“Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way”
Pink Floyd, “Time”
The concept of the finite is something we’ve understood since our infancy. We first encountered it in the form of a delicious white substance that was delivered during one of the most pleasurable times of our waking day. At first we didn’t realize, but in time we learned that the gradually declining level of deliciousness in the bottle held to our lips would ultimately be met with an abrupt and noisy end to what had been sheer bliss.
As we grew older, finiteness always won as the ‘endless’ lollipop gave way to the bland stick, or mom called us to dinner just when our side was finally getting the better of the other side, or our endless summers were abruptly ended by September and the classroom.
When we moved from home we were introduced to a real struggle with finite, in the form of money. Seemed our demands for it always exceeded our supply of it. We spent so much time and energy in a futile exercise of trying to stretch what, no matter how hard we pulled, an inelastic, insufficient, remedy.
And later in life, our material measures of the finite give way to the temporal as we begin numbering our days, realizing that those behind outnumber those ahead. Through it all, no matter our ages, stages or stations in life, wealthy or poor, happy or sad, busy, relaxing, resting, or wasting, time marches steadily on. And while we each have the same 24 hours in a day, we marvel at those who seem to master theirs, squeezing so much more from their 24 hours than we do.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about time and life and how to do better at both. It’s easy, and quite natural to let them simply pass us by, because that’s what they, quite naturally, do. But how much more could we harvest from them if we choose and commit to be more aware, caring, and intentional?
The concept of the finite is a powerful motivator. It is far better embraced than feared, in all aspects of life. Scarcity enhances value. Charles Darwin said, “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” Moses in Psalm 90:12 says “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
Time is an ally when harnessed or an enemy when wasted, and the choice is ours. Let’s work together to master the time and wealth you possess to accomplish far greater reward and abundance than unharnessed time and life would ever yield.
Thought you might enjoy some of the material I gathered preparing today’s Brief.
Wisdom on Time
“It’s being here now that’s important. There’s no past and there’s no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one.” ― George Harrison
“They say I’m old-fashioned, and live in the past, but sometimes I think progress progresses too fast!” ― Dr. Seuss
“Do not wait: the time will never be ‘just right’. Start where you stand, and work whatever tools you may have at your command and better tools will be found as you go along.” ― Napoleon Hill
“Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.” ― Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses
Agent K: Do you know the most destructive force in the universe?
Agent J: Sugar?
Agent K: Regret. ― Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith in Men in Black III
“Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.” ― Lao Tzu
“Unfortunately, the clock is ticking, the hours are going by. The past increases, the future recedes. Possibilities decreasing, regrets mounting.” ― Haruki Murakami, Dance Dance Dance
“You may delay, but time will not.” ― Benjamin Franklin
“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” ― William Penn
“A man must dream a long time in order to act with grandeur, and dreaming is nursed in darkness.” ― Jean Genet
“The future is uncertain but the end is always near.” ― Jim Morrison
“The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” ― C.S. Lewis
“As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.” ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden
“Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.” ― M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Travelled
“Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can’t buy more hours. Scientists can’t invent new minutes. And you can’t save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you’ve wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow.” ― Denis Waitley
“Five minutes are enough to dream a whole life, that is how relative time is.” ― Mario Benedetti
“The chief beauty about time is that you cannot waste it in advance. The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you, as perfect, as unspoiled, as if you had never wasted or misapplied a single moment in all your life. You can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose.” ― Arnold Bennett
“It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. … The life we receive is not short but we make it so; we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully.” ― Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life.” ― Brian Andreas
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring