“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” -Mohandas K. Gandhi

Snooze or Choose

The inventor of the ‘snooze’ option for an alarm clock, purportedly Lew Wallace of Ben-Hur fame, must have been thinking that an extra nine minutes to delay the inevitability of a full day ahead would be a good thing for people. I am not a snooze user, but I can see the logic: hit the snooze and capture nine minutes of nirvana, a place where one can experience the delight of suspending time for over 500 seconds.

If Lew Wallace or whoever invented the snooze feature had only used the word ‘choose’ to describe its allure, the contributions to mankind may be even greater. Imagine the scenario: “Whoa, there goes the alarm. Time to hit the CHOOSE button. I now have nine minutes to formulate my outlook for what lies ahead today.” Seriously, for those hitting ‘snooze,’ is nine more minutes enough time for quality sleep anyway, once awoken? I ask this recognizing that with today’s technology, snooze alarms can be set for whatever time, tone, voice, music, or other forms of warning desired. Would hitting a CHOOSE button make a difference?

Use or Lose

Whether it’s hitting a snooze or choose button, or consciously committing nine minutes of time each day to step aside and reset, the point is that we operate in a world today seemingly hell-bent on increasing speed in everything we do. Absent the daily exercise of hitting the brakes and visualizing what’s important now, time morphs into a reactive accumulation of seconds, minutes, and hours directed to what’s on fire now. What’s easily lost in the blur of a day is the clarity of purpose integral to personal and professional fulfillment and success. Clarity of purpose begins with clarity of mind; use the time to create it or lose it.

Top performers in sports will tell you that when they are at their best, time slows down. Researchers studying this phenomenon claim it is actually true. Dr. Nobuhiro Hagura from University College London’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience said, “Our guess is that during the motor preparation, visual information processing in the brain is enhanced. So, maybe, the amount of information coming in is increased. That makes time be perceived longer and slower.”

Choosing a nine-minute pause each day to absorb an increase in information about what’s important now could ostensibly increase our capacity to slow things down and perform more effectively. It’s certainly worth a try.


I just took a 9-minute CHOOSE in finishing this blog, and guess what? I have come back even more determined that the assertion of Mohandas Gandhi and research of Dr. Nobuhiro Hagura are worth considering. By stopping, I created separation from finishing this blog and its purpose. I looked at the purpose: providing thought leadership that might benefit others. I listened to my emotions of feeling pressed to meet a deadline against a rising tide of other priorities, which allowed me to reset my focus on what’s important now.

Next time your alarm clock goes off, you can hit SNOOZE or CHOOSE. It’s the same button, different outcome.

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