Arnold Bennett’s Guide to Success and Fulfillment

In the fast-paced world of knowledge, achieving success and fulfillment often seems like an elusive dream. Forever waiting for “more time” becomes a common refrain, leaving self-improvement activities on the back burner. However, Arnold Bennett’s timeless guide, “How to Live 24 Hours a Day,” written in 1910, offers a concrete blueprint for reshaping our approach to time.

Bennett’s teachings focus on three key areas:

Save time

The first thing to understand is that you will never have that “more time”, because you already have all the time there is – 24 hours a day! Once you realize this nature of time, your perspective changes and you aim for a limited time budget.

Bennett states that the most unused time of the day is the time outside of work hours. And how one uses that time could make the difference between merely “existing” and “living” life. For most people, the time outside work, ie before 10 am and after 6 pm, is only the prologue and epilogue of the “working day”. Bennett walks us through how to do tight budgeting as follows:

  1. Early in the morning: Avoid oversleeping and embrace early mornings for personal growth activities.
  2. Transfer time: Use onward and return commutes for productive activities.
  3. Lunch breaks: Use lunch time for lighter rituals, saving precious morning hours.
  4. Evening time: Use at least 90 minutes on alternate days in the evening for intellectual activities. That still leaves three evenings and weekends for free activities. Bennett claims that mental abilities do not tire like physical limbs, so they could be used even after working hours.

Sharpen your mental abilities

It is very important to be able to control your mind in order to study well. Bennett suggests a simple meditation technique for achieving mind control. Concentrate your mind on the subject for at least half an hour. Return your attention even if you are distracted. It doesn’t matter how many times they distract you. While not an important topic to focus on, choosing something useful could kill two birds with one stone. Bennett suggests small chapters of Aurelius and Epictetus as topics. The morning commute becomes the ideal time for this exercise.

Reflection for happiness

Bennett believes that true happiness comes from aligning our behavior with our principles. And behavior according to principles can only be achieved by reflection. Reflection involves daily honest examination of what we have recently done and what we will do. Bennett also advises to think about everything you read because otherwise the effort of reading is wasted. The evening commute serves as a convenient time for reflection.

In our busy 21st century, Bennett’s insights become a guiding light, transcending “How to Live 24 Hours a Day” from the registry book to a manifesto for reclaiming control over time and, consequently, our lives. Let’s embrace Bennett’s wisdom and embark on a transformative journey, unlocking the full potential of our 24 hours a day.



The views expressed above are the author’s.


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