027 Rethink The Value Of Time And Life

  • Time Is Money?

The other day at a bus-stop, I overheard a mother reprimanding her son, “Don’t waste time. What do I always tell you? Time is money!”

The boy nodded with a blank look while I shook my head from behind.

No doubt that the mother’s intention was to teach her son to cherish time. But to tell a child that time is synonymous to money may produce unintended side-effects. I cringed at the thought of the child telling his mother one day, “Don’t waste my time, I’m busy. Don’t you know time is money?”

  • Lost Time Never Returns

As a parent myself, I wondered what my eleven-year-old son, Conan think about time. So, I posed the question to him, “Time is money. Do you agree?”

Conan was engrossed in a game on his mobile phone, but he immediately raised his head upon hearing the question. Without hesitation, he said firmly, “Time is more than money.”

I pressed Conan for reasons, “What makes you say so?”

“Well, lost time never returns. Even if you have money.” Conan explained.

I was quietly impressed, but argued to make the boy think more, “That’s not true. Money can buy you time by paying people to do things for you. That makes up for the lost time.”

Conan was baffled, “I can’t explain clearly, but it’s not the same.”

I smiled. Conan was right.

It’s not the same. One can always find ways to make time in the future. But no one can turn back the clock and return to those same old days that were gone. That makes time more precious than anything else.

  • Time Is Life

How precious is time then? Perhaps, it is more apt to say time is life.

Most people recognise that life is more than a quantitative measure of the number of days a person has lived. Rather, it is determined by the quality of life experiences in our living days.

In other words, the quantity of time we spend on health, loved ones, work and personal endeavours does not predict the level of satisfaction we gain from living. Instead, it is the quality of life spent on these priorities that decides whether we will lead a satisfying life.

  • Life Is Not A Zero-Sum Game

Yet, many people continue to see life as a zero-sum game. If more time is spent on work, then time for family must be sacrificed. If they need to spend more time on health issues, then they have to give up work or study. There are times that we need to spend a lot more time on one thing than anything else, but does that mean other priorities have to be forsaken when the going gets tough?

Certainly not. As the proverb goes, “when the going gets tough, the tough gets going”. When things become extremely difficult, people become stronger as they rise up to the challenge. It is in difficult circumstances, the opportunity to gain exceptional life experiences prevails.

Time is a commitment to doing things that matter, and for the people who matter. That’s the way to enhance the quality of our life. Life does not have to be a zero-sum game.

William W K Tan

14 Jan 2018

Personal Notes

Recently, I have been feeling the stress of coping with competing priorities to the point of having recurring bad dreams. Probably in part due to my poor health condition in the last two weeks (I have fully recovered), I started to contemplate if I should seriously give up one or two things that seem less important now.

As I write this blog post, I reflected that I have not given enough thoughts to overcome the difficulties I faced. There must be ways to do more if I learn to use time wisely and more efficiently. This is perhaps a chance to make myself stronger.

Do share with me if you know ways to manage time better. Thank you!

2 thoughts on “027 Rethink The Value Of Time And Life

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