Having the Right Perspective
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In the last blog post I talked about how defeating your fears is one of the best and only ways to start truly living. A very important part of this process is to be able to define your fears and recognize their influence. It is true that only once you are able to give your feelings a name, does it become possible to quiet them and control them. You further have to be able to distinguish between fears that do not serve you in any way and between those that you can use to help push you forward. Bottom line is, any unrecognized and uncontrolled fear is unhealthy for you but once it is recognized, it can be controlled - and even used to your advantage.
I see people scared of all sorts of things that they shouldn’t be. Spiders, snakes, heights, dogs, arguments, public speaking, loneliness, success, bugs, failure. Whatever it is, if you can name it, then there is someone out there afraid of it. However, any time I ask someone what he or she is afraid of, I rarely hear that they are afraid of wasting their time and energy - something that I believe should be on the top of the list.
The only constant that we know of in this universe is that time will always keep ticking. No matter who you are, how successful (and it is fair to say that for the really successful it seems to be ticking ever so faster), how accomplished, or how special you might think you are, this is true. If you are thinking right now, well what you are saying is true, but I can’t change that, so why should I worry, then you are absolutely right.
It would be pointless to spend the limited time we have worrying, however it would be reckless not to acknowledge it. It would be reckless not to realize this truth for what it is and use that knowledge to our advantage.
The number one regret of a person who has realized on his deathbed that he has wasted his life is echoed in the sentiment - ’if only’. If only I had done this or that, if only I had made a different decision, if only I did what I thought I should’ve, if only I had used my time differently. What a person who says this really means is - I wish I had realized that my time here is precious and valuable. I wish I had spent some of it on actually thinking about what I can do to make myself happy. About how I could’ve used my talents to make my ideas a reality. On thinking of what I could’ve done to contribute and to add more value.
It’s true that being perpetually scared of something you can’t control is never healthy. However, even though worrying about something might not help, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare for it. And in this case it is recognizing the fact that time is irreversible and acknowledging a fear of spending it wrongly that is the first step towards utilizing that same fear. That fear that most of us end up holding in, but never truly face, until it is too late. Benjamin Franklin once said,
by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. It is hard to understate how important living with that mentality is. So how do you prepare for time? The idea sounds absurd, but the answer is simple. You have to make sure to use the time that you have in the best possible way.
You have to realize the fact of life that time doesn’t wait for anybody, because only through this realization can one truly start living. And I mean living in the moment and living fully. By putting every moment in this perspective, it becomes easier to manage your time and start asking yourself the big, important questions. How can you put every moment into perspective? It sounds like a cumbersome and impossible task. I too, often have problems in doing this, but the answer is once again simple. Awareness.
Wasting time needs to be on the top of our list of things we will regret most, because nobody will ever give you that time back. Time is the cheapest commodity of all, yet it is the most precious. So, try to cut out most of the time you waste every day doing unimportant things. Stop overanalyzing and procrastinating and do the things you are aware you have to. Awareness is the most important skill anyone can ever possess. It is the thing that will help you make sure you are doing all the right things in life.
I wish to talk more about awareness, and there is much more to talk about in this regard, but for the sake of brevity I will leave it for another time. The important thing to understand right now is that you need to cultivate this skills of yours. If you are aware - nothing can stand in your way.
So how can you use awareness to make sure you are using the time you have in the best possible way? If you are aware of how you spent your time, of what is important for you, of how you are feeling and why, of where your strengths lie and of how you can use them - well then it doesn’t take a genius to know what to do at almost any point in time. And that is why in my opinion awareness is the most important factor of success. You just have to start with these questions I just went through.
First answer yourself this - what is it that is most important to me and why? Will it bring me happiness and satisfaction? What are my short-term and long-term priorities and goals? And then go from there. Take your time with this. Don’t rush it. Those are the most important questions you will ever have to answer, and so it doesn’t matter if it takes you an hour or a month, the only thing that matters is that you reach the answers that feel right. Build a schedule for yourself and your time with these questions in mind, and if people try to diminish your goals or make you spent time in a way you don’t want to, as they undoubtedly will - have the courage to say no. The people who are worth it will support you.
I’ve seen a lot of people run around
always busy with their hectic schedules and at the end of the month they realize that they have not really accomplished much. I know the feeling, and I am sure most of you do too. That is because we rarely take the time to ponder these questions.
Once you are aware of your priorities and of how you are spending your time however, it should become fairly obvious if you need to do an adjustment. Are you spending too much time on things that aren’t important for you? Then change it - don’t make excuses.
I want to make it a point that I am not telling you to never have fun or downtime - after all fun is important for helping us recharge and it fuels our creativity. However, steer clear of people who only ever think like this - they have little value to give. One might say, with time ticking by - why not spend every single second enjoying my life - screw obligations, responsibilities and priorities. Firstly, this simply does not work - the ’fun’ always starts to wear off, especially when it is the only thing you ever do. I know this from experience. Furthermore, such a worldview is, to me, nihilistic. Nothing lasts - so why try? Because this is precisely the purpose of life - trying to make something that lasts. Trying to leave a legacy and an imprint on the world. It is through creation that each of us can find his expression and purpose. Making your main goal the adding of value to this world is one of the best ways to live.
Are you spending too much time on things that aren’t important for you? Then change it - don’t make excuses. Don’t become the person who will be saying
if only all too soon.