Take a moment and ask yourself: how do you spend your free time?

What is it that you do with those seemingly ever-shrinking hours sandwiched between long days at work and hitting the bed to prepare for the next day?

I would imagine that many of you spend your free time watching TV or perhaps heading to a shopping mall to find a new outfit for the upcoming season. You take the passive course of action because you had a long day at the office and you need “me time” to relax and reset your brain. You become a consumer. After all, you believe this is what everyone else is doing.

But you have ambitious thoughts of a bright future as you zone out from watching another episode of Parks and Rec. You keep telling yourself that your future self will be wealthy, have a coveted title at the office and be a member of that prestigious club in your area. That YOU will be successful. We have a tendency to think that the future will be brighter than the present.

But what are you actually doing about it to make that happen?

Forging Your Own Path

We live in a new era in which information is growing exponentially and the facts and laws that rule our lives are constantly being torn down and rebuilt by the accumulation of new knowledge. We can no longer afford to accept the status quo or assume that if we stay the course of what has already been provided, we will end up in a better situation. There can be no more waiting around allowing ourselves to become distracted by the newest form of entertainment, dulling us from the reality that we do not measure up to our own expectations. Its time to take responsibility for yourself by going out and creating your future instead of passively letting it slip by.

So how will you spend your free time?

It is time to break away from the passive consumer mindset and create a course of action for yourself. Just because you are finished with your formal education does not mean that the learning stage in life is complete. It is now solely your responsibility to continue your education. Remember, all great minds before you were life-long learners who took their self education very seriously. This is more important than ever in our current era with technology constantly revising the skills and knowledge necessary to remain competitive in the workforce. You can no longer just rely on your employer to provide you with all of the necessary skills to help you achieve in life.

Learn to become a creator. It is much more satisfying than being a consumer ever will be and usually has the added benefit of bringing in additional income instead of costing you money. Spend your free time doing things that you enjoy that can provide value to others. Draw, write, play an instrument or help teach someone a useful skill that you possess. You may not even be good at it when you begin, but through deliberate practice you will start to see real improvement. Embrace the challenge of trying to better yourself.

Fight the Resistance

I know you are tired, and the last thing you want to do is “more work” once you’re off the clock. I get it. We all have busy lives filled with constant distractions and obligations that eat up our day and mental acuteness. But let’s be honest; I bet with both a long day at work and a reasonable night’s sleep, you can conjure up at least three hours in the evening that are open for you to use however fit. The human mind has an amazing ability to make tasks last as long as the time allotted. So make time for yourself each day.  I challenge you to find a reasonable one-hour period to devote to your personal development. Write it on your calendar or save it on your phone and protect that hour with all your might. Your personal growth is now a priority.

So pick up a book, grab your pencil or find a free course online and get to work.

It’s your future. It’s time to take responsibility.