Posted by: bevmeldrum | August 20, 2007

How to take back 3 years of your life

I was travelling on the tube across London this weekend and I spotted an advert for a mobile computer games console (I won’t say which one).

Their advertising went as follows (and I’m summarising here):

“You will spend 3 years of your life commuting, on average. That’s 3 years wasted. So instead play our latest crime solving game instead.”

The question that immediately popped into my head was:

“How is spending 3 years of your life playing a computer game about solving crime not wasting 3 years of your life.”

To be fair this company started off using this advertising to promote their brain improvement games which you could argue was a useful way to spend 3 years of your life if they work. However, did someone just not notice when they cut and pasted the text from the ad into the new one about the crime solving game or did they really think this was a ‘useful’ way to spend 3 years of your life!

Of course, if you choose to use your commuting time as down-time where you do play computer games that is of course fine. But to advertise it as a useful way of spending your time is just going to far.

However, if we really do spend on average 3 years of our lives commuting that is a lot of time and it may be worth thinking about how we can use that time more effectively.

I am just reading ‘Success Built To Last: Creating A Life That Matters’ by Jerry Porras, Stewart Emery and Mark Thompson. It’s based on a series of 200 interviews with people they identified as having lasting success throughout their careers. The book basically picks out the recurring characteristics of what they saw in these people’s lives. It’s a really interesting read and very thought provoking.

One of the points that they make is the becoming successful, in a lasting and meaningful way, is about going deep into your chosen area and building your knowledge and expertise, then the opportunities will come (p.118).

So how can you do that – maybe one way is to use those three years of your life on your commute to get deeper into your topic – read books, listen to CDs or podcasts. Get ahead of everyone and build your expertise by using this time doing something ultimately more useful than solving crimes on a computer game. 

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