We all share the same twenty-four hours, what do you do with that?
It is no secret, and there is no point in trying to deny this simple truth that we all hold: everything is finite. Every person, creature, mineral, and idea are all going to cease to exist at some point. You, I and everyone else we know will die, and that is not something to cause sadness or fear. No one can avoid it, only prolong it from happening. As humans, we have more time alive than most living entities, and this factor can keep us in the space of comfort. When we are comfortable, we tend to sit tight, stay put, and resist change. Why is this though?
For thousands of years, we have struggled to meet our basic survival needs. Writing and rewriting our genetical code on how to fight diseases, the intelligence to preserve and store energy, how to overcome obstacles and predators, keeping our offspring safe and teaching them from our mistakes are the fundamentals. But what now, that we can preserve food almost indefinitely, build structures that can keep out just about anything but super storms, and our development of language and memory storage through books and now the internet has considerably helped our survival rate. With these advances in our species has brought a new set of challenges upon us.
Every single one of us has the same 24 hours in each day to do with what we please. There are several biological requirements to be met (sleep, eating, hygiene) along with the demands of society to pay taxes and follow the rules, at the bare minimum. There are 168 hours in a week, and roughly 56 of those go to sleep, so that leaves us with 112. Subtract another 16 for eating and hygiene, and we have 96 hours. These are rough estimates as we all are slightly different, but the key factor is that your short time here on Earth is yours. I have spent many hours distracted and unfocused on what I knew I should be doing. Staying in my comfort zone has caused a lot of stress and anxiety, but this roundabout path has made me who I am today. Do you spend your time adapting and improving yourself, or are you content with who you are?
How do you get the most out of your blip here in eternity?
There a plethora of activities to engage in and all of us have a loosely constructed path built into our DNA. One of the biggest fascinations I have with life and the universe is our ability to choose. At any given moment, you have a choice in how you breathe, your posture, the words you speak and how you respond to your thoughts and feelings, among many other options. I feel as though most of us have an inherent understanding of what is good and bad in a general sense, but not everything is black and white.
The debate between what is right and wrong can go on forever, with no clear agreement on every aspect of life. The beauty of life is that we all are different. These differences come with many difficulties as we share the planet with each other and many other creatures, and unfortunately, we have as individuals have not all figured out what we want, nor collectively in how to benefit everyone in the most efficacious way. The speculation of “survival of the fittest” and “only the strong survive” is a topic for another day. While everyone has a chance to live and grow, those who take action on the opportunities will be the ones who keep moving forward. Growth requires belief, willpower, and constant action.
Getting the most of your time here on Earth is no easy task. A significant amount of time is needed to figure out all of the issues holding you back, and that process can only begin if you care enough to improve your life. I can accurately presume that if you are reading this, you are on your way or just getting started on the path of spiritual growth. From my experience, I have had many temptations to sit back and let time slip by, before and after “waking up.” Every single day, every moment is a choice between letting life happen, or deciding what is going to happen in your life. We can never control what others do by focusing on their actions but only influence slightly through controlling ourselves.
Keep the macro in mind while acting with awareness in each moment.
How big is your “bigger picture”? Do your macro goals include a paycheck with a lot of zeros and a house with 6+ bedrooms, or does your dream prioritize changing the world? It is imperative that we keep whatever our ambitions are always in the “back of our minds” while being focused on the present. I am currently listening to podcasts by Tim Ferriss (Tim has a great book on time management, find it by clicking on his name) and Steve Glaveski (whom I met while in Australia this summer) and they emphasize on Stoicism. Parts of what I have learned recently about this way of living is about controlling our mind by not letting our emotions and impulses control us. So while we may be extremely passionate about our bigger picture goal, it is crucial that we do not make the journey more difficult by stopping at every emotional obstacle.
What this means is creating and developing a mindset in which one does not let emotions dictate all of his/her actions. Some react to this by saying “You’re just a zombie by having no emotions.” One of Steve’s podcasts featured a Stoic philosopher by the name of Massimo Pigliucci, and he says that not acting through emotion does not mean being emotionless, but more so moving away from negative emotions (especially anger) and towards positive ones, but also always realizing that neither last forever. Doing this allows us to remain stable in the face of pressure or tense situations and helps us be present in every moment as we progress towards our dreams.
Stoicism is primarily the western version of Buddhism, in the sense that one does attach emotionally to what is happening, and thus they are free in that they are not ruled or controlled by their emotions. I have found that these two ways of looking at life, along with Taoism have significantly aided in my path of harmony and balance over the past two years. You can learn about how my journey started by clicking here.
Goals take time and being patient is crucial to the growth in all aspects.
All of us human beings are born with activities, things or people that we love profoundly. As we age, these things change, and traumatic events can create a hindrance in our decision to pursue them. It is vital that we follow our deepest loves and passions, while not acting out every short-lived pleasure along the way. The longer something takes to manifest, the more profound it shall be. No one becomes a black belt in a month or even a year. You didn’t get good at division or riding a bike in a day. These are generalizations, but the point is that everything worth having (subjective perspective) takes time.
The saying “Good things come to those who wait” is implemented perfectly here. One of the hardest things for me to learn (besides managing my time wisely) is that failure is a huge part of growth. Failure and being wrong is where we change and evolve. I have had a hard time learning to accept this and get back up every time I fall, but managing my time wisely and efficiently has helped me get back up faster and with more resilience. A big key in time management is prioritization. In the past few months, I have found several techniques in time utilizing my time to the best of my ability, and the one that sticks out is prioritizing by writing the task of the day down.
Starting with one or two, write down in a journal or on a whiteboard the one thing you need to get done today and leave it at that. Even if you know, you can get more done, only write one for a few weeks or a month. After you accomplish that one goal each day, you can erase or check it off, and you will feel better, and gain confidence. After the task is done, by all means, go on to more tasks or chores. But the key is to build that fortitude, so slowly you can add more to your list. Be sure not to add too many (3-5 max) because when you don’t get done what you wrote down, you will feel overwhelmed and neurologically let yourself down, wiring your brain in a defeated state.
Time is your most valuable asset. You can always make or invest more money. The clock is always ticking, we all will expire some day. Find a good work/relax balance and be sure above all to love the journey you are on and spend time with loved ones. Life is too short to spend it being angry and upset at what we cannot control.
I hope you enjoyed this article! I would love it if you could share your thoughts on what time means to you, or any questions or comments you may have. Create a marvelous day!