When it comes to money and ROI, what are you doing with the time given to you?
We forget things. Sometimes we don’t actually forget, we just never fully realize them. Other times perhaps, we never knew them. Like a sunrise or a sunset for example.
I especially enjoy “sunsets.” I take pictures of them and show them to my friends and even post them on Facebook (almost always my cover photo.) I especially like the “sunset” in my backyard because it’s over water – a lake. I also appreciate a well-timed “sunrise” on a morning stroll, because it can make you feel so alive. Yet neither truly exists.
That’s right, “sunrises” and “sunsets” are not real. How is that so? If something lives in your heart, in your memory, or in what you can see with your eyes, it must be real, right? However, seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing, and even so, the sun never rises and it never sets. It just is.
The Earth simply spins and revolves around it. And depending on where you are and at what time, the sun has a different effect on your circumstances. You then manage these circumstances, based of course almost exclusively on the position of the sun, for the constitution of your day. So you use something like a sunrise or a sunset – things that don’t actually exist – to decide how you spend your time. It’s especially interesting to look at how much differently you spend this time after it “rises” and after it “sets.”
Why do we build our daily activities and choose what we do and when based on the position of the sun? What would you call this –an agreed upon imagination? An indexing of our world based on simplistic and untrue observations? We talk about things as if we know them, but we really don’t. Have you ever seen a unicorn?
Just because we see the Sun leave the horizon and return to it again, doesn’t mean it goes anywhere, but our perception is that it does. It’s also interesting to note that we segment our life into what we do when the sun lights the sky and when it doesn’t. Which portion do you prefer? Is all time created equal? Do you think of the time when the sun lights the sky as more valuable? If so, do you pay much more attention to what you do during the hours of daylight?
It wasn’t too long ago, a few thousand years maybe, where most of our time was spent learning and in leisure. Sure there was hunting and gathering out of necessity, but living in tribes provided all sorts of benefits both physically and mentally that we now routinely have to fit into our schedules. We lived that way for a couple of million years, yet we have lived this way for only a few thousand. Don’t you think we need to pay closer attention to what we do and why we do it? We certainly are far from perfecting the use of our time now.
If you are anything like me, you spend a lot of your daylight hours at work. In reality, we spend almost half of our living daylight hours working for money; doesn’t that seem like an awful lot? Remember there is a limited amount of daylight in your life, and the average life span is about 26,000 days or 300,000 hours of sunlit sky.
If you have a job or jobs like many people, from age 20 to age 65, you work for 45 years. If you look at your commute, getting ready, thinking about work, overtime, work you do at home for your job …. in America today, a typical workday can consume 10 total hours on average. If you know you are higher or lower, just do the math: 10 hours a day, five days per week, 52 weeks a year, after 45 years that’s about 120,000 daylight hours.
Numbers do funny things to us because they can show the truth of things in different ways.
What if your job didn’t exist? And I don’t mean you don’t have one, I mean you may be working, but think of the whole idea of a job like a sunrise or sunset, as if it doesn’t exit. What would you do with your time? Many people talk about doing nothing, traveling, having fun all the time, or finding their passion. I think some of this is cool, but it’s obviously not sustainable for everyone. We are what we continuously do.
Do you want to be defined by your job? If all you do is work, then you are indirectly defining who you are by what some else is profiting from. What is a job really anyway? A job is a task or a piece of work, especially one that is paid. Said another way it’s a position of employment.
Let’s define employment. It’s the condition of having paid work or the action of giving work to someone, typically for payment. Humans have been disregarding a full-time job as the best way to live in many ways because trading so many hours of daylight feels a lot like a new form of slavery. This is NOT by any means meant to diminish the atrocities of slavery in history, but this new one involves anyone that needs to trade time for money. If you are the least bit obsessed with the movie The Matrix, as I am, you will see that our world does feel eerily similar to the one this movie shows where we punch a clock almost every day.
So how do you spend your time? Another movie I am fond of, Lord of the Rings, has a fantastic line in it. When Gandalf says to Frodo, “All you have to do, is decide what to do with the time that is given to you.” We have to start looking at life itself, knowing we are not just here by accident but here for a purpose. I realized that we often talk about striving to live a balanced life, a focused life, a selective life in terms of our activities … to be conscious about the ways we spend our time. How much of your time do you spend unpaid? When you aren’t getting paid for your time, what are you doing? Are you taking some time to look at a sunrise and a sunset and realize what they really mean?
Maybe you can look at your job that way now too. As if you just realized how much of your time you are trading, or giving up to make money. You are not your job, but it is often how you define yourself because you spend so much time there. When someone asks you who are you, do you usually answer with your profession somehow mixed in? Do you evaluate your personal worth by what you do for living? I think you should stop doing this. Your goal should be to live your life the way you want to live it. And it doesn’t really matter if you work at night because you then need to sleep during the day, the concept of trading your daylight time to get money is still the same.
The key secret is to learn to make money work for you, of course; all financial advisors and planners will tell you this. However, I think it starts sooner, by putting an incredible amount of focus into what you do with all of your time. Especially that time you are spending in your job, trading your precious daylight, to acquire money.
Are you wasting it? Are you doing everything you can be doing with time as if you have a higher purpose?
Nearly every job has to show a “return on investment” and of course, there are exceptions. Most billionaires say in some way, shape or form, the one commodity they wish they had more of, and it can’t be bought for any price, is time. Whereas folks like you and I are giving away a lot of our time just for the pursuit of money.
The simplest way I can think of to live like a billionaire is to choose to spend every hour of every day wisely and for that, you need to think of your job more like a sunset.