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Our most important asset: time.


The realization of how sacred a resource time is came to me on a rainy afternoon in a movie theater. The newly released film was horrible. The plot was thin, and the animated characters from a popular cartoon were now silly as “real” people.

Even so, I was torn about leaving. It was raining outside, and there was not much else to do on the gray Saturday afternoon. Plus I’d paid for the ticket and still had some popcorn.

After a few more minutes of wavering back and forth, I decided I’d had enough. Other people may have found it worthy of 114 minutes of their life, but I did not. I walked out less than fifteen minutes into it. Making the decision to do so was protecting the most important asset I have: my time.

Have you ever walked out on a mediocre concert or play? Passed up having dinner with someone who only talks about him- or herself? Declined an invitation to join friends for another day of sitting around doing nothing? Decided not to watch a repeat marathon of a favorite television series? Good for you. Time is the most cherished gift we receive and the most exquisite gift we can give.

Our time is our life. When we are born, we are given the gift of a certain number of minutes, hours, days, months, and years to live. Even though we do not know how much time there is to life, we do accept life has an endpoint.

The realization we will not live forever does not need to make us fearful of death. Nor does it make time an enemy. The idea we exist within an unknown, finite amount of time motivates us to treasure the gift of each moment. Leading with our heart, we choose to manage time with the same attention to detail as we do our finances.

You and I are the ones with power to determine how we spend our time. If we feel rushed, and believe there are not enough hours each day to do all the things we think we must, then we must look carefully at what we really have to do. Maybe some of the items on our must-do list are not nearly as important to our overall joy and fulfillment as we assume.

There are 1,440 minutes in each day. Each minute is dear. Once it is spent, there is no way to receive a refund. We cannot purchase more. We cannot press pause on life to resume it at a more convenient time. Time is not a resource to be wasted, killed, or allowed to fly away from us without our being aware of where it went.

I realize what it is like to move through life so fast you lose sight of what is truly valuable. I also recognize this is not the way to create the happiest and most fulfilled life. Slow down. Spend the finite currency of your time wisely. Savor each moment, because it will not come again.