There are not many things in our lives that we know for sure. We try to anticipate certain events, we try to create scenarios that will put us in situations we want, but there is so much about our lives that we do not know as a matter of fact. One of the few things we know for sure, is that time does not stop. From the moment you are born, your timer starts, and no amount of hard work, determination or effort can change that. You can’t stop time. Fact. Once you realize this, it really hits you. Every moment that passes is a moment lost, a moment you will never get back. Each moment comes once, and I don’t mean that in a negative way. Now, although we can’t stop time, we can in fact, control time. We can decide what we allocate our time to, we can decide how long certain things take, or how long to spend on certain things. This holds true at the scale of individual tasks, and that most people are aware of. Each moment comes once, and we have to use it in the right way… easy. At a larger scale, however the same is still true. Let me explain.
Imagine for a moment that you’ve been given an hour to accomplish a specific task. To get that task done, you might break your hour down. Step one will take 10 minutes, step two will take 20, so on and so forth until you’ve utilized your time correctly and accomplished the task by the time 60 minutes are up. Each of those 60 minutes came once, but they all added up to a successful task. Now imagine that this hour you’ve been given is actually your life, and instead of being given a task, you get to choose the task. The only condition is that it has to be accomplished within the time frame of your life – that 60 minute period, within which each minute only happens once. This is the reality of how our lives work. The critical point I’m trying to make here is that although time does not stop, when we allocate it properly we can use it to control the outcomes we really want.
So now you may ask yourself, how do you choose the task? What makes the task the right one? Well, if I only had one hour to do something of my choosing I would choose something that brings me joy. Something that stimulates in me a feeling of fulfillment, something I enjoy beyond any doubt. Something that inspires me. I would choose something I am passionate about. When you approach your life this way, knowing that you’ve been given a set time frame within which to live and the ability to decide how to spend that time you have to choose something you love.
Many people have approached me asking how they can find purpose, or telling me that they are on the fence about a particular idea that they believe in. Their fears holding them back from actually starting something that could bring them the joy they are searching for. The answer is both complex, but strangely enough also quite simple. It’s complex because you get to manage how you control time and that is a difficult thing to do. We live in a world of distractions and an overload of information. Every minute something or someone is trying to take our attention away or get us to focus our attention on something else. This is where the complexity comes. Managing our time to achieve our goals is hard, because more often than not it means sacrificing something else. This is where dedication and hard work come into play – to help you remain focused and learn to use the time you have effectively. The simple bit of the answer comes from the understanding that time does not stop. When we forget that we have time limits we can lose track of our priorities. The hardest decisions can sometimes be what do we do with the time we have, and when we forget that time does not stop, we give ourselves the luxury of not starting at all. But when you internalize the reality that you only live once, and that each moment only happens once, the hardest decisions are made for you. So while you may find yourself distracted by things you don’t love, to find your focus, and to build a meaningful habit of managing your time, you have to do something you are absolutely passionate about. Something that you love so much that you WANT to focus on it. That is where purpose comes from.
If you had one hour to do something you love, what would you do? That right there is your passion. Now find a way to make it the rest of your life because you have control of how you manage the time you have… until you don’t have anymore.
Follow your passion – it’s the best way to spend your time.