“Time is a non-renewable resource.” Tim Ferris said this in his interview with Guy Raz, How I built this.
I haven’t read Tim’s Four-Hour Work Week. Have you? He gives a fascinating backstory in the interview. The manuscript was rejected by more than 20 publishers and was finally picked up by Crown after he refined and refined his pitch. It wasn’t expected to do much and ended up on the New York Times bestseller list for four years. Clearly, something about the topic struck a chord in the marketplace and it catapulted Tim’s own career.
That’s a great lesson on using rejection to fortify your resolve and improve your outputs. But I’m more interested in the lesson of time that Tim presented in the interview when speaking of his book.
His comment that time is a non-renewable resource brought many reflections to mind.
We are all trying to elevate our careers or standing in some way. Money is an important resource but you can always make more if you lose it. You can’t do that with time, and that’s why I wake up every morning feeling anxious about getting something done. A moment wasted feels shameful. I can get so focused sometimes, I choose getting things done over enjoying an afternoon doing something in the woods with people I love. Everything seems to be simply a distraction from where I want to be.
I guess that’s why Cory Mascara’s book, Stop Missing Your Life hit me like a gut punch when I first saw the title and immediately put it on the top of my “to read” pile on my nightstand. It’s a great read and will encourage you to be more present in your life through focus, allowance, curiosity, and embodiment.
The battle with time is between two players – ambition and happiness.
Last year at this time, my father’s cancer began to take a turn for the worse. In early April, I was on a conference call with him and his doctor and he was told to go downstairs to get some tests. We were in constant contact that morning when the doctor got his results right away and called my dad who was driving home, instructing him to check into the emergency room now. This was a Friday morning. Dad called me, continuing the drive home when I asked him to please listen to the doctor and turn around.
They admitted him to the hospital and I made the difficult decision to fly to Florida from Idaho in the early stages of the pandemic and shutdown. I remember quite clearly why this decision was so difficult for me. I had a lot going on with work and I felt like the distraction would throw off my trajectory. I wasn’t even sure if the situation was serious enough to warrant my travel down there. With much discussion, my brother in Boston said he’d meet me down there. We’d likely need to pack my dad up when he was discharged and move him to Boston to live with my brother. I’d help them pack up and would fly back home while the two of them made the road trip up north.
Here’s what happened. My Dad was in fact discharged on Monday in far worse shape than I imagined. My brother would not and should not make this road trip alone with my dad, his stuff, and the cat in a pandemic. I realized again, I’d have to put work on the back burner. I kid you not when I tell you it actually crossed my mind that this was a distraction from what mattered, from my priorities. I confess this unapologetically because thankfully, I did the right thing and I had the road trip of a lifetime. A memory I hold on to and cherish because that would be the last week I ever saw my Dad.
I often reflect back and think what if I had stayed focused on my work – I probably wouldn’t even know what I had missed out on. I would feel regret I didn’t say goodbye to my dad in person but I wouldn’t have all the memories of three days on the road with Bertha the cat, my little brother, dad, and a shutdown country would have.
I’m going to use this as a decision-making aid to remember what really does matter. And that time cannot be recovered when lost.
I hereby declare you should take the afternoon off and spend it doing something you love with someone you love. If you can’t this afternoon, what will you do this weekend? Hit reply up above and tell me now.
Take care out there,
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