Time is what we want most, but what we use worst. – William Penn
What does that mean?
Time. You never know how much you have, but yet we still waste it. There are only so many hours in each week, yet still we waste several of them.
Time is something we cannot get back, yet we still spend our hours as if they were free. And that seems to be the central problem of humanity.
We know what time is, she know how precious it is (at least in retrospect), but we have such great difficulty treating it with value and respect in the present.
We mourn for time’s passing, but do not respect it in the present. We want it back after it is gone, but ignore it when it is here. We do not properly value it.
Why is valuing time important?
Time, as mentioned, is very valuable. But some of us think we’re going to last forever, or at least long enough that this wasted hour or two really doesn’t matter. With these attitudes and self-deceptions in place, you can see how easily one could act as the quote mentions, right?
Because of these and similar attitudes, we do not place the proper value on time while we have it. Things we hold to be without value are easily given away or discarded. However things we hold dear we only part with after we have given it a great deal more thought.
Consider our love or our money, two things people tend to keep very careful tabs on, so as not to lose it. Those we love, or are willing to commit to, are typically few. I’m not talking conquest or experiential love, but deep and committed love. That’s something you don’t just throw around, right?
It is usually the same with our money, as most of us are careful with that finite, but rebuild able resource. Money can be built back up if we spend it all, and yet we value it more than our time, which could run out at any moment. This valuation of time is the root of the problem the quote addresses.
Where can I apply this in my life?
How much time did you waste last week? Start with just a rough estimate, and remember that some leisure activity is useful to relax after a tough week, or particularly tough day. With a rough number of hours, consider the amount of money you would have earned if you worked those hours instead. Would you throw that money away?
Think about that for a moment. We (well, most of us, at least) say we don’t like work, and would rather not if we didn’t have to. Yet we value our money enough to go to work for it. But we waste time at a rate and with so little thought compared to our effort at work, that we value the money from that work more than the time itself.
What does that tell you about your values and what you value? I’m not saying to stop valuing money, or to give it all away. I’m just saying you should consider taking time as seriously as you take money. What if you more effort into deciding to do, or not do, something? If you gave that activity as much scrutiny as you would a purchase, how would your time be spent?
For me, this week was particularly rough, so I ended up spending a lot of time trying to unwind and relax. Did I relax more than needed, that is did I waste some of it? Absolutely. If I add up the ‘extra’ time I spent, and considered how I would have treated that much money, I most definitely would have treated the money with much more respect.
So how do we get better at treating our limited amount of time with greater respect? I believe the first step is to acknowledge that there is a finite amount which has been granted to us, and that we have no idea how much we have left. By knowing deep within ourselves that time is a finite resource, we can start to give it value.
Think about the air. In most places, there is plenty, and you don’t have to worry if there will be any available tomorrow. The same goes for water in most parts of the world. But think about how you would treat those resources if either were rare or finite and nearly gone? How can you treat time as any less precious than air or water?
By comparing time to things we truly need or value, we can start making better choices. An hour with friends or an hour with the TV? An hour working on a project or an hour chilling? An hour improving yourself, or an hour of being thirsty? An hour of doing nothing, or buying something with an hour of your work time? Does that change your perspective?
Time is the great equalizer. We each get the same number of hours in a week. It brings all down to the same level. Eventually, even the greatest of humans will be forgotten. What will you do with your next hour? What would you do differently if you knew it was your last hour?
Use your time well.
From: Twitter, @VoiceOfEnigma
confirmed at : Lots of people certain it’s by him, but no exact citation. Anyone?
photo by Robert Couse-Baker