How Daylight Saving Inspires Us to Achieve

Not all countries apply daylight saving, certainly not Saudi Arabia, but it is used in over 70 countries worldwide and affects over one billion people every year, and we have a lot to learn from the process. The beginning and end dates vary from one country to another but the goal remains to take advantage of more daylight and make use of energy, which is related to what it can actually teach us about achieving our goals. I’ll explain more in a moment…

Just thinking about daylight saving as a concept is quite surreal. Imagine countries and populations in all its entirety managing to agree on setting back their watches and going to work an hour early or losing an hour of sleep. How was it possible to get thousands and millions of people to agree on how to benefit from daylight when, as a species, at times we are not even able to agree on what to have for dinner.

Daylight Saving came into being around the era of WW1. It was first thought of by New Zealand scientist George Vernon Hudson and British builder William Willett independently from each other, however only implemented in 1908 by Canada. Germany and later Austria had popularized it during WW1 by rationalizing how it minimized the use of artificial lighting in order to save fuel for war efforts. The idea did not catch on globally until Germany introduced it in 1916. Clocks in the German Empire, and its ally Austria, were turned ahead by one hour on April 30, 1916—2 years into World War I. Its beginning was quite controversial as industries all had their say based on the benefits they personally reaped or lost due to the change. Retailing, sports and tourism favoured Daylight Saving while agricultural and evening entertainment interests opposed it.

Today, it remains a politically controversial decision to decide whether to abolish Daylight saving or keep it, but its history gives us a few personal lessons we can adopt into our daily lives when we are met with opportunities for achievements that are naturally accompanied by potential for failure. One could argue it is a failed project since only 40% of countries abide by it and many differ in how they apply it. Countries are still experimenting with either choosing permanent Daylight saving or permanent Standard Time eliciting the fact that there is disunity, however it is admirable that full populations agree to behave in a similar way to each other and this is mainly due to the political process of implementing change into societies. A few steps usually take place like research, paper submissions, proposals to parliament, discussions and debates, polls and further discussions until it is announced through the media and fines are sometimes used as a deferment to disobedience. From this, what I learn is that if you want to accomplish something big, you first have to figure out what is within your capacity. Whether it is to write a paper, or suggest a proposal or start a poll. Like Hudson who presented a paper to the Wellington Philosophical Society, proposing a 2-hour shift forward in October and a 2-hour shift back in March, and experienced interest in the idea which was not taken forward then and there. Find out the role that is made available to you in the context of what you wish to achieve and start from there. As Theodore Roosevelt said “ Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”.

Second Step and which is at the other end of step one mentioned above is knowing the right people. Who do you need to take things further for you? Hudson knew who to present his paper to to gain attention and potential support even if this was not accomplished during his lifetime and only after his death. So, who do you need to be on your side in order to ensure success? Get in touch with them once you have your part taken care of and collaborate with a like minded nature that will make your achievement all the more possible and even enjoyable.

To keep things simple, I see mainly two more steps in order to achieve your goals. Third is to take one step (day/event) at a time. Repeat step one and two if necessary by redefining your role and contacting individuals relevant to your purpose. Fourth but not least, enjoy the process. Because if you don’t enjoy the process you are likely not to continue. Unless you start to enjoy the misery which I don’t recommend for your wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around you.

Wishing you success in all that you endeavor.

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