(30 Things To Stop Spending Time On If You Want to Be Successful #28)
“You know, you only get to live life once, so there are two things that that yields. One is that there’s no point in crying over spilt milk, but secondly you hate wasting time, energy, and whatever talent you’ve got.”
— David Miliband
Everything around us is limited. This is a basic principle within economics. An unlimited amount of anything does not necessarily exist. As a society, we use our resources to satisfy our wants and our needs. Our wants and needs are limitless but the goods and services we use to meet the satisfaction is not.
However, we don’t always consider the fact that much of what we have actually goes to waste in large quantities. Some things we waste without realizing it and for other things, we unfortunately, waste intentionally. Most things are taken for granted in everyday life. Here are just a few:
We waste time. “Seize the day” may be a cute mantra but few of us actually live by it. Procrastination holds up more dreams than failure ever did. We waste space. In every home, school or organization, there is limited space, yet we pile stuff on top of stuff in an attempt to make it all fit in. We waste energy. A lot of time is either spent doing things that other people can do better than we can or engaging in a lot of action that ultimately gets us nowhere.
But that’s not all. We also waste people. Instead of putting in the work to build productive, vibrant, healthy, and long-term relationships with the right people, we waste them — their time, their expectations, their emotional, mental, and physical energy — by taking them for granted and appearing to be in for something when we know it isn’t going to work in the first place.
Beyond that, we waste our work. If we call something work but hate to do it and dread going there, it isn’t work. At that point, we’re just wasting it. We waste our health. We’re told exercise and healthy eating is good for us, but we don’t often follow the doctor’s advice. We waste our experiences. Every experience is a lesson in disguise and if we don’t learn the lesson, we’ve just wasted the experience.
We also waste our pain. Pain is unavoidable even though we try very hard to do just that. But when we encounter a tragic moment of loss, grief, sickness, heartbreak, or some other internal or external pain, it is there to get our attention and to make us focus on something that is not right and that needs to be fixed. And when we don’t fix the things that pain tells us is broken in our lives, we’ve just wasted our pain.
I can go on and on. We waste money. Buying things that we don’t need largely to make ourselves feel better our look better. We waste our homes. We waste our cars. We waste our commutes to and from work. Some of us even waste our education. We even waste our children. Some people don’t even know they have children until they realize that their nest is empty. We waste food, water, and a host of other things.
The key to not wasting things is to learn to pay attention to what we have and to be mindful of our consumption. Both materialism and consumerism are prevalent in our society. Every moment we live is an opportunity for us to focus on not taking things and people for granted. And the less we take for granted, the less we’ll waste.
The most successful people find value in everything. If they don’t find value in it, then it gets dumped. So for example, if you are in a relationship that is no longer working, that is exhausting and frustrating and does not respect your worth and your work in the relationship then it might be time for you to dump it. Stop wasting your time with things that no longer work.
Time is the most precious and most valuable commodity we have. Time is what centers is and is what causes us to be centered. Everything we do and experience is within the confines of time. Time rolls on no matter what we do or where we go or who we are. Once we run out which is at the end of life, we’re out. There is no going back, buying back, or doing over. There is no borrowing or creating. Time of all things should not be wasted.
Take a minute to evaluate your life, Pay attention to where you are, what you are doing, what you have, and the people you are around. A mental note of these things can help you to decide what is working and what is not working, what is worth wasting and what you need to stop wasting. We’re not given a heads up when we waste things but when we do it could potentially put us in greater danger of not accomplishing the things we really want to do.
You don’t want to wake up one day in the not to distant future and realize you could have been everything you wanted to be. You could have done everything you wanted to do. You could have been happy and passed that happiness along to everyone you encountered. You could have taken risks and on the other side you would have experienced both failure and success. Both of which are valuable. You could have done and had and been every thing you were given the ability to have but you dwindled your chances away. You wasted time, money, experiences, and most of all your life.
You don’t want to live with this memory. It’s a nagging thought pattern that does quickly go away. Time unused, people unloved, and life unloved still vanishes leaving no leftovers, no crumbs, no second chances, and do-overs. Stop wasting everything and use everything that comes your way to help you become the person you were meant to be.
“The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”
— Jack London