Life is a Revelation…be encouraged

Time Is On My Side

Time is on my side, yes it is.

Time is on my side, yes it is.

(Time Is On My Side by Jimmy Norman and made famous by The Rolling Stones)

Time is one of the seven fundamental physical quantities in the International System of Units. It traditionally has taken two different forms. The first being the calendar and the second form being represented by the clock. For the purpose of this post we will be focusing on the clock.

The clock has never been my favorite unit of measurement for time. Probably due to the fact that in the past I was late for everything. Years ago I learned a trick for defeating this deficit in my character make-up. I began to set my watch ten minutes ahead. Although in my mind I understood what I had done, the reality was if I looked at my watch and discovered it was time for me to be somewhere I would immediately begin to move heaven and earth to get there. Of course, I still had ten minutes, but my mind would overlook reality and simply begin issuing commands as if I were late. Later, I turned all the clocks in my home ten minutes fast and have eliminated my lateness. Susie is not particularly fond of this method of brainwashing, but after twenty years she has adapted. Only rarely now does she ask, “What time is it in the real world?” In the interest of full disclosure, one night while she was sleeping I got up, tipped toed around to her side of the bed, and set her watch ten minutes fast as well.

Back in 1977 two social psychologists, Dan Barton and John Darley from Princeton University, set about conducting an interesting experiment involving the interpretation of time. They approached Princeton seminary students who were preparing a speech on the parable of the Good Samaritan. Each student was told either: A) He is late, that he was actually expected in the lecture hall a few minutes ago, and that his instructors are waiting for him. or B) He has plenty of time, but might as well start to go over now.

As each student headed to the lecture hall he passes a person slumped over and coughing profusely, obviously in need of assistance. Of course, the person is an accomplice of the researchers. With no one else nearby the seminary students are confronted with a decision. While going to give a speech about the Good Samaritan, who stopped to deliver aid to a hurting individual when no one else would, do they stop to help or do they go on to their lecture. The only difference in the two groups is the time pressure. One group believes they are late, the other thinks they have plenty of time.

The majority of those who believed they had plenty of time stopped to render assistance. Of those who believed they were running late 90% failed to stop.  All students involved admitted they saw the individual slumped over and understood he needed help.

Allow yourself to slow down and look around. Are there people in your family, your work place, and/or your group of friends who might be “slumped over” and in need of help? Are we missing anything? Could someone we know be telegraphing pain, hurt, stress, worry, and/or fear and we are missing it? Reduce our speed, quiet our thoughts, and remove the blinders from our eyes and take a closer inspection of those we interact with on a daily basis.

Let me know what you find.

Be encouraged!

Time is one of the seven fundamental physical quantities in the International System of Units.

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30 thoughts on “Time Is On My Side

  1. A good reminder to slow our pace down and take a look around us…thanks 🙂

  2. thank you for this post. has made me think a lot!

  3. Thanks for reminding me to do my duty.

  4. I do think we need to relax a little in terms of “deadlines” in our society. At work I’m often told THIS MUST BE DONE 5PM TUESDAY. Whereas, quite often, I have more time. Every construction project gets delayed and I can hardly think of any that’s ever ahead of schedule or on time. Yet some people just believe that they need to put the pressure of a hard deadline on people to increase productivity.

    Life should be more flexible. Sure, somethings have to be on time, like a doctor arriving at the hospital on time because sicknesses can often be urgent. But many other things don’t need the extra stress. When I was in Colombia last year I had noticed that no one is ever on time! It annoyed me at first. Then I realised people there are just in general more relaxed and happier. I talked to one professor in Bogota and he told me according to one world happiness index Colombia ranked in the top three! Despite being in a country of such high crime and political unrest.

    • Your professor was referring to a study done which ranked how happy perceived themselves to be and then compared that to the importance given to being on time. The results were startling. Those countries that placed little emphasis on the importance of time rated personal happiness extremely high, while countries with a emphasis on deadlines raked very low. I occasionally point this out to my publisher, who sends an email a week asking if my book is done yet. 🙂

      Thanks for writing…al;ways good to hear from you.

      Be encouraged!

  5. I think if you have an eternal perspective then you’re more aware of why you’re here in this mortal existence and you’ll be more apt to see and feel things around you and lend a hand. It’s when you forget why you’re here and get distracted by worldly things that you become very self-focused.

    Not sure if that makes sense? – I’m not feeling well today.

    • Hey sorry to hear you are not feeling well…hope nothing serious.

      No one gets more distracted than me…I constantly have to remind myself of what I preach.

      I still have my memo attached to the monitor…DON’T MAKE LISA MAD. hahaha!

      Be encouraged!

  6. Corinne Shields on said:

    Hi Stephen

    Really enjoyed this post and love the strap line ‘Be encouraged’. How true. I am one of those always nearly late people and fear I am addicted to the adrenaline rush that goes with the sense of urgency and importance that that creates.

    Thanks so much for stopping by I am new to this blogging thing but am meeting some wonderful people and reading some really inspirational stuff.

    • Well thank you for all your kind and gracious words. I completely understand that addiction to adrenaline, I lived it for nearly 40 years, until one day I noticed how much calmer I was as the result of driving slower. That got me to thinking about how my choices in other areas of my life might be effecting me physically. One thing led to another and after a while I became convinced all my actions and choices in life are linked together. So I deliberately set about reconstructing how I live. Although I am still very much “a work in progress,” I can definitely see and feel a change for the better.

      BTW…are you France now? I am an avid (to be read freakishly addicted) Tour de France fan. So any connection I can have to France is exciting for me. All of us cycling fanatics face toward Paris each morning at breakfast and pray for our favorite rider…hahaha. 🙂

      Thanks again for taking the time to comment, I truly appreciate it.

      Be encouraged!

      • Corinne Shields on said:

        Thanks for the reply. Will definitely try to remember to “take my time”. I’m sure all this rushing around is doing me no good at all and you miss so much when you are trying to cram so much in. Less can definitly be more.

        As to the Tour de France. The whole of France goes crazy when the Tour is on and last year it went through our local town, Carhaix in Brittany. Don’t get too excited, we were not there!!
        We spend about three months a year in France and not being a cycling enthusiast, sacrilege I know, we don’t arranage our trips to coincide with the Tour.
        This year they’re giving Brittany a miss, so serves me right.

        The UK is in the grip of its own sporting fever, Euros just finished, Wimbledon in progress and Olympics on the way. Our boy Mark Cavendish headed for gold, we’re told, and am sure you will have plenty of cycling to keep you freakishly addicted through what passes for our British summer, ie the wettest June since record began.

        I love your strap line, Be encouraged!
        Mine is “May we all be peaceful and at ease”.

        Speak soon.

      • Thanks Corinne for the quick reply…but sooo sorry to hear you are not in France, guess I’ll need to unpack my bags. hahaha.

        Cavendish will definitely honor you all with gold…the boy is amazing…what an incredible drive he has.

        I’ll let you on the origin of “be encouraged.” A pastor I know began saying it. I was amazed at the response he got. People would break into huge grins and it was readily apparent they appreciated the sentiment. So with his blessings I stole it (lol). Since then I have embraced the entire encouraging concept (future post). I believe in my heart what many of us need to hear as we slog through life is a good dose of encouragement. Encouraging us to keep on keeping on. To lift our heads, our hearts, and our souls. To remember we are not alone and others out there are caring, loving, and compassionate.

        Love your strap line as well. Peace and ease in this world is often very difficult to find. So precious and life giving may we all find our place of strength.

        Blessings to you and your family.

        Be encouraged!

      • Corinne Shields on said:

        Thanks Stephen

        7.33 am here in UK and fast becoming my blogging time before the day gets going.

        As I said very new to this blogging thing and lovely to know that connection is being made. However, I think I may need to bear in mind your Be encouraged, as being impatient by nature, surprise surprise, I want my blog to go viral immediately!!! and guess what, it’s not.

        Anyway, blogging away on soulsnet is a good opportunity for me to take a dose of my own inspiration. I’m sure I can dig up one on patience.

        Have a good day.

        May we all be peaceful and at ease.


      • Hi Corinne, I have often commented that the worst part of being a life coach is when we have to swallow our own medicine. 🙂

        The medicine always work, but sometimes I wish I was a little less needful of it.

        Be encouraged!

      • Corinne Shields on said:

        Hi Stephen

        Thanks for sticking with me. Am still learning about this blogging thing and think I have managed to link my post tomorrow at on stillness and slowing down to this post. Hope you get a ping or a trackback or something.

      • If you ever master wordpress…start a training program…I promise to be your first (and life-long) customer…regardless of the price. 🙂

        Be encouraged!

  7. Great Post. Thank God for time being on our side – God has allowed us to be a part of time – to live, love and be happy and to share our lives with others in harmony. Thank you for visiting My Journal of Praise. I appreciate the positive posts that you share. God Bless!

  8. WordsFallFromMyEyes on said:

    This was a great post – I loved it! If you read my story, you know I’m pretty fascinated by time, how it ticks away, doesn’t stop, disappears sometimes and is too present at other times. Other “times” – ha ha!

    I loved that experiment. I comment the 10% of the “late” speech givers who did stop the coughing person. What a terrific experiment. So time can cause us to do or not do – where we would, on this occasion we don’t as we don’t have ‘time’. V. interesting.

    I love psychological experiments of any kind.

    • Our perception of time has some very interesting effects on us. Several years ago I was driving like a mad man to get to work. I had plenty of time, didn’t much care for the job, and didn’t have anything pressing that needed my immediate attention when I arrived, but still I was slicing and dicing through traffic, and pretty much making a nuisance of myself with a 3,000 pound vehicle. Suddenly as I swerved into another lane to pass yet one more guy who obviously didn’t have any anywhere to go, an amazing thought dawned on me. Why am I going so fast? My hands were gripping the steering wheel like a formula one driver fighting his way from the back, up through the pack. My shoulders were hunched like the character from Notre Dame, because that is where I carry all stress physically. What am I doing? This is silly. No, actually this is stupid. Here I am risking everyone’s life for absolutely nothing. I eased off the accelerator, coasted down to less than the speed limit, glided into the slow lane, and relaxed. When I arrived at work I made my second major discovery of the morning, I felt great. No nervousness, or upset tummy, or edginess, or bad attitude, infact, I felt better than I could remember feeling in months. I never hurry any more. If I am late, I am simply late. The world has not come to an end because i may have missed a few minutes of a meeting or a couple of minutes late for an appointment. The best I feel wonderful. Less stress and big smile on my face. But the best thing is…my wife loves how I drive now.

      Time is weird…you would think from the way we act sometimes that we could bottle and sell what we don’t use.

      Always good to hear from you, blessings to you and Daniel.

      Be encouraged!

  9. Pingback: Why should I slow down? | soulsnet

  10. George Hayward on said:

    A great reminder. Life is a blur at 100 mph 🙂

  11. This is a fabulous post. I’ve lived in countries where time is ‘circular’ rather than ‘linear’. In circular time, people are always late…this is because they go with the flow of events rather than adhering to their scheduled events. They will schedule, but if people issues come up (like the one you talked about in your example) they see that as a priority. In the west, we get annoyed with those cultures. We simply see them as tardy.

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