracy of intellect. Genius is never rewarded by even an extra hour a day. And there is no punishment. Wast your infinitely precious commodity as much as you will, and the supply will neve be withheld from you. No mysterious power will say – ‘This man is a fool if not a knave. He does not deserve time; he shall be cut off from the meter.’ It is more certain than consols, and payment of income is not affected by Sundays. Moreover, you cannot draw on the future. Impossible to get into debt! You can only waste the passing moment. You cannot wast tomorrow; it is kept for you. You cannot waste the next hour; it is kept for you.
“I said the affair was miracle. Is it not?
“You have to live on this twenty-four hours of daily time. Out of it you have to spin health, leisure, money, content, respect, and the evolution of your immortal soul. Its right use, its most effective use, is a matter of the highest urgency and of the most thrilling actuality. All depends on that. Your happiness – the elusive prize that you all are clutching for, my friends! — depends on that …. Money is far commoner than time. When one reflects, one perceives that money is just about the commonest thing there is …. The supply of time, though gloriously regular, is cruelly restricted ….
“We never shall have more time. We have, and we have always had. all the time there is.”
I hope this strikes a chord with you – I know it did with me. These days, I feel that time is a little like molasses — instead of seizing it, its oozing through my fingers. Let’s remember it’s a precious “daily miracle” as we all write on!