The most valuable thing you have isn’t your money, your house, your car, or any other possession you own; it’s time. You can make more money, you can buy another house, and you can replace your car. But you can’t buy or replace time. It is the great equalizer. Someone else may have a bigger house, a nicer car, or a larger bank account but they have the same amount of time as you do each and every day.
The differentiator between the successful and significant few compared to the masses is what they do with their time. Like them, you have a choice every moment of the day to either invest your time or to spend your time. The difference is simple. When you invest time, you get a return on that time. When you spend time, it’s gone forever.
How do you invest your time? When you use your time to pursue a goal, improve yourself and your abilities, or help another, you’re investing your time. You’re sowing seeds that will reap a harvest of success and significance. How do you spend your time? When you use your time to selfish ends, negative thinking, scheming against others, coasting, giving up, and just getting by, you’re spending or squandering your time. Now don’t get me wrong, you need time to rest and recharge. Stephen Covey called this act Sharpening the Saw, and it is a valuable and necessary use of your time if you hope to become all you’re capable of becoming. How can you get better at investing your time?
- Know your destination. Being clear on your goals and why you want to achieve them is the first step in being wise with your time. So many people just get up every day and react to what happens to them instead of creating a day that moves them closer to where they want to be.
- Have a plan. Once you know where you’re going, you need to know how you’re going to get there understanding that your plan may change many times as you encounter obstacles and challenges along the way. These aren’t meant to stop you but to help you grow and become more.
- Take action. Now you need to work your plan every day without fail. While it may be tough in the beginning to get going, it’ll feel so good knowing you’re actively moving towards what you want daily.
- Be patient. Achieving anything of significance takes time. It doesn’t happen in a day; it happens day by day. Don’t focus so much on the destination that you get frustrated and give up. Enjoy the journey and work your plan. Before you know it, you’ll be repeating the process to achieve even more.
- See and help others. It is so rare for someone actually to ask for help. They put on a happy face and try to convince themselves and the world that they’re just fine. If you’re observant, though, you’ll see opportunities where you can reach out and make this journey called life just a little bit easier for someone that’s having a tough time. It might just be a smile or a kind word. It might be rolling up your sleeve and jumping in. It might mean getting your wallet out. There’s an awesome Chinese saying that will put the cherry on top of this point that goes, “If you want happiness for an hour – take a nap. If you want happiness for a day – go fishing. If you want happiness for a month – get married. If you want happiness for a year – inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime – help others.” Nuff said.
- Work on your relationships. Don’t just cruise through the different relationships you have. Get involved and be an active participant. Ask yourself, “What can I do to make this relationship better?” Whatever the answer, do it! Great relationships take work from both sides. Don’t wait for them to make the first move; you make it. Take 100% responsibility for the success of the relationship and you’ll be amazed at how quickly things improve. Remember, these are the people that are going to remember you and how you impacted their lives long after you’re gone.
Any great person that you can think of past or present had or has the same time each day that you do. They were just more careful about how they used their time. Being intentional with your time, you too can be one of these great people that the world can look at and see just how AMAZING you are!
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