Highly Successful People View Time Differently Than Others

Ever felt like a highly successful individual doesn’t have time for you? They probably don’t.

Photo by Riccardo Annandale on Unsplash

Ever feel like a highly successful individual doesn’t have time for you?

They probably don’t.

Because highly successful people view time differently than most. They recognize allocating time is paramount to success in anything. More importantly, they are able to sacrifice because they view their time as abundant, while most view time as scarce. Here’s three individuals that will help you view time like highly successful people do:

Arnold Schwarzenegger

When asked how he attained success, Arnold Schwarzenneger replied: “Sleep faster.” No, he wasn’t advising you actually sleep through REM cycles at superhuman speeds, though I wouldn’t put it past Arnold… He was making a joke about how valuable being intentional with your time is if you want to be successful. You can watch the speech here.

The truth is that highly successful individuals view time differently than their less successful peers. To Arnold Schwarzenegger, every single minute is crucial.

“It drives me crazy when people say they don’t have enough time to go to the gym for 45 minutes a day”, Arnold says. “When I went to America, I went to college and worked out 5 hours a day, and I was working in construction. I went to acting class 4 times per week”.

How often do you miss a workout or decide not to work on your future because you didn’t have time? I know I am guilty of this: I already worked for eight hours today. I don’t have time to workout today. The blunt truth is that you do. If it’s important enough, time can be allocated to it.

“Imagine if you will work on some business that you want to develop every day for an hour. Imagine how [much] further along you will go.” — Arnold Schwarzenegger

Media tells us that we need 7–9hrs of sleep per night. But are you really going to become a top Medium writer, run a successful business, or change your career if you never miss a night of beauty sleep? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating that you lead a chronically unhealthy life in the pursuit of success or material things; you should get adequate sleep when you can. But if your view is that ‘I can’t start a business or get in shape because I need 7–9 hours of sleep every night’, you are holding yourself back. Someone else is going to stay up. Someone else will do the work.

Kobe bryant

Kobe Bryant knows that success is a function of time and commitment, not just effort. His teammates described him as being the first in and last out of the gym every single day. Imagine how hard an NBA workout is in the heat of playoffs — I’m sure anyone would want to crash after a single practice. An interviewer recalls one of Kobe’s college friends saying “when I was partying, he was playing basketball. When I was waking up, Kobe was playing basketball before class”.

Kobe looked at time like highly successful people do: as a means to success every minute of the day. This doesn’t mean you have to be some insane work-tyrant and dedicate every second of the day to your craft; you likely aren’t aiming to be the face of the NBA. But if you’re reading this, you want to be successful at something, and your time matters if you plan to achieve. How often do you cut yourself short when you should stick it out for one more hour?

My friend’s dad

I’ve looked up to my friend’s dad (we’ll call him Rick) for as long as I can remember. He’s a successful business executive, and is one of those people that just exudes respect upon meeting. Rick is extremely generous; he provides well for his family and has taken me on vacation free-of-charge more times than I can remember. But it wasn’t always that way…

Rick didn’t just stumble upon success overnight. He tells me of times that he was so busy he can hardly remember it, like completing his MBA while working a full-time job. To pay tuition, Rick worked while attending three different universities. Time wasn’t a luxury for rick, but a necessary sacrifice to build a better life for himself and his family.

We all want to be like Rick.

Closing Thoughts

Successful people see time as a resource to be sacrificed for future gains.

Being intentional with your time isn’t about overworking yourself. Although it would be incredible, we can’t all attend college, workout for five hours a day, and take acting classes like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Nor do we want to. But we can learn from successful people. Even just dedicating one hour to your craft or business could change your life in the future. 365 hours of reading significantly trump zero hours, and all it takes is a reasonable daily sacrifice.

If you want to be successful, realize that your time is one of your biggest assets. If you are lousy with time, time will change you. If you are smart with time, you will change yourself.

How much time will you give?

Ross Heilweil




A human first, and a writer second. Just trying to make sense of it all.

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Ross Heilweil

Ross Heilweil

A human first, and a writer second. Just trying to make sense of it all.

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