Your days are numbered, your time is limited! This is not some gloom and doom prediction, especially in this crazy world. Instead, we can all agree upon this simple, objective, and indisputable fact: Time is limited.
So, think about it this way: for you, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and everyone else in the world: time is a finite and limited commodity. I call time the universal equalizer.
Now you can live longer or shorter, and life is unpredictable, but the bottom line is that, at some point, our time is gone, and it's game over. For this reason, we should guard and use our time carefully. It is similar to the money you have in your savings account. As much as you may have (or not have), your funds are still limited, so you have to use them purposefully; otherwise, you go broke. The same happens for the available time in our lives. If we don't use or invest it properly, we run out, and miss out on life.
My advice? Value your time and live with purpose.
That’s easy to say, but more difficult to do. So, if time is a limited commodity, we can consume or maximize our supply by 'spending' or 'investing' it. Thus, the expression 'spend time' captures the essence of modern thinking.
Time lost is never recoverable, and this is also a fact. Time is an "equalizer," making us all equal amongst each other, including millionaires and billionaires. It is like democracy in life--second only to death.
It reminds me of a famous Italian Poem "A Livella" (translated the Level) from Totò, the stage name of Antonio de Curtis (Naples, February 15, 1898 – Rome, April 15 1967), Italian actor, playwright, lyricist, poet, scriptwriter, and musician. The poem "A Livella" is a masterpiece of Italian and Neapolitan literature, both for its form that shifts from the conversational tone of Gennaro (the dead scavenger) to the courtly language of the (also deceased) Marquis, and for the deep themes of life and death, dealt with nonchalance. Death (like time) is the basic theme. Being like a mason's level, making all people equal, high and low, death shows the vanity of pride, wealth, and position.
There is no difference in classes, sex, education level, geographical location, earning income in front of the time as in front of the death. Not even Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO (the first man ever to reach the $100 billion mark - $178 B in March 2022), or Elon Musk, presently the richest man on earth with a net worth of almost $230 B, can buy extra time. And this is exactly what makes you equal to Elon and Jeff.
Besides nearly unlimited resources and assets, they have the exact time we all have. So, what is the difference? The difference is, most likely, in the way Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, you, and I have used the time at our disposal. Some people use time better than others. Sarah Stanley Fallaw, director of research for the Affluent Market Institute, studied more than 600 millionaires for her book, "The Next Millionaire Next Door: Enduring Strategies for Building Wealth." She found that the way millionaires occupy their minds and time can influence how much wealth they build.
"successful individuals are keenly aware of how they spend their resources, including their emotional and cognitive resources.” She finds that millionaires spend their time differently from the average American in five areas: reading, exercising, perusing social media, sleeping, and working. For example, millionaires spend roughly 5 1/2 hours a week reading for pleasure, compared to the average American's two hours.
Even billionaires devote a lot of time to reading. How many books did you read this week, last month, or last year?
Speaking of billionaires, Steve Jobs once said:
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of another person’s thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition."
If you want to listen to his entire, life-changing speech at Stanford University (for 114th Commencement on June 12, 2005.) click here
Now, I am not saying that in our lives, we should not have a down moment to relax, have fun, and recharge our batteries. Instead, I am trying to tell you that everything we do in life, how we spend (or invest) our limited time, should always be intentional and purposeful. The keyword is balance, and time is a tool (the means and not the end) to achieve a balanced, happy, successful life.
Here is the catch. Very often, we recognize this time limitation later in life. It may be too late for someone, and for others, it never happens—what a shame. Here is how it normally works, when we are young, we feel that time is almost unlimited, so we tend to take it for granted, we don't think about it. We don't look at time as a limited resource. As we get older and older, we start realizing that something or someone is missing, and we start with the fear of missing out. We fear not having enough time for what we want; we are scared about how fast it is passing, leaving us behind in this ongoing race against life itself.
Have you ever experienced the feeling that the days, weeks, and months are passing so fast that you almost lose track of them?
I have, and I would guess that you have, too. We all have. When I was a teenager with many dreams and goals in my backpack, I looked at life, specifically the future and time, as unlimited. As I get older, I realize that even if I live a long and healthy life, time will always be a limited asset for me, as it is for everyone. In my case, it happened when I started working on myself and discovered personal development. What about you? Did you have your wow moment yet? One of my all-time favorite Chinese proverbs says, "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now." Long story short? It's never too late to appreciate the real value of time, and use it at its best!
Do you know how many seconds there are in 90 years?
And yes, the number of zeroes is correct. We are talking about billions here. Even if this number seems so big, imagine how fast a second is, how fast ten seconds are, 60 seconds, and so on. You have just spent at least 360 of these seconds (approximately six minutes) reading this article. Imagine the thousands of seconds you will spend, or invest, as I prefer to say, in today, and then expand or apply to the rest of the week, month, year, and your entire life. Millions and billions of seconds consumed, and, just like that, they're gone forever.
Understanding time as a limited resource allows us to appreciate it more and more. It pushes us to use it properly, to the best of our ability, anywhere, anytime. It also pushes us to be productive and not waste energy on meaningless things and thoughts.
It is like creating a "fertile ground" and a positive environment to "plant the seeds for that 20-year old tree". Understanding our purpose will help us make better decisions on how we allocate our time, money, relationships--every other aspect of life. Purpose and the finite resource of time go hand-in-hand.
I’d like to offer you some practical tips to apply immediately that will help you use your time better, and live more purposefully:
Plan your life, or your life will plan you. Time is fast, so if you don't lead the game, the game will lead you and you will "spend" and not "invest" your time. Use a planner/journal and block the time starting with the most important "must accomplish" tasks.
Be intentional in what you do and ask yourself if what you are doing (how you are using your limited commodity of time) is aligned with your goals and dreams. If yes, great. If it is not, revise and adjust.
Be present in the moment and appreciate what you have and what you do. Sometimes, even unpleasant situations can teach us a lot, and deserve our full attention. If you are working, focus on work, if you are with your family focus on them, if you are having fun, focus on enjoying it. One focus at the time to maximize the time at your disposal.
Don't take the time and positive things in your life for granted. Imagine an hourglass on your shoulder, and don't let time slip away from you. Time is clicking but if you acknowledge that, then you’ll be in better control.
Live in the moment. Remember that "Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift." (Eleanor Roosevelt). Everyone is used to blame the past or hope for a better future is lost.
Now that you know why Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are like you, at least time-wise, think about your limited time when you use or consume it in ways not fully aligned with your WHY, WHAT, and GOALS IN LIFE.
Social media? No thanks, next time.
If you want to go deeper into this topic and learn how to "invest at the best" in time, connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out our website www.shapesensesoul.com or request a pdf, printable version of our 90-Day Playbook for Success Planner/Journal.
Enjoy your time, my friends. -AP