Productivity Tips from Dr. Melissa Gratias
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Only Time will Tell: A discourse on Greek rhetoric and Gin Blossoms

By Melissa Gratias, Ph.D. 

One of my favorite songs is 29 by Gin Blossoms. The lyrics describe growing up and learning from the experiences of your 20s. I think it should be required listening on everyone’s 29th birthday.


Released in 1992, this song should also remind us Gen Xers that we share much in common with our millennial colleagues and friends.


Moving on…


I keep a running list of ideas for blog posts. One potential topic that’s been on the list for (seriously) three years is to compare the Greek words Chronos and Kairos.


Chronos is chronological time. See the etymology there? Chronos time is sequential and measurable. You can count days/weeks/months/years.


Kairos is qualitative. Kairos is about opportune or critical Moments (I’m capitalizing this word purposefully). These Moments are fleeting and extraordinarily significant.


My writing muse had not yet directed me toward exploring Chronos and Kairos in words. That was until I was singing 29 while cooking dinner last week.


The opening line of 29 is “Time won’t stand by forever.” Hello Chronos!


Chronos reminds you to:

  • Understand that time inexorably marches on with or without your involvement. I teach clients to manage their tasks, their boundaries, and their resources, but not necessarily their time. Time itself cannot be managed.
  • Embrace the cyclical nature of how time passes. I teach my clients to do that with process documentation.
  • Eat your children. Wait…no…that was the Titan Cronus. Strike that.


The pinnacle stanza (in both meaning and harmony) in 29 is:


There’s no intentions worthy of mention

If we never try

So hang your hopes on rusted-out hinges

Take ’em for a ride


That stanza gets me every single time. I love it. And it is Kairos all the way.


Kairos insists that you must:

  • Be present. If you are distracted, you may miss the Moment.
  • Embrace spontaneity. The Moment may come as a surprise.
  • Set goals. Goals drive and direct your path. You may not encounter the Moment if you are on the wrong road.
  • Be bold. When you see the opening, you should catapult yourself toward the Moment. Carpe Diem and all that.
  • Learn stuff. To fully profit from the Moment, you must have the knowledge to understand its intricacies.


Songwriter and member of Gin Blossoms, Jesse Valenzuela, did a beautiful job capturing the angst of our 20s with the song 29.


The Sophists of Ancient Greece did a beautiful job applying Kairos to their rhetoric. They asserted that information must be presented at the right moment for it to be meaningful and influential.


So, perhaps listening to 29 while cooking dinner was a Sophistic moment when I received the right information at the right time.


Only time will tell…



The post Only Time will Tell: A discourse on Greek rhetoric and Gin Blossoms appeared first on Melissa Gratias.

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