I was having lunch this week with a mentor, when he shared something I thought was very profound.
We were talking about doing the things in your life that you are truly passionate about, the activities that make you feel alive.
I was sharing how I had recently become re-invigorated with my passion for becoming an inspirational speaker. I shared how when I got home from my office each day, I still had a lot of energy and was working on growing my speaking experience and skills.
That was when he said “You know, most people can hide who they are from 9 till 5, but they show their true selves from 6 till 10.”
When I asked what he meant, he explained that most people are able to hold down some sort of ‘normal’ career between the hours of 9am to 5pm when the world expects them to. Social norms keep them working (or at the very least pretending to work) during that time.
Yet once the normal workday ends, and they have free time available, it is the hours from 6pm until 10pm that show what is truly important to them.
‘6 till 10’ shows who you are. It’s when you are able to do what’s important to you.
But the questions is, are you doing it?
In 1938, self-help author Napoleon Hill wrote a little known book called Outwitting the Devil. In the book he shares the concept of the ‘drifter’. This is a person who has lost focus towards any sort of goal, and instead lives their life in a form of waking dream.
Hill describes them in the book by saying “People who think for themselves never ‘drift’, while those who do little or no thinking for themselves are ‘drifters’. A drifter is one who permits him or herself to be influenced and controlled by circumstances outside of his own mind. He or she accepts what life throws at them without making a protest or putting up a fight. A drifter is one who is too mentally lazy to use their own mind, and tap into their true potential in this life.”
I thought back on my own experience, and I realized how true that was.
I remember at times in my early adult life when I was ‘drifting’. I would spend most of my evenings doing things that seemed leisurely, but weren’t making me feel alive. Typically, they would include eating out or drinking, watching television, movies or playing video games. I’d usually go to bed at about 10pm, feeling like I was tired and bored, not really excited about the next day ahead.
Fortunately for me, this period didn’t last very long, as I soon discovered my love of personal development, which led me to start a coaching business, and then to speaking.
Today my passion for speaking is what fills my ‘6 till 10’. That means most evenings I am either speaking at an event somewhere, or if I am home, I am working on writing new speaking material, or learning about how to become a better speaker.
I have to say that my mentor was exactly right. However you choose to spend your ‘6 till 10’ is truly an indicator of who you are, and what you value.
If you are reading this, there is a high chance that you aren’t satisfied to spend your free time simply ‘drifting’ and feeling bored.
I think it’s important to be reminded that you have as much time as you need to do the things that are truly important. You may have to work from 9 till 5 to stay afloat, and support your family, but you still have ‘6 till 10’ to do what matters to you.
You just have to choose to make the effort.