I have spent nearly fifty years of my life before realizing the value of time. I have heard that, when you distill everything about life, all that any person really has is the time that he/she spends during his/her life. To paraphrase Job (from the Bible): we all come into the world naked and we will not take anything with us when we leave. Money, cars, houses and material possessions will come and go. The real value is the time that we have on earth and how we spend that time. That has led me to create three guiding precepts – basic principles that I have determined will steer my actions in the days that I have left in this life.
#1 – Use Time Wisely
As a youth and young adult, I did not use my time wisely. Although I used my time more efficiently than many of my friends, I see now that I could have done so much more by being just a little more diligent with the use of time in my youthful years. It is true: youth is wasted on the young. I suppose that it has always been that way and always will be. I realize now that every minute that we have to draw breath on earth is a blessing and must be fully utilized.
Just to be clear – I do not advocate never taking a rest or a break from productivity. In fact, I believe that there are times when the most productive action that a person can take is to do absolutely nothing. Rest is vital for the body and the mind. I often must remind myself of the importance on taking breaks, especially mental breaks.
I take much more effort now to plan my time and budget it to achieve the goals that I have set. The use of lists, calendars and reminders has enabled me to be much more productive than I could without these tools.
Time is golden.
#2 – Be positive
This is so much easier said than done. But when I look back to the people in my life that I have been around, I feel so much more blessed to have know those with a positive attitude. Not only does this type of person have a demeanor that is more pleasant to be near, but they also possess a strength that those who constantly complain are lacking. When the trials in life are dealt, it is extremely easy to throw hands in the air, become negative and spiral downward. The individuals in my life that we always smiling and positive have shown me that it is possible to overcome trials and rise above the negative norm. Anybody and everybody can find a reason to be sad. Or angry. Or overwhelmed. But it is possible to not be. The strongest people find a way to stay positive. That is my goal.
#3 – Leave a good legacy
As I stated earlier, we enter this life with nothing and will leave with nothing. The only mark of existence that anyone will have is the legacy that they leave with those who crossed their path. A legacy can be good or bad and it can affect a few or many people. It can impact an individual to become a greater (or lesser) person. It can be the result of years spent with a close family member or the result of a one-time chance encounter that consisted of a life-changing moment for another person. Regardless, the lasting footprint that a person leaves on this world is the only true measurement of the person’s life. And that footprint should be evident in the lives of the people impacted by their legacy. Whether speaking to a crowd of hundreds or walking alone on a sidewalk, we are continually forming our legacy, intended or otherwise. My goal is to make mine positive and meaningful for the people that will remember my lifetime.