Time is your most precious gift because you only have a set amount of it. You can make more money, but you can’t make more time.
~ Rick Warren
It’s my birthday today – I have now reached the grand old age of 26.
I know a lot of you in your 30s and beyond will be shrugging your shoulders and rolling your eyes, but you are never too young to consider how valuable time is. After all, every minute that goes by is a minute you will never see again.
Our time on this earth is finite, and we should all bear that in mind. I am not saying that you should live in fear of death, as that would be a most unfulfilling way of life. But there is a great deal of good to be had in being mindful of how valuable time is.
Exchanging Time for Money Is a Necessary Evil
Too many people waste the vast majority of their lives trying to achieve something that is not worth the cumulative value of time spent. This is endemic to the corporate world – someone might spend 20 years working 72 hour weeks to buy all of the material things they won’t have time to enjoy.
Let’s say I was in a position to offer you a 6 bedroom house in the country, a Jaguar XKR (my personal favorite) and all of the smaller material goods that you could possibly wish for, in return for five of your best years. In essence, many people inadvertently agree to such deals, but with no guarantee of them actually getting what they want, and certainly no guarantee of it actually making them happy and fulfilled.
Many people out there will work their tails off for 20+ years to get what they think they want from life. After 20 years of 70+ hour weeks, they may finally achieve their financial and material goals.
Let’s compare one of those people to someone who works 30 hours a week. The person that has worked themselves into the ground for 20 years has spent five more years working than the 30 hours a week worker. Such is the extent of their sacrifice. Surely it isn’t worth it.
My Own Epiphany
Not too long ago, I thought that working hard and long to become rich and successful was what would make me happy. I am mightily relieved that I no longer think in such a way. I am so excited about what I have planned for my future. The foundation of my plan is simple: I want to wake up in the morning, knowing that what I will be doing with my day is what I want to do. For me, that is absolutely key. Time is valued highly when you spend it doing what ultimately makes you happy.
We can all work towards this. Even if you feel like you can never achieve true happiness and contentment in your life, you can work towards it. I am not aware of any person in history who got to a point in their life where they said, “I am now 100% happy.” No matter your situation, you can always work on your happiness.
Most things that we do are part of a step-by-step process. So take the first step in valuing your time – don’t worry about the second or third. They come after the first step, not before.
What is your first step?
Photo courtesy of Toni Verdú Carbó