I’ve never met Steve Chandler but I like him. He’s a study in contradictions. He’s a Republican who says people who want to be prosperous shouldn’t be scared of paying taxes. Chandler’s a self-described Cold War veteran who co-wrote a book called Two Guys Read Jane Austen. And, to top it all off his book, Time Warrior: How to Defeat Procrastination, People-Pleasing, Self-Doubt, Broken Promises and Chaos, is emblazoned with the silhouette of a katana wielding samurai.
As the back cover explains better than I can currently (I just spent two minutes trying to figure out how to spell silhouette), the warrior image is intentional:
The “violence” in the word “warrior” was intended. For although the work you do can be slow and easy, to master non-linear time you must pull out your sword ahead of time to carve out periods of space and silence.
Time Warriors arrange the “chaos” around them by slowing down–way, way, down–and then letting go of people-pleasing, approval-seeking and every shade of mood-based and future based thinking.
Time Warriors is about creating a big life but it is also about finding the small moments that lead up to the big moments. In one chapter, he highlights Isaac Asimov who was a prolific writer, who in part did it by cutting through the noise and even using even the smallest chunks of time. He also quotes Van Gogh who also “cut” through many resistances (and his ear, I guess), and through a series of small actions.
It is important to begin writing at any time. If there are 15 minutes in which I have nothing to do, that’s enough to write a page or so.–Isaac Asimov
Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.–Van Gogh
One of the most useful little gems comes from a chapter where Chandler describes how to deal with procrastination:
The atoms is a a very small thing, yet very powerful when split. The smallest acts are like atoms. They often turn out to be the most important acts of our lives. So once I identify the big scary imagined task as a distortion produced by my own worried mind, I want to go small, as small as possible.
What can I do in the next three minutes?
I have to admit that at first when I finished Time Warriors I was a little bit disappointed. His book didn’t seem to move me as much as his other books. However, as I went through the book raiding it for quotes, I realized this is an important book for me to review if only to remind me of the power of three minutes. Three minutes to begin taking out the guitar. Three minutes to take the computer out of its case and open it up. Three minutes to calmly go in the directions of your dreams.