Commentary by Dave McGlynn

There are 1,440 minutes in each day; let that sink in for a second.  Now obviously there needs to be time for work, for family, and for sleep.  Let’s try to make a realistic breakdown of the regular day.

  • 540: It takes roughly 540 minutes out of your day dedicated towards work (1440 – 540 = 900)
  • 240: Average person spends roughly 240 minutes a day with their Family (900 – 240 = 660)
  • 480: The average person should sleep around 480 minutes a day (660 – 480 = 180)

With roughly 180 minutes left in the day my question is what are we spending that time on? Are you spending that time on you? And if not, why?  Investing time in ourselves is key to finding purpose and success which can only be achieved through self-development.  Take 30 minutes a day to invest in you.

Success in any form does not come easily, it is not handed to you nor does it spontaneously arrive without action.   It requires a steadfast focus, strong discipline and a willingness to reflect on your personal strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.   Someone’s success cannot simply be measured through promotion, rank or accolades given from external sources, as these things may be achieved simply through bureaucracy, popularity or familiarity.  All too often, it is this measure of success that creates a false sense of achievement or capability despite the lack of evidence supporting specific and measurable accomplishments.  The short story about the road less traveled serves a purpose for life, those who take the time and dedicate themselves to going through the obstacles of life end up not only appreciating what they’ve achieved but also develop along the way.  Development is key because it makes us stronger, gives us experiences which build references that we can go off of throughout our life for proper and sound decision making.  How is any of that done?  Through self-development. 

How can one successfully develop themselves?  The answer is simple… TIME.

No matter what your goals are, whether you want to be a Professional Firefighter, get promoted, become the Chief one day, start your own business, or work for a Department that you have dreamed about working for, you must invest TIME in achieving this, TIME in yourself.

The recipe to achieving those goals is simple. It’s having and applying the discipline and focus you need to dedicate yourself to your goals.  It’s easy, take 30 minutes each day and work on you.  Read a book about becoming a Firefighter, study for promotion exams, network, work out.  The list of options goes on and on, the point is take that 30 minute window and use it for your own self gain, for your own development.  Great people become great by practicing their skillset to be great.  If you can set aside a minimum of 30 minutes each day to work on you, the chances of you achieving success increase greatly.  If you spend 30 minutes gossiping, reading posts on social media, worrying about why someone else received some kind of fortune, or worst yet, wasting time on what the naysayers think about you well then I have news for you, you will not succeed and you will stay right where you are.

Take 30 minutes, dedicate them to you, every day that goes by is more and more time in preparation and development on you and your ability to do great things.

  • 30: Dedicating a half hour a day to your own self-development (180 – 30 = 150)
  • 150: Leaving you with an average of two and a half hours a day (150 = Whatever you want)
  • 10,950: That’s how many minutes a year you can spend on average in developing yourself into a success.

In all that you do, God bless, take care and stay safe!

Dave McGlynn is a training chief and owner of Passion in Leading, LLC .


This commentary reflects the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Fire Engineering. It has not undergone Fire Engineering‘s peer-review process.