Dead Time or Alive Time?

Robert Greene, world-renowned strategist, author of “The 48 Laws of Power”, divided time into two distinct categories: Dead Time and Alive Time.

Dead Time is when people passively wait for the events in their life to either happen or to pass; whereas Alive Time is when people are actively learning and practicing their knowledge at every possible moment.

We are constantly presented with the choice of Dead Time or Alive Time, regardless of whether we are in the situation voluntarily or not. In Ryan Holiday’s book “Ego is the Enemy”, he referenced Greene’s binary decision of time with the examples of Malcolm X and Viktor Frankl. During their imprisonment, both Malcolm and Frankl chose refused to yield their time as Dead Time and chose to use that time to learn, to refine their knowledge and understanding.

What does this mean for us? It means:

You ALWAYS Have a Choice.

Instead of viewing yourself as a victim who is rendered powerless by your circumstances and designate whichever situation you are in as Dead Time, you can make a conscious decision to pivot to Alive Time—wherein you are in control. You are in control of what you want to learn and evolve from your circumstance.

Committing to choose Alive Time isn’t always going to be easy but you are worth the hard work!

Courage is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of it.

Mark Twain
Our perception informs our reality. Make it an awe-inspiring one!

Drama-free Life

Are there some people in your life that are regularly stumbling upon one drama after another, be it family drama, work drama or relationship drama?

I was one of those.

While I insisted and manifested for a drama-free life, I was constantly finding myself in complicated, dramatic situations that enervated me of my mental, emotional, and physical resources. I remember thinking: “How do these dramas keep finding me when I am desperately trying to run the other way?”

Now it was clear to me that, I, subconsciously, was orchestrating my life in a way that attracted drama. Simply put: I was a self-made drama-magnet (despite my ignorant protest and denial).

In retrospect, how could I have not known that ‘throw-caution-to-the-wind’ type of romantic relationship was synonymous with ‘drama’?

Before I proceed to share my two cents, I’d like to preface it by saying that: while I have managed to reduce most dramas in my life, I am not completely drama-free. I, too, am still learning and mastering this art with you. Perfection doesn’t exist, but it can still be an asymptote towards which we tirelessly and ceaselessly strive.

Process of Reducing (and Potentially Eliminating) Drama in Your Life

1. Identify the Telltale Signs of a Drama-thirsty Person

Start with YOURSELF. Be harrowingly honest about how much you exhibit the following behaviour:

  • Lying
  • Over-promising and underdelivering
  • Speaking in codes and not being forthcoming
  • Manipulative
  • Guilt-tripping
  • Gaslighting
  • Being hot and cold
  • Controlling
  • Craving gossip
  • Playing victim – blaming others instead of assuming responsibility

2. Identify the Telltale Signs in Those with Whom You Choose to Surround Yourself

Are you inadvertently inviting drama into your life through the people close to you? How frequently do they exhibit the aforementioned behaviour?

3. Cost-benefit Analysis

This may sound absurdly insensitive and cold but your energy, time, and emotional bandwidth are unfortunately finite. This means that if you are not careful in your resource allocation, you may not have enough to accomplish what really matters to you in life. So, conduct a cost-benefit analysis on this person who’s costing you a tremendous amount of resources with their drama. Evaluate it against how much your relationship with this person is helping you grow and achieve your goals. If the cost of this relationship outweighs the benefits, then perhaps you’d want to consider drawing some distance from them.

“Life is not so black and white,” you might say. And I get it. I have relatives, with whom I cannot just cut ties, that thrive on creating drama. They live and breathe drama. Drama invigorates them and ignites a fire and a sense of purpose in their soul. There’s nothing wrong with that. It is entirely to each their own. Except, when I am intentionally focusing and funnelling my finite resources towards my goals, involving myself in their drama will cause only derailments. If I may also be completely and unabashedly frank, to what extent does my involvement really help with their situation anyways? Often, people who indulge in drama just need a willing audience. So, if not me, then it could easily have been someone else.

In closing, I’d to draw on the wisdom of one of the greatest and most revered Roman emperor and philosopher—Marcus Aurelius. He said:

The soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts.

What colour do you want to dye your soul?
Others’ inconsequential drama? Or, your own boundless potential unfolding?

Thank you for reading! To be honest, this topic has been a rather difficult and embarrassing one to write for me, but I hope that my journey can help shine some light for those of you who are trying to untangle and wrench yourself out of unnecessarily messy and exhausting dramatic situations.