Hello there, beautiful people.
I’m sure you’ve heard or read the following lie before:
“You have the same 24 hours as Beyonce.”
Um, yeah. Actually, no. You don’t have the same 24 hours. You don’t even have 24 hours. Beyonce doesn’t either. If you subtract the 8 hours that we’re supposed to be sleeping, and the 10 hours that many of us spend working for someone else and commuting, we are left with 6. How you spend those 6 hours is largely dependent upon your family composition and household obligations (ok, let’s call them labors of love), extracurriculars, and whatever else you’ve got going on. Oh, you have a newborn? You attend night school? You work a second job? You’re going to have to do your own math then, sweetheart. I majored in journalism, and you’ve got too many instances where I’ll have to carry a 1. The point is, you don’t have 24 hours.
I understand what the message was getting at, but it’s inaccurate and careless. There are just too many variables for that line of thinking to work. If you and Beyonce have the same obligations and the same schedule, then I suppose you could allow an uninterested party like the interwebs to compare the results of her time and effort with yours. Beyonce doesn’t punch in and out at a job that makes her miserable, like some of you. She isn’t cranking out college papers, or watching her neighbors’ kids because they couldn’t find a babysitter. She isn’t doing her own grocery shopping, folding laundry, sitting on hold to pay a bill before the lights are cut off, waiting for the cable guy, cooking dinner every night and breakfast the next day (well maybe, but I doubt it), or walking home alone late at night because she missed the last bus. This doesn’t give you permission to allow your circumstances to act as excuses, but we can’t very well ignore them either. You’re trying. Give yourself a break!
Why does that quote bother me so much? Because it wreaks of the potential to make someone feel less than. Sure, someone might read that quote and feel inspired to work harder or manage their time more wisely. Someone else might read that quote and say, “Gee, Beyonce and I have the same hours in the day. Look what she has, and look what I have. I must be doing something wrong.” Maybe you are. Maybe you aren’t. The message doesn’t uplift. It confuses, and it compares. Comparison is the thief of joy, and the spirit of confusion comes straight from you know where.
When Beyonce feels overworked or stretched too thin, Beyonce can take a break or hire some help. When Beyonce wants to go on vacation to refocus or unplug, Beyonce can press the pause button, hop on the next flight to somewhere magical, and do that. I have yet to find that button in my own life, and the way my budget is set up, it wouldn’t much matter if I found it. If Beyonce decided to retire right now (No!! The horror!) and never sing another run or dance another step, she can. She’s got it like that.
We don’t know if Beyonce is happy. We don’t know if Beyonce is living her life on her own terms. Hopefully both statements are true. We don’t know how many hours Beyonce has each day to work on her own goals, if she really woke up like that, or how many hours she sleeps. We can definitely take a few lessons from Beyonce on work ethic (the woman works hard), but don’t fall into the trap of comparing what you know (your own life) with what you don’t (someone else’s). It’s a waste of time, and potentially detrimental to your self-esteem.
Do what you can with the time you have. If you have 6 hours, spend those 6 hours diligently working toward your goals. If you have 16 hours, do the same. If you only have 30 minutes each day uninterrupted, break down your goals into however many 30-minute steps it takes, and work toward your goals each and every day. We all have 24 hours, but we don’t all have the same 24 hours. Use your time wisely, and do your personal best. Let Beyonce be Beyonce.
One thing she did get right:
“I dream it, I work hard, I grind ’til I own it.” – Beyonce
Now if you’ll excuse me, my lunch break is over.
How many hours do you have?