Successful People Leverage Time
I would like to consider myself a successful person. I had an assignment for a college course once that required me to map out my goals. At the end of the assignment, there were a series of questions and one of the questions was, “How do I define my success?” My response was simple yet profound. I said, “I define my success based on the obstacles that I overcome. I consider that every goal that I aim to accomplish will have obstacles in the way. I don’t measure whether I reach the goal as successful, but rather if I face and overcome the obstacle that tried to stop me from getting the goal in the first place. The goal is a sure thing once the obstacle is removed, therefore, success for me is measured by how I handle the things that are in the way toward my goal.” My idea of success isn’t about what I’ve accomplished but more about how I accomplished them. Successful people leverage their time to overcome obstacles and seed into their successes. They are prime opportunists and they ensure that they are taking advantage of every opportunity that lies in front of them. They hate wasting their time on anything that doesn’t promote their sense of success. Today, I’m challenging you to consider time in a different way.
Opportunity Cost of Wasting Time
I love this concept. It’s an economic concept but nonetheless, it fits in our everyday lives. In my book, Turning 30, I talked to some length about Opportunity Costs. An opportunity cost is when you give up the opportunity to accomplish or experience something in lieu of something else. This almost always involves some aspect of how you spend your time. This term stood out to me so profoundly when I took microeconomics in college that I literally can remember where it was located on the page. It was the upper right-hand corner of the left page, 1st paragraph. Consider this: everything you do with your time costs you something. Now add this additional thought to that: what you spend your money on is what you place value in, regardless of whether it’s actually valuable to you or not. Consider time like money. Money is a tool and if used right, you can build wonderful things with it. You can build a wonderful life and some other things. Now, money can’t buy you happiness but money answers all things. Time is like money.
If money is like time, what are you spending your time on and is what you spend your time on building the type of life you wish to have? With the concept of opportunity cost, if you chose to spend your extra time in front of the TV instead of working on your goals, you’ve spent money someplace that doesn’t really profit you anything and you have given up the ability to spend money on something that will actually give you a return on your investment. In essence, watching TV has cost you the homework you could’ve completed or the business plan you could have created. You just wasted time. If it was money, then you have just wasted money.
A Drug Called Procrastination
Procrastination is like caffeine. It is a drug that too many of us give in to and will not let go no matter how much we lose because of it. For many of us, our problem is not that we don’t have goals or are not driven. It is that we are not disciplined and we procrastinate. We have great ideas and we put those ideas off because either we do not know how to make them come to life or we do not believe we can make them come to life or we fail to see the opportunity to make them come to life. Therefore, we exchange the opportunity for something else to do instead of chasing after what it is we desire to do. That is how you end up with procrastination. You say, “Oh I can do that tomorrow.” The thing about time is that it is not promised to any of us. You may not be here tomorrow. The opportunity may not exist tomorrow. Once time is lost, it cannot be regained. However, time can be redeemed, but that depends on what you do right now.
When I was actively ministering in the Christian Church, I was an advocate of the concept of “Seed, TIME, and Harvest.” I believe that all of creation is founded on this concept. Nothing has occurred without there first having been a seed, which can be a thought or idea, a will, determination, intent, etc. Added to this seed, you have time. Here is where we fall off the map. We don’t manage our time to the best of our benefit. We have grandiose visions and plans and intents which are our seeds. However, when it comes to taking advantage of the time part of this equation, we mess up. What have we done with the seed? We watched TV. We told ourselves that it could wait. We told ourselves that we didn’t have the money or that it could never happen. We told ourselves no. We put off for tomorrow what could have been implemented today. Our seed remained a concept and a thought. It never hit the soil and while time continues to move forward, we did not take advantage of the germination process that a seed goes through to bring forth a harvest.
Here’s the thing. Time is constant. It never stops. It stops for no one. It is an ever moving river that does not stop. You can treat time like you would treat a river and a ferry boat. You can wait to put your boat in the water and miss the current or you can put your boat in the water and take advantage of the time that has been given to you. Successful people understand the power of their time. A visionary understands that time is a commodity and a tool. Remember, success is not the outcome, but it’s the way you manage the process. What are you doing with your time that reflects your process? Are you progressing or are you stagnated? They’ve trained themselves on how to take advantage of it. My next post is going to be about managing time. I will go in depth about how to structure your day so that you make the most out of the time you have.