The notion of the common hour and embracing the uncommon hour was introduced to me recently in a class I took that had nothing directly to do with literature. But it was quoted as Henry David Thoreau had written, “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will experience a success unimagined in common hours.
…success unimagined in common hours…
I’m sure we studied Walden at some point in my education, but I never really got it at the time. I probably just wasn’t paying attention. Anyway, while I intend to read it again sometime, it is enough for me, for now, to examine this conclusion.
Common hour thinking describes the thought process of the majority, and is one often based on
external conditions rather than the ideas of the heart. In this type of thinking, we do not expect great things to happen. On average, people expect average things and occurrences that are in line with what seems likely based on circumstances. In common hours there is very little room for serendipity. That is why unique happenings and small miracles are always a surprise. Christ was quick to reprimand the disciples with the basic sentiment: Why are you surprised? We’re talking about God who put the universe in motion. When you think about it like that, feeding some people fish and bread or calming a storm is not so big a deal.
When you live in the direction of your life imagined, when you’re true to yourself, interesting things tend to occur. They should come as no surprise, in fact they should be expected, yet also appreciated and cherished. Those are among the treasures in life where rust does not touch and moths cannot destroy.
For me uncommon hours has grown to include nearly anything that is not par for the course. Things that don’t “normally” happen. I try to look for and embrace every opportunity to not live yesterday. Mary Morrissey often says that “Some people live 90 years, and some people live one year 90 times.” Some research has determined that a huge percentage of our thoughts are the same thoughts we had yesterday, and a majority of those are negative. By this understanding, planting a thought positive, a useful thought, induces or invites the uncommon hour. Prayer works in the same way. William Temple was quoted saying “When I pray, coincidences happen. When I don’t, they don’t.”
There are as many definitions for success as there are people. When you discover your own, it is indeed an uncommon hour, and when you “advance confidently in the direction of your dreams”, when the uncommon and the common hour are the same, you are truly alive.