“What Can Take Place Before the Sun Sets Which Will not Seem Insignificant in the River of Centuries?”
This quote from Og Mandino, is what I call zooming out. In the case of centuries this is zooming WAY out. Time reshapes things. Changes our perspective. Shifts our emotional pull. We don’t really need to look from a century’s perspective, and in fact, we don’t care much about that. But we can certainly zoom out a few years or more to get a clearer picture of true implications of any single moment in time.
About 23 years ago I sat on a curb outside of a hospital in Phoenix, AZ. I was alone. My brother was inside that hospital in a coma that I had just learned he would never wake up from. I’ll never forget how I sobbed on that curb for a long time. I’ll never forget barely being able to speak when I had to call my Mother and tell her that her son was gone. I live the way I live in part due to the lessons of this experience. But can I take myself back and feel the depth of the despair I felt in that window of time? No.
This Example is a Powerful Time Lesson to Use When it Comes to What You Will or Won’t Do…
You see, everything in life has two parts to it…the part you know and the part you don’t. Order and chaos. Yin and Yang. Comfortable and uncomfortable. Yet we waste so much time trying to stay in the part of life that we know. The part that is comfortable, ordered. By definition we are missing half the experience and, well frankly, we are wiping out our time, our most valuable life currency, while minimizing what we learn.
Think about this…
Can you imagine only having a conversation where you knew exactly what the other person would say? Of course not. This would be pointless. As would reading a book or watching a movie where you knew for certain everything that would happen (aside from re-watching something you love for pure enjoyment).
Life has to be a mixture of the two. You have to consistently venture into the part you don’t know while you are grounded in the part that you do.
What keeps people from spending their time venturing out is the fear of the feelings…being embarrassed, criticized, wrong, judged, hurt, disappointed, etc. What if you recognized that these feelings will dull and be gone, but the experience, the value, the learning, the growth, the gain…will stay with you and become new levels of comfort…new levels of “the part you know?”
I have been hurt by countless people in my life. I have been criticized, laughed at, felt humiliated, and felt stupid on a regular basis. But I don’t really feel that now. I remember it. I learned through it. And most important, I reap the fruits of having willingly walked through it. And the fruit is sweet.
For a long time I didn’t know this is what was happening. I was just in it. But going through it and zooming out? Has allowed me to learn, reframe, and teach and help others.
How might your choices have been different just 10 years ago if you clearly knew how little your life would be affected by the unknown responses of others or the fact that it was a mistake, and how greatly it would have been affected if you had taken the step?
Time is our currency in this life. It’s what we have to invest in whatever, and whoever, we choose. If we don’t choose, someone else will decide how our time is spent. And there is very little chance that this would be the best use of OUR time.
In the Moment…
The more in the moment we are in life, the more wisely we are spending our time. Any moment we are somewhere, yet thinking about somewhere else, is time we have robbed from the somewhere that we are. We have dulled the experience. We have lessened the value.
I’m not suggesting I am a master at living in the moment. I am intensely aware of it’s importance though, even as I struggle at times to ward off the natural tendency to worry about something that is in the future, or worse, probably will never even happen, or lament something from the past. I’m human and this is part of the experience.
But having clarity of the value of time is a driving force for how I live and what I teach.
I Am Freakish About Time and You Would be Well-served to Be The Same Way.
Committing my time is something I am extremely careful about doing. Part of this, is that I am the kind of person who does what I say I will do. It’s in my personal code. My guiding principles. This means I better be very clear about what I say yes to, because even if I realize it’s something I should not have committed to, I will follow through if that commitment involves others. At the same time, the freedom to use my time the way I choose is one of my primary guiding values in how I live and design my life.
The first thing I weigh when it comes to an opportunity I would consider (I only consider things that are in line with my strengths and support some aspect of the 3 Circles, which includes personal and professional development) in business is the time cost. Not the financial reward. And when I say time cost, I mean this in every sense. The structure of the time cost, the rigidity of the commitment, the actual timing in the hours of the day, the season of life, and the season of the year. If that is within what I am willing to commit to, THEN I look at the financial potential and weigh that against how else I might prefer to use the time. As a result, I turn down most of the opportunities that come to me because though many would be lucrative, they do not fit for me (time wise and values wise). It took years to get to the place where I can be as particular as I choose to be, but the essence of this has been my basis for decades now, and I can promise you that it leads to a substantially greater level of joy and fulfillment in your professional pursuits.
People are an entirely different thing. I will readily commit time to spend with the people I love and care about. I will readily commit time to serve people who are working at growing and improving. I will readily commit time to teach others. I readily commit time daily to self-care (I’m a people too:-)
Time is the currency we all have a limited amount of and every day we live, we know we have used up some of our irreplaceable funds. The challenge and fundamental thing to remember is that this currency runs out and you and I have no idea when. So be certain that you are spending your time exactly where you want to be spending it.
If you are spending 8 hours per day doing something that doesn’t bring you joy and fulfillment, understand the price you are paying to get money.
When I was in a situation years ago where I did not like what I was doing, I spent time outside of work to create something that essentially allowed me to leave what I didn’t like. Some people call that changing careers. I call it buying my time back.
Don’t waste time with negative people, media, people you don’t trust.
Don’t waste time investing in people who will not help themselves.
Don’t waste time talking to people who do not listen to you (except children 😊)
Don’t waste time trying to convince people.
Don’t waste time.
You can never get it back. Be purposeful with how you spend it. Whatever you are doing, do it completely with all of you, whether it’s for pure fun, service, or profit, be all in your life and you will squeeze every drop from your most precious asset. I hope this gave you some things to consider and shift in your life. If it has, it will be worth much more than the few minutes it took you to read. Pass this on to others…they may need it. Below is a little bonus video I did a little while ago that will help you as well…
If you need some Coaching, or Training for your organization, reach out to me.
Many Blessings, Todd
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P.S.S. This is the time of year when we all tend to double down on our efforts to get more healthy, fit, and perhaps shed a few of the holiday (if not the COVID) pounds. One of my favorite aids for this is what I call the “Pink Fuel.” Key-Tonic is the actual name and it’s a product that I use at least once a day. It will help you with any effort to get healthy/fit/reduce weight as it helps lessen hunger while giving you clean energy to burn and fostering a positive state of mind. You can check it out here.