I recently read this piece of advice:
"Never say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, & Albert Einstein."
- Author Unknown.
I think why the author is unknown is because he/she/it didn't want to be accosted by other people who saw the inherent errors in this statement. I'll break this down person by person, to show how my situation (like many others) is not comparable to these folks.
Helen Keller - Did she have a job? Was she out workin' for the man 40 hours a week and then returning home to do everything around her household? No. Then perhaps, while the hours per day hasn't changed, Keller had a whole lot more free time than I have.
Louis Pasteur - Paid to do his job, that's what he spent his time doing, so finding great things like a cure for rabies or what not was going to happen. Will I write the next great American novel while sitting on my duff helping angry people all day then slaving away at home taking care of the house and two angry cats? No.
Michelangelo - Born into money. Apprenticed at 13. Commissioned to do work, people actually asked this guy to do art for them, who does that anymore? No one is going to walk up to me and be like, I'll pay you for a blog post/short story/novel. Apparently, even though given lots of dough, he lived like he was "blue collar" not really working more but sleeping in his clothes and only eating food when absolutely necessary. He didn't show off his wealth but he did have it, unlike many of us today. So even though we share the same number of hours, he had a lot more freedom with his time than people in this century.
Mother Theresa - Also had a lot of free time, and didn't really have bills to pay so she was free to do as she pleased. Luckily she was pleased with helping others, but some of us are in debt and need actual money to get out of debt so we work for a living instead of preforming miracles for a living.
Leonardo Di Vinci - Independently wealthy, or at least had enough benefactors that he could do his thing and no one cared. At the age of 14 he got a big break and was apprenticed to an artist who helped other amazing painters of the time. Then he became a freeloader (no thank you) and eventually was paid considerable sums of money for his work and was given a place to live by Frances I. Even though he completed a lot of work in his lifetime, he wasn't bogged down by the 8 hour plus working days like people of this century.
Thomas Jefferson - Jefferson may be the closest example to how things are nowadays, but I think we're forgetting the multitude of people who helped him achieve what he did. Jefferson was an ideas man, other people implemented those ideas, Jefferson's work can also be attributed to the various politicians he worked with because they all had to work together to achieve anything in government. Sure he came up with a couple of inventions in his time, but he had lots of free time after being president, and rolling in his money from politics only took up so much time in the day. Let us not forget the slaves he owned which did everything he didn't want to do (clean, cook, raise his children, or w/e) instead of those of us that have to waste daylight doing that kind of stuff ourselves.
Albert Einstein - Paid to do his job. Genius. People threw money at him so he could work on his experiments. If people threw money at me to work on my creative pursuits I'd probably get a lot of crap completed as well and maybe I'd be called a genius.
I think another factor that few people consider when trying to compare people of this century to people who lived potentially thousands of years ago is the fact that in our world we must compete with technology. While it can promote production technology also hinders it because it can be so distracting. Even though Helen Keller or anyone else in this bunch had 24 hours in a day, they didn't have the hour or more drive commuting to and from work, the 8 hours or more in an office, and then the time at home spent watching TV (which is voluntary), being online (may be work related?) or any of the other things people spend their time doing because of the technology available to them that these other blowhards didn't have. While the hours might be the same, how we are able to utilize those hours has changed. I don't have people working for me, I don't have people to free load off of, I don't have people tossing money at me so I can follow my creative pursuits.
If Divinci came up to me and was like: "Why can't you do more?" I would slap him and then ask for his money. Seriously, a person can only do so much with what they have and in this century many people have demands that keep them from becoming geniuses in their fields or miracle makers. Give me a break.