Escape The Time Trap

Rod Pickett
2 min readJan 15, 2024

In the being mode, we respect time, but we do not submit to it. But this respect for time becomes submission when the having mode predominates. Time becomes our ruler. In the being mode, time is dethroned; it is no longer the idol that rules our life.
Erich Fromm, To Have or To Be?

When our daughters were young, we visited Disney World.

Before we left, I did research about how to maximize our time in the Magic Kingdom.

We arrived just as the park opened and made our way to the far side of the park to the most popular attractions.

I rushed everyone from place to place along the set route.

We did everything we wanted to do by noon and returned to our pre-Airbnb rental to relax.

I don’t regret this strategy, but it could have easily ruined our vacation.

Fortunately, we spent the rest of that day and the next day just hanging out at the rental and swimming in our private pool.

Psychologists tell us that experiences make us happier than buying things would.

However, trying to maximize the enjoyment of experiences can turn into its own rat race.

This can lead to the classic dad line, “You’re going to enjoy this vacation whether you like it or not.”

We are tempted to squeeze every bit of pleasure out of an experience.

Ironically, this does not produce maximum pleasure because we are constantly monitoring our enjoyment.

If we are evaluating our pleasure, we are not enjoying the experience.

We can enjoy or evaluate, one or the other.

But we cannot do both at the same time — sort of a Hedonistic Uncertainty Principle.

This has a corollary, the Documentation Distraction Principle.

You cannot enjoy an experience while documenting every moment of it and posting on social media.

When I have set aside time to be with a friend or a group of friends, somehow, I’ve learned how to be present without thinking about what I need to do later.

I’m not sure how I developed this skill.

It probably is related to my expertise in procrastination.

Yet, it is easy for me to fall into getting mode.

Like Adam Savage, I’m a highly functional hoarder.

I have an entire hardware store in my shop.

If I need a ½-inch button head cap top bolt, I’ve got several.

While that gives me comfort, I’m learning to spend more time in being mode.

This doesn’t happen accidentally.

I have to create space in my day to be with others or to be with myself.

Maybe today you can find some time to deliberately shift from getting mode to being mode.

You’ll need to put it on your schedule to make it happen.

— Rod Pickett

Now available at Amazon: The Courageous Heart: Wisdom for Difficult Times in paperback and eBook.

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Rod Pickett

Rod Pickett is a writer, pastor, teacher, photographer, real estate broker, certified personal trainer, consultant, woodworker, and life-long learner.