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
Perhaps you might not have noticed there doesn’t seem to be any text accompanying the images in the “Related Posts” section.
Or perhaps that’s an intentional ploy to get visitors to hover over each image out of curiousity?
Tom Ewer says
Got it in one 😉
I rather like the look of it, and I like the idea of teasing people with images, even if it may not be totally practical.
Did it work on you?
Yeah it did, surprisingly. Made me want to know what each picture had to do with the topic.
Ben Norman says
This is something I’ve always felt passionate about, the amount of people I know who are considered to have ‘made it’ due to having high flying jobs but work extreme hours to get them is saddening.
My favourite expression is that you should work to live, not live to work. If you can find a way to make the money you need in a way you can enjoy that’s even better, but at least ensure that you’re enjoying your free time, and not selling it for a pittance.
Tom Ewer says
How’s this for a massively late response to your comment? I just happened to see this and was shocked to see that I hadn’t replied! So please accept my apologies…
As for what you said, I totally agree with your sentiments.
LOVE your way of thinking and love your blog it looks mint! Great job! I just turned 32 and I am so happy for you that you realized early on in your life, as I did, that giving up the best years of it to work for someone else, is NOT cool. I was freelancing and even then it’s not great, it’s better, but it can mean for MORE compromises if you need the money – for me that was working making a Burger King commercial on my 30th birthday, lol – although that NIGHT was great!! 😉
Anyway I will follow what you are doing here, I know this post is quite old, but now I am working full time from home online, time management is VERY important – so best wishes with everything and maybe we can connect somehow going forwards. All the best and great site! Clare x
Tom Ewer says
Thanks for the kind words! I agree with your comments about freelancing – but when you are a freelancer, you put that pressure on yourself to an extent, don’t you?
I love these old posts that got little or no love because I had no audience at the time. Some of my favorites are lurking around back here 😉
Great to connect with you 🙂
Hi Tom – I cant see my comment here or your reply, weird eh?! But got an email about it, cheers for responding! 🙂 Enjoying reading your blog as just setting mine up so it’s great to build a network of people on a similar path to connect with 🙂
The pressure on me as a freelancer was a big mortgage and debt, lol – had I not took that on then it would’ve been fine – well that and getting up at stupid o clock to make crap tv that I would never watch, lol! Great to see how much your blog has grown – will continue to follow 🙂
Tom Ewer says
I had the same problem – I think they’re just taking a while to appear.
You touch upon an interesting point – the pressure we place on ourselves. I’m in a similar (yet probably not as drastic) scenario in that I bought a car on finance for my previous job (when I drove a lot). A real indulgent purchase that takes a ridiculous amount of money out of my pocket. But at the moment, I cannot afford to sell it on (i.e. it would cost me money).
Yeah – it’s a business for the lenders really – they have so much money they are not lending out – it’s silly. Ironic too that if I was able to remortgage my flat I would pay all my debt off in one hit, and repay the higher mortgage much easier – my bank and other lenders said no yet I still get letters saying ‘we can see you are managing your credit card debt well, so we have increased your limit’ – yet they won’t increase my mortgage as they make money money out of me with the CC – but yet they call me saying they want to “help” me. Bollocks! As you said, lesson learnt!!
Agree with you there Tom. I just realised the same thing a few months back.
A lot of us are caught in the trap of working really hard and long hours in jobs to earn a big wage to pay for things that we dont really need and are not going to make us happy once we get them!
The way forward is to step off the treadmill and do things that you enjoy by finding a way to work that suits you, and not just follow what everyone else assumes is the right way to do things.