“You wake up in the morning, and lo! your purse is magically filled with twenty-four hours – the most precious of possessions.”
by Arnold Bennett
I loved my last job in clinical outcomes analytics and process improvement and was good at it. Since then, my current job is ME! If you are a provider of healthcare
services…nurses, doctors, rehabilitation therapists (physical, occupational, speech), diagnostic technicians, and others, your attention is always outwards, to others. So it’s a little strange for me to focus so much on myself as I recover from a stem cell transplant that cured leukemia. Prior to my illness, I was on the provider end of healthcare, giving care not receiving it. Now, my life revolves around the medical establishment with the title ‘patient’, receiver of care and sometimes not so ‘patient!’
Over the past 2 years and 4 months, I’ve come to learn how we/I take time for granted. We are all given a finite amount of time to create the life we want to live and be remembered by it. I feel as if I’ve been given a surplus of time now, and really wish to use this time wisely, not frivolously. I wonder if this realization comes with a life-threatening illness, a major tragedy or significant event.
Today, I am grateful to the following people and organizations for the gift of time:
- My husband, sisters & brothers, extended family, friends, and neighbors.
- Kaiser Permanente for paying all my medical bills, prescriptions, and supportive therapies. Permanente doctors for all my non-transplant related medical needs.
- Blood and Marrow Transplant Group of Georgia (physician group) and Northside Hospital Blood and Marrow Transplant Unit staff…the gold standard in treatment, patient care and patient advocacy for high-risk blood cancers.
- WellStar Health System for my former employment and ongoing support.
The quote above, “You wake up in the morning, and lo! your purse is magically filled
with twenty-four hours — the most precious of possessions” is by Arnold Bennett, found in the book, Light From Many Lamps. The whole section is below, verbatim. It’s long but worth reading. If the grammar and pronunciation are a little off, it is the way it was written in the book at that period of time.
As a poverty-stricken young clerk in a London law office, Arnold Bennett dreamed of a brilliant and successful writing career. . . and wondered how he would ever achieve that goal. He took careful stock of himself and knew he possessed the essential qualities for such a career. And he came to the conclusion that time was his most precious commodity, time the most useful tissue of his life — and that he must therefore not waste any part of it. He determined to make the best possible use of his twenty-four hours a day, to make every hour count.
So Arnould Bennett budgeted his time to take care of all the necessities of life, leaving a comfortable margin of leisure for improving himself and preparing for his writing career. He worked out a stern system of self-discipline, permitting no waste of precious time, no foolish “extravagance,” to interfere with his plans and keep him from making progress.
It worked. He budgeted his time so that every hour served some useful purpose — and it worked beyond his most ambitious dreams! Stories and articles from his busy pen began to pile up. His first novel was published. His writing began to attract attention. His days
of struggling clerkship were behind him — a brilliant and successful writing career lay ahead.
So well did Arnold Bennett budget and use his twenty-four hours a day that he had time for many interests and hobbies apart from his writing. He had time for painting, music, the theater –time for reading and cultivating friends. People began to ask, “How do you get so much done? Where do you find the time?”
Where do you find the time? How that question irritated Arnold Bennett every time he heard it! He didn’t find the time. He had the same amount of as everyone else: exactly twenty-four hours a day — no more, no less. It was the way he used his time that made the difference — the way he spent it, wisely and without waste. If people realize how priceless the hours of the day, the very minutes of the day, were, they wouldn’t squander them so recklessly. They would be as careful to live within the budget of their hours as they are to live within the budget of their funds.
That would make an interesting subject to write about. Arnold Bennett decided one day: How to budget the hours and spend them wisely, how to use one’s daily allotment of twenty-four hours so as to get the utmost return in happiness and satisfaction. A simulating idea! He was suddenly eager to get started. He would make people aware of time as a valuable commodity, urge them to spend it for the enduring values of life instead of fleeting pleasures — for improvement, achievement, success. The more he thought about it, the more fascinated he became with the idea; and before long he had it mapped out in his mind and ready to put on paper. He called it How to Live on Twenty-Four Hours A Day; and in the famous paragraphs that follow he explained the gist of the philosophy that had worked so well in his own life:
Time 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. . . . No one can take it from you. It is unstealable. And no one receives either more or less than you receive.
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. Waste your infinitely precious commodity as much as you will, and the supply will never be withheld from you. . . . Moreover, you cannot draw on the future. Impossible to get into debt! You can only waste the passing moment. You cannot waste tomorrow; it is kept for you. You cannot waste the next hour; it is kept for you.
I have said the affair was a miracle. Is it not?
You have to live on this twenty-four hours of daily time. Out of it you have to spin health, pleasure, 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 are all clutching for, my friends! — depends on that.
If one cannot arrange that an income of twenty-four hours a day shall exactly cover all proper items of expenditure, one does muddle one’s whole life indefinitely. . . .
We never shall have any more time. We have, and we have always had, all the time there is.
How to Live on Twenty-four Hours a Day accomplished exactly what Arnold Bennett had hoped it would. It made people keenly aware of the value of time, and especially the importance of using leisure time to some advantage instead of frittering it away. It encouraged many to budget their time and spend it more wisely, to use hours they formerly wasted to advance themselves, to improve their minds, their personalities, their careers, and their lives — to add to their happiness.
The little book was an immediate success. It made thousands eager, enthusiastic converts to Arnold Bennett’s method of self-discipline. Letters began to pour in from people who had organized their time as he suggested, and had joyfully discovered it gave extra zest and interest to their daily activities. The idea of budgeting time like money, and using it as carefully, was widely discussed in the press and from the lecture platform. How to Live on Twenty-Four Hours a Day became more than a title; it became one of the most familiar and inspiring phrases of that period.
Bennet himself was amazed at the ever-increasing interest in his idea. “I have received a large amount of correspondence concerning this small work!” he marveled in his preface to one of the later editions. He was to marvel even more in later years when it remained one of his most popular books — in spite of such famous works as The Old Wives’ Tales, Clayhanger, Riceyman Steps, and The Vanguard.
How to Live on Twenty-four Hours a Day has become a little classic on self-improvement and is still one Arnold Benett’s best-known books. An old-time favorite, it continues to make new friends; for it provides the inspired answer to all who complain they “haven’t a minute to spare” or “just can’t find the time.” It proves that the time is there, twenty-four golden hours of it every day; and that all one has to do is spend it wisely and well to secure the greatest returns in happiness and contentment.
Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time; for that’s the stuff life is made of.
If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality; since lost time is never found again and what we call time enough always proves little enough. Let us then be up and doing, and doing to the purpose; so by diligence shall we do more with less perplexity. Sloth makes all things difficult, but industry all easy.
Employ thy time well, if you meanest to gain leisure. Since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour. Benjamin Franklin
Want to read How to Live on Twenty-four Hours a Day by Arnold Bennett for free?
Then click here or go to http://dev.misuniversity.com/wp-content/uploads/ebooks/bennett_arnold_how_to_live_on_24_hours_a_day.pdf
I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on my reading list. Let us know what you think of it. Happy reading.