Alive Time vs Dead Time



This moment is not your life. It is a moment in your life.

We all have the same amount of time in our days. What this time is made up of is the deciding factor of achieving what we set out to accomplish.

The terms of alive time and dead time are something that I was exposed to by Robert Greene in his book The 50th Law.

I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t buy the book only because 50 Cent is the central character. I’ve also read all of Greene’s other work, so that played a part into the choice as well.

Dead Time

Dead time is when we are disengaged and disinterested. It’s time we don’t use to directly benefit ourselves and those around us. It’s full of all the behaviours that don’t inspire personal growth. Complaining and gossiping are two big ones that come to mind. There is a shift in our locus of control. We view things happening to us, rather than what we offer to others. We react.

Feeling bored and stressing about it is also a big part of dead time.

We hate boredom. We despise it. Our society, and digital world is feeding our instant gratification systems. We want things now. We don’t want to sit still because this is apparently bad. We are told to do more. Just, “stay busy.”

This forces us into wanting to be in a place other than where we are now. We label boredom as bad and we seek to nullify it as soon as possible.

Being bored is an odd concept to me. When I was a child, I had the internet, watched movies, played outside, met up with friends, took part in sports, played video games, and pretty much everything else I have now. Well, minus the cellphone. Things just were not as accessible are they are today, and they didn’t operate as fast.

Looking back though, I don’t recall ever getting bored as much as I apparently catch myself now.

Alive Time

Alive time is a perspective as much as it is effort. This is time we use to expand, explore, and express ourselves. Passion, love, and curiosity fuel this. We are present, and giving our full attention to the task at hand. We are learning through effort, actively seek novel challenges, and ask mentors for help. Every moment has a purpose.

If I have 24 hours in a day, (at least that’s what I’m taught to believe about our concept of clock time) how much of it is alive time - being fully engaged, present, and aware?

Now how much of it is dead? Bringing myself and others down, complaining, gossiping, and dwelling — things that create a dead mind. What about boredom? Seeking, wishing, and anxious about a future we either dream of or dread.

Let’s see if we can shift our spectrum of time by building up our alive time with greater frequency and intensity.

What to Do Next

  1. Incorporate more alive time activities into your day. Figure out what you value the most. There is not better measure of your values than how you spend your time. If you feel you are passive, procrastinating, disinterested, what can you do to make yourself just a little bit more engaged. You deserve to be an active participant in life, not feel like a helpless bystander.

  2. Next time you say that you are bored, pause. Don’t give up and try to avoid it with some quick distraction. Instead, lean into it. Dig for answers and figure out why you want to avoid this moment. Can you find peace in solitude? Could you try deep breathing, meditating, stretching, yoga, etc to help bring awareness inwards?

By increasing alive time, dampening dead time, and bringing awareness to boredom, you will become more alive. You will become more of you.

You will enter a new state of mind.

You will have moved from just doing more, to being more.

Thank you for reading my article. I hope you found it helpful or at least thought-provoking. If this post did help you, consider sharing it with someone you think it would help too.